Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts on Leaving

The other day Dawn asked me if I think I'll cry when I leave. Obviously, I can't predict the future, but if the way I'm feeling now is any indication, I don't think there will be any tears shed. I'm so excited to be going somewhere new that I can't think of one reason to be sad. This change has been such a long time coming.

It did get me to thinking that here on the ol' blog I'm always nothing but negative about Florida, and that maybe I should write about all the things I'm going to miss about my home state. So I started compiling a list. I thought of all of three things before not being able to think of anything else. Wonder what those three things are? Dawn, my clothesline, and my compost pile. My best friend of twenty years, the rope tied to the oak trees in my back yard, and my beloved pile of worms and dirt.

What a pathetic list, if you can even call it a list. How sad is it that after ten years in Gainesville and my whole lifetime in Florida, I don't have more people here that I don't want to say goodbye to?

I shouldn't make it sound as if I haven't made any friends in the past 33 years, because that's not the truth. I had some friends growing up, but it's just that, you know, I was raised in a cult and since I'm not in said cult now, I really make it a point to try to avoid the other members. Then there are the gals who've befriended me as an adult. This is where the numbers slim down significantly. Turns out, it's really hard to make friends as an adult once you're married with kids because most of your time and energy is, understandably, directed towards your marriage and kids. It gets even harder when there just aren't a lot of people around like you.

Here I am. Atheist. Animal lover. Part time vegetarian. Part time dirty hippie. Politically, leaning very left of center. Folks, here in Florida I'm a minority. So when I have had opportunity to meet other gals, the friendship will be going along smoothly and..........then it hits a wall and has no where else to go. It's not that the ladies I speak of did or said anything wrong. We're just very different. I still care about them and if they called me and say, needed someone to watch their kid, or dog sit, or run an errand for them, I'd do it in a heartbeat and I know they'd do the same for me. But to be truly close friends, the kind of friendship where the closeness you have is almost better than family, you just have to share some of the same philosophies. You can't let it all hang out with people who aren't on the same page as you. Believe me, I've tried. But I always feel like I'm holding back and can imagine that this feeling is mutual.

So, no.

I won't miss being the only liberal in a room.

I won't miss the feeling of knowing that if I were to speak my opinions in a room full of people, probably no one would agree with me.

I won't miss rednecks calling me a "dyke" because they can't even begin to wrap their small minds around the idea of a straight gal wanting short hair. (If you know me at all, it probably goes without saying that I don't really care about the opinions of people I view as dumber than my dumbest dog. And whether it's true or not isn't the issue. But it's the way comments like this are said, they're meant to be derogatory, and they're meant to intimidate. The commenter wants me to feel that whatever I am, isn't as good as whatever they are. That's what I'm tired of.)

I won't miss being made fun of because I make my own laundry detergent, or buy organic milk, or hang my laundry out to dry, or enjoy playing with my compost.

I won't miss overhearing my son's friends say things like, "My family doesn't really care about the earth. We're a bunch of animal haters." I won't miss statements like that being the norm rather than the exception to the rule.

Basically, I won't miss feeling like an odd ball.

I know when my family pulls into Oregon that it's not going to immediately be all paradise and rainbows and cheery leprechauns waiting to welcome us with open arms and money. (Although, how AWESOME would that be?) We may get called names or be made fun of. I know for a fact we'll meet people who are our polar opposites. I'm sure we'll routinely run into a bunch of animal killing earth haters. But I know we'll also happen upon a whole lot of other people in between too, which is what gets me so excited because I don't get that here. And maybe, with any luck, we'll find a family with a couple of sweet, dirty rugrats who want to play with my sweet, dirty rugrats while we adults sit around drinking wine and talking about the possibility of their being no god. Is that fantasy too far fetched?

So when the time comes to leave, I don't think I'll be crying. I'll give my compost one last stir, pack up my clothesline, kiss my worms good-bye, and hop in the car headed for (hopefully) greener pastures.

