Dating, Girls, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

Little Bird

A little bird gave me a wonderful piece of advice and wisdom recently that I’m trying to hold onto dearly.

But first, I’ll explain how my date went with Navy Man on Monday. He was a gentleman, for sure. He held the door open for me. He paid for me the entire evening. He made good conversation with rare moments of silence that didn’t really feel awkward. However, I did find out within the first 30 minutes that he turned 21 in March. Instantly I knew, this guy is too young for me. I was confused because he explained that he went to culinary school for 2 years, and then has been in the navy for the past 2 years, which is why I thought he was more in the age 24 range. Did this guy graduate from high school at 16?
I accepted his age in that moment and decided to just enjoy myself. After dinner, we went to another bar, tried a few weird cocktails called a Jimlet, which tasted exactly like a gimlet, and listened to a Beatles cover band.

On Wednesday, he texted me saying that he had an amazing time and hopes that this wasn’t a one time thing. He said he really enjoyed my company and wants to get to know me more. Now, I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. After a couple of days, I decided I really wasn’t interested in this guy anymore for various reasons, and not just the slight age difference. I politely said that I really appreciate what he has said and I had a great time and would like to hang out again sometime on more casual friendly terms. I told him I’m not looking for anything serious or long term, which in hindsight, is true. Suddenly, he pulled a 360 on me. His response was, “I could be on the other side of the planet in 6-7 months. I don’t know where my job is going to take me. I’m just looking to have a little fun while I’m still here…”

Oh, so now I’m an escort. Or a Geisha. I’ve been downgraded. Immediately, I was even more turned off by this guy than before. I know he responded that way because I kinda sorta rejected him. He said all of these nice things and now he’s considered me his party animal. Oh, okay.

To be fair, I did tell him I wanted things to be casual and light hearted. But he could have responded in a better way.

After that comment, I don’t have an intention of seeing him again. Which brings me back to what my little bird friend said to me a few weeks ago. To sum it up, they explained that dates are kind of pointless. People treat them more like a checklist, which is not the way to find your potential partner. You should find your future someone when you’re comfortable with them and nothing is forced. If you have to force conversation simply because you “matched” on Bumble, then it’s kind of doomed from the start. Everything should come naturally.

Which brings me to my question: if what I said to Navy Man is actually true, that I’m not looking for anything long term right now, then what the hell am I dating for? To pass the time? To seek out attention when I’m feeling the most vulnerable? Writing that out makes me feel like I’m wasting my time and I’m already annoyed with myself.

So, how can you just accept yourself for who you are, without the needs of someone else? I’m getting there, slowly but surely. Especially a few weeks ago when that guy made the cute comment and I shut it down immediately. I’m tired. I’m tired of the same conversation over and over again. I’m tired of the same compliments. I’m tired of trying to find a way to let people down gently. It’s all very exhausting.

I need to stop dating out of boredom. I need to learn how to take myself out on dates, and be content with myself. I’ve been told you can’t fully love someone unless you love yourself first. But that’s easier said than done.

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Awkward, Dating, Girls, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

It’s Just a Date

You know it’s been a while when you log into your WordPress account and find 17 spam comments you need to delete.

How has everyone been? Good? Cool? Solid? Wonderful.

I would devote some time to reading blog posts by all of you glorious bloggers but I don’t simply have the time. I’ll try, though.

But I have finally plopped a seat in my kitchen with a hot cup of coffee watching the sun shine through my window on this day. It’s supposed to be 89 degrees today. The heat has already kicked in rather rapidly here in Charleston, and I’ve been melting. Only slightly.

I’m about to share with you some funny stories over the last few weeks, some updates, and maybe ask for a little advice too, if you’d like to give it.

The job in the gallery is going pretty well. Of course, there are some aspects to the job that aren’t wonderful, but the shoe always drops, doesn’t it? I’m not going to be a millionaire anytime soon but at least I’m gaining valuable experience.

I’ve been “dating” or rather, “seeing” one guy in particular. My Girl Gang group chat with Meghan and Myka like to call him Southern Man. He’s born and raised in Charleston. He’s a little rough around the edges, but he’s sweet. In a weird yet comforting way, he reminds me of my dad. He’s fun to be around and he brings me nachos late at night after he works. We’ve been seeing each other for over a month and I’m having serious doubts about the whole thing. I told him after our first date that I wanted this to be casual for now. I just wanted to keep spending time with him before committing to anything serious. However, after our first date, he made it very known how MUCH he likes me. I feel like I should have been happy with this but I wasn’t. It actually kind of freaked me out. But I wanted to give him a fair chance and still hang out with him in hopes that it would change. It did change slightly. I actually do really like him, but there’s one major con standing in the way. He absolutely despises kids.

He has no intention of having children at all. The first few times he mentioned it, I let it slide. But he’s brought it up on numerous occasions to the point where it concerns me and I’m realizing he’s not joking. I completely respect his decision to not want kids, but I made it known that I actually do want kids in the future. This doesn’t seem to phase him, though. So I keep thinking, where does it go from here? Here’s my answer: it doesn’t. I am fully aware that us hanging out, casually, is as far as it’s going to go. Unfortunately, I know he doesn’t see it that way.

Southern Man left for a cruise on Saturday and will be back on Thursday. I plan to have a chat with him when he’s back to clear the air and see what he’s thinking. I hate having those conversations, especially when it’s about something that is so far off in my future that the whole conversation sounds a little insane. But the way I see it is if I’m going to get serious with someone, we need to want the same things in life.

On a less serious note, I went out for a ladies night on Saturday. I have found a very colorful and crazy group of girlfriends whom I love. We sat in an Irish bar and listened to Irish folk music and danced. Here is the part where I may need some advice from you fellow bloggers but read the entire situation, and take into consideration what I had just previously shared with you.

I’m sitting at the bar, drinking my Michelob Ultra, and noticed a guy at the bar kept smiling at me. He interacted with me from across the bar a couple of times in a joking manner. After a little while, the bartender handed me a shot of whiskey. I asked her where it came from and she pointed to the man. I started laughing and he yelled, “You’re in an Irish bar and you’re drinking a Michelob. Have a whiskey!”

I hate whiskey. But I took the shot anyway and made sure to give him the most disgusted face after, in which he laughed. So then I followed along and asked the bartender to pour two rumplemintz shots. I had never heard of rumplemintz until I moved to Charleston. It tastes like toothpaste but at least you’re minty fresh after. I asked her to hand one over to the guy. As the bartender is pouring them, another guy comes up to me and asks to buy me a drink. I was like a lost doe in the woods. Here I was, buying a man a drink while another man is trying to buy ME a drink. It was a very confusing 10 seconds of my life. I looked down to read this new guy’s t-shirt and it read the name of the same restaurant Southern Man works at and I nearly had a heart attack. Charleston is small, y’all. So I instantly said, “No, I’m good. Thank you.” If I had said yes, I would have had to change my name.

