Today marks three years since I moved from Washington to Arizona. It’s weird to think that it’s been that long now, and I want to reflect on that time, since I will be moving back in a month.
9th Grade and COVID
The first time I heard that I was moving was in February 2020, and it wasn’t even from my parents, it was from a friend of theirs, who apparently knew about us moving before I did. I was quite shocked because it was such a weird move at the time, considering we lived in Washington our entire lives up to that point and I didn’t really feel like we really needed to move.
March came around and COVID shut everything down. I wasn’t going to school anymore. I spent my months not doing a lot before the move, but I did want to meet with some friends. Right before I moved, I wanted to have a hang out event so that I could see my friends one more time before I moved. Only two people came. I did get to see more of those friends over the years, but there are still some I’ve never seen in-person since February 2020.
Fast forward to the end of June and we began moving out. We drove to Arizona and arrived at our new house on July 1st, 2020.
It was pretty interesting at first, seeing the new environment, the new house, new location, etc. We had visited back in December 2019, so it wasn’t completely new, but it was really interesting to see all these new things. For the first month in Arizona, not a lot changed in terms of my lifestyle when COVID started in March.
Then I started 10th grade in August. It was starting out online, since COVID was still a big thing at the time, and it was somewhat confusing for me, having to go into Google Classroom meetings, meeting my new teachers, since before, my school in Washington didn’t do video calls, we were sent videos or assignment instructions online and expected to just do them. I actually remember being late to a few classes because our ISP was having major issues keeping the internet stable with everyone joining video calls… or something like that.
The more I got used to my new lifestyle, the more lonely it got for me. I had Discord and was talking to my friends from Washington, but in Arizona, I had no friends, and it didn’t help that being all online made it way harder for me to make friends. I was pretty much alone for most of that year. There was one girl that I talked to in Washington that I became really good friends with at the time, and we began to talk a lot, to the point that I was messaging them almost all the time everyday, but even then, I still didn’t have anyone to talk to in Arizona, and the whole situation started to get to me. I never really was happy after that for the whole year, and my mental health deteriorated.
There’s one moment I remember very well, I don’t remember when exactly this was, but it was within the first couple months of me moving. My parents had bought a house that they wanted to renovate for a nursing home business, and me and my siblings were brought there a lot to “help” and “get out of the house”. One day, we went there, and I went into a random room in the house where no one would come in. I laid down on the old bed, my face planted in a pillow, and I just… cried, and cried for about 10 minutes or so, before someone called my name, and I wiped my face and left. Whenever I think about when I first moved here a lot, I think about that moment a lot, and even now it’s still hard to think about that moment, because from that moment until now, even if my reactions and overall mood about moving has changed, the one thing that hasn’t changed from then until now is the reason I was sobbing in that pillow in the first place:
“I don’t want to be here. I want to get out.”
That Girl I Mentioned Before
We’ll call her Mar. I liked her a lot. Even before I moved, I had a huge crush on her, and I think that was the reason I resorted to talking to her so much when I first moved to Arizona. She made me happy. I was pretty awkward at the time, and resorted to sending a bunch of images to her of memes and other stupid garbage, but I also got to talk to her about myself more and hear more about her as well.
It was really refreshing to have a person like Mar I could talk to and be happy interacting with, because around that time, I felt a drift between me and my old school friends. Our interests were beginning to diverge, I was on calls less and less, and I ended up resorting to just talking to that girl all the time. However, I ended up relying on her too much. In retrospect, I never did realize at the time how much of a burden I was to her, because I spent a bunch of time trauma-dumping and talking about how much I hated living in Arizona. She was really nice and supportive and helped me through some tough times, but this enabled me to trauma-dump more and more, and I began to feel super close to her, and… well, I wanted more. And she didn’t. And it made me really angry and jealous at the time.
I remember constantly checking what Mar was up to on Discord, and getting jealous when she talked to other people. I didn’t say anything about it for a while, but eventually, I did, and we began to fight about it. In the end, I know I was in the wrong now, and what I did was horrible. But that fighting went on for a long time. I’d even say it still goes on now, but I’ll stop here for now.
You may be wondering why I spent my time talking about some girl instead of my time living in Arizona, and that’s mainly because nothing really happened in 10th grade, except for really my bickering and terrible behaviour towards my friend.
10th Grade (cont.)
My friendship with Mar was the bulk of my life in 10th grade, but some other things did happen.
School went back to in-person around October, which was kind of nice. The school itself wasn’t really great though. The building itself made me feel claustrophobic, the teachers were pretty boring (except for my World History teacher, you were cool :D), I had no interest in the classes (except World History kinda), and the people at the school weren’t too great.
I remember that at the school, there was a girl from my Physics class I think that wanted to talk to me for some reason. She would come up to me in the hall and try to talk to me, or make me sit with her at lunch, but I never really wanted to talk to her. If anything, I think I hated her.
She was just extremely extroverted, and I didn’t want to talk to her because I wanted to be left alone, so I tried to keep our conversations and interactions to a minimum, resorting to playing on my Switch at lunch as an excuse to not talk to her, and I’d also intentionally avoid her in the hallway. I actually remember getting into a Discord call with her and trying to leave ASAP without being mean because I just really did not like her at all. But she kind of made me realize something about myself:
I think at the time, I didn’t want to make friends at that school because I was scared of losing more friends. I had begun to stop talking to my friends from Washington, and I didn’t want to go through that again. I think if I met her again now, I would be fine talking to her, but I was so scared of meeting new people and losing them at the time.
