The Crawl, a Column by Jordan Lanegan

Written by on September 15, 2023

The Crawl.

Well, dang y’all! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Hello again – I’ve missed you. Happy End of Summer.

I hope all of your summers were filled with as much sweetness as mine was. From cookouts, concerts, days on the water, nights filled with dancing, laughter and good friends, and a whole month jampacked with my crazy family in Texas and Oklahoma, I’ve certainly had my fill and am ready to roll into the slower, cooler, and cozier months.

It’s been nearly a year since I began this column, which is pretty wild to me. So much can change in a year – relationships, jobs, mindsets, direction and purpose. With each year that passes, you subconsciously begin to ask yourself the burning questions simmering below the surface of all of us. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Am I where I want to be, with who I want to be with, doing what I want to be doing?

When I started The Crawl, I was exactly where I wanted to be. I had weeded out people and places and things that weren’t serving me anymore and was open to whatever the Universe had in store for me. I was enamored by Troy and all of its little quirks and I saw potential in the future I was building here.

Three years since moving here, it’s safe to say I’ve been fully immersed into the weird little bubble that is this town. Aside from some trips to the city and a few music festivals, I haven’t really left it much, which can be… overwhelming (and not in a good way.) You start to see less of the magic and more of the chaotic crackhead energy that surrounds us, which is why it’s helpful to get away for more than just a weekend trip every now and then. So, that’s what I did this summer.

Following a frenzy of WTF events, I decided it was time. The walls were closing in around me and I needed out, I needed to breathe. Just something different for a bit. And while Texas and Oklahoma are certainly not a glorious trip out of the country, it is where my family is. Those who know me, know that I don’t get to see them very often. Usually once every two or three years around the holidays, which isn’t ideal, but as a military brat, it is what it is. You get used to it.

This month away made me realize that I don’t want to get used to it anymore. I’m tired of being used to it. The thing is, when you’re so accustomed to being so far from family, you tend to forget that they’re getting older. You forget that your dad is a disabled Army veteran and it takes him a lot longer to get up and out of his chair than it used to. You forget that your mom used to have flowing red hair that’s now turned to grey. You forget that the little brother you helped raise when he was two is now starting the fifth grade and has a whole world of emotions, opinions, and personality bubbling inside of him. You forget the things that really matter and are most important.

During my month away, I was able to repair a very broken relationship with my older brother, who I really haven’t talked to much at all my entire life. The very thing we avoided talking about all these years came to a head once we were face-to-face and it was impossible to avoid any longer. We yelled, we cried, we hugged, made up and were able to see each other for the people we are presently and put that baggage firmly in our past. On the night we hashed it all out, we laid on our backs in the grass and saw a shooting star together. I’d call that a good sign.

With that resolution, came the honor of meeting his daughter for the very first time. She’s now nine and is full of so much sass, intellect and compassion that I can’t believe I’ve missed out on nine years of getting to know my little, wonderful Lu. We pierced our ears together, got matching best friend necklaces and now Facetime almost daily.

I also saw my mom for the first time since our many months of silence and we didn’t come to blows about religion – not even once. I spent a lot of one-on-one time with my sister, which absolutely never happens between her husband and kids. In fact, I’m not sure it’s happened since we were both kids ourselves.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I forgot how important my family is to me and how much I missed them. Amidst the noise of the Troy bartender scene, gossip mill, crackheads, shootings and chaos, I forgot what peace felt like. It was the first time in a long time that I was able to hear that tiny voice inside of me that’s been unintentionally silenced. It gave me the opportunity to re-center and focus on my priorities and what I want going forward.

If I keep going at the rate I’m going, I’ll see my brother and niece maybe two or three more times before they graduate high school and my parents only a handful before they’re retired and nearing their seventies. I’ll miss out on all the moments in between the mundane and miss out on creating core memories that exist outside of holiday get togethers. So, although the time for me to leave this town has not quite come to fruition yet, it is certainly on the horizon. And no, it will not be to Texas or Oklahoma (who really wants to live there?), but it will be close. Think mountains. Lots and lots of mountains.

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