We moved a lot when I was younger, not as much as military families but more than most people I'd met in the towns we moved into. It seemed that I knew when it was coming, could sense it somehow when it was our last year in a place. I learned early how close I could get to people without getting hurt. I learned when to pull back, how to stay detached. As things happened in my life, as I experienced traumas that would change me, I became even better at distancing myself. By the time, I reached college as an undergraduate, I had no idea how to be close to anyone. I made friends in classes; we'd study together and hang out at coffeshops near campus. I shared meals with these friends, laughed with them, helped many through break-ups or tragedies in their lives. One year, I was in 4 weddings because I'd been such a good friend to them. And yet, I considered very few close friends. I felt an obligation to be in the weddings and I genuinely wish them well but I knew I wouldn't make an effort to stay in touch with any of them. The last wedding I was in, the bride whom I'd known for years had a freakout moment right before she walked down the aisle. "What if it all goes wrong?" she asked. I flippantly said, "At least you'll have each other."

After the wedding she sent me a card telling me how fantastic my advice had been and how happy she was. "We don't hear from you, much," she wrote, "how are you?"

I admit I never wrote her back. When I got my Master's she emailed me a Congratulations and asked about my future plans. I wrote back explaining the PhD program I would enter and how I would teach and research, take classes etc.. The last time I heard from her she wrote,
You were right the day of my wedding, it is really nice to have someone there when it falls apart. You're very intuitive. I often felt during our times at South that I didn't make a bigger effort to be part of your life. I regret that and hope that you know how much I care for you. You always had more creativity than you knew what to do with. Though you do not need it, Good Luck.

In that moment, I realized that I'd been running from not just romantic relationships but ALL relationships. My friends never knew things about me like my favorite song or my favorite cartoon show growing up. They never understand why I liked the song or the show. Or why I can't eat lettuce on my sandwiches or burgers, only in salads. They never heard the story about the tapeworm, or how I wouldn't take off my WonderWoman pajamas so my mom had to take me to the grocery store in what appeared like underclothes. They never knew not because they didn't ask me to share but because I never let anyone in. Someone once told me I could tell a million stories and you'd never know anything about me.

It's strange when you realize how much effort goes into friendships.

I suppose I've been learning, slowly how to let people in. Perhaps the adventure can be within. If that's true then my adventure has been opening up in ways that seem natural to most people but feel very foreign to me.