It’s not you, it’s me. The classic breakup line that has destroyed the hope for romantic movies from now until eternity. I swore I’d never use it. And I never have – until now.
Lynchburg, it’s not you – it’s me. And I wish I was sorry, but I’m not – we have to end this relationship. It’s not that I won’t EVER see you again or come back and visit…it’s just that it can’t and won’t be like it’s been in the past. I need my space. I need to build my own life and, yes, as cheesy as it sounds – I need to find myself.
There are relationships I have that keep me stuck here even from hundreds of miles away. Up until now, there have been relationships which I clung to because they were the only good parts of memories of this place. But I have come to realize that those people will remain in my life regardless of the mileage that separates us and despite months of silence on the other end of the phone. These are the people who I can run too in times of trouble but more importantly, in times of triumph. It occurred to me today, while chatting with a dear friend, that I have been clinging to those who I know have seen me at my worst – the ones who saw me, enveloped me in love, and refused to walk away. Those relationships are so vital and important to me. But they also keep me in a part of my life that, albeit was necessary, was not fun nor one that I wish to remain in “revolving door style”. Today I think I accepted that my relationships with people will change. People won’t always be who I thought they were or knew them to be. People can (and will, given enough time) get upset with me and get their feelings hurt by me…and yet I will still be okay. People will leave. But when they leave, if I am willing to let them go, even better relationships will form in their place.
That being said, I know that there are a handful of individuals who act as both my disaster relief go-to’s as well as my cheer leading squad. They are vital. They are vital, but they are also growing, evolving, and changing…as am I. Our relationships can’t be expected to stay the same – they will wax and wane, grow and lessen over time – but given the Lord’s blessing as well as some work on both ends, they will remain.
This time that I returned to Lynchburg, my best friend in the entire world is no longer here. She has moved on to the next stage in her life and has completed college and is pursuing new endeavors which have drawn her away from this place. When I leave for Michigan this time around (in less than a week!!) my soul mate *see below * will be going with me. My visits to Lynchburg will be fewer and shorter in duration than before because I now have my own home in Michigan.
This summer has helped me grow in ways I can’t even begin to name – but one of the greatest areas of growth for me, I believe, has been my adventurous spirit. Over the course of the 4,500 miles I have ventured on my own, the 3 car repairs made on the road between here and there, the new places, experiences, and people I have encountered, etc…I have proven to myself that I am capable. I am 22. I am a young woman. I am capable of taking care of myself. And not only am I capable, but I ENJOY taking care of myself. It feels good to not have to ask for someone’s permission to stop mid-roadtrip to get a snack or use the bathroom. It feels good to sleep alone in a king sized bed and be able to sleep horizontally just because I want too. It feels good to wake up early and go for a walk alone because I don’t have anyone else to ask permission of or to take into consideration. Long and short: it feels good to be me.
It feels good to be me and it feels good to be accepted by my peers, colleagues, and friends for who I am – face value. A lot of the relationships I formed in Lynchburg are ones that have been formed through my family ties or through some other cause. I am realizing that some will last and some won’t. The ones that wear me down and feel like work are not the ones I need to be placing my time and efforts in. I am realizing that I need to accept who I am as I change and grow – I am no longer my parents little girl. I am not the “violin girl.” I am not even the recovering anorexic.
My experiences have helped me formed friendships. Some of which I have come to see will not last once I no longer identify with parts of my past. Product of some program? No thank you. Girl with an eating disorder? I’m really trying hard not to be.
The people who encourage my growth and my evolution as a young adult are the ones who will accept me for who I am becoming – not JUST who I’ve been in the past. Who I’ve been before is definitely NOT the same girl that I long to be. To remain the same would be one great catastrophe.
It’s true that my life might be easier, simpler, and considerably less awkward if I choose to remain in my cozy little hermit crab shell called Lynchburg. I certainly have every right to do so. But the truth is that, at the end of my life time, I want to be completely used up and rung dry in the most positive and uplifting ways – I want to look back and not regret lack of change, but be proud of the ways I grew. It may take some time. It will most definitely take MANY mistakes. It will undoubtedly take many steps forward and quite a few back. But I think it will be the grandest adventure I could ever ask to embark upon.
I am gradually learning to accept change. And this is why, Lynchburg, I am breaking up with you. I need to build my own life and fully immerse myself in creating space for who I want to become and more importantly, who God needs me to be for the glory of His kingdom. I am so thankful for all the friendships and the love that I felt while I was here. I also know that there are a handful of those friendships which are life long ones that I will always cherish. I am looking forward to embarking on this adventure with many dear souls from this place by my side and along for the ride. But I am also looking forward to letting go of the relationships which don’t support my personal growth and which hold me back, stuck in a revolving doorway.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
― Mark Twain
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
― Anna Quindlen