• Runway Girl

    tab When most people think of runways, they think of glitz, glam, and fashion; stick-thin slinky strutting models pounding it out at a showing of Alexander McQueen or otherwise.
    I've never been one of those girls.

    tab At the tender age of 5, I saw my first runway. Flying away from the only home I could remember in a little Texas town, I watched from a window seat, as I flew away from home. The lights grew brighter as we throttled past, and as the wheels were ripped from the ground I felt as if my heart was ripped from my home. The airport became a speck, and the grasses and plains of home vanished. I vanished, in a way, from the home I could remember.
    tab But my life has always been spent taking off from runways. Flying from Texas to Europe to Texas to A state that took me 6 weeks to spell (that state I now know to be 'Massachusetts' not 'Massasachusetts') to anywhere and everywhere in between. I've flown from islands to cities and from cities to quiet towns, and everytime I've never stomped a runway in my life, just been violently ripped from it. I guess most would assume this is a posh way to live, being a jet-setter from young age. Certaintly, it is! When you're in college studying (or spring breaking) or taking grad-school escapades, its a whole bundle of fun. But growing up in brown boxes, scrawling your phone number on your arm, and struggling to remember your new for the 3rd time street address...well its not quite as glamorous.
    tab I first moved to Austria. German-speaking, cold in attitude (towards Americans that didn't bother to learn English and small children at the time), and difficult to navigate, most of my memories are of getting yanked around, watching Muzzy, and fumbling over umlauts like a toddler. Being in the first grade helped me make friends, and before I knew it, I'd made a fine bunch of lunch buddies that I could finally go play with. And just as the year came to an end, and I'd finally settled, I came home to brown boxes again.
    tab Moving back to Texas was a bit easier than I imagined. Cold to warm and friendly while alarming, does hit you less hard then the opposite. People made you pies (where I lived) when you moved in, most neighbors said m'am regardless of what you looked like, and you didn't cuss. Ever. I stayed there for another four years. Four very blissful, very happy years. I rediscovered friends I had lost in the move to Austria, loved God, and loved going to church. I was all set up to enter high school, and was even riding in a nearby barn on an amazing pony. Its like those cute 80's sitcoms where everyone has on these big smiles, thumbs up each other, and has on the most neon of neon clothing. But this wasn't the 80s, and my life was never meant to be a sitcom. Another job change, another state, another goodbye.
    tab Massachusetts presented many challenges. The first, most hilariously being the spelling. I could not for the life of me spell 'Massachusetts' for weeks. Heaven forbid I lose track of the 's' and fumble an 'a' or 't' haphazardly. Secondly, there were no pies, no friendly smiles. In fact the first thing I heard from a 'proper Bostonian' was a loud "******** off" and enigmatic flounce of the middle finger. Welcome to the north, domain of the massholes. Don't get me wrong, I love Boston now, but a lot has changed. I don't love God, I hate church, and I swear more than a sailor after several 'dark and stormies'.
    tab Of course had the moving stopped there, it might have been less of a horror show. But low and behold, after I had figured out Boston, grown a love of the Red Sox, and managed to figure out what made something 'wikkid pissah', off we schlepped to New Jersey. To be fair, the only things I'd heard about Jersey had come from friends who had sent me pictures of 'guidos' and other such-ill tanned monstrosities. I was shocked. Right before college, right as I was being shoved into a new environment, my one stability goes poof. Badabing badabang. As I flew home from college and touched down in Trenton, I was confronted by new accents, worse driving, and so many fake boobs you'd think Silicon Valley had relocated. But with time, I adjusted. I began to indulge in The Jersey Shore and The Real House Wives of New Jersey, copying accents and trying to master the best possible"squawk" I could muster. "Go out and have fun with your friends" I was told by parents. But where? I had been moved into the most remote, youthless town I had ever seen. Even after driving to a mall in desperation, I found myself confronted with no one my age that wasn't 'juiced' or adorned in a horrible spray-tan. So as any mortified twenty-something would do, I searched for a bar. This too proved fruitless, the nearest bar was nearly an hour away, and the only not horrifying options were in NYC...a place my curfew forbode (yes, twenty something, and I still have a curfew). So with nothing else left to do, I applied for summer study abroad and a student visa.
    tab So as I sit on this runway, for possibly the tenth time, I can't help but wonder that this flight will bring. My ticket, stamped with 'Hamburg' may promise hope, it may promise horror, but either way, the constant moving habit of my family, however traumatic did leave me with one thing. While my peers around me titter about missing home or childhood friends they "cannot live without", I feel cheated and yet empowered. I have no childhood friends. None. My street is full of empty-nesters, their fledglings long gone and unknown to me. I was being shipped from state to state long before email, facebook, anything could solidify my ties to my friends. The yearbooks of elementary and high school long gone, nothing ties me to anyone else. I am alone, but independent. I am an individual, and yet lonely. Of my friends that remain from these moves, few visit, fewer write. So leaving on a whim to study...it's just not scary. Some of the other students have never flown before, others have never left their state. As I sit amid them listening to fears of taking off, watching as the lines begin to blur again with the acceleration of the plane, I can't help but smile. I may not be a model, or a fashionista, but I've pounded this runway before.