Move to a new city and leave most everyone you love behind. Physically separate yourself by placing miles and miles between your old home and your new one. Then mentally separate yourself by falling behind on calls, texts, and emails. Let your new feeling of freedom define you and fill up your time. You can feel a little high off of your newfound autonomy if you want. This feeling will fade eventually, so you might as well.
Mention your independence during your sidewalk chats, late night talks, brief exchanges with new faces. Do this as much as you can so that it almost feels tangible. Attempt to wrap yourself in this abstraction you’ve built. It won’t protect you because it’s only a thought, but this won’t stop you from giving it a try.
Write your new address down on a little piece of paper until you have it memorized. Spend all of about one week in your new “home” before changing your city. Wait to see if anyone notices. Wait a little longer and then hear from old friends. They tell you they’re happy for you and that they want to know more. Your digital update worked but it doesn’t fully satisfy. Digital is a weak substitute and the farther you get, the more you are reminded of this.
Forget to follow up on most of your missed messages. Let weeks and months go by before an unexpected text reminds you of all of this. Feel bad at first, but don’t let this guilty feeling take up too much of your time. Everyone will understand, you say.
Your mind feels crowded, packed tightly with layers of thoughts. It’s uncomfortable so you call an old friend. Hear her and then light up to the sound of her voice. She still exists! It was hard to know before but now you have the proof.
Use your hands to tell a story. Press the phone up to your face. Laugh with her, share with her, and then hang up with her. Cry if you need to and then feel your eyes, your skin, your mind open up. Let everything out that needs to leave. You throw out all of the stale so you can splurge for an upgrade later.
Wrap yourself in a thin coat and walk to your new job. Let your hands freeze and your lips burn. You like to let the cold wake you up and remind you of where you are now. You chase the train, you stare into space, you write a note, you rush to meet someone. And the more you move the closer you get to the version of yourself you’ve been chasing, you think. She lives on this coast, in this apartment, with this job, and these shoes. Doesn’t she? She must. She has to. She does.