Archive for the ‘life is a journey’ Tag

the past thirteen months.   1 comment

right outside your comfort zoneA few weeks ago, my dad asked me, “Do you still have your blog?” I answered with a strong “yes”, but then found myself explaining (aka making excuses) that while I have a blog, it’s not necessarily something that I would classify it as an active blog. And for those of you who have read my blog before, you will certainly agree with me.

Thirteen months ago, my life changed when I met my boyfriend, who I have referred to as Cubby, in my favorite country bar on good ole fashioned Sunday Funday here in Chicago. Thirteen months ago was also about halfway through my two-year graduate school program and near the time that my internship applications were due. In addition, it was also around the time that I made the decision to renew my one-bedroom apartment lease for another year, and rationing that it would be the last time since a year later I was planning to apply for positions across the country following my graduation.

But that was then, and this is now. Now I am sitting here surrounded by boxes anxiously waiting for the next three sleeps to pass so I can move into my new apartment with “my keeper” of a boyfriend. Now I am also in possession of a Master’s Degree and the completion of a competitive internship.

Thirteen months ago, I made the decision to go outside my comfort zone and allowed the boy from the bar to take me out on a date. About twelve months ago, I allowed myself to call that boy my boyfriend. And about seven months ago, I allowed myself to my vulnerable with that boy by letting him move into my bachelorette pad of an apartment… and into my life in every way.

The past thirteen months since Cubby came into my life have been a beautiful blur of love and happiness, as well as the stress and challenges that school and relationships bring. But more than anything, these past thirteen months have helped me find the confidence within myself that I had been searching to rediscover for many years now.

What I’ve learned more than anything is how much one can grow when you allow yourself to take a step outside your comfort zone. As far as my story goes, by allowing myself to fall in love with Cubby and allowing him to love me, I’ve learned to love myself.


capture it, remember it; but don’t hold on hoping to relive it.   2 comments

So I haven’t been doing too well with dates lately. (And that’s putting it nicely.)  Besides knowing Max’s birthday (July 11th), I promise you that I hardly remember the day of the week.  But according to the desk calendar in front of me, today is Monday, July 18th.  How did I not realize it until now? How did I type it multiple times today and not recognize its significance until right now?

Last year on July 18th I wrote this post: we were both young when i first saw you. i close my eyes and the flashbacks startThose are the thoughts that composed my mind on this date last year, and now all I can say is, “Wow! What a difference a year makes. What a difference 8 years makes!” 

Although I can still vividly picture the moment that cute boy appeared in my nineteen-year old life, today I find myself embarrassed by how many July 18th’s I’ve spent wasted reminiscing about the past.  How many days within those years I spent holding onto his memory and foolishly believing we’d end up together- eventually.  However, more so than embarrassment I find myself relieved that I finally let him go.  I know this to be true because not only did I forgot to remember today’s date, but I also find myself questioning why I feel the need to write this post about him today.

well the truth, yeah it hurts to say, i’m gonna pack up my bags and i’m gonna go away   1 comment

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover will be yourself. ~Alan Alda

I inherited a lot of personality traits from my mom, with her genuineness, sincerity, loyalty, humbleness, and generosity only being a few.  However, even though we share more similarities than I ever noticed before, I am certainly not my mom.  In fact she’s constantly telling me that I am, “my father’s daughter” upon noticing the quirks that he blessed me with.  My dad is one-of-a-kind and, as I’ve probably said before, he has set the bar very high for any possible suitors. 

But back to my mother.  While she has proven to be one of my best friends and confidantes, we will never see eye-to-eye due to the different experiences that we’ve encountered along our individual journeys.  Sure, she’s been by my side each day for 26 1/2 years, she has not seen everything that my eyes have seen nor heard what my ears have heard.  And she definitely has not felt half of what I’ve felt over the years, although mother’s intuition has probably led her to understand me more than I realize. 

My parents are on their way to join me for a few days in here in The Petting Zoo, my new nickname for Chi-town because it literally smells like such in the hot & humid summer air.  I told my psychiatrist that today and instead of upping my medication, he told me that I made his day by saying,  Maybe I’m not so crazy afterall, but seriously it’s true.  This city smells horrendous. 

