I am writing this blog post in order to out myself.
Last week I was riding in a car with my dear old friend Sean. He's been a good friend to me since I moved to Kansas City four and a half years ago. Sean asked about my near future plans, and I reluctantly told him about getting ready to leave Kansas City. I don't like to talk about these things because it puts the spotlight of the conversation on me, my decisions, and how the other person chooses to react to news that I am leaving their life.
Sean's response to me was, "Ok. How do you want to be celebrated before you go?"
That question made me feel like a naked person in a crowded room.
I have moved many, many times. I am good at it. I love the thrill and challenge of being in a new place.
My tried and true method of leaving one place for another is to either go so fast that I don't have time to say goodbye to many people, or perform the trusty move that I like to call the "slow fade out".
The slow fade out is when I know that a change is coming a long way in advance, and I begin to taper off on all my relationships early. The theory here is that by the time I leave, my friends won't even miss me. My exit was so silky smooth that they've already filled in the gap of me with some other friend, activity, or interest. I really like the slow fade out. No one gets sad. I don't feel guilty for leaving. I don't think of sweet memories of time spent together that are now over and can't be re-lived. I just drive down the highway and cry mute tears that no one will know about and will surely bother none.
I tell you, it's not even a conscious decision, but I've been avoiding people. I've been busy. The weather is too bad to drive to meet you. Sorry, I'm out of town. I have to write a paper. I'm on the phone. Money is kind of tight right now, so no, I'd rather not go out to dinner. I'm too tired. That's the slow fade-out. Friends stop asking, to give me space, and before they know it I'll be gone.
Sean didn't really like this plan. He told me I couldn't do it, actually.
This all comes down to something at the root of me; I hate disappointing others. At all costs I will strive to never knowingly make anyone sad or uncomfortable. I know that my Kansas City community loves me, and I don't want to bother them by leaving. Let's all just pretend I'm staying until I'm gone.
Hopefully there will be a part II to this blog where I can report back that I conquered the slow fade-out and chose to truly feel what I am losing in Kansas City, but I need all of you to first know that this little mischief is what I've been up to thus far. It's not too late to nip it in the bud, though. I'm not leaving for another couple of months.
And right now two of my best friends are having a birthday party, and I need to go love on them. Keep me accountable to being a good friend to you. I'm not gone yet.