A page a day

A professional writer's private thoughts

Archive for June, 2018

Big News, Big Move

I’m sitting here on the floor of the living room in the Goleta condo where I’ve spent the better part of the last 20 years of my life. It’s taken me a while to get here, but now that most of the furniture is gone and I’m officially the co-owner of a house in another state, I guess I’m finally ready to publicly share my big news: as of this coming weekend, Santa Barbara will no longer be my home.

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This place has been both my beloved home and the bane of my existence for many years now. For all my fellow ex-News Pressers, I know you’ll understand what I mean by “I could say it all started with a strange woman named Wendy ..” That fateful summer 11 years ago changed so much for all of us. And I have to note that for all of you whom I’m still in touch with, nothing makes me happier than to see how well you’re all doing in the revised iterations of your lives.

But at the end of the day, the paper’s dramatic and ungraceful downfall has nothing to do with my present life. In fact, it catapulted me out of Santa Barbara County, to two great years in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles working with awesome folks like Don Murphy, Bert Etling, Tony Prado, Stephen Curran and Tonya Strickland. SLO was where I first became good at taking care of myself, so I guess I have crazy Wendy, indirectly, to thank for that.

Because I loved it here so much, I clawed my way back to Santa Barbara, taking two jobs to make ends meet. One thing you may know about me is that I always love my work. No matter what I’m doing, or how frustrated I might be at certain moments, I’m the daughter and granddaughter of some ridiculously hard-working European and Scandinavian immigrants. I’ve lost all of my grandparents now, save one, but their workhorse legacy is present every single day of my life. I never lost that second job, and it’s been one of the highlights of my career to be a contractor for Running USA these last 9 years.

I’m trying to transition here to something less positive, that I don’t really want to talk about, but if you are friends with me on Facebook you have probably already heard this. In mid-July 2015, I was dragged out of my home in the middle of the night by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department because my ex-fiancé falsely claimed I had beat him up (in fact, I was defending myself when he tried to throw me down a flight of stairs). They didn’t care that I had reported domestic violence by him on prior instances. It was a brutal and upsetting experience and shook my faith in the system. More significantly, it shook my faith in myself.

I’ve been a difficult person my entire life, from childhood to today. My parents are gracious about this, and I’m consistently apologetic. If we’re friends, you are patient, and I appreciate you. I probably should have been in therapy many years ago. It took the incident I’ve described above to shake me awake and make me fully commit to taking care of myself. It’s something I have to work on daily. Whether it’s forcing myself to take the time for running, yoga, walking my dogs or reading a book, that balanced downtime might seem frivolous, but it’s usually the most important thing I do every day. Life is not just about work, family, fun or achievement. It’s most importantly about balance in all things. If you are like me (Type A to the hilt), that’s something you need to remind yourself of regularly.

So how does all that context lead to this big news, a sandy living room rug and two dogs who aren’t sure what’s happening next? It’s the outcome of a pretty cool love story, rooted in trust, friendship and hard work. It’s precious to my guy and I, so I’ll keep it private. But I will say that one of the things that has bonded us so closely is that we both knew we each needed a fresh start away from Santa Barbara and some of the things that had happened to us here. To be able to do that together has been a true blessing. Thanks to his service to the U.S. Marines, my flexible career, and the support of my parents, we have closed escrow today on a new home outside of Bend, Ore.

I am mostly spilling my guts here to explain myself, and in doing so express my appreciation for those who have supported us so whole-heartedly. We have some absolutely incredible advocates in Santa Barbara County, and we love you all. Even if we haven’t seen each other in awhile – thank you. Thank you for supporting me and being part of this ridiculous journey called life. If you’re ever in Oregon, please do let me know.

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