Waiting for my parents’ arrival makes me think about moving here over 1 1/2 years ago and what a different girl I was back then.  In fact, I’m not even sure if I recognize that girl who moved into an empty apartment with her whole life packed in boxes.  Other than a few meals and basic neighborhood exploring, we hardly left the apartment as I spent the weekend fearing the unknown of Monday morning when my parents returned to Pittsburgh and I made my first trek to Skokie. 

Well that was then, and this is now.  I am anxious for my parents’ weekend vacation to begin, as for some reason they both always seem to feel relaxed when visiting the me and my city.  Did I just call it my city?  Seriously, who am I?  To be honest, I feel more relaxed (for the most part) when my parents are in town.  Knowing that my parents can physically see what I go through everyday- or at least in some capacity- makes me feel better about being here.  To anyone who has lived away from home, perhaps this makes most sense to you.

This week I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend, which has led to a reunion at the DMB concert at Wrigley Field in mid-September.  To be honest I never thought that this friendship could be repaired due to my own regrettable actions.  (Long story, but in essence it was part of my I need a change days before going to OU in the summer of 2003.)  The end of that friendship (and a few others that coincided) have scarred me for many years as I regretted my actions and how I chose to run away.  Just thinking about those days reminds me of how much I’ve grown up and changed, knowing that I’d never behave that way again.  You live and you learn, and that’s all I can say about that.

While I don’t hold my relocation to Chicago responsible for everything, I think that it deserves more recognition than I’m always willing to give.  Sure I give it credit for my non-ending journey, but I don’t always properly acknowledge the impact that it has had on my various relationships. 

Living here has taught me to appreciate, and never take for granted, the people who you love.  My parents & brother are three of these people.  Being away from them is never easy, especially when I only end up spending time with them on a few holidays and long weekends about every 3-4 months. 

When I packed my bags for Chicago in November 2008, I didn’t know where this journey was going to lead me.  I didn’t know that my friends would stand by my side and that parents & family would support my daily decisions.  I thought that by going away to the big city, I had to abandon who I wa  My pain has diminished and my scars remind me what I’ve overcome rather than hold me back. 

So here’s to a weekend with my parents here in Chicago to celebrate my family and my friends’ continuous support and how far I’ve come.  To the journey that I embarked on a few years ago, and to the many adventures that I’ve yet to experience. 


The title of this blog comes from the song, Lover Lover by Jerrod Niemann


hope you remember me when you’re homesick and need a change   2 comments

We can all name someone who seems to know everyone.  Amanda (Porter) Carlyle is one of those people.  Every time I was with that girl we would constantly run into people that she knew: A friend from high school, English class, or bar the night before.  At first I found myself envious of her for knowing so many people in our college town, but then one day I had the best epiphany of my life: I’d rather have good friends than hundreds of friends.  Years later I stand by this thought as I wander the streets, mosey around airports, and zone-out on trains, passing possible friend after friend, as well as crazy after crazy.  Touché though since you never know where and when you’ll be your soulmate… or your best friend. 

For most of my life I’ve been blessed with good friends and commonly find myself surrounded with a fair share of friends (aka acquaintances) too.  Actually in high school I was a version of the girl who knew everyone.  A social butterfly.  Over the years many of those friends have faded from my daily life, but they appear in my thoughts ever now and then- certainly some more than others..  A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the never-disappearing impact that friendships/ past relationships have on us.  We’ll call it Fingerprints and you can click on that link to access the post.  I may sound like I’m contradicting myself based on what I said in that post, but I want to elaborate more on the relevance of these friends, which we once considered friends. 

One of the simplest pleasures in life has to be reconnecting with an old friend.  There’s just such a pure joy that seeps through your veins that warms your heart to its capacity after receiving an unexpected call or, in today’s world, that always-appreciated Facebook message.   You soon finding that you’re smiling for no apparent reason with that ‘high on life’ feeling.  You’re at peace in the moment, while venturing down memory lane.  Soon your past doesn’t seem so long ago and you’re surprise how much you remember about that fifteen year old that you once were.  Any anxieties have been extinguished and everything appears so clearly.  You feel whole…again.