22 comments:

Daphne said...

Honey, you are heading to the Promised Land. Maybe not all at once, maybe not on the first (or second, or twentieth) day, because rednecks abound in Oregon, but there are plenty of folks like you out here on the West Coast and we can't wait to have you! (and rest assured, there ARE rednecks in Oregon... but there's an equal or larger number of liberals, who you can find solace with. It's good.)

Tammie said...

daphne: thats so good to hear. i mean, we did our research and we chose the area because we thought it would be a good "fit" for us, but its nice to have it confirmed by someone who knows. :)

Lia said...

That sounds like a pretty sucky way of life. I'm so sorry you've been dealing with that much judgment and that many closed-minded assholes. It would be really hard to be the odd ball all the time.

But I think it's totally possible to be friends, best friends, with your polar opposite. Dani and I are so very different about so many things, yet we are exactly alike about just as many other things. However, we each have plenty of people in our lives that share those habits/ views/ opinions that we don't share with each other. So we don't have to feel like odd balls.

I hope you do find that dirty little wine-drinking, god-questioning family in Oregon!

Tammie said...

lia: yeah, the problem is that i just dont have enough folks (in real life) who i see eye to eye with on things to balance out the more guarded friendships where not everything is discussed.

im definitely excited to expand the circle of friends.

Daphne said...

You are heading to the Motherland of dirty hippies. Portland-area is full of them. Plenty of mild-mannered liberal suburbanites too. I think you'll fit in just fine. There's probably even a community compost heap you can contribute to if you want. :)

hester said...

Gee - Florida sounds pretty scary. But I guess you find conservative, close-minded people everywhere.

Hopefully, Oregon will have bucketloads of friendly, composting, hippie folk who let their kids get grubby having a good time, who will befriend you. If not, come to Brisbane, Australia, because there are heaps of likeminded souls here.

I know it's silly but I can't help picturing you guys arriving in Oregon in a covered wagon, Laura Ingalls Wilder style.

melissa s. said...

DANG! How did you survive so long in such a crappy environment? Your welcoming committee of wine-toting, athiest, animal-loving, compost-worshiping dirty hippies awaits. You sound like a true Oregonian at heart!

Hotch Potchery said...

Man, we drove through Gainesville TWICE last week.

ahh, to live among the liberals...it is just a damn shame they mostly live places where the weather just isn't as warm as I like or there are too many earthquakes.

alisha said...

I'm so happy that you're moving on. I totally know how you feel. You should probably wave a big middle finger too as you pull out of your driveway lol.

hester said...

Gee...I thought I left a post already. Must have dreamed it!

Florida sounds like a good place to leave. It's awful not to have anyone on your wavelength around. I hope you find lots of hippy, liberal, compost stirring new friends in Oregon.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

May bluer skies and greener pastures await you in Oregon. I think you would be surprised to find that many people probably share your sentiments but are too afraid to put it all down on paper. You put it all there -- definitely a trait to be admired.

And just for the record, I think no matter what your political, religious or social beliefs are, it gets harder to find a core of group of friends when you're busy raising kids, working, etc. There's just no time left for socializing.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh Tammie you are so going to love Oregan! If you stay in major city like Portland you will be the majority. Good wineries there too!

You should do tourism for Florida. :-) Seriously I have never cared for it and you certainly convinced me I wasn't wrong.

I was miserable in a certain city I lived in. I was a square peg in a round hole. I had to keep my opinions to myself I felt stifled there. I hated it. I couldn't wait to leave. it was the longest 2yrs of my life. So I get how you are feeling. It is so good to feel comfortable in your space and you will soon.

I wish you such a happy trip and a smooth move. In fact I hope it is very soon. You can always make a new compost,get new worms and there will be tons of rugrats and Portland is known for mom and pop book stores galore. I think you and your family will be very very happy!!!

