My family’s rooted in New York, where my parents met, my grandma lives, and I think at least a third of my first cousin’s reside. That’s a third of a pretty big number. Ours is a New England family, despite my having been raised in a suburb in Illinois. In fact, prior to my 26th birthday I would have been less disoriented blindfolded in Manhattan than in Chicago.
I laughed and immediately realized that I’d made a lot of the idea that I don’t have friends in Vancouver, which is both untrue and a sentiment that I now realize is hard to address flippantly, especially when you have people who actually use your blog to try and get some insight into what the hell your life is like on the other side of the continent.
My friends, though, have proven in the most tangible ways that our relationships really transcend the realities of the world and have their foundation in the purest form of friendship and support. They’ve literally stepped up for me. Understood (without judgement, I might add) that I’d taken risks that weren’t working out. Risks that in some ways affected them, which isn’t always a risk you have every right to take.
That was the thing; even when we were teenagers she was different. She was edgy and confident and averse to anything but her will. She is probably the reason I have ever felt the confidence to just trust my gut in the face of the most insane things it suggested. Over and over and over again I’ve heard people say things like “everyone wishes they were Chalise” when what they meant was “everyone wishes they had an intimate relationship with ignoring their inhibition and plunging into life to see what actually happens”.
To uproot a life on those merits inherently under-weights the role your heartfelt relationships deserve in most of your major decisions. I was an hour from my parents and a walk from my best friends. I was awash in a sea of wonderful people doing incredible things…make no mistake. Some of the smartest people I know were the ones I spent my free time with each weekend in Chicago.
I consider the five days and four nights I spent at South By Southwest Interactive to be the most rewarding and engaging five days I’ve spent anywhere in a long time. Sure, it’s not the same as my annual trip to Upstate New York, (where I get quality time with some thirty cousins and basically get off the grid for a week) because that’s a different kind of payoff.
We laughed about our kooky parents and contemplated the question marks in our futures. She has friends going to SXSW so I had to explain that I was going to the Geek Bonnaroo, not the music part that normal people attend. She gave me a video tour of her crash pad down there, and introduced two of her roommates who were hanging around.