The whiskey guy at the bar took his shot of rumplemintz and yelled, “Thanks for the Colgate!” After a little while, he got up to leave and slipped a piece of paper with his number on it.

Smooth.

What I liked about this guy was how classy and old school he was. He didn’t try to come over and talk to me because he could see I was with my friends. That’s already a good sign in my book. He didn’t ask if he could buy me a drink, he did it anyway. Another good sign. And the fact that he slipped me his number on a piece of paper like it was 1997 made me a happy camper.

I sent him a text, and we’ve been talking on and off since Saturday. Then he wrote to me, “This may seem a little forward, but would you like to have dinner sometime?” <— Another wonderful sign that he doesn’t want to push boundaries. He actually seems like a proper gentleman. And he’s in the Navy, which might explain his good manners. I said yes and now I have a date tonight at a pretty classy, expensive restaurant that apparently people try to get reservations at months ahead of time. This guy means business.

Of course, a part of me feels a little shitty because I’m still technically seeing Southern Man. I keep trying to justify it in my head by saying, “You told him casual, Jess!” or “You’re not doing anything wrong!” I’m monogamous at heart, so going on multiple dates tends to weird me out. I know deep down I’m not actually doing anything wrong or shameful but I can’t shake the feeling either. It’s just a date. It’s just a date. It’s just a date.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Girls, Humor, Thoughts, You're Fine

How to Fend People Off

I had an attractive evening last night, I say with sarcasm. I met up with my new friend, Felicia, who I met on Bumble BFF (yes, that’s a real thing. Bumble isn’t just for dating). Since Felicia and her boyfriend, Larry, are also new to Charleston, they join these MeetUp groups in various locations to meet other new young people. It’s kind of a nice way of making new friends and breaking the ice since you’re both there for the same thing. So, I gathered with a MeetUp group last night and it was all kinds of shenanigans.

I turned into Miss Sassenfrass, probably from the tequila shot I took. THEY MADE ME DO IT. Peer pressure at its finest. So I’m going to give you four solid examples on how to shoo unwanted people away, Jess style.

1.) The Cute Comment

A guy I had just met with the MeetUp group decided to flirt with me by asking if anyone has ever said how cute I am.

I wasn’t even sure how to answer such a stupid question. Now, it’s not stupid because I think highly of myself. It’s stupid because I’m a girl, so when I go out with my friends and a man comes up to me, 9 times out of 10, it’s the first thing he says. I’m 5’1”. That’s usually a straight shot towards the cute comment.

So I stared at him and said, “Um…yes. All the fucking time.”

In which he said, “Oh, so you think you’re hot shit?”

WELL THAT TOOK A TURN.

In which I said, “No, not at all. But that comment isn’t exactly bizarre either.” Which I think was my way of hinting that I was not impressed by any means.

2. ) The Tough Guy

Larry was joking around with Felicia and he pushed her. They were both pushing each other in a playful way, so the whole thing really was innocent. All of a sudden, some guy jumped out and shoved Larry up against the wall yelling, “You think you can touch a female like that!?”

^^^ By the way, why did he have to say “female”?

Felicia and I were a bit surprised and we had to grab the guy off of Larry and explain that they were just joking around. However, the tough (and drunk) guy decided to follow us and heckle Larry down the street, accusing him of beating girls. After about 15 seconds of him following us, I whipped around and yelled, “Can you fuck off!?” (I think that was the tequila talking.)

My lady bark was big enough that the tough guy quickly walked away.

I may be small, but don’t underestimate my barking capabilities.

3.) The Guy Who Rubs the Seat Next to Him Like a Creep

In one of the bars we were in, there was a giant swing that can fit about four or five people. A few of our friends decided to sit on the swing and I pushed it out of friendliness. For some reason, the guy sitting on the end kept motioning me to sit next to him like we were in a Marvin Gaye music video. It was weird and uncomfortable. So, I pretended not to hear him, and continued pushing the swing.

Now, this is just a simple Ignore-Him-Until-He-Gives-Up-Because-He-Will-Eventually-Give-Up.

4.) When Everyone Wants Your Pizza

Felicia, Larry and I (Third Wheel for Lyfe) decided to get pizza. Naturally. I got my pizza (I will not tell you how much pizza I got because I’m still thinking about how disgusting of a human I am), and walked all the way home. However, the drunks on King Street tried to take my pizza. Every ten seconds I’d walk by someone yelling, “Can I have some?” So, I put on my good old New England gremlin face that says, “Don’t talk to me” and walked as fast as I could to get away from the leeches. Once I turned a corner onto a quiet street, I happily dug in.

I hope this post serves you well. If you have any suggestions on how to fend people off, please share them in the comments. I will be taking vigorous notes. As vigorous as the man rubbing the seat next to him.

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Family, Girls, Home, Humor, Thoughts

The Love Of My Life

I stole this title from Cheryl Strayed. If you want to read her personal essay, you can find it here: The Love of My Life. We may have the same title, but it’s not the same story.

I didn’t realize before how bland my life really was. It wasn’t always bland, but only for a brief time. I’ve been living with Colleen for two months now, and I feel warm inside. I’m convinced it’s the twintuition. It’s been wild, tame, stressful, and celebratory all at the same time. I’m going to punch myself in the face for saying this, but you know that Taylor Swift song “22”? It’s kind of like that. It’s horrible, yet fun. It’s confusing, yet care-free. Now that I’ve said that, please forget I ever said that.

Any person who steps foot in our apartment is freaked out not by me, and not by Colleen, but by both of us.

Together.

We make bird calls from the next room. I cook her dinner and she tells me she loves me. I try to teach her how to cook dinner and she yells, “WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE DOING THIS?!” We FaceTime even though she’s in the living room and I’m in my bedroom. She pulls a seat next to my bed and we talk for hours. I buy her Wasabi Peas when I think she’s running low and she buys me green apples. In the middle of the night, I hear her crashing around in her room and then she takes off. I don’t know where she’s going but I know she’s fine. I find her in her room with all of the lights on and the TV blasting, and she’s passed out with Ragnar on her chest. We go to yoga together and I admire her headstand. When I clean up, she rearranges everything. We can relate to Anne Perkins and Leslie Knope. We can relate to Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. When we both got the jobs we wanted, we stood in the kitchen and screamed. Some nights, we crawl into bed together with our cats and watch Moulin Rouge and Big Fish. We tell each other about our casual dates. I paint something and she wants to buy it. She rants about her liberal views and I sit and listen because I know she just needs to vent.

