Archive for the ‘searching for something’ Tag
If I took a shot every time one of my teachers said, “When you enter the real world next year…” during my senior year of high school, I would have been drunk more times than I was in college. (Okay, probably not entirely true but you get the point.) We all now know that for the majority of us, ‘the real world’ did not start until after college, grad school and/or when we finally moved out of our parents’ houses and changed our permanent address. For me, that new permanent address and real world experience was far from Pittsburgh, PA; however, I cannot say the say for most of my high school classmates. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that at least half of them remain in the same state, if not the same city.
Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but will say that I’m not planning on joining the Pittsburgh Residency Club again anytime soon. To tell you the truth, I knew that ever since high school when I would spend my days and nights dreaming of a life outside of here. I imagined living in New York City and working for a popular magazine, or traveling the country as a sports reporter. Other daydreams took me to Florida, California, Hawaii, and any other sunny spot that was far, far away from snowy winters. In essence, I didn’t know where exactly the future would take me but knew it would take me anywhere but here.
Because of this notion, I find myself struggling with trips back home since I know I don’t belong here.
Last night I spent some time with one of my only (remaining) true friends from high school, Matt (MT). As custom after our hangout sessions, I find myself in a juxtapose of thoughts and emotions. My Past vs. My Present/ Future. What’s Made Me vs. Who I Am Today. Most days, as I flicker through Facebook, I struggle to remember those people from my past; and, more importantly, I struggle to remember who I was back then. Or better put, I struggle to figure out if I really am that same girl who once called Pittsburgh ‘home’.
So much has changed these last 10 years. For goodness sake, I’ve changed a lot- or better put, I’ve grown a lot. For starters, I’ve ventured out of the Hampton Bubble and been practically living on my own since then. The friends I had in middle school and high school haven’t been friends since then, and if anything, most of them are nothing more than a Facebook ‘friend’ and someone my mom asks about from time to time. Those former classmates of mine don’t know me anymore, nor do I know them. According to Facebook, most of them are living in Pittsburgh with either a significant other, fiance, spouse and/or child(ren).
And to them, I’m probably just a name from the past that is now living in Chicago and involved in a lot of charity work. Maybe they wonder, or assume, that I have a boyfriend (which I don’t)- although my empty relationship status and lack of photos with guys probably assures them I’m still single. (After all, I’ve always been single. Guess I haven’t changed that much.) And they probably think I’m happy too- as I’ve always appeared to be to those from Hampton. (Happy and very nice is how I’ve always been seen.) To be honest, I don’t remember a time during my teenage years that I was fully happy… which has a lot to do with why I always imagined myself getting out of Hampton in the first place. I just knew there was some other place for me.
But to be fair, there are moments when I wish that I could be one of those people who found happiness in Pittsburgh. Not only would I be closer to my family, but it would be nice to sustain friendships with those who I’ve known since my childhood days. (Thank goodness for Stef and Matt.) But while I could wish and hope sometimes, the truth is I know whole-heartedly that this place isn’t the one for me.
For now that place is Chicago. Chicago is fulfilling those big city dreams of mine, and the people in my life are certainly the friends I’ve been longing to have for some time now. To me, that’s what makes me most content with my life. Sure, I may not be in a relationship, expecting a child, and/or own my place, I know that I’ve living out my dreams. This is something I need to remind myself instead of worrying about what Facebook friends of mine have that I don’t. They may be living out their dreams, just as I’m living out mine.
As fireworks lit up the Chicago skyline on Monday night, I laid in my bed falling asleep to the sounds of my city as memories began flashing through my mind. Alone in my apartment for the first time in ten nights, the booms from the finale reminded me that another Fourth of July had passed- and somehow it was my third in Chicago.
In early July 2009, I sat in my friends’ apartment on a hot summer afternoon and had my tarot cards read (for the first time). At the time I was struggling to find my place in Chicago and therefore, hoped to find some ‘answers’ in my reading: Stay in Chicago or Go Back to Columbus? With an open mind and optimistic heart, I shuffled the deck and awaited my fate. (Well at least what I believed to be my fate.) Two years ago, I was a girl with a broken spirit and broken heart trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged. I was lost in a big city and lost within myself, struggling to hold onto what made me ‘me’ and adapt to who I (thought I) needed to be.
Despite looking for every reason to flee, I made the decision to stay in Chicago because I felt (within that) my time wasn’t over yet. I whole-heartedly believe that day was the turning point for me. Not only did I Trust Myself, but I also Believed in Myself for the first time in a long time.
Last Thursday night, nearly two years after my first reading, my same friend entertained me with his tarot cards again. This time my question was different. Much different. This time I knew that Chicago was where I wanted to be, and