Elastic Roots

My life is constant change. It always has been. Right after escaping from a tumultuous fifth grade year, I moved into a new school system. With my active imagination and unstoppable curiosity, no teacher in the public school could focus my eyes on my classwork. Fearing that I had some sort of ADD and not wanting to put me on medication, my parents moved me into a small, private academy for students with language and learning disabilities. This didn’t exactly apply to me, a sixth-grader with college level reading skills, but the ten student class limit attracted my mother to the school. It started well. I felt comfortable and smart there, but after two years of teenagers sounding out two-syllable words in reading class, I begged my parents to put me into a different school. They obliged. Through high school, I didn’t stay at any one school more than two years. Each time I left, I broke all ties. I didn’t want to miss anyone out of fear that they wouldn’t miss me back, so I didn’t even tell anyone I was leaving.

I ran into a former classmate at Subway back in 2004, a year after leaving the school we attended together. While piling the cheese onto my meatball sub, she asked why she hadn’t seen me around at school. My plan worked. She had no idea I had even left. I gave her a very basic summary of where my life was at that moment, paid for my sandwich, and said goodbye. There was no pain in this exchange. Neither of us wished for the good old days. She was just a girl making a sandwich and a poor attempt at small talk.

I didn’t realize that I’d set a pattern in place until college. A few months would pass and I’d realize I was seeing an entirely new group of friends. I tried to chalk it up to experimentation and trying to find my real social identity, but that wasn’t it; I was so afraid of losing the friendships I built that I pushed my friends away the second they got too close.

My best friends in my junior year of college put me face-to-face with this destructive pattern I created. Feeling safe in my friendship with them, I opened up my inner circle: my holy of holies. In this sacred place, we forged a firm bond, a bond tested by arguments, time, and now – distance. I have roots in these friends, no matter where life takes them. These roots can stretch across oceans and decades.

I want my life to continue like that. I want to grow roots in every relationship I have. I want to hold on to every person that means something to me. They may not always be close, but I want to keep them with me. There is a beauty in missing someone to the point that the ache forms boulders in your stomach. There is a joy in the anticipation of seeing a long-missed friend again. No matter how deep the pain gets, the love is always there to greet you with a slow-motion run into open arms – every time.

    • Teresa
    • February 10th, 2010

    Wow….Dylan….this is such a beautiful, raw and vulnerable piece. Thank you so much for opening yourself up to write this. And for opening your heart up to the potential pain and love that is available when you are vulnerable and willing in relationships.

    • rex
    • February 10th, 2010

    hhmmm, is that moonlight in your eyes?

    • Nope – just the reflection of light coming from the edge of that trash can in the corner. I’m actually not sure what you mean.

    • Krista
    • February 10th, 2010

    Ow. And thank you.

    • rex
    • February 11th, 2010

    when we open our eyes in the night around us, braving a look at what our truth is, its moonlight that lights the way…love your words and your willingness to look into the night

  1. new blog friend, i am completely in love with this entry. so perfect and such a great example for others who want to open up but can’t find the right words. thanks ❤

    • Fabio
    • February 12th, 2010

    Thank you Dylan. This post, the last three paragraph in particular, found its way into my heart, slowly landing deeper and deeper with each re reading.
    Thanks for the honesty, the leap, and the opening.

  2. I love you…
    YES! Slow-motion run! Actually, I think we were going for Baywatch, but I don’t have breasts. You should write a blog about Baywatch – except don’t.

    • Deb
    • March 15th, 2010

    This entry touches me. Your ability to self reflect and share your inner world in such a vulnerable way is present. It invites me in, allows me to feel you and challenges me to feel what is true for me.

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