There are these moments in your life where you don’t know where the power is coming from, but you find yourself making a choice, a choice you never imagined you would make — even in your bravest daydreams — but somehow, you choose, and everything changes.

Gainesville, Florida is small, but radical — like most college towns — a liberal escape in the part of Florida where people wave Southern accents and racist flags.

I’d been there 6 years, after an entire childhood spent in the same Central Florida house. Never left the country. Never left my comfort zone, if I could help it.

Sure, the winter was impossibly cold. Especially coming from Florida with nothing but a cotton hoodie. And especially with no money for expensive oil heat. And especially because my housemate parked on top of the place we were supposed to refill the oil, then went away for all of December, so heat wasn’t even an option. And especially because when we tried to plug in more than one space heater in the house, we blew a fuse.

So I slept in a sleeping bag all winter, drank a lot of hot tea. And we made a house rule that any time anyone complained,

“It’s so cold in here!”

we all had to get up and dance together. It was almost always me uttering it. Everyone would groan, and then everyone would dance.

Everything fell right into place. It doesn’t always. In 2013, we got priced out of Seattle and moved to the country.

Seattle has changed a lot. Most of the punk houses have been torn down. Tent cities are growing, and so far, the rich aren’t doing near enough to make the city accessible for everyone again.

But as for me, at that time in my life, I was right where I needed to be. I didn’t need to get medicated. I just needed to take a leap, to leave my comfort zone and have an adventure. I came thisclose to accepting a mediocre life. But I made one brave decision, and it changed everything.