Why is that so?  How is it that someone who you haven’t seen or heard from in years can perk you up and make your bad day that much better?

We’ve all heard it before…if you love something set it free and if it comes back to you then it’s meant to beI’m not sure if I see any truth in this not, and honestly based on my own experiences I have to admit that I wouldn’t let anyone go if I had a say in the matter.  I don’t know.  My Magic 8 ball of a brain says to Ask again later.  But I will say that it appears that sometimes you do have to lose someone to realize how much they mean(t) to you.  On the journey of our lives, friends come and (unfortunately) friendships fade as time goes on.  We find ourselves replacing those who knew us so well in the past with news faces guiding us towards our future.  Those peers that you literally grew up with will never truly know you upon graduation day, and those friends that you make afterwards are your bridesmaids, vacation buddies, and children’s godparents.   

So what role do our former BFFs and friends play in our current lives?  Afterall they are part of our journey and therefore play a far more significant role than we would have ever gave them credit for during the days of our innocence and naiveté.  I could tell you a laundry list of things that my friends from the past have taught and how I look back with appreciation on how they’ve helped me in my personal growth. 

When I have the opportunity to go home, with doesn’t happen to often anymore since I’m not longer a 3.5 hour drive away  through Ohio & West Virginia, I hardly ever end up seeing any of my friends.  Every once in a while I’ll run into a friend at Walmart or perhaps see a friend when walking around our alma mater with my mom.  There are friends that I’ll never see again, but I’ll always see them as friends. 

I hope you remember me when you’re homesick and need a change.  There are so many people from my past that I think about to help me get through those rough days when I just need to remember where I came from.  I’m sure you know those days?  Or when someone asks me where I grew up and I responded, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”… I immediately think of friends and those memories in the halls of Hampton High.  And when I tell people who I lived in Ohio for college and afterwards, I think of my walks through Athens, nights on Court Street, and many adventures in C-bus.  

And dare I ask, have my fingerprints left a lasting impression on you to think of me when you’re homesick and need a change?  Sorry, I had to ask.

Song of the Moment: Somewhere Out There by Our Lady Peace

the kindness of strangers…and craziness of others   2 comments

After a 6 am flight from Memphis, I finally made it back to Chicago earlier this morning.  I have absolutely no intention of leaving this apartment today and enjoying this 1-day weekend of mine.  Tomorrow is Monday….rut-roh….but I’m not going to waste this day complaining about that.

I have to give a shout-out to my friends in the South for this wonderful hospitality and general kindness.  Also, for sharing their love for grits with me!  While everyone was wonderful down there, two Southern Belles looked out for me: Sondra and Donna.  Now both ladies were on my canceled flight yesterday and had the pleasure of accompanying me on the 6 am-er this morning.

One of the topics of conversation was none other than my life in Chicago.  Once again I found myself giving the “living in Chicago is different then visiting” and them agreeing and supporting this “experience” in my life.  I had a relevation during our morning coffee talk (Starbucks of course).  Sondra, who has lived in Mississippi her entire life and was a young mother (as a teenager, I believe), found my lone-adventure to the big city quite admirable and uttering the infamous line, “I wish I had the courage to do that.”  I used to say the same thing to people, like Ruth and Jay, who took the initiative to explore and ride the roller coaster of life.  They are my inspirations and the reasons I looked fear in the face and said “I just don’t care” and made the move to The Windy City (gasp) almost 2 years ago!  But as I opened up with to Sondra and and Donna, and Adriana imfamously said to me a few weeks ago, I think that Chicago is slowly breaking up with me, meaning my time here is ticking away.    You live and you learn, and sometimes you learn that it’s just not what you want or what you need.

After arriving at O’Hare Airport, I found myself on the train with one of Chicago’s many crazies.  No exaggeration, this guy was I.N.S.A.N.E.  In a matter of 2 minutes, he was playing the harmonica, dancing around the train car, reciting some sort of religious prophecy, and talking to someone.  Oh it feels (fill in adjective) to be ‘home’. 

The commute to my apartment wasn’t all bad as I found myself talking with a fellow airport commuter, Monica.  We had a great conversation about life in Chicago and the reality of the world we live in.  She shared something with me that her aunt said to her when she moved to the city 13 years ago: You cannot be a perfectionist any longer.  Riddle me this, riddle me that.  As I discovered, Monica is a lot like me and I understand what she meant  by this advice. 

