Opinion—A playlist for the story of my journey to the U.P.

Joleigh Martinez, Visual Editor

Hey you, hop onto Spotify or YouTube and listen to Badfish by Sublime while I tell you my story; It took a long few years to end up here in the Upper Peninsula but I made it.

When I was a young wee lass I grew up in the small town of Victor, Idaho and had the world all to myself, living within 10 miles of all my aunts, grandparents, and one and only friend Katy. It felt so perfect. I was a nature kid and slightly introverted, but never shy around family. 

I would escape to the creek surrounded by the greenest grass and the best tree around town just across my house. Hidden behind what felt like a forest, I explored those rocks in the water and loved it with all of my heart.

I went to school and just thought I was so smart. I was put in a reading club, but they misunderstood me. In my tiny body and ginormous brain, I knew deep down inside that I hated reading with every hair on my young lady unibrow, but you know I thought I was great at it. 

Now you can turn on You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones because I was truly a slow reader, and now my favorite tree spot has been replaced by apartments, and the creek is on private property. That year I became a child of two divorces at 7 years young. Thank the Lord for reading club though.

So, I was living the life in Idaho, right? Hitting boys with small rocks because I was afraid of butterflies in my stomach and riding my bike with sandals till the sun went down. I might have been a little reckless but well, you know. At the age of 7 or 8 my family decided to tear me from this freedom and we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, the land of mosquitos and sweat, but also great barbecue (sorry Texas, I love you, but Missouri barbecue hits different) and a whole lotta Jesus. 

I did not enjoy leaving my only friend, my older sister Jasmine or the mountains, but I enjoyed riding in the car thinking about the great food we ate on that long trip (bless McDonalds and its golden arches). We lived in Missouri for 3 years, I believe. It was a hectic three years, trying out different schools and all, but going to church and living in a house full of family made it all worth it.

In Kansas City, my Uncle John brought a colleague to come visit us, and soon my mom and him sparked a flame that led us through a roller-coaster of different emotions. She had been a single mom for a while, and I was used to her being my partner in crime. It was safe knowing I had her and my brothers close, and I hoped that it would stay like this, but it is good to have a change for the better. 

We traveled a lot to visit this soon-to-be step-father of mine so I had to send my son Timothee the turtle into a huge pond. After a lot of trial and error, my step-father has become a big part of my life, and I would not trade any of the arguments between us or the insane amount of traveling for the world, but I cried for hours letting go of my red eared slider. My step-father has given us so many opportunities, such as moving my mom, brother and I to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Living in Milwaukee and trying out many schools, I became tired of moving so much and growing up without a consistent group of friends, only seeing family once in a while. It’s hard for me to grow relationships after losing so many along the way, town after town, school after school, and spending a lot of the summers away from home to see my dad and New Mexico.

Oh, now you can play Send Me on My Way by Rusted Roots, because like everyone else I have gone through my own battles of emotions physically and mentally, from growing up with generations of family, to just my brother and I, and encountering all the bold, fun and diverse people I met along this journey. I have molded into a ball of creativity, strength and perseverance.

I live a stable life now! No worries there. Because after all the moving in Milwaukee, my step-dad got a job offer in the U.P. It was perfect because we finally got to see him in his hometown with his family. After making a few visits to see his mom, our step-grandma, we got to have many years with her and she became one of my biggest supporters while I began attending NMU. We also got to know more about my step-father and create memories that we will keep forever. 

Thank you for reading this, and if you made it all the way through, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Try to see life in a new way, with its many faces, and the diverse walks of life that leave memories on the land we call home.