Sometimes I think about how far I've come in the five years since I moved to Dallas, and nostalgia has crept up on me over the past few weeks.
I can't deny the fact that my life drastically changed when I moved here. It was a lot like having an original Nintendo, and hitting the reset button: It was like you never even played the last game.
I moved to Dallas from Madisonville, Texas. I didn't grow up there, but circumstances from a previous relationship forced me to move into the mouse-infested home of my mother's childhood in a small, lackluster town, a place whose claim to fame is being the mushroom capital of Texas.
It wasn't all bad. It taught me exactly where I didn't want to be, which was reinforced during the 45-minute commutes to College Station, where I still had an internship.
Just a little over a month after graduating from Texas A&M, I had a job at Texas' Leading Newspaper. My family helped me pack a U-HAUL once more, and off to Dallas I went.
If I'm honest with myself, I'd say that before I started looking for a place to live in this city, Dallas had been little more than large letters on a highway sign pointing north from Houston. Before I decided to move here, I had visited Dallas all of once, and I didn't stay long. In fact, it was for a metal concert in Deep Ellum that I didn't really want to go to in the first place.
The first month was trying. I was alone in a foreign land. I tried to learn the landscape on my own, but it was difficult.
I'd read newspapers, try to find something to do, but it was a lonesome existence. It was made worse by the fact that Dallas was in the middle of a tumultuous political upheaval, with Laura Miller in office and "Strong Mayor" on everyone else's minds.
It was July 29, a full-on month since I'd moved there, and I told myself that if I didn't get out there and do something now, then I was just wasting my time. I'd might as well live in Madisonville.
I decided to go to a bar called Muddy Waters off of Greenville Avenue. There was an ad in the Observer pushing the place as a live blues joint with cheap beer. Good enough for me.
So, I packed up my black leather handbag, threw on a resale-shop T-shirt, and headed down to the bar.
I still remember that night like it was yesterday. In fact, I told the entire story to a group of my drinking buddies last Friday. The details are still fresh. And they should be.
Today is, after all, the fifth anniversary of the night I met the man that would become my husband.
Muddy Waters has burned down. I'll be married to Dave for four years in September. I was laid off from The Dallas Morning News on April 9, 2009. I am a homeowner with two dogs, two cats, and five chickens.
And although I feel like I've changed so much since that night on July 29 in a seedy blues bar, I feel so much more like myself.