A piece I wrote is live on gurl.com!! Yay!
HOW TO MOVE
First you have to get boxes – good sturdy boxes that can be packed nice and tight. One box for your fear, and one for your anger, and one for your excitement. That last one might be the smallest box right now, but that’s okay. It still needs to be taped up carefully and labeled like all the others.
Next, you have to decide what to take with you.
Will you take all your books? Yes. That flannel shirt the first guy you really liked left at a party (that you accidentally-on-purpose took home with you) and still smells like him if you sniff really hard? Yes. The stuffed pig you’ve had since you were three and can’t bear to part with? Yes. All eight of your favorite pairs of jeans? Definitely. Your cat? Of course. Your best friend?
No. Your best friend can’t come. Neither can your other best friend, or your favorite teacher, or that shady spot near your house where you like to sit by yourself sometimes with your phone turned off, just for a little while, to think. That spot won’t fit in a box. The booth you always sit in with your friends after school on Fridays, the one at the diner with the awesome milkshakes – that won’t fit either. But the programs from all the plays you’ve been in will fit, and the sports bra you were wearing when you won the championship game last year, and that amazing playlist, and all of your Lime Crime eyeliners, and the hilarious video you made when you were just being weird one day and felt like making a video.
You can’t take your old room, even if you pack up everything in it. The room itself will have to stay.
But you can take the way you feel in your room with you. That feeling of closeness and calm or maybe crazy bursts of energy you can’t explain and don’t have to. Of privacy, of sanctuary for extremely personal text conversations and daydreaming and looking in the mirror for a really long time without being interrupted or anything else that’s just for you and is no one’s business but your own. That can certainly go in a box.
Then you can think about all the things you can’t wait to leave behind.
Like the hideous sweaters your aunt sent that your mother made you keep to be polite. And that bitchy girl in your homeroom who is always looking at you like you did or said something wrong when you know you didn’t. And your locker, the one that always sticks and makes you late for class constantly because you can’t tell if it’s really locked or not. And the awful neighbor who spies on you whenever you’re outside with your friends. Not winning the championship game two years in a row. The fight you had with your best friend over something so dumb you can’t even remember what it was. Your infuriating brother – definitely ditch him with the sweaters. (Not really. Sorry.)
And that first guy you really liked, who didn’t like you back. You get to leave him behind, too.
Once all your boxes are packed, you have to say goodbye.
You say goodbye to all the people and things you can’t take. Some of them you’ll keep forever, even if you couldn’t pack them. And some of them you’ll vaguely remember (years from now) as having seemed so important and hard to let go of… and then turning out not to be, after all.
The last thing you do is leave.
You stand in the empty hallway as the movers haul your boxes away, listening to your parents argue about how much to tip and what should go in the car because it’s delicate and whether anyone remembered to have the cable shut off. Or you watch from the sidewalk as your life – your whole life until now – gets lugged out the door and hidden away in the back of a truck or a van or a storage pod or somewhere, somewhere you won’t be able to see it or touch it until you’re in a whole new place, and where maybe you’ll be expected to be a whole new you.
Or maybe you won’t be.
And the only way to find out is to go.
So you do.
And that’s how you move.