2018 Winner

Haley Tidd

Aurora, CO

Relocation: the act of moving to a new place and establishing one’s home or business there. Easier said than done. The feeling of home is something many take for granted and trying to create that feeling in a foreign setting is much more difficult than most would have you believe. Sometimes it’s not a place, but a person, or a song, that brings the feeling of home. The funny thing is that what I considered “home” for my entire childhood, doesn’t feel anything like home anymore. The friends I had, the school I went to, and the place I lived are no longer home and look almost as if they never were. This experience has taught me that it is okay to outgrow people, and it is okay to let go.

In my previous home, we had a wide open backyard with a big elm tree in the middle. For my fourth birthday my dad made and hung, a rope swing on that tree and it had been there every day since. When I was five years old, my dad was killed in a motorcycle accident. Life crashed in on us and everything changed, yet that swing stayed the same. It was always there, even if my dad couldn’t be, and I thought for sure that it would always be there no matter what life had in store. My siblings and I got too old and got too heavy for that old rope to hold up, but it still sat there on the big elm tree. The day that hurt the most was when we had to take it down. Eleven years that swing had hung there, and now it had to come down because we were moving away and the incoming family would have surely gotten rid of it. It was a piece of me, and it was a piece of my dad, and to me, the removal of that swing was a removal of myself and him.

In my childhood home, I had so many birthday parties, sleepovers, and memories; you would think it would be hard to say goodbye to that, and at the time it was. My move was just down the street, or the road more like; Parker road. I was just about to go to high school and where I was there weren’t many opportunities for me to improve. Music is my favorite pastime and the high school that I was going to go to had nothing to offer me. Overall the scholastic situation in that particular site was less than favorable and that’s the reason my family made the decision to move.

We started over. The summer that we moved I went away to camp. It was two weeks in the mountains with no internet connection. When I left I was in one house, and when I came back I was in another. I didn’t get to see my home completely empty, and I didn’t get to walk around and say goodbye, and in many ways, that’s a good thing. But I remember being away at camp, and the day that I knew my mother was moving us out, I thought to myself, “I no longer have a home”, and that was something I had never experienced before. There had always been a physical place to go back to, one I knew well, and now all that I have left of it is the doorknobs from my closet doors, sitting on my desk.

I’ve always known that there’s no time to waste and so I immediately got involved in my new school.

I started playing field hockey, a sport that I had never heard of and became the captain of my little freshman team. Things were looking up in this new place. I joined the freshman girls choir which included around 70 students. I made friends with different interests, backgrounds, and personalities. Because I didn’t know anyone, I could give everyone a chance even if something had happened in their past that would make others turn them away. Things were good and only got better.

My old friends would occasionally visit, but it wasn’t until I was removed from the setting that I realized that they weren’t really friends. I always went back and went to their games and watched their musicals, and not once in three years have they ever been to mine. At points, this was just emotionally detrimental and every time I would go back to visit, people would be furious and yelling or someone was unhappy. I realized that’s the way it had always been, but now I had seen life outside of that tiny town, and I was happier there. It took three years to accept that I could move on.

I had always thought that to remember an experience I had to have something to physically hold onto, and I think that made me a bit of a hoarder. I have to remind myself that I don’t need to keep every card I got on my sixteenth birthday because it’s only a piece of paper; it’s not the things you did, and it’s not the people who were there. I had to remind myself that I was made up of all of my experiences and adventures and that I didn’t need a T-shirt or anything else to prove that it happened. I am the proof.

My home isn’t a house anymore. My home is my best friends. My home is my family. My home is team dinners where we have water fights in the backyard. My home doing face masks at one in the morning. My home is singing in the car with the windows down. My home is sore muscles after field hockey practice. It’s playing guitar in the yard with my favorite people singing along. It’s chasing after my dog at the park. It’s horror movies in the basement. It’s family talent shows. I moved my home from a place to people and memories.

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