Call it morning grogginess or downright exhaustion, but I said something to Monica that I really haven’t voiced to another stranger before (other than my blog network, but hey, we’re friends now.)  Anyways, I said that Chicago has made me cold and bitchier.  I’m not my social self here, unlike how I am back in Pittsburgh, Ohio, and even in other cities (like Memphis, for example).  Immediately upon my relocation I was shocked by the lack of manners people have as the thank you’s  were rare and doors were literally slamming in my face left-to-right.  Also, as I’ve mentioned to other friends, I swear I can sense crazy here.  Like the guy on the train today, even before any word was said or harmonica was played, I sensed something was off- even before fully looking at him.  I feel like I always have to be on guard here, never knowing when someone is going to snap.  (Not kidding.)

I’m not myself here because I don’t feel like I can be.  How can I call this my ‘home’ if I feel that way? 

Pure and simple, I cannot.  These past few days a lot of people have asked me where I’m from, and without thinking I have responded, each and every time, “I am currently living in Chicago.”  Anyone want to psychoanalyze that response?  

I could probably go on and on, but I think a workout is more important that my rambling, so I’ll spare you.  But I’ll leave you with this:

I constantly stress the importance of my friends and family  and the influence that they have on me.  I look to them for advice, guidance, and support.  They are soundboards for my random thoughts and anxiety-riddent emotional breakdowns.  I never feel like I can thank them enough, and so I will continue.

However, I rarely point out the influence that strangers and random folks have on me.  Today is just one example of the people that touch my life in unexpected ways.  Sondra, Donna, and Monica are just three of those people that have helped me see things in a different light.  In a way they’ve helped me grow by forcing me to re-connect with myself and possibly change my thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

People come into our lives every day, and some we converse with, while others we observe.  Rarely do we realize the impact that these people have on us because we’re too caught up in our own little world.  Cough…cell phones…cough.

This weekend, I realized how I’m looking for answers, or perhaps approval, from certain people in my life- my mom being one of them.  But today I sit here reminded that the only approval I need is from myself.  I have the answers within, but I just need to listen to me more.


The stuff that we go through in life- the negative and the knocks- we can choose to take us down, or we can choose to stand up or rise up and make us even more brillant and beautiful.  (Mia Michaels, So You Think You Can Dance)

now i’m grown and all alone and wishin i was with you tonight. cause i can guarantee, things are sweeter in tennessee.   2 comments

Memphis, Tennessee is where I’m writing this post from, on a stormy Thursday night.  It’s 7:17 pm CT and I’m cozied up under the bedsheets in my hotel room with absolutely no shame at all.  The thunder keeps pounding away, making excuses for me why I’m in here and now exploring the sites of Beale Street.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way right now.  In a way I’m happy to be here, out of Chicago, so I can be out of my routine and simply focus on relaxing (that is when I’m not exhibiting at the conference I’m here for).

Upon receiving my lunch and dinner (linner?  or lunner?)- I missed lunch due to my exhibit- the room service tenant informed me that they’re on call 24 hours.  Yes ma’am, I’ll be calling you again in a few hours.  I ate about 2 hours again and I’m already having empty stomach growls.

Today was fine.  Nothing too exciting happened today, well, I did ride the plan with the players of the Iowa Cubs (Minor League Baseball Team)…and yes, there were some lookers in the group.  I’m fine with being here, and fine with even having to work on a Saturday.

You may be wondering why, so let me tell you…

I’ve opened up a lot lately about how I’ve been feeling: the confusion, the reminiscence, the searching (for many things), the loneliness, the doubts, the sadness, the anxiety, etc.  I’ve said it and I’ll probably say it again, and again.  All of these feelings come and go (in terms of intensity) in spurts, but they are consistently there.  Sometimes I just do a better job at hiding them and/or not voicing them so much on my Facebook status (usually in quotes or lyrics) or on here, for you beloved readers to deal with.  (Thank you!)