We fight too. But it’s not average fights where we say mean things and don’t talk for two days. Our fights are more like heated discussions where she angrily tells me how wonderful I am and that I’m acting stupid, and I tell her she’s reading too much into it and I don’t agree with what she’s saying. Then we make jungle noises and throw the middle finger around and yell, “I HATE YOU BUT I LOVE YOU”, or “I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING BUT YOU’RE BEING WEIRD ABOUT IT.”

Or the heated discussion looks a little like this:

Colleen: GAHHHHHHHH You’re just so wonderful but you’re being dumb about this.

Me: I know I am but you’re being a bitch about it!

Colleen: I KNOW I AM!!!

If we get mad at each other, it’s never for selfish reasons. After a couple of hours, we laugh and grab a bite to eat.

We go to an Irish pub and listen to an Irish folk band. We dance, we sing, we clap, and we don’t care. We do each other’s laundry. We both avoid the dishes. We sometimes feed the cats four times a day without knowing it, those greedy bastards. She buys silly string, and there’s no telling when she’s going to use it. We like tequila. When she’s stressed out, she’ll rearrange her room for the 500th time. We FaceTime her friends back home, and one of them decided to impregnate me with a boy and name him Benjammin’. We talk about books and world history. She tells me she wants to marry a Russian. And then she gags over marriage. We run into Sephora and walk out broke. We wear matching kitty t-shirts in case we lose each other in a crowd. She eats my leftover pizza and takes selfies with it to let me know she’s done the crime. We eat crap, talk about how we need to lose weight, and then eat more crap because we are twenty-six and too young to abandon all good things. We invite everyone we ever knew to our apartment just because we like the company.

So, the point in this post is this. Whether I do meet someone new, get married, and eventually live a life expected, Colleen will always be my soulmate.

Who wants to come over?

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Art, I Wasn't Worried, My Idea Of Being An Adult

I’m Alive and Well

Long time no see!

Cheerio!

Guten Nachmittag!

I have not abandoned this blog, although at times, it felt like I would never write again. It’s been a long few weeks since my move to Charleston. It’s been stressful, hilarious, fun, and also worrisome. I searched high and low for jobs, and then some days, I gave up, and then the next morning I’d get the urge to conquer the world again. But isn’t it funny how you can go from having absolutely no job prospects to having far too many that it stresses you out even more than if you had none?

That’s what happened to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a job in catering for an event company. It was serving, which I’m no stranger to, although I’d never done it through catering which can sometimes be fine dining. I’m not a fan of eating at a fine dining establishment, let alone work for one. The pay was practically nothing but I figured if I got a full time job, I could still work for this company to make extra cash. I had my first shift yesterday and in my personal opinion, it was not worth the time and money. It’s great for younger people, like high school or college kids, but I am neither.

It was a long, 13 hour nonstop day. And it wasn’t just serving food. I got in at 5:15am, loaded the truck, drove to the venue, unloaded the truck, set everything up, served breakfast and lunch, broke everything down, cleaned the entire venue, loaded the truck back up, drove back to the warehouse, unloaded the truck, and then put everything back into its final resting place, or at least until the next event. At the end of the day, I realized I only made about $120, given my hourly wage. After serving in restaurants, I came to the conclusion that I could work half of that shift, and not have to do nearly as much work, and make that much money, which led to my bitterness towards the whole situation. Do I sound bratty? Yeah, probably. But I don’t care. I’m twenty-six years old now. I’ve done the waitressing thing. I know the grueling hours and work it takes to make the money some of them make. If I were eighteen years old complaining about this, I’d smack myself in the face. But I’m older and have more experience than most people want to believe so yeah, I feel entitled enough to know that this job was not worth my time. #Sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I found an ad on Craigslist for a Gallery Associate at a downtown art gallery. The ad gave no name, phone number, or email address so I had no idea which gallery it was. I replied to the ad anyway, not expecting to hear from someone. The following day, I received an email requesting to send my resume and by the next day, I was getting called in for an interview. I danced in my apartment for 20 minutes. I also had another interview at a restaurant that reminded me a lot of the diner in New Hampshire where I served, and that position sounded promising and I was genuinely excited about it.

I just had my interview with the gallery today and I was hired on the spot! She didn’t even ask me any questions about my resume. We just chatted about the position, and then she said, “So…what do you think?”

I said, “This sounds perfect.” She shook my hand and we both squealed. That was that. I’ve been searching for a gallery position for over four years, and I somehow lucked out with the nicest woman on the planet who is willing to show me everything on how to run a gallery. And I mean everything from stretching canvases, framing, and installing to selling the work myself. The starting pay isn’t good but after a couple of weeks, if I show I’m able to learn fast and do well, she will give me a raise plus commission on any works I sell. I don’t care if I get paid in rocks…I made sure to tell her how much this position would mean to me and how thrilled I am to be working with her. She hugged me and I feel like I could die of happiness.

The whole point to this move to Charleston was to find myself in the art field. Charleston has a huge art and medical environment. What would be the point if I turned down the position due to the pay, and ended up in accounting again? When I’ve tried for years to get out of accounting? That would make this move utterly pointless and I wasn’t about to let that happen.

I was supposed to work at an event tomorrow in catering but I called up the company and quit, explaining my situation to them. He didn’t sound pleased but I really don’t care. They are a catering company and they have wide range of employees they can call up. I’m usually very responsible when it comes to this stuff and I wouldn’t normally quit on the spot like I did, but this gallery is my top priority. It has to be. Instead, I’ll be starting my new position tomorrow.

I’m feeling hot hot hot.

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Awkward, Dating, Girls, Humor, Thoughts, You're Fine

Single Schmingle: Conversations with Hey Meghan

I did kind of a sad thing yesterday. I googled “How to Casually Date”. Some of you may be on the same train. If so, welcome aboard the Casually Dating Express. There are no Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, or Cauldron Cakes on this express. Instead, there are the Traumatizing Truffles, Confusing Cookies, and Humiliating Hobbob’s (I don’t know what a Hobbob is. I made it up. Why am I not a famous novelist yet for such brilliant creativity?).

I found a wonderful article on Thought Catalog titled “24 Thoughts Every Chronic Over-Thinker Has While Attempting To ‘Casually Date’”. I found it hilarious and a little heart-warming considering the entire list was filled with my very thoughts. I related way too much to number 5.

