To get to the part in my story when Tucker made his grand entrance, I suppose I should introduce that magical man I mentioned. To get there, I think we should go even further back. All the way back to my roots. Back to a tiny town that celebrates underwear.
I was born and raised in your typical small redneck town in Michigan. Friday nights were spent at the football field cheering on our Red Hawks; The opposing fans are most likely dressed in camo from head to toe as a form of mockery towards us. The fathers drank Busch Light or Natty Daddies, and I think that says it all, because ew! You can’t forget the mothers that gossiped more than their teenage daughters, and I was serious about the underwear thing. The first weekend in October is dedicated solely to Red Flannels.
The entire town could get under your skin. It made me feel trapped at times, but it was home. Some of my most precious memories were made there. By our house, there was a church bus stop that I will forever be grateful for. I met my very best friend in the whole wide world there in the second grade. In middle school, we expanded our twosome to a foursome. By high school, we had a huge circle of friends: boys, girls, dogs, teachers. Come one, Come all. The four of us though, we were inseparable. There were seasons where our foursome was more like two pairs, but there was never a time I didn’t have one of them by my side at every possible moment. Boys came and went, quite a few between the four of us, but my girls were always there.
For you to truly understand who I am as a person, I’m going to have to share a secret or two with you, even some embarrassing ones. I am not a dip your toes in kind of gal, I’m a dive head first into the deep end kind of gal. So, I’ll start with the good stuff. I am a weirdo. Not like, cute, quirky weirdo either. In the seventh grade, I cut eye holes into book covers and wore them on my head. Naturally, I couldn’t finish middle school without leaving my mark, so I stepped my game up for the eighth grade. I wore mismatched neon knee high socks, and rolled my pants up to wear them with pride. Don’t ask me why, I honestly don’t know, it wasn’t my best fashion statement, but it was me. I’ve always been my own person, without question or doubt.
Don’t worry, I ditched the socks and book covers, and upgraded to princess backpacks and Lisa Frank folders for high school. I have struggled with many things over the years, but staying true to myself, and not giving a shit about what other people thought about me, was not one of them. I am an independent, stubborn, hopeless romantic. I am a scorpio, to those of you that dig astrology as much as I do. I also strive to be as selfless and compassionate as I can. I am the world’s worst, or best, depending on which way you look at it, procrastinator. I am a bookworm, and a Disney enthusiast. I am many things, but I am still just me.
Mom, if you’re reading this, you should stop reading. Immediately. Also, I love you. Everyone else, don’t lie to your mother because eventually you will get caught. Trust me, I have a handful of stories to contribute to that topic too.
Please don’t assume that I didn’t enjoy my youth to the fullest, just because I grew up in BFE. Like most teenagers, I enjoyed doing things my mother wouldn’t approve of. Let’s just say my momma was not about to let me go get drunk in a field or skip school or hammock higher than a kite in the woods (which were my favorite things to do). So, I did what every teenage daughter does when her anxiety ridden mother is up her ass: lie.
Fall of 2015, My mother was offered her dream job. My entire family up and moved just about as far south as they could go- to Florida. When I was nineteen, I moved in with one of my girls, and her family, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the life that I had created there.
I was thriving on the freedoms I suddenly had. Real freedom. My mother was 1200 miles away from me. I was living with my best friend, for FREE I should add. I was making good money serving at an Italian sports bar. I had late nights, and maybe a little too much fun. I was also boy crazy at the time. Like, Serena van der Woodsen boy crazy. For lack of a more appropriate explanation, I joined a tonsil hockey league with an extended season. For the first time in my entire life I participated in Halloween, like every woman should: Dressed classy with a hint of slutty, and ALL of the self confidence in the world. It was incredible.
One thing about me that you can’t see on the outside, is that I struggle. I struggle with depression, especially seasonal. By the way, Michigan winters are freaking brutal. My anxiety though, is on a whole other level. I have always been one anxious little shit. My self love meter has never been particularly high either. For now, we’ll just leave it at, I’m far from perfect. Even though I had the freedom that I had always dreamed about, it was like a part of me was missing. I needed a change.
I quit my serving job and sold my old Ford focus, Jean. Gosh, I miss Jean sometimes. She wasn’t anything special, but she got me where I needed to go. As a broke college student, that was all I needed. There were so many fond memories made in her, even a few embarrassing videos of me jammin’. I said I needed a change, right? Well, I started traveling! I spent two weeks in London, Scotland, and Ireland with one of my girls. (But that’s another story for another time, a very interesting one). I thought I felt free when my family moved, but the true feeling of freedom was in those two weeks. I wasn’t tied to anyone or anything. I spent those two weeks indulging in delicious food and many drinks. We sat on Sir Arthur’s Seat. We danced in Irish Pubs and London Clubs. We traveled by every form of transportation possible. We stayed in hostels with strangers. We kissed more boys. We explored everything we could. Those two weeks were magical, something my heart will always hold on to.
When we came home, things just weren’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, I truly felt welcomed and accepted and loved at my friend’s house. But I quit my job and sold my car before the trip. I came back from this astounding adventure, yet I still felt a piece of my heart missing. It was 1200 miles south in the sunshine state, with my family. So, June 1st of 2016, I packed what I could carry basically, which isn’t much, and I moved to Southwest Florida.
To be continued . . .