I learn by going where I have to go.

Friday, April 27, 2012

We-ell friends, it is Friday night and as I unwind from a day of some much-needed retail therapy (with a Korean face mask and glass of rosé), I thought it no better time than to put out a blog post since I have been such a bad blogger as of late. It feels strange, to not be out and about on a Friday night, but so it goes. 

So why have I been slacking the past month (well, at least in comparison to March, when I was cheery and tackling different parts of the city, and beginning to eat my way around). I'll offer you a myriad of reasons touched on in my last short post - stress, traveling, illness, being stuck in a rut emotionally. Again, no worries, just hear me out.

I think it's a natural progression, gathering from what I've read and what older, much wiser people I've conversed with on the subject. Can we take a minute to thank not only our parents - who, as we reach adulthood and leave behind our Holden Caufield-esque, peevish attitudes, turn out to be much smarter, intuitive, and helpful than we ever could have imagined - but the older folk who tend to crop up around ambitious, intelligent, yet woefully naive and inexperienced people in their 20s. You know, whether it's your favorite professor or some random, gentle old man you meet in the airport, they do this amazing thing where they reassure you that no, really, it's okay if you mess up sometimes, you're supposed to. What, you're 22 and you've failed at something? Perfect! That's exactly what you're supposed to be doing!

This is not to say that I've recently failed - although I have, in a way, because I quit my job. Granted, it was a part-time job I've had less than a month, but I definitely quit. It was definitely a mistake, accepting the offer...long story (relatively) short, going to that job was nearly making me sick with dread, the environment was stressful to say the least, and the job I ended up doing was not the job I applied for. It wasn't even a question of sticking it out and seeing if things would get better - I've worked in a place for over a month where I wanted to not be there every day, and I knew straight away that I did not want to go through that again. 

I might've stuck with it, if I wasn't just getting my feet wet with my first semester of graduate school, and, more importantly, if I wasn't feeling stressed and somewhat unhappy outside of both work and school. But it was just too much to handle right now. I'm so lucky as well, that I can get by without the extra money the job would've provided...but, I am still looking for part-time work. I figured I should quit while I was ahead, and I hate quitting anything, but, I am a quitter. That was a lot of quits, that sentence. But anyway, enough defense of a not-proud moment of my Chicago adventure. Onward.

The real 'fail' that I'm trying to get at, is my state right now. In a nutshell, the charm of moving to the city has worn off. This is not to say that Chicago has lost its charm. Not at all. Except, well, the weather. I do not like the weather. Apparently, summer is great, but it's so great because, in comparison, the rest of the weather of the majority of the year blows. I'll totally fess up to being a wimp! It's not even really cold, but it keeps hovering around the 40s and 50s, and I'm going out everyday in pants, boots, long sleeves, scarves, and coats. COATS. Last night I wore a sweatshirt and longjohns to bed. In Texas it's hitting the 90s! As it should be, at the end of freakin' April! Apologies, for that rant/digression. I'm a Texas girl, I can't help but love the hot.

So, you move to a great big city, the City of Big Shoulders, with fabulous shopping, dining, sports (er...), and entertainment. Deep Dish Pizza! Shopping That Isn't The Killeen Mall! Elevated Transit Systems! The Cubs

Then a month passes. Oh, I've Gained Five Pounds (actually I haven't...I seem to have lost weight, but yeah, that's what the Chest Infection To End All Chest Infections and lots of walking will do to your body). Where Has All My Mad Money Mysteriously Gone? The Red Line Always Smells Like Pee! Also The Curse Is A Real Thing!

I'm exaggerating, of course. But it's been almost two months since I've moved, and you start not only running out of things to do (well, not particularly in Chicago, but kind of). Your zeal fades somewhat, and reality sets in. I'm very far from my family and my friends. The patterns of comfortable life have been totally shaken up, and now you're striking out this new life, completely on your own. As in, on a day to day basis, you're alone - can't forget the awesome support network, but they aren't in everyday, physical life any more. 

So, mostly, I'm lonely. So, stinkin' lonely. I didn't write this for sympathy, and if you feel pity, don't. That just makes it worse. I learned it in my psych and sociology classes, and in life in general, that humans need food, water, the ability to get rid of waste, and a certain mixture of gases to actually survive, but to live, to not go insane, we need social relationships and interactions. Did any of you ever play The Sims? If so, you can picture my "Social" needs bar in the yellow. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I congratulate you on being a far less nerdier person.