I want to be on Tinder, it feels like Tinder is a place I should be, and yet there’s some part of me that is convinced someone I’ll know will be on there and they’ll know I’m actively seeking love and I won’t look cool I’ll look thirsty and they’ll go home and say to their friends, oh I saw them on Tinder guess they’re lonely. Oh my god I can’t do Tinder.

I’ve been single for three months and I’m not sad about it. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m being a basic bitch and sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop Carrie Bradshawing it because I needed to get out of the apartment and explore my new town. And guess what? I can stay in this very seat for as long as I want. I have nowhere to be after this, and it feels nice. I’ve always been extremely monogamous. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you were to ask me what my type of man is, I’d have no answer for you. I have no idea because I’ve never dated around. I’ve also never been the type of person to cut someone out over something small. For instance, if I was to meet someone and they were like, “I hate travelling and I have no interest in it”, that would normally not be a deal breaker for me even though I absolutely love to travel. But maybe it should be. There’s a difference in being picky and being a brat. If I want to travel to a new country every year, I want to date someone who wants to do that too.

So, I found myself googling “How to casually date” because I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to “dating”. I think the fact that I gave my number to three different men in the last week proves that because I wasn’t entirely interested in them in the first place. But I sat in bed and realized that with all three men, I had the exact same conversation over and over again.

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“Where did you grow up? What do you do? How old are you?” Blah, blah, blah. Boring. It’s like a broken record. It’s to the point where I can’t even remember what their answers were because it’s all the same.

As soon as a man starts talking to me, I forget how to human. My intelligence is gone, I have nothing of importance to say, and I get tongue-tied. I’m fully aware that I’m acting like an idiot, but I don’t know how to turn it off.

Let’s turn to my blogger friend Meghan (go follow her blog if you haven’t already). I texted her explaining my awkwardness and since she is newly single (well, kind of), we decided to collaborate a series of blog posts consisting of our weird interactions with the opposite sex. Is this a dating blog? No, not really. If this blog turned into a dating blog, just go ahead and unfollow me now because I have nothing concrete to say and you’ll probably end up an old, battered person with not just cats, but parrots, geese, chickens, and maybe a llama.

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This is what Meghan has to say about her predicament:

Oh hi there is it my turn?! Well for those who know I just got “dumped” Aka the guy I had been casually seeing for the last year said he no longer saw a future with me. OUCHHHH. If you want to punch someone in the heart tell them that. Instant ouch. I was already “single” but now I’m SUPER SINGLE. I don’t really think I’m ready to mingle yet. At this point I’m just waiting for my secret fantasy to come true. What is that you ask?!?!
WELL:
I’m at a concert and some super hot rocker guy is on stage and see’s me in the crowd and instantly falls for me. He hunts me down after their set and the rest is history. He will write cute but slightly emo songs about how much he loves me and will have cute little kids with mohawks and converse.

YEAH…..okay I’m just embarrassing myself right now. That will never happen.

Being in your mid 20’s and dating is weird. I have friends getting married and having kids. I on the other hand can’t even keep a cactus alive and would eat dino nuggets every night for dinner if I had the choice. I guess we are all at different stages of life??

J: I’d eat Dino nuggets all day every day.

M: Dude I just bought more. They are great.

J: So you basically want to marry Tony Hawk?

M: More like Kellin Quinn. Tony Hawk is old. 

img-thing

J: My aunt told me to find someone 10-15 years older than me. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

M: Ewww. I have a five year limit. 

J: Is your dream to go back in time to 2003?

M: Maybe…

J: My dream is to find a man casually wearing a Doug t-shirt. Is that weird?

M: Bwahahahaha. Slightly but very you. 

J: It would match my Reptar t-shirt. I feel like I’m not asking for much.

M: I was just thinking that. I have a Legends of the Hidden Temple t-shirt. 

J: STOP IT. I forgot about that show. I should just start wearing my Reptar shirt when I go out. See how many suitors comment on it.

M: DO IT. DO IT NOW.


So it’s official. Next Single Schmingle post will reveal if Meghan has found her 2003 lover and switched over to different nuggets, and I will attempt to wear my Reptar shirt out to a bar to see if men either think I’m weird as hell or think it’s absolutely amazing. There’s only one way to find out, right?

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Art, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts, You're Fine

My Quarter Life

There has a been a weird vibe in the air. I don’t know if any of you can feel it but I certainly can. It’s been here for a while. It could still be the aftermath of January and all that it has to offer me, which is usually nothing. It could be the fact that I’m still adjusting to my move. But something seems…off. Things seem strange with friends whom I haven’t talked to in a while, but I have been busy over the last month. Life in general feels like it’s tipping over. I no longer have a routine.

My days are now mushing together and I don’t like it. I find myself sinking into my bed, staring at the twinkle lights I hung up around my closet door for what feels like hours. I like to stay busy, but I have very little motivation lately. Every day, I find a new bruise on my arms, legs, or neck from putting together furniture since I arrived in Charleston. My body is sore. My mind is weak. I haven’t even had much inspiration to blog. If I go on WordPress, I glance through the feed for about two seconds before tossing my phone at the end of my bed and crawling under the covers for the rest of the morning.

But I was in my car this morning thinking about my quarter life crisis I had nearly a month ago. I was home in New Hampshire visiting my family before I moved down south. It was 2am, and I was sobbing into a pillow with my mom by my side. I’m not even sure what happened to make me so upset. It wasn’t the thought of moving away from my family. I’ve already done that what feels like a thousand times. I think I’ve said goodbye to them more than I’ve said hello. I was telling her about a potential job in an art gallery in Charleston that I’m both excited and terrified about it. I finally admitted to my mom that I’m scared I will fail. After all those years in college, studying, memorizing, practicing, and drooling over the art I was taught, I’m scared that in the end, I will find out I’m not actually good in the field at all. Then what? Perhaps that’s why I’ve had such trouble finding a job in my field since I graduated. I’ve secretly been sabotaging myself into believing I will fail and I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Then my mom brushed the hair off my face and simply said, “I have never, not even once, been worried about you succeeding. When it comes to art, you know exactly what you’re doing and saying. I have no doubt you will be great.”

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So, I’ve been trying to remember what she said. I have to stop convincing myself that something will go wrong. I have to focus. But, if I wake up every morning like I did this morning, with Mumford’s paws wrapped around my leg and his head digging into my ankle, I will definitely spend an extra fifteen minutes in bed.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Home, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Rant, Sarcasm, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

Miscellaneous

Moving is such a horrible concept. I have moved a lot since 2009. I moved from dorm to dorm on campus, and then apartment to apartment in various states such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and now South Carolina. I have to say, moving to South Carolina has been the worst by far.

