This week marks the one-year anniversary of when I packed two duffel bags into the back of my Scion and moved to Houston to start my first job. I can’t believe it’s already been a full year since I came here. In some ways it seems like I just got here yesterday, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve learned so much in such a short time. But, most importantly, I’ve proved to myself that I could do it.
When I first told people I was moving to Houston, I was met with different versions of the same emotion: shocked. Some were excited for me, others skeptical. Most people told me that they never expected me to do “something like that.” Apparently, moving to a different city to start a new life, although a cliché scenario in my book, didn’t seem to be the type of thing that Haley Gatewood would ever do.
It was through these conversations that I discovered that many of my friends and family had grown to see only one part of me – and it was a part I didn’t like. They knew me as a quiet, timid girl who was too afraid to swim too far from shore. That Haley is very real and defined the majority of my life for a long time. But while they grew accustomed to that perception of me, I was developing the side of me that I did like: a brave, ambitious, independent person who didn’t need training wheels anymore and was willing to go wherever God sent her. That was the part of me I had grown to identify with. That was the part of me that accepted the challenge of starting a new life from scratch in a city I had never been to before.
And so, while others doubted my ability to blaze my own trail and expected me to move back home as soon as I could, I set out to prove them wrong – and prove to myself that I really was this person I had kept hidden for so long.
So, it’s been a year. My trail has been blazed. And I feel like I’m finally getting the chance to express the part of me I knew was there all along.
And it’s just the beginning.