I'm totally confident in my loneliness, if that makes any sense. I'm not depressed by any means. But this is total terra incognita for me. London was awesome because, well, it was freakin' London. But, importantly, I knew I was coming back to sweet, sweet Aggieland after. I'm here, in Chicago, as Big Girl Jenny (literal version coming soon, as soon as I pick up exploratory eating again). I don't know anyone. I don't have friends. Ever since I was like, five, I've never had to make friends. Also, and this is the whiniest of whine, but man do I want a boyfriend. Okay, you can pity me for that line. But seriously. A boyfriend would be tops right about now. Sorry for putting that on the Internet, family. 

I almost don't want to complain to anyone, or whine, because I am in a fantastic city, living out one of my dreams, getting to do wonderful things. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But, dammit, it's hard to leave behind Texas. It's hard to put yourself out there. It's really hard, as someone who lives in her friends. It's hard to not completely be myself every day - loud, gregarious, making people laugh, being, me.

But, I know, because it is hard, it's right (that's what she said?). This is a challenge, a big one, and I don't want to fail. The other failures are okay, I think...they're necessary. And I have reached a turning point. There have been tears shed, and pity parties held, and the Time for Whine and Feeling Sorry For Yourself is steadily drawing to a close (though it's always Time for Wine in my book - har har. Oh, god, I'm lame). 

My problems are easy to solve. Lonely? Go make friends! No friends? Didn't you hear me, go make friends! Hungry? Eat a Snickers! (I really am lame. Please still like me?) My problems are temporary, which is hard for someone like me, who is really impatient. The great thing about life is that it isn't perfect. It isn't even about the sad, difficult moments, either. It's about all of it. It's about living at all.

Just in case you've made it this far, I don't have one great, overarching point. In pursuit of my Masters, I've already had enough of summing up really great and valid points with the essays expected of a postgraduate English degree. If I have any goal, then, it is to give my reader something honest. What I wouldn't give for more honesty out there - and I don't mean the opposite of lying, but the revelation of important truths. I feel like I read so many blogs where everything is just cheery and fantastic - that's the nature of the Internet, though, where everyone puts their best face on and doesn't linger in the darker, less shiny moments. Well, some people do, like that one person you went to high school with on Facebook, who desperately offer their cell phone numbers online for a "text cuz im so bored lol", but they're just downers and starved for attention. That's not my purpose here. 

I think I have always been one of those people, who seems like they always have it together, all the time. I kind of have, to be politely honest if not somewhat conceited. It's just true. This is not to discredit happy people either, or happiness in general - it's great, it's what we all want and the majority of people deserve, but the ruts are okay too. And don't get me wrong - I have had, and am having, a somewhat charmed and spectacularly awesome life. When I lay my head to sleep every night, I think about all my temporary emotions, and get to the heart of it - that I am, really, happy. I'm young. I have more confidence than anyone ever should have. I'm so free. I get to be careless, to cry, to laugh, to sleep hard and dream wide. I have the perfect family and friends, for all our imperfections. I can go anywhere in the world I want. I can be anyone. And at the end of each day, I don't need to convince myself that I'm happy, I just need to remember it. 

But, I would like you to join me in this journey, in the peaks and the valleys, and hopefully let fellow humans out there, who may be going through the same thing, know that it's okay to go through rough patches in pursuit of your wild, free dreams that take you far and away from home. I'ts okay to not have friends and quit a job that you hate. Sometimes, it's okay to drink wine and wear a Korean face mask on a Friday night by yourself.

“There is nothing more alone than being in a car at night in the rain. I was in the car. And I was glad of it. Between one point on the map and another point on the map, there was the being alone in the car in the rain. They say you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren't any other people there wouldn't be any you because what you do which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people. That is a very comforting thought when you are in the car in the rain at night alone, for then you aren't you, and not being you or anything, you can really lie back and get some rest. It is a vacation from being you. There is only the flow of the motor under you foot spinning that frail thread of sound out of its metal guy like a spider, that filament, that nexus, which isn't really there, between the you which you have just left in one place and the you which you will be where you get to the other place.” 
-Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

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  1. Your writing is refreshingly honest and entertaining! Glad to see you're posting again, and allowing yourself to be real. That's what I try to do when I blog as well.

    Oh also... I hate to be a major bummer, but this weather is balmy compared to the winters in Northern IL! lol Don't worry though, it will warm up soon! Usually around the second week in May the weather starts getting lovely.

    One more thing; don't give up on the Cubs yet. The season just started! C'mon now! ;)

  2. PS. Don't feel bad about quitting a job that made you completely MISERABLE! Life's too short. :)

  3. Glad to hear from a fellow honest blogger :)

    I'm really looking forward to May then!! I'm sure I couldn't survive going any farther north...not even sure I'll be surviving next winter here!

    And fine, I'll try and hold out faith for the Cubs...I guess. Haha :D

  4. This has been my favorite post yet. I love the honesty! And by the way...you can just cheer for the Rangers even though you live in Chicago :) you know you want to!!


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