17 September 2016

Dear Arlington

Dear Arlington,
We've had this awkward relationship for a while now. The first time I lived here, I was but a child, 18 years old and attempting to take on the world.

Like many, I showed up to UTA with hopes, dreams, and determination to conquer whatever was thrown at me. Round One went to you. Four years after I arrived I ran home, broken, depressed, insecure and unsure of who I was and what I was meant to do.

All of that hard work, all of the focus, attention, and dedication seemed for naught. You even served as the place I experienced my first real heartbreak. And for all of that, I despised you.

Fast forward, slowly 13-1/2 years and I came back. Not quite as hopeful, more than a bit hesitant, but still looking to fulfill a dream. One that I swore would never live again, that was somehow resurrected through unusual circumstances.

UTA, though seen as a place of defeat was now going to come up off of what was mine - I was going to fight! And fight, I did. And cry, I did. And fail, I did. And disappoint myself, I did. And get up again and again, I did. But I wasn't alone, or trust me, I would have stayed down. So I learned and I grew. You may have broken my heart before, Arlington, but I was willing to try again.

A great community came together to PUSH me forward, to believe when I wouldn't, and to support me when I couldn't. And for all of them, old and new, I thank God. I will not forget the kindness shown to me or what I have learned from each of them. I absolutely would not be here, at this moment, were it not for them.

Last December part of the dream came true. I finally obtained what I set foot at UTA to do, in a different (but the perfect) discipline. I found out more about who I am, and what I was always created to do. Also, that incredibly expensive certificate doesn’t define me; I give it value, not the other way around. (Selah, think on that)

I won’t lie, I didn’t like the process of getting here, but here I stand, prepared for the next round. I am in a new place, sent an invitation from someone who was willing to take a chance; my gratitude for her willingness and faith in my ability knows no bounds.

I have new challenges to face and new roles to embrace. Thanks for all the lessons, and for all the incredible friends, but it’s time for this chapter to come to its end. I am not defined by a title, I am not limited by fear, and so it is with great pleasure I say, “Goodbye Arlington, dear.”

Twelve days until the next chapter begins in McKinney!
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