Anyways, my point, and I do have one, is this.  Every thought, every feeling is necessary in a way because it is helping to guide me along my way.  I did make the choice to move to Chicago and to accept the job.  Sure I can list at least ten reasons why I felt like I had to take it, and if put in that position again I would still make the same choice.  This job, as miserable as it is for me right now (and has been for the majority of my time), has provided me with opportunities that I truly appreciate- such as this 3-day trip to Memphis.  I mean I’m in Tennessee!  Sure, I’ve been confined to a hotel room for the past few hours, due to storms, but I am here.  I’m in another state that I’d never been to, checking out the scene, and seeing if it could be the place for me.  (It’s not.)  But I am grateful for the opportunity to see it and decide that for myself.

Four years ago I was a lost soul who had no idea where she would be in  a few months, let alone a few years.  But here I am, today in Memphis, Tennessee…and I’m doing okay.  Sure, it’s not perfect.  Maybe it never will be.  But I’ll do what I can to get by, and in the mean time, I’m learning to jump at the opportunities I’m offered by trusting my heart and follow my instincts.

Each adventure has given me something, whether I realize it at that time or later on.  This weekend in Memphis, I will take something back with me that I wouldn’t have gotten from not being here.  Whether it’s  a new friend or a lesson to be learned, each day provides us with a chance to grow and better ourselves.  Four years ago, as a confused and anxiety-ridden 22-year old, I didn’t see it this way, but what’s important is that I see it now…and will see it this way for the rest of my life.


The title of this post is lyrics from Tennessee by The Wreckers.

happiness is like the old man told me…   1 comment

I’ve mentioned my friend Alisha before, but I may have failed to explain that she is also my pen pal.  Our friendship formed back in January when we met through our online Human Relations class and started exchanging emails.  One day she had the best idea ever: Let’s be pen pals!  Wait, let me rewrite.  Through both our email exchanges and our online course, we’ve discussed how we’re products of our fast-paced technological generations/world.  Fact: Emails, Facebook, and text messages are popular ways of communicating.  But Alisha and I both agree that there’s nothing better than getting a letter or greeting card from a friend or family member.  Sure snail mail isn’t the most time-efficient way of communicating, but in my opinion it’s the best.  Back in the day, people used to write letters detailing their most intimate thoughts.  Now we post (for all to see) on our Twitter and/or Facebook messages.  Lovers used to confess there unconditional love in handwritten, perfume sprayed letters; and now we use 160-character text messages.  What gives?

Anyway, forgive my rambling.  Back to Alisha.  In reading the notebook, Alisha shared this song with me- by one of my favorite (lyrically spoken) bands, The Fray.  The lyrics below pertain to a specific topic that we’ve been discussing in our communication, but I won’t indulge you in those details.  (Some of you may be able to figure it out on your own.)

Happiness is like the old man told me… Look for it, but you’ll never find it all; But let it go, live your life and leave it; Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home (Happiness, The Fray)

Happiness.  It’s something that most people can agree on searching for, but impossible to define.  Think to each his own.  We discussed this topic throughout our online course, but I’ve also begun reading The Happiness Project  by Gretchen Ruben.  I just discovered a website dedicated to the novel that I recommend taking a look at. 

This book allows you to reflect on yourself in order to help you strive towards the happiness that you seek (within yourself).  The first rule to remember that you have the right to be happiness and the power to achieve this for yourself.  The thing about happiness is that we don’t always know what makes us happy.  We may think we do, but it isn’t until we take time to reflect that we can move more closely to figuring it all out. 

Going back to the song lyrics above, we are all guilty of believing that one thing (or person) makes us happy, and because this is the case we have a difficult time letting (it) go.  But there comes a time when we must let go- as hard as it may be.  To achieve happiness, we have to let go of things that hold us back and prevent us from growing.  Once you let go, just live: Take chances.  Try new things.  Do the things you fear. 

Along this adventure of self-discovery, you’ll find happiness.  One misconception about happiness is that we tend to believe that it’s the destination, while in fact it’s the journey.  There is so much beauty in the journey- even those things we deem as mistakes and heartaches- that we inaccurately write-off as failures.  It’s usually not until afterwards that we look back and treasure these moments that define us….that make us happy.  As always, ♥ K