Moving is never a smooth transition. Something always goes wrong, but it’s usually fixable and not a giant headache in the end. If you lose a coffee mug or two, you just buy a new one. If your sheets rip during the drive, you just buy some new ones. However, my move to South Carolina has been absolutely terrible that I would rather the earth opened up, swallowed me hole, and spit me back up as a demon torturing myself in order to justify the reality of my situation(s).

At first, everything was hunky-dory. I drove down with Mumford in one piece. The movers arrived to the apartment before I did with my mattress, bed frame, and cabinet, which I was happy about. I unloaded everything from my car rather quickly with the help of Colleen. I was ready to somewhat relax and put my bed back together until I realized some of the pieces to my bed were missing. I texted the mover who apologized and checked his truck and did in fact find the rather small and annoying pieces that were preventing me from sleeping on a firm surface other than a floor. He said he was in Florida already and would be back in my area the following afternoon. But then the following afternoon came and went, and after reaching out, he told me first thing in the morning he would arrive. And then “first thing in the morning” came and went, and yet I was still here, sleeping on my mattress on the floor like a drug addict in an abandoned house in the woods. My room is pretty tiny, so not being able to put my bed together kind of stalls me from putting everything else together. Once the bed is together and placed in the right spot, I can then sort through all of my other things.

I finally texted the mover again, and after several hours, he told me he would be by with my pieces in “about nine days”.

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NINE DAYS.

I can’t put anything anywhere. I have more stuff arriving this week. I live in a pile of clothes on my mattress with a useless bed frame exploding my tiny bedroom. I. Am. Not. A. Happy. Lady. Right. Meow.

I informed him immediately like the princess that I was behaving as that that arrangement did not work for me at all. I need a bed. It’s only been three days and I’m already throwing crap around because I have no placement for them yet. I still have no idea what’s happening with the bed so I’m just going to shove issue #1 aside for now.

Now onto issue #2 – I bought a brand new bookcase that arrived today. We go to unload the heavy pieces from the box only to find that they did not include any of the nails to actually put said pieces together, leaving me once again with another piece of useless furniture I cannot assemble at this point in time.

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It’s official. South Carolina does not want me to put my furniture together. It has not welcomed me with open arms. I just want a bedroom that wouldn’t make Jesse Pinkman cry.

So I’m just going to go in my room now and huddle in the corner to look at what’s left of my belongings in hopes nothing else happens.

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Anecdote, Family, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, You're Fine

Little Black Book – a ghost story

I realized I’ve never really discussed the idea of ghosts on my blog. What has prompted this inspiration is an article I asked Tierney to send to me because it was spooking her out so I thought, “Hey Jess, let’s not sleep tonight.” You can find the article here: Read at your own risk.

So now, I’m a Nervous Nelly and the only thing I can do to calm myself down is doing what I’m doing now: blogging and joking around. *insert nervous laugh*

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I love ghost stories. That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in them, but I’m not entirely skeptical either. I know weird and unexplainable things happen. I’ve known plenty of people who have strange stories to tell, including myself. Like this one time, the stereo in the basement of my house turned on by itself in the middle of the night. The damn thing woke everyone up. We never used that stereo, so there was no set alarm either. And no, I was not the first person to walk into my dark, creepy basement to find the source of the noise. I’m smarter than that. Or that other time in college when I went to go wash my face and brush my teeth before bed and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl walk in and head for the stalls. After I was done brushing my teeth, I realized how silent the bathroom was, and when I went to check the stalls, nobody was in there except for me. I ran out and hid under my blankets.

But the first time I started to kind of sort of believe these things was after my dad passed away. Several strange and possibly coincidental things happened after his death, but that is for you to decide.

My dad died only a few months after my college graduation. As soon as I was in the “real world” he informed me that he wanted to send a hundred dollars every month. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted. He said, “I don’t want you to ever be without.” He sent me $100 for July and August, and then he died in September. A day or two after he passed, I flew down to Texas to help my mom with some things around the house. We had an emotional morning after picking up his belongings at the hospital, and then the funeral home allowing me to view the body for a few seconds before cremating him later that week, so my mother and I decided to take a long nap. I don’t know how long we were both asleep for, but I eventually woke up and felt anxious. I slipped out of bed, tip toed over our German Shepherd, and sat in the kitchen for a few minutes in silence. My dad’s art studio was all the way down the hallway with the door closed and I felt compelled to go inside and look around. It wasn’t just out of curiosity. It was more of a, “I have to do it now!” kind of feeling.

I began going through his things. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for but I kept digging through the drawers and closets, hoping to find something. He had a tiny book collection on his shelf and I noticed there was a little black book tucked away and it looked like a journal. I pulled it out and opened the first page. It was dated two weeks before he died and he wrote one sentence, “I don’t remember much of my life or where it went, so this is going to be tough to write.” That is all.

I fanned through the pages hoping to find more and then a hundred dollar bill fell onto my lap. After I showed my mom, we tore apart the rest of the house, wondering if he hid any other hundred dollar bills but we found nothing. Just the single bill inside his blank journal. Now, some of you might think that it was just a coincidence. However, what if I hadn’t gone through his things and found the little black book? There really wasn’t anything special about it. It was a small, blank book tucked in between about a dozen books by Stephen King and a few of my Sarah Dessen novels I enjoyed when I was younger. The little black book could have easily been thrown away along with some of his other belongings before my mom packed up the house and moved. Finding that hundred dollar bill was like finding a needle in a haystack —> not an original analogy but whatever.

Flash forward a few weeks and my mom was telling me about the weird and unexplainable things.

Grief messes with you. You start noticing things you never noticed before, and then you feel guilty for not noticing them when you should have. My mom walked by the refrigerator and found a note that said, “I love you!” and when she turned it over, it read, “Just because.” She walked outside one day and stumbled across the row of cement blocks. The day my dad passed away, he was moving them around the yard in the heat, which could be an easy explanation for his heart attack. One of the cement blocks had their initials written on it with a heart. These moments are not considered weird, but instead are happy reminders of the person they were before they are gone. I think this happens with every person once they have died. It’s like that song from The Band Perry when they say, “Funny when you’re dead and people start listening.” But one day, my mom woke up from a nap because it felt like someone pushed her. She felt the hand shove her awake and she looked up and found my dad standing there staring at her. She told me this story and a part of me thought, “She’s grieving. This is natural.” And then another part of me was jealous. Other than the mysterious hundred dollar bill, I hadn’t experienced anything except a number of sleepless nights.

