Facing Jolene.

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man”

– Dolly Parton

If irony every wanted to rub salt in a sore wound it found a way today. I have been sitting on the runway of my return flight from Houston to Atlanta for the past two-hours after a further hour delay before boarding this death tube.. I have terrible anxiety during flights.. This sit is a doozie.

I was able to escape, erm get off, for a few days to Austin, Texas for a best-friend’s rescheduled Bachelorette Weekend. We had initially planned her weekend just a few weeks before, but Austin earned a few inches of ice and burst pipes. So, like any Smart Southern Women, we postponed our weekend until warmer weather.

I flew in Friday to have a much-needed best-friend date on the park overlooking the skyline with cheap Champs and Austin original pizza. Discussing all things life, our college days, boys, and more boys, it was exactly what I needed after a 24/7 all horse encompassing winter. Saturday, Kate and I went hiking to all the top Austin spots and grabbed tacos before getting ready for a sweet afternoon with her other bridesmaids. We went to a quaint socially-distant winery before gathering for authentic Tex-Mex and blackberry margaritas. I’m sure Tequila shots were involved at some point, but I think once you have a bad experience with Tequila shots you can’t go back.  Thank you, Molly, Winter 2017.

Post margaritas, we returned to the girls’ rooms to exchange gifts and one last glass of Champagne. Then, I’m fairly sure I was in bed by midnight. A cute brunch spot was visited this morning, and then I got back to the airport to fly back to Atlanta.

I have always had a strange relationship or stigma towards Texas. I’ve known incredible people to come from Texas; I can appreciate the landscapes. But, and how do I put this nicely, “All my exes live in Texas.” Well, at this point one moved back. But, in my short dating history of three Facebook official boyfriends, and one almost official boyfriend, they have all moved to the second largest state in the United of States, particularly to the city of Austin. This IS funny. I know it’s funny. I can try to explain how they are not acquainted with each other, come from different home-towns, yet they were all pulled there for different career opportunities.

But, this morning, I allowed myself half-a-minute of sadness on it. (I think it’s healthy to allow the feelings to come in, feel them, then evacuate promptly.) To just feel the what could-have-been. Austin was actually beautiful. The trendy restaurants, the cityscape was stunning, and the hikes and bike paths were filled with outdoor minded and active people with dogs and families and Lululemon leggings. We drove through gorgeous neighborhoods, and the interstates seemed just the bit easier and streamlined than my packed perimeter in ATL. Young people were everywhere. The aura was L.A. meets Country-Western. It was kind-of my jam.

But at twenty-two when I was one engagement-ring and a flight away, I refused to move west. I really gave my then boyfriend an ultimatum, under no circumstances would I ever leave the East Coast. (My equestrian discipline is mainly based on the east coast, and the length to competitions in Texas was just to far to make any serious goals to ride at the upper-levels.) But here I am, eliminated from my last 3 of 4 events, still aspiring, while Austin sits beautiful and growing and full of wonderful tacos and blackberry margarites and still taking my boyfriends.

She’s like the Jolene of Cities. I can’t compete. This morning, I sat in it. I sat in those conversations had, what, Seven years ago? Five years ago? Defiant to ever relocate to the city I’d never visited.

Clearly, those relationships were just cheap daily vitamins I bought, swallowed, and then hopefully gained some valuable nugget from. But, sitting in the hotel room this morning I couldn’t help but think what my life would have looked like had I jumped at a chance to pursue love and career in Austin, Texas. Would I be pushing my puppy in a stroller like the other Lululemon ladies and meeting my friends for brunch? And if so, would I be happier and more fulfilled than I am now? Financially wrecked, physically exhausted, and unable to give you the location or month of my last date.

No, I am thriving. I’m pursuing really grand and big goals, taking chances, and I have a collection of wild stories to write in my memoir before I even hit 30. But, for a minute, maybe two, I sat with the what-if’s as I told myself not to fall in love with the city of Austin…

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