Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moving (in more ways than one)

By Chrissy Widmayer

I made the drive out to Fairfax today. I arrived mid-evening just before the sun went down. It's a ten hour drive from Michigan, and I was bedraggled. I somehow missed the exciting moment when I crossed over into Virginia, but nothing will match the feeling of relief I felt the moment I saw the "Welcome to the City of Fairfax" sign. The sun was low in the sky and filtering through the trees, casting it in (no kidding) a halo of light. A mixture of relief and excitement crashed through me, along with a feeling of purpose and sureness. This was the moment I've been hurling towards for the past year.

Now, I lie on an air mattress on the floor of my dark bedroom in my new, mostly empty, townhouse. It's not dark because it's night (though it is) or because I'm getting ready for bed (though I am), but because our power is not on. Due to the flurry of moving, and a number of other circumstances out of our control, we couldn't get our electricity turned on until tomorrow. Luckily, I have a friend who lives next door who let me steal his internet, use his microwave, and hang out in his air conditioning until I decided it was time for bed. We then, rather humorously, inflated my air mattress using his electricity and carried it over to my house. I felt it was important I get to know this little plot of land that will be mine for the next year, even in it's most barren, empty state.

And now, of course, in the darkness and the emptiness, there is more than enough room for thoughts. Thoughts about moving, the strangeness of making a home in a new place. Thoughts of moving forward. And, lying here on my stomach, listening to the crickets out the open window, I realized that I'm ready. I'm ready for this change. I'm ready to be here, take this step, and do this thing right. For the past year, I've been unemployed, unhappy, in a stagnant state. But today, I feel in motion. Physically moving has made me feel like I'm moving intellectually, emotionally, creatively. I feel better than I have in a long time.

For the past few months, I've been full of anxiety, stress, nerves, worry. And yes, all of that is still lingering at the edge of my mind, but, for a while now, I've been waiting for the excitement to set in. Yes, I've said I was excited. I've even felt some excitement for abstract things related to my MFA experience. But today, right now, sitting in the dark and living by the light of my computer and my cell phone, I feel excited. I feel ready. All the negative emotions I've been feeling have completely dissipated. The darkness is gone. Tomorrow I'll wake up to the sun rising outside my window. There will be light (and hopefully electricity) and everything will feel new. And I, for the first time in over a year, will be happy to blink awake with the sun, get up, and start afresh. For the first time, I'm ready. I'm moving. And I can tell: I'm headed somewhere good.


  1. All I could do was smile when you talked about how it felt to drive into your new town. I had that same exact feeling coming into Charlottesville last year. I'm still smiling from this post lol. And I had several air mattresses for awhile and for various uses (couch, dining room table, bed) lol. Have a great year!

  2. Best of luck with your first year!

  3. Welcome to Northern Virginia and GMU!

  4. Best of luck to you! It sounds like you are certainly ready for the challenge and excitement of an MFA program.

  5. I am hugely amused by the image of carrying an air mattress across property lines. Hope your electricity worked out as planned!

    Big cheer for new changes and taking risks! Good luck this year [:

  6. Chrissy! Great post! I'm so happy for you! After sharing our panics and freakouts throughout the applying/deciding process, I'm really glad that you are so happy with your decision and all the exciting things ahead. And I hope that you get electricity soon!

  7. Thanks everybody! I feel a lot more settled right now. We have electricity, and internet, and my bed was delivered yesterday. So, it's feeling like home. As of this morning, all three of my roommates are in the house, so I have people to talk to and lots to get done! And, I'm super excited to meet everyone in my program over the next few days. Orientation is tonight, and then we have the MFA Welcome party tomorrow, and then an after-party. Ha ha. I can't wait!


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