My mom told me a few other stories like that one and I just nodded my head silently. For weeks, I wanted something to happen whether it was my grief talking or something real. I know it was just a desperate plea to see him one last time, and I couldn’t understand why my mom could see him and I couldn’t.

And then one fine evening I had a very strange dream. I was standing across the street from my old house in New Hampshire. Everything was set up exactly as I remembered. From across the street, I could see my dad pacing back and forth in the window of my house. I wasn’t trying to get his attention, but I was just watching him. He noticed me from the big window and waved vigorously with a huge smile on his face. And then I woke up.

Weird? Maybe. Coincidence? Possibly. But I’d rather just keep it as a way of him saying, “hello”.

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Poems, Thoughts, Writing

Because

I’m waiting for my time to pass by

Because darkness is slowly eating me.

Store me in your mind for just a moment

Even a second, would be nice.

Like Nanna sings,

“I should eat you up

And spit you right out.”

But I still have faith in you.

You may never think of me

And that’s okay.

I’ll wander the world sleeplessly anyway.

Like Nanna sings,

“I should not care

But I don’t know how.”

I sit on my side of the tub

The warm rain trickling down on me

And I watch the dripping faucet

Waiting for something magnificent

To happen

Because I still have faith in you.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Girls, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts

I Need to Learn How to Say No

Why is it so hard to say no?

I read an advice column a few weeks ago and the reader asked, “How do you say no to people?” The advice columnist put it very simply – just say no. However, for people like myself, it’s a lot easier said than done. And I’m not talking about drastic situations like, your best friend wants your help committing a murder. If my best friend asked me to participate in murder, I would very easily say no and then run away/go to the police.

Here’s my example from this past weekend:

I was out with my mom, aunt, and two older sisters in a small downtown area in New Hampshire. Since it was my last weekend visiting them before I leave for South Carolina, it was kind of a big blow out. My oldest sister just had a baby back in October, so she was shaking her little mom self the whole evening. My second oldest sister was handing me Jello shots while my mom and my aunt took videos of me and my sisters reenacting the rap scene from Teen Witch. We are a close-knit family, as you can tell.

I ran off to the ladies room and on my way back, my arm was tugged ever so lightly by some guy with thick-rimmed glasses. I was wearing my glasses as well (long story short – I put my contact in my eye and it just disappeared without a trace. I looked like Jessica Day all weekend). He pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you seem interesting to talk to.”

Now here’s where I tend to ruin things. In an overly sarcastic tone I asked, “Is it because I’m wearing and you’reeeee wearing glasses?” But then he started laughing and asked for my name. Our conversation was going smooth and I knew it was going to be brief. After all, I was just being polite. And if I really thought about it, this guy had some balls to just pull me aside and strike up a conversation. Bonus points for him. He will go far in life. I told him that I was out with my family because I’m moving to South Carolina. He thought that was cool and congratulated me. And then I started looking at his face and realized he seemed pretty young. Perhaps even younger than myself.

So I did what any obnoxious older woman would normally do in this situation and I asked, “How old are you anyway?”

He was twenty-two.

And then the grandma side of me kicked in and I began reminiscing my college graduation.

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He was still a senior in college. I informed him that I will be twenty-six next month. He didn’t seem to give a shit. I got nervous because of the situation I was in and began spewing out advice like I’m his career counselor and he needed help on his resume. I then quickly ended the conversation and told him I needed to get back to my mother, which we both looked over and I’m fairly certain she was holding a Jello shot. But he still asked for my phone number.

Now, a few key points popped into my head at this point.

1.) I just informed him that I’m moving to South Carolina.

2.) I’m nearly four years older than him. That doesn’t seem like a lot but when I realized that he was a freshman in college while I was graduating and stressing about my student loans, it wigged me out a little.

3.) I don’t even currently live in New Hampshire, which he knew.

4.) Our conversation really wasn’t all that interesting to be honest. It felt like we were speed dating – what was your major? What do you do? Where do you live? Where did you grow up? —> How on earth can you tell if you like someone by asking these basic questions? I want someone to ask me what my favorite episode of Doug is, and if I thought Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears should have worked things out.

So I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth this guy wanted my phone number. For what purpose? I think it was pretty obvious we were never going to see each other again. I’m sure some of you are like, Oh Jess, you’re so naive. You’re right. You’re 100% right.

But I panicked and said, “Sure” and inserted my number into his phone. I had zero intention of speaking to him after our encounter. Some of you might think, Wow you’re an asshole. I wasn’t trying to be. I just don’t know how to say no. He was perfectly nice and polite.

My oldest sister yelled, “Why didn’t you give him a fake number? I did that all the time before I was married.”

“Because I’m not a jerk. How horrible would that be if you got the balls to ask a girl for her phone number only to find out that it’s not her phone number? If I were to do that, what’s the point of giving him a number at all?” I said.

“You could have said you have a boyfriend,” my mom suggested.

“I don’t think that quickly on my feet.”

Flash forward to the following night, and I received a text that my iPhone very cleverly labeled, “Maybe Cory?” It took me a second to realize it was senior-in-college-guy.

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I never answered the text.

It’s so easy saying no to people who are just not very friendly, or if it’s someone asking to do something for you. Whenever a guy asks to buy me a drink, I always say, “No, thank you” unless I know them. I don’t like feeling as though I owe them something in return, if you know what I mean. I know plenty of girls who go out and get free drinks from gentlemen all night, and they have no intention of actually conversing with them after. I’d feel like a dick by doing that. I’m a working woman and I can pay for myself. Also, there’s an unspoken fear among females that we don’t want to get roofied, so shout out to guys, if you’re wondering why some girls turn down your drink offer, just know the roofie thing is like, half the reason. But if someone asks for my phone number, it sounds kind of weird saying, “No, thank you”.

In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Turning them down from the start is the exact same thing as ignoring their messages. Sure, it might hurt their feelings, which I don’t like doing, but if I have no intention of speaking to them anyway, then it’s a web I can’t break free of. Eventually, I just have to grow a pair and say “No” so that I can stop getting messages from people I don’t want to talk to.

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Awkward, Girls, Humor, Memories, Thoughts, You're Fine

A Letter to My Pants

Hey ladies,

I’m sure for the last year, my closet has felt like Buckingham Palace compared to my last one. You have so much space to just hang around while Mumford tortures you from time to time with his claws when he’s feeling feisty. You’re also completely separated from those asshole t-shirts and blouses in the next closet over. You no longer have to mingle with them, thank goodness.

I’m sure the feeling is mutual when I say that we are frenemies. Some of you are just so wonderful, shaping my body ever so nicely while the rest of you, I’m certain, are trying to kill me.

