Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Space In Between

Me at my high school graduation in Miami, FL. Such a kid!

Not all that long ago, I graduated from high school. Seems like a blink of an eye. Everything lay spread out in front of me.... college on the horizon, family at my back... by and large, not a care in the world. Hard to imagine knowing that level of certainty and peace given what I have been through in the intervening years.

On the night this was taken, my girlfriend Kharmen made sure that I wore my hair down. Usually I could be counted on having my hair pulled back tight into a ponytail, as it had been for two years at that point. A few months later, as my first winter at college in Massachusetts began, that hair got snipped very short. 

Aurora at about 9 months, in Logan, UT
Fast forward seven and a half years and half a continent of travel. Aurora was born out in UT at a time in my life when turmoil was my what I ate for breakfast. Even now, I struggle to really comprehend how much damage was done to me during that time. Suffice to say, my divorce was one of the best things that could have come from that time in my life. Aurora, however, was the best thing of all to emerge from that time in UT. I think she and Nancy and I need to take a trip out there, just to roam around, see places, do stuff that will provide new memories... in part so Aurora understands why I made the move out there (and why we moved back)... but also so that she can feel the things that still make me feel so fondly about the West.

In between the first image of me at graduation, and the second image of me with Aurora in my arms, entire worlds came together, shifted, stretched, broke, were remade again... over and over. I drove from FL to Maine, back to FL again (four times in 3 years), out to Washington State by bus and back (3 days, each way!)... finally pulling a car carrier with an ugly Ryder rental truck into Utah in 1995. Less than two years after our arrival in UT, Aurora entered the world.

In that space between leaving my family in FL and starting my family out West, so much changed. I went from being a gregarious, nurturing, extrovert, with charisma and intelligence to becoming someone not quite the opposite. Certainly broken... in hindsight that much is obvious.. but more to the point, I became more timid, less adventurous, more introverted, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I found it hard to be engaged with my peers in grad school. I was unable to find work in Logan UT due to my not being part of the LDS church. Not long after Aurora was born, I approached my professor and let him know I was considering dropping out of the program. He and I had not seen eye to eye for quite a while at that point. I felt like I was wasting my time in the program. Instead, he encouraged me to teach. Quite possibly one of his more insightful moments. Teaching helped bring me back to who I am. It gave me a stage from which to share. I had no idea how bad things would get not long after that.


  1. Oh I need the next chapter... I hope you give us more.

    1. the next chapter...hmmm. I am not really sure how to begin the next chapter. I mean, do folks really want to hear the reasons why and how I left UT? Does it matter? I guess if I write it, it doesn't matter who reads it... but I would like to think that the story is worth writing.

  2. write it for you,amd, if you don't mind, I will tag along.
    I'm southern we are all about stories.