Monday, October 12, 2009

And I Can Breathe In A Small Town

I moved out of my parents' house permanently in 2005. In the time between then and now, my hometown acquired its first set of stoplights, and a mechanical bull.

Not even a week after I'd settled into my first apartment, my remaining belongings were packed up, and my old room became my little brother's room, and his old room became the spare bedroom.

And THEN, my mom painted the bathroom orange. Not a bathroomy pink-orange coral shade, not some kind of dark rustic burnt sienna shade, ORANGE. Like a pumpkin.

Even though I spent my senior year there, I still can not get used to the presence of the "new" high school, and when I attended the homecoming game a couple fridays ago, my Blue Devils played a team that was not even in our conference when I was a student.

They say that after you grow up and move out, you can never actually go "home" and they always say it like it's a bad thing... but... I think it's awesome!

There is a lot to love in Evansville. And the fact that it is so unbelievably different from when I truly lived there makes it possible. I cut a lot of ties, dropped the nostalgia that was beginning to feel like baggage, and I just love that I don't come from a town that never changes. When YOU change, and your old town stays the same, it's depressing. It taints your memories when you realize what a dump you really came from and you see how totally insignificant everything you ever cared about actually is. That sucks so bad...

I don't know if I could ever actually live in a small town, but I am BLESSED to live so close to one as dynamic yet quaint and old-timey and hip all at the same time. I love love LOVE Madison, but I'm also extremely proud of where I've come from. It has taken nearly five years to figure this all out, but it was worth the wait.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Forever Young

It all started on the fail blog, where somebody posted this little gem:

As utterly idiotic as the question was, it made me think. In a few decades, an entire generation will be immortalized through facebook a-la Anne Frank's diary, and I just don't know what to make of it.

I was putzing around on one of my facebook apps (farm town, btw) and I had received an automated message from a facebook friend who recently passed away. My first thought was "UN-FRIEND ASAP," but I went to look at his page, and found that it was filled entirely with stories his close friends would never forget, condolences to his family, and even a few messages TO him from folks whose beliefs promised that was not weird. It was very nice. A virtual memorial, in a sense, so I kept him as a "friend."

This is not about facebook, though, the real story here goes back to livejournal. Livejournal was my best friend from 2001-2009. It helped me keep in touch with old friends who moved away, it was a place I could vent or gush about whatever was happening in my life, and it opened doors to a few quite intimate virtual friendships that opened my eyes to things, helped me, changed me, etc.

There was one girl in particular, whom I added because her profile really grabbed me - a quirky, outspoken bibliophile from Texas who seemed to have quite the unique outlook on life. Her journal drew me in instantly - she was immensely intelligent far beyond her years, and the comments she left on my own journal entries always made me think.

In 2007, she sort of disappeared off the face of the internet - and I worried. Between her accidental pregnancy and toxic boyfriend and everything else in her life it was not too surprising, though very curious. Her sudden absence became as permeating as her effervescent presence, so I searched, though not obsessively, and soon stopped.

I recently had e-mail correspondence with another individual sincerely wondering what had happened. I said I did not know, but hoped he'd let me know if he learned anything. This afternoon my worst fears were confirmed. The only relief lay in the fact that it was not an overdose or suicide or anything else that could have been prevented, but a serious medical condition.

She has been gone for two-and-a-half years, in which time I have mourned her absence, yet I still am completely blown away by her death. I lit a candle and began writing, because that is what I do. Of course I wanted it to be some sort of tribute or memorial, but I just don't know what to say. I'm sure I will publish this, but it is more for me and not you. I was hoping I might make sense of the whole thing through writing, but I can't. I hoped to bring myself to a profound conclusion, but one can not be drawn. It is what it is - life&death - because of the photo he sent me, I will always remember her smille. And so to S: I will miss you forever. Love, Megan (NOT Meghan).

[respectfully added 1/10/10 courtesy of postsecret]