I’ll start off with you lovely sweatpants. There are just so many of you: the Catalina Island Sweatpants, the Old-Navy-Random-Purchase Sweatpants, the Forever-21-And-It-Only-Cost-2-Dollars Leggings, the Yoga-Pants-I-Bought-When-I-Was-A-Size-Zero-And-No-Longer-Fit-In. You are all my buds. We’ve had so many cuddle sessions together, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. I’m sorry to many of you for the accidental coffee spill from time to time when I was startled or got excited about something. We’ve watched the entire series of Mad Men together, and you’re definitely the type I would like to die in a plane crash with, if the situation were to occur. Sorry, jeans. At least I would die comfortable. You’re the first pants I reach to when I get home from work.

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You’re the perfect attire to eat in. You allow me to be a bottomless pit and I love you for it. Cashews? Screw cashews. Give me french fries.

Back to the jeans. You guys are terrible friends. The only thing I like about you is the fact that you make my legs seem long and lean, but it’s a complete lie. In reality, my legs are short and look like stubby fingers. Let’s just push that pro to the side and go over the cons:

  • The daily struggle every morning pulling you over my thighs. It’s like wrestling a bear.
  • Praying they are going to zip up without that awkward opening as if I went to the bathroom and forgot to zip my pants back up.
  • That uncomfortable and painful scar you leave across my stomach every day as if I fell asleep on a butcher knife for 6 hours.

^^^ This is why I prefer sweatpants.

But I have news for some of you. Since I have officially shed 12 pounds from my body, I’m gonna have to go Hunger Games on your asses and remove you from the premises. No, Olive Jeans. You can’t volunteer as tribute. You still fit perfectly fine.

Some of you, on the other hand, now fit me so awkwardly I feel like one of those tweens who’s old enough to shop in the juniors section but risk wearing khaki’s that bubble up at the thighs, but will only fit in the Little Miss section and risk wearing jeans with flower patches on the knees like they’re in third grade. I can’t be having that at the age of 25. Sahry.

I’m not going to name names, but some of you will have to say your goodbyes because you’re being stored in a box somewhere for later use. I’m realistic of the fact that I’m sure I’m going to need you again at some point.

We are also moving to a much warmer place, full of sunshine and horrible humidity. Even the ones who are dear enough to stick around, your services will not be needed nearly as much. I’m going to have to start buying more shorts and dresses. I know, I know. Shorts scare you. They are basically you, but with your limbs cut off. Do you want to be covered in my sweat?

I didn’t think so.

This isn’t to say I don’t love all of you. I know what I said before, jeans. But I didn’t mean it. You are there for me when the seasons change and I feel my inner girl freak out at the sight of a dead leaf. I throw you on when the temperature drops to 60. You cover my legs on the days I don’t feel like shaving. You keep me warm and cozy. You give me more confidence than any other piece of clothing.

I’ll be sure to give you the love and respect on the days you are needed. We will do something fun together. Like jump in a pile of leaves or bond with some boots if it gets really cold. I know you’ll miss the boots too.

So, this isn’t goodbye now, or forever. This is a “I’ll catch you on the flip side.” Until then, you do you. Never lose heart.

Yours truly,

Momsicle

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Art, Books, Movies, Thoughts

1.25.17 Art Project: Understanding Film and Text

I just started reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I’m having a hard time with the first chapter, but I’m enjoying the fact that I’m having a hard time. The first chapter is approximately 90 pages long and in the point of view of Benjy, a mentally challenged thirty-three year old man. Benjy has no sense of time. Every event in his life is blurred together, making the 90 pages seem like utter nonsense. One minute, a character in the book is only seven-years-old, and then the next they are fourteen. His memories shift back and forth constantly, without much warning to the reader. It’s like when you have a dream – you’re at the beach, and you go to step in the ocean only to find yourself in your mother’s kitchen and not understanding how or when you got there. Luckily, after a few dozen pages, I’ve gotten the hang of identifying the shifts in time.

Every once in a while, I have to turn to SparkNotes to understand what it is I’m supposed to be paying attention to. If I didn’t know Benjy or his sense of time, I would have thought this chapter was complete gibberish, especially since the chapter is titled April Seventh, 1928. All of these events seem to take place on this particular date, but they don’t.

The way Faulkner wrote this book reminds me of art in the form of text and film. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a moving text window near the gift shop, and I always find myself sitting on the bench staring at it. The few dozen times I’ve visited the museum, I’ve been irritated by the fact that I can’t just stay where I am and see where the text goes because it never truly ends. The text spits out sentence after sentence, and each one doesn’t seem to relate to another by any means, but it keeps flowing, and I keep reading.

The same can be done in film. When I visited the Tate Modern in London, I sat in the theater and watched a film play on a loop. It was a series of random images. Have you ever seen The Ring? It’s kind of like that but less scary. But there’s still something creepy about it. I remember seeing multi-colored bubbles, a lone chair, mountains, birds, balloons, a close up of an insect. But it had the same effect. I couldn’t stop watching it. I still walked out of the theater thinking, what the hell did I just watch?

Andy Warhol created a 1964 film called Empire. The film is eight hours and five minutes long. It’s a single shot of the Empire State Building from when the sun sets until about 3am. All you see are the changing of lights inside the building, and for a short period of time, complete darkness. Every once in a while, you can see Andy Warhol’s face in the reflection of the glass window in the Time-Life Building as he changes the reel.

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A few years ago, as an art major, you would see me scratching my head when learning this material, trying to find the reason behind all of it. As an artist, I can relate to the idea that things just exist because they exist. But since it’s art, viewers want a reason. I remember in high school for the senior art show, I had to fill out notecards explaining my pieces, and what my purpose and focus was. That was the hardest part. It wasn’t the frustrating moments of not getting the shape done correctly, or trying to mix the right colors, or spending hours after school trying to finish a painting on time. It was the fact that I had to sit down and actually ask myself why I painted this or that.

There’s an episode of Gilmore Girls that gets me laughing every time. Rory is at the Yale Art Show covering for the newspaper and she grabs a cup of water from the bubbler. The show introduces a new character named Lucy who scolds Rory, claiming she’s trying to drink her friend Olivia’s art piece. They call it Olivia’s “self-portrait”. After Rory awkwardly tries to put the water cup down and apologizes, Lucy laughs and says, “I’m kidding! It’s just a water cooler.” I can appreciate a scene like this because even some of the most bizarre art pieces I’ve come across, such as the Tate Modern film or Andy Warhol’s Empire, we can certainly find art and reason behind anything.

