Two months ago, I moved from Cleveland to Dallas. I laughed the first time I was asked if I might be amenable to moving to Texas five months ago.
But the more I learned about the job opportunity in Dallas, the less insane it sounded.
And a month after that, I was straight out getting rid of most of what I owned, packing the rest, fixing up a much-loved 90-year-old house to sell it, and flying back and forth between Texas and Ohio.
It was the fastest I could move, given everything I had to wrap up in Ohio. It was so exhausting. I was DIY-ing during a heat wave in Cleveland with the HVAC turned off to save money (you do what you can when you’re having to temporarily pay rent/mortgage and utilities on two places).
Then after the movers hauled off everything to Texas, I was living in a nearly empty house I was showing, taking great care to cover my tracks. Friends who came over then were required to take off their shoes and always had to ask me where the toilet paper was (since I hid everything for house showings).
I had my backpack with a few changes of clothes. My laptop that I wrote articles for Poly Land on, until the last few days when I didn’t have Internet service anymore (good thing I write ahead!). A cell phone. And a TV tray that I used as a desk. That was it.
At the very end, I slept with no blankets on a couch in the living room that friends were coming to collect later (since it was much easier to move out the bed while I was still in Ohio and still had help).
Dallas Is Different, But So Am I
When I first arrived at my new home in Dallas, I lay down on my partner and fell asleep on them for over a half an hour.
I don’t do that. I don’t nap on people.
Maybe that should have been a sign.
Because I’ve been here for two months now, and nothing’s going as planned.
Oh, don’t get me wrong — it’s been good. I’ve been enjoying my time here. It’s been great living with my partner again.
Dallas is really interesting. There’s a lot to see and do. It’s the biggest city/set of suburbs I’ve ever lived in. And there are so many plants I have never seen in my life alongside ones that are very familiar to me. The light is a different color down here, I think because we’re another 1000 miles or so closer to the equator. And it’s the least cloudy place I’ve ever lived (since my two previous homes were an hour away from the Atlantic in Maine and a mile from Lake Erie in Ohio).
When I send pictures to friends back in Ohio, they comment on how it looks like a completely different place.
Some days it feels like an alien planet.
But it’s not just Dallas that’s different.
I’m different. And that took me completely by surprise.
Suddenly Introverted and Writing a Murder Mystery
I’ve always been a social butterfly. That person with all the friends. It was that way in Maine growing up, and it was that way in Cleveland. Probably because I moved to Cleveland specifically because I met a really cool friends group (they are all still my friends, and I’m actually married to someone from that friends group at the moment).
So the move to Cleveland was marked by constant social interaction, events, parties,and hangouts. A social explosion.
Dallas couldn’t be any more different. I’ve basically been treating it like a writer’s retreat. My plan had been to hit the ground running, go to every munch and event under the sun, get socially connected locally here.
But when I got here, I found that it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Instead, I’ve been writing, going for walks, and reading. Hanging out with my cats and my partner. I got my Dallas Public Library card and am going to town with it.
I write really well in Dallas. Not just articles for the blog and nonfiction work I routinely do (articles for other outlets, how-to books, etc.) but fiction, too. I’m about halfway through writing a slipstream murder mystery involving an FFF polyamorous triad of detectives with psychic powers.
And I’m really happy.
But the thing is… I am so damn introverted. I can’t remember ever being so introverted. There’s nothing wrong with being introverted (most of my friends and lovers have been introverts), but it’s not me. Or at least it wasn’t before.
Maybe I’m just resting. Recovering from everything that happened earlier in the year. Or maybe this is me now.
To Forcibly Extrovert or Not… That Is the Question
So I’ve been hit with a decision: Do I try to force myself to be more extroverted? Make myself go out and foster new social connections RIGHT FREAKING NOW whether I like it or not? (Since I very well know how to meet new people, having done it many times in the past.)
Or do I just accept that this is me for the time being? Do I remain open-minded to who I can become when I give up my preconceived notions about myself? And do I wait until I naturally decide that I actually want to venture out to do so?