Sometimes I take a step back and look at my life and just think, what the fuck are you doing, Willa? And maybe it’s because I’m up at 2am writing a paper, or maybe it’s because I’ve eaten 7 mini halloween chocolates in a row, or maybe it’s because I actually somehow miss the intense heat, but regardless, I sometimes stop and become extremely aware of where I’m at.
I’ve got a longing in my stomach that sometimes makes its way up into my head, and once it’s there, it won’t leave easily. I’m not the same person I was 6 years ago, let alone 6 minutes ago.
When I was 16, my best friends were two girls named Jenna and Claire. We would drive around Phoenix in a beat up car, blasting music with the windows down. We kept clothes in the trunk so we could change whenever we felt like it. During the day we would go on adventures to grocery stores and bookstores and coffeeshops. At night we’d go swimming under twinkling lights and the moon and talk about getting the fuck out of Phoenix.
When I was 16, I was in love with a boy but I didn’t know it yet. We fought more than I’ve ever fought with anyone but we made each other smile and laugh and feel. If you told me that years later, I’d still be stuck on him, I wouldn’t believe you. Yet here I am, miles away, unable to shake a feeling I can’t describe.
I miss who I was. I miss feeling reckless and messy and untouchable. I miss sitting on mountains late at night and aimlessly wandering around the city and getting kissed in hallways and being unsure of my future. I miss feeling like I could do anything.
I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know that that is okay. I know that while I no longer speak to Jenna or Claire, they’re still a part of who I’ve become and I’m a part of who they are. I know that I am surrounded by three beautiful, strong, independent women who I’m quickly embracing as my home away from home. And I know that they will be there to hug me when I cry and cheer me up when things are bad. I don’t need to rush, I don’t need to keep everything in, and I certainly don’t need to have it all figured out. I love who I used to be and I love that that girl is still a part of me. From her irritable mood swings to her desire to get out of the city she lived in to her unbelievable ability to wear her heart on her sleeve; she’s still a part of me, and she will be for the rest of my life.