While the first chapter in The Sound and the Fury got me a little loopy, confused, dazed, and bewildered, I knew that each piece of information given to me was important to Benjy and the story. Each moment Benjy experienced throughout the day gave him a memory. And he has a lot of them.

Next time I watch a random series of images in a film, or flowing texts in a window, I’ll have to remind myself that they exist for a reason.

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My Idea Of Being An Adult, Out of the Ordinary, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

Welcome to Charleston

I can’t be the only one who has that one month out of the year when a series of unfortunate events takes place. For me, that month is January. It happens nearly every year when it seems my walls come crashing down. My walls are by no means sturdy.

However, I just spent nearly a week in Charleston, South Carolina. Yes, it was fun and relaxing, until I came home to a flat tire in the parking garage of the airport, and then a letter from the unemployment office in California, which I won’t go too far into, that would make anyone’s heart stop. By the time I put my bags down, I was ready to fall into tears and fly back to South Carolina to avoid life in general.

Luckily, I will be going back to South Carolina very, very soon. Colleen and I decided to move there. Since my lease is up at the end of February, it’s very important that we make this happen as soon as possible.

Colleen and I sat in the living room of her friend Zach’s apartment while him and his roommates were off at work. We grabbed a bottle of wine, blank sheets of paper, and jotted down the pros and cons to living in Charleston, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire/Maine.

Let me fast forward to when we were leaving Charleston and Colleen was chatting up the Uber driver. He was confused as to why we could just pick up and move without a care in the world.

“What about your jobs?” he asked.

“Well, we don’t really like our jobs,” Colleen answered. The Uber driver laughed hysterically.

“Nobody likes their job!” he said.

It was at this moment I wanted to jump out of the car. I’ve come to really despise that excuse.

Yes, I realize not everyone likes their job, and that’s unfortunate. But there are people out there who love their job. I don’t see what’s wrong with wanting a job I enjoy. One of Zach’s roommates named Jack went on and on about how much he loves his job, and he gets up much earlier than he needs to because he can’t wait to go to work. That right there is the kind of life I want.

I can’t understand why people just accept the reality that they don’t and probably will never like their job. Then why are you doing it? There are bills to pay, and rent, and the overall need to live. I’ve been living this life since I graduated college almost four years ago. But in my downtime, I’ve been searching for other opportunities. It may seem like I’m flaky and I jump from job to job, but that’s because I’m scared of getting too comfortable in a field I don’t actually have an interest in. Even though I haven’t been successful in finding something I love, I at least have been trying. I haven’t given up. I don’t have a reason to. I’m not married, or even in a relationship, and I have no kids. I have no excuses.

Back to when Colleen and I were sipping wine and going over the ideas of living in three entirely different places, we had to be realistic.

Washington D.C. is too stuffy and expensive. It’s also a place Colleen is used to and she needs a change of pace and environment.

New Hampshire/Maine was ideal in the sense that my family is there, and New England is where our heart is. We love the seasons, the beaches, and the people. But the job market is terrible. All I thought about was how I would end up a waitress again, scrubbing the chocolate pie out of my apron every night and smelling of french fries. New England is the type of place I’d like to end up once I feel a bit more established. I just don’t feel comfortable enough there.

Even though Charleston is far away from our families, we have more connections to the job market than we do anywhere else. We have a better chance of succeeding. It seemed like the obvious choice. Even if I do have to serve food for a little while, at least it’s not in my hometown where I feel like I have just given up. I’ll feel more motivated to make it all work.

So, even though January tends to give me a headache, at least I have something exciting to look forward to.

I’m certainly tired of moving. I’ve lived in three different states in the last three years. I’m exhausted. But until I find my place in the world, I won’t stop. I don’t know if Charleston is my forever home, and I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll fail, or maybe I’ll thrive. But it’s worth a shot.

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Anecdote, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

I’m Fine I’m Fine I’m Fine

The year 2016, for me, started on January 12th. It didn’t start when the ball dropped in New York City, or when everyone cheered with their champagne glasses. At that point in time, I believe I was in a bathroom of a New Year’s Eve party crying while my friend wiped the mascara off my face, telling me everything was going to be okay.

Many people have complained that 2016 was one of the worst years we have seen in a long time. It was definitely one of the more bizarre years considering the amount of celebrity deaths and America’s recent election. But I don’t review my year based on things like pop culture and politics. I think about the past year and wonder if I became a better version of myself, and if I actually have learned something from my accomplishments and failures.

On January 12th of last year, my car was packed, I said goodbye to my neighbors in California, and I set off back to New Hampshire by myself. As soon as I got out of Orange County and realized I was entering the dusty mountains of Arizona, where gas stations appear once every 45 miles, cell service is scarce, and it seemed as though I was the only person left on the planet driving through the desert, I started to worry. I kept repeating, “I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.” A little tune similar to Sylvia Plath’s “I am I am I am.” I ignored my morbid thoughts and put on my brave face. For years, I was meant to believe that I couldn’t handle life in general. I was meant to believe that my sense of direction was terrible, mostly because I’m a girl. I was meant to believe that I couldn’t take care of myself, and I was made to feel stupid at times. I’d say it was natural of me to have those thoughts as I started driving thousands of miles alone to places unfamiliar to me. Every town I stopped in for gas, or grabbed food, or just simply needed to use the bathroom, I held tightly onto the mace in my pocket and kept a straight face.

A friend once asked me what my favorite part of the road trip was, and she expected something grand like the skyline of Chicago or New York City. But my favorite part was in the middle of nowhere in northern Texas seeping into Oklahoma. For what seemed like hundreds of miles are fields of giant white windmills. It doesn’t sound exciting but they are hypnotizing. It was in that moment, I felt safe. I felt in control, comfortable, and for the first time, relaxed. I wanted so badly to stop and sit on the hood of my car and watch them turn, but I decided I needed to keep moving.

2016 was one of my better years. I learned a lot about myself that I can either accept or change – I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m a naturally impulsive person. I don’t like receiving help unless specifically asked. I’m stubborn. I don’t always speak my mind. I overthink and read too much into almost everything. I rarely take my own advice. I’m independent, yet I rely too heavily on other people. I value my friendships more. I’m able to love unconditionally. I’m okay with rejection because that just means another door opens. I’m a little more optimistic.

I’m looking forward to 2017 not just because it’s a new year. Time is merely an illusion. I’m excited and open for whatever may come. There are still many places to see, people to meet, friends to grow closer with, along with many more accomplishments and failures. I’m a little bit happier with myself than I was a year ago. I will have fantastic days, decent days, and terrible days. But I keep reminding myself that it will be like this for the rest of my life. What really matters is how I look at it.

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