Embracing the Future

So a couple days ago, I found out that the I Love U Guys Foundation will no longer be doing Emily’s Parade. For my -very- few followers or anyone reading who might be interested, the parade was a very significant event for me, and the realization that it was coming to an end made me think about a few things, things which I’d like to get out here for…you know, thinking and shit. xD

To review: Last September was the 10th anniversary of the parade, and was on the 9th anniversary of the shooting at my high school. It couldn’t have been a better day for it; it was 85 degrees (there were MANY applications of sunscreen), and I got to go with my best friend. I’d never gone with her on any of the rides–and actually, I had been thinking of not going this year. I didn’t know of anyone who wanted to go with me, it was on a Sunday, which meant I had to take time off work, and also half the fun was being able to ride up there on a motorcycle. Since my ex and I had broken up, I didn’t know anyone who had a working motorcycle that might want to accompany me. However, as I was telling all this to said best friend, she said, “I’ll go with you!”

“Really?”

“Sure, it’ll be fun! I don’t think I’ve gone since the first one, and I bet the kids would enjoy going too.”

So we made a day of it and went back to our old stompin’ grounds: Platte Canyon High School. I’ll admit, it was pretty cool, as we stood on the bridge overlooking the highway, to remember crossing it over to the football field for the Homecoming game to watch her perform as a cheerleader, or to watch a couple of my other friends in the band do their routine.For half a second, I saw us as we were ten years ago, and then in the blink of an eye, it was gone, and in that same moment I looked at my friend’s kids and realize dhow far we’ve come and how awesome it is that we’re still best friends.

On the other hand…

Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the shooting…it seems weird to think about that because 10 years is such a long time! One of my good friends is having his 10 year high school reunion in a couple months! WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING. And yet, on that day in that month, and even just around early fall every year, it feels like it just happened. I wonder, is it going to feel like that for the rest of my life? Every year, the memory becomes more of just a solidified moment of my life, kind of like “Well, that did in fact happen.” It gets a little easier to talk about it to most people (though sometimes I still act super weird about it, which is a question in itself), but around that time of year, it’s still a nagging little feeling that tugs on me just a little, just to make sure that I know it’s there, and I’m sure that will last for quite some time. Maybe not forever, but maybe–who knows?

But the thing is…sometimes, I like remembering. I like to honor the event with my thoughts and my acknowledgement, and I also like the parade because of the solidarity that it brings to the community. I love seeing the people of my home town band together like one big family to honor an event that deeply touched everyone; it’s a really cool feeling. But now I won’t get to experience that anymore. In fact, I now have no reason to ever see or step foot into my high school again, and it’s unlikely that I ever will, honestly.

It feels like, knowing this, I’m leaving behind a part of my past and continuing forward. We’ve all got to let go sometime, right, to make way for what’s to come? I’m excited to do so, but I’m also afraid to. I’m afraid because moving forward means to accept that what once was will never be again.

I am not a teenage girl, with my seemingly very significant teenage girl problems. I’m not the girl who let people walk all over her because she was afraid of what they thought of her. I’m not living in my awesome, small town, in my awesome house that I grew up in, looking outside my bedroom window and watching the sun set behind the trees and the mountains as I talk for hours to my friends on the phone, waiting for my parents to call me into the living room for dinner. I’m not the teenage girl who writes depressing poetry directly related to her low self-esteem, who constantly second guesses herself and who doodles away during every class with no idea as to where the future will take her.

I am, in fact, so much better than that now. I’ve leveled up! I’ve achieved a state of confidence and happiness that exists because of my own perseverance, choices, and the people I have chosen to participate in my life. I am not that girl. Even so, that teenage girl, and the preteen girl, and the little girl I was before that, are still responsible for me being the person that I am today, and I don’t want to forget any of that or what brought me to this place.  I don’t want to forget what my house looks like on the inside, or how my school looked, or the experiences I had there, both good and bad. I like the direction that my life is going–in fact, most days I’m just ecstatic and I wonder how I ended up so lucky! But that doesn’t make it any less scary for me; I don’t want to lose myself as I continue along this path.

And yes. I realize that is dumb, because it’s been 26 years and I’m still me. xD I’ve gone through a shit ton of things, and they have only shaped me into a stronger person and not into a douchebag or a weenie, thankfully. And this is comforting, but I think that the fear of this will always exist for me, simply because change is the only thing we can consistently count on in this world, and who the fuck knows what life is going to throw our way? The fear does, however, motivate me to keep my values and morals regardless of circumstance, because I’m too stubborn to let the world take me by surprise.

The whole realization feels weird, to feel the moment where you understand that your life is moving forward and to actually be able to see evidence of it…to see the moment where you know that it’s time to embrace the future and to understand the scope of everything that brought you to this point in time to be the person that you now, and to know that you can only keep going from there. Is this what adulting is?