There are some things I expected to happen, but still hurt a bit.
People shunning me because of the choices I’ve made.
“Friends” who don’t want to speak to me or him because they’re afraid we’ll somehow “taint” them and their “perfect little Christian” relationships.

Then there are the wonderful surprises.
Unconditional love from family members, regardless of the circumstances.
Unconditional love and support from friends all over.
The ocassional feelings of peace that wash over me.

Then there are the unexpected painful things.
Crying over what should have been but will never be.
Guilt for taking charge of my own life.
Fear over what will happen.
Denial that this is my life now, and that I chose it.

This whole thing is a mixed bag of feelings. Relief, pain, hurt, shame, disappointment, fear, happiness, peace, doubt, excitement, guilt, surrealness.

But I will go on. And it’ll be okay.

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As always, after an awesome experience, and as life settles back into normalcy, little memories are steadily floating back to me.

** Unbeknownst to Mandy (mandywriter), Ronni’s car is a Hyundai Accent
Mandy (talking about her rental car upgrade): Yeah, this is a lot better than a shitty Hyundai Accent!
Ronni: HEY!

** Mandy’s car screaming in protest because Adam (adamselzer) wouldn’t put his seatbelt on.

** Singing Dora the Explorer songs with Adam, even though I had to pee so badly it was painful.

** Nadia agentobscura (to me, Mandy, Sara…): I’m serious. Go sit in the back. NOW.

** The Highways: Oh, by the way, you merged!
(Chicago’s highways aren’t known for letting you know that a merge is coming up. It just sort of happens. In one case, the sign was there AFTER the merge).

** Mandy’s random driving noises and being put in the “boat” ever so often.

** Ronni: We should go stand under there, where it’s dry.
   Nadia: Oh yeah. You’re so smart.

** Nadia shielding me from ghosts in the Garden of Evil.

** I’m about as skeptical about ghosts as the next guy (*innocent whistle*), but I remember when we first got to Death Alley, and Ken (the other guide) had us all stand on around a sewer. There was supposed to be the spirit (?) of a little boy there, and supposedly moms and very sensitive people could sense him. Before he’d even told that story, I remember my jacket moving, almost as if it were tugged. THEN the guide told the story about the ghost/poltergeist there who tugged on clothing. Freaky much? I was already upset and spooked because of the whole story in the first place, but that just… I don’t know. Of course, Ken could have been making the whole thing up, so yeah.

** Seeing Harpo Studios (it’s supposedly haunted!)

** The REALLY cute guys who walked by the bus before we pulled away for the tour. The girls were all freaking out.

** Ken: Shh, inside voices, girls.

** Going “ooooooo” to the random guy walking by.

** The cute way Nadia scrunches up her nose at you.

** People randomly waving to the bus. That was totally cool.

** Mandy: I think he wants to race. *guns engine*

I PROMISE I’ll post informative conference-related stuff soon.

‘Til next time! :)

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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