And if you're a dyke I am too. We both have short hair. I like hearing the beat to my own drum. F#$% 'em.

ooh btw - your boyfriend was funny as hell last night!!

Tammie said...

thanks guys. i really try not to complain about this all anymore because really, im leaving, i should be focusing on the positive. but now that i am leaving, i cant believe i wasted this much time here.

jodi: i think you're right. i know there are other gals like me here, and in the south in general, but ive gotten tired of looking.

also, i do think the kid thing is a huge part of it. its not often that i meet people on my own. if i meet someone, its through my kids. and just because our kids are friends, doesn't necessarily mean that we are going to be.

hester: (i just hadn't approved your comment yet. :) i had to switch to the moderating system when i was getting a lot of spam.)

sometimes that's how i picture it in my head too. or like the Beverly hillbillies.

melissa: i cant wait!!!

alisha: i could see it happening.

hotch: yes the liberals tend to avoid the southern climates.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I can relate. I moved from a couple of places and knew I wouldn't cry but rather give a strong wave as I left. I often felt like the odd one out if I made a statement in a group and was basically told I was an idiot. Yeah, that's a lot of fun...

Enjoy the Northwest and the new beginning!

Penny said...

I'm so with you on so much of what you've said. We have never really had "parent" friends because of some of the same reasons! I will say I'm lucky in that working in social services in the HIV/AIDS community brings out the hippiest of hippies in my community in South Alabama so it has been so refreshing to live in a totally red state and come to work and talk about where to get the best price on organic milk, or my co worker who brings me fresh eggs from her chicken, or to talk about other liberal, hippy crap and have people nodding their heads enthusiastically and not rolling their eyes and calling you a "socialist." Ahh there, one really good thing about my shitty job. I can't wait to hear about all your new adventurs!

Penny said...

I do know how to spell adventure and another thought is if you are looking for some liberal friends maybe once you get settled you can find a social service agency to volunteer ( like you have time!)...I promise the freaks love a cause!

Carla said...

I applaud you you for not conforming to the norm. It takes a strong person to stay true to yourself. I pray it will be much easier for you in Oregon!

Really? A "dike" for having short hair? I know lots of straight women with short hair!

Ducky said...

i have serious issues at times living in the south. luckily nobody at work gives me too many problems...yay for working for a company your brother owns ;)
as far as the short hair dyke thing, that is completely ridiculous. if our hair determined our sexuality, i would possibly be straight...maybe bisexual.
i am happy for you, and the move. onward and upward, hippy!

kraftykash said...

I cant wait for you to start fresh and new, in a place where you hopefully feel more comfortable. You are a great person, with a beautiful personality! Thats what we love about you. Screw all the haters! :)

Dani said...

I can't believe I missed this post!

So glad you are able to make a change that will bring you happiness. And I'm sorry you have felt like such a square peg in a round hole. That is never fun.

I've felt that way most of my life. My adult years for sure. I think I've gotten used to it. I'm a walking contradiction in a way. Certain aspects of my life don't fit into a stereotype. But I've come to terms with that. My Mr. is the same way. We have found friends...and are gaining more.

The married with kid thing does make it hard. No matter what you think or how you live. And Lia summed it up perfectly...we see things differently on some things, but are the same in so many other ways. She also knows what's in my heart and I know what's in hers...it overrides any disagreement about something on the news or if Jesus walked the Earth.

All that to say, I so hope you find folks that are welcoming. Even if they feel different about this issue or that...I hope they welcome you and focus on the common ground.

**hugs** I dare a redneck to call us lesbians.

I wrote this on my phone. I hope there aren't too many grammatical errors.

Not Your Aunt B said...

And if Oregon doesn't work out, move to Austin. I think you just described about 80% of the population. Well, not all of us have short hair. And some of us believe in God, but the rest of it rings true!

victoria said...

I have a ton to say about this! Great post. I'll be back. Hope everything is going ok with your preparations. ;-)