In the last week, everyone has asked me what my first impressions of Portland have been. It’s hard to say. Having grown up here and having visited, I do have vague memories that seldom return, but for the most part, it’s been a whirlwind.
In true introvert (or narcissist, you decide) fashion, I think I’ve spent more time looking at how a new place affects me. Even on regular Sundays in Asheville where I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I would run into neighbors, chat with Morgan, text friends about potential plans: spend social energy in nooks and crannies of my life.
Now, I don’t have a huge base for that. There are some friends from college/childhood I need to hit up (SORRY I’ve been busy/ adjusting). I’ve been on Tinder, and went on one date with someone that I knew through a friend.
For the most part, I’ve spoken with my mom, dad, Nora, Hayden, our neighbor (named, I shit you not, Jody Foster- but not of the Panic Room fame), and my grandparents. Also a kindly editor who lives down the street named Kurt and a great sales associate at Second Adventure named Larry. We're going hiking.
In my solitude, I’ve written. Shit like this, reflections on time and space. I’ve cleaned. It makes me feel good, because when I moved back to Charlotte in February, my intention was to help Maria straighten up the house for the move. Instead, I worked like crazy, then would get stressed about work and blow up at everyone or avoid helping out. Now we can fulfill all the plans we had.
My family is all so much more hopeful now that we're here. At that time, we were still in the dark of the cave, with a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel. We fell and scraped our knees and dragged ourselves to the end of the darkness.
Now the freedom and joy overwhelms us. My mother cried happy tears yesterday over her birthday presents, over the bliss of her family sitting around the table together for something as regular as a 40-something birthday (she’d kill me if I said her actual age). The immense light around has blinded us. As Kanye would say, this is an ultra light beam.
I feel that I should reach out to other young women to make friends to enrich my life. Yesterday at H&M, there was a girl about my age, with great baylage highlights and the same two shirts I was trying on- identical colors too! I wanted to say ‘cool purse!’ or ‘Where’d you get your hair done?’ but those sorts of things seem so contrived in the moment. Then it was too late.
However, after all of the miraculous ways I have made friends in the past, I wonder if it was just not meant to be. I have a lot of places, things, activities I haven’t even dipped a toe in yet, All my great friends previously came from taking risks. What's not to say these new friends won't too.
So I will hike, volunteer, run, go on dates, do standup, maybe even talk to people at the mall. And eventually, cool friends will come. In the meantime though, I’m pretty content with my ultra lightbeam Kardashian family, my copilot cat and my own introspection.