Back to talking about school in general though, we went back online for 1 month in December and went back in-person in January. By the end of the school year, I did actually make a couple of friends. One was a girl I had a small crush on and wanted to talk to her because uhhhh I don’t really know, but she was kinda shy like me, so nothing really happened. There was another guy I talked to from my math class, he was pretty tall, cool dude, and I kinda didn’t wanna talk to him either, but I didn’t hate him. I even played Jackbox with him and his friends sometimes for a brief bit there. He was cool, and I actually talked to him once in the past couple of months, and caught up with him really quick.
By the end of the school year, I began to get more accustomed to school and Arizona, so I decided to try to make more friends, so I talked to one person in my English class by complimenting their Demon Slayer shirt. We exchanged Discord IDs and talked a bit, and then school ended and we never talked since then.
Overall, my 10th grade year felt kind of like a blip in my life. It sounds like a lot happened, but in reality, it was such a nothing year, and I was too busy wallowing in sadness to care about anything at the time.
1st Trip to Washington
In June 2021, after school ended, my family and I visited Washington for a few weeks. I ended up meeting with some friends outside of school, and even with Mar, but not my school friends. I think I remember actually not wanting to tell them I visited at all, because I didn’t want to talk to them much. I had a lot of fun on that trip, especially with Mar, which I think made how I felt and treated her even worse later on. But it was fun, I don’t remember much more than that.
And when we all went back home, my parents told me we had to move to another house.
A little more context is needed. We had to move out of our rental because of some lease thing and the owners or something like that, so I had to change schools before moving. Initially, I wanted to be homeschooled because I was devastated by the idea of having to get used to yet another school, but I tried it for a day and it was terrible. So I decided to change schools and go to the school closest to where we would be moving. I had about a week of a late start due to that, but the start was somewhat fine. I had to get used to the new school environment again, new school rules, new things, etc. so it was stressful at first, but it was more enjoyable because I had more classes to look forward too, like Japanese. And overall, the teachers and vibe of the school was way better than the other school I went to.
However, I was still alone for a long while. I did talk to a girl in my English class, but we didn’t really do much and we stopped talking after a while. I want to pause to talk about Mar for a second.
My Mental Health and Mar
By this point, I was starting to decline again in my mental health, and I began taking it out on Mar, who I constantly berated for “not being there for me” and other random garbage like that. It got to a really bad point, I had breakdowns in text during class, took breaks from Discord for attention, I constantly made her try to pay attention to me, and it finally got to the point that she ended up taking a break from me for one month in February. This was pretty devastating because I always relied on her as someone to talk to and someone I could trust, and I ruined that with my horrible selfishness and behaviour. I believed that I had some… sort of right to have her attention all the time or something, I was just horrible, and relied on her so much that it ruined our friendship.
However, that break we took served as a sort of wake-up call for me, and I decided that I needed to make things straight.
11th Grade (cont.)
During that break, I began to hang out more with a small group of friends I met in my English class, sat with them at lunch, and even went to watch Sonic 2 with some of them in theaters when it first came out. I slowly made more friends in other classes too, such as my History class, where I met a small group, and in Japanese, where I met a freshman who just moved in the same year as me, and we both liked similar anime, so we talked often in that class. I didn’t just meet these people, but I grew closer to them at this time. I started to feel better about myself and living in Arizona now that I had more friends.
Sometime around this time, I don’t know if it was now or earlier or before, but SOMETIME, I began talking to some friends online in a Discord server (where I also met realjame (hi J)), so I now had in-person friends and online friends. Also…
I got a job in March as well. Fun fact, my official hire date is my birthday (March 14th!), so that’s funny haha. But I was starting to get my life together now, finally becoming used to my new life in Arizona.
Speaking of my birthday, Mar contacted me on that day to wish me a happy birthday, and we began talking again. We still fought a little, but I began to work harder to fix my behaviour and attitude, and having the support of my new friends and life in Arizona really began to help with that.
And before I knew it, the school year ended.
2nd Trip to Washington
I went on another trip shortly after, this time for not as long, and visited my friends, including my school friends this time. It was kind of weird though, because I wanted to see them, but I just felt horrible during our meetup, it felt like they didn’t really care that I was there. It made me feel bad, and from then I kinda just stopped talking to them. I sometimes talk now, but not much. Besides that though, the trip was fun. And shortly after I got back, I started 12th grade.
This year was probably the best year in high school for me, because I had a much more established friend group, I had people to talk to, my mental health was getting better, and I was fully used to living in Arizona. There still were ups and downs here and there, but very minor, and overall, it was a great year. And before I knew it, graduation came and went, and here I am now.
Present Day, Present Time
I know I kind of rushed to the end there, I’m just tired of typing.
It’s been interesting remembering everything that went down these past few years, and seeing how things have changed for myself. I can’t say that I’m a perfect person now, but I am getting better. Moving here has made me learn a lot of valuable lessons and toughened me a bit, made me get out of my shell more. However, I’m still deciding to move back to Washington. It sucks having to move away from more friends, but I feel that I’m gonna be even more happier there. But I guess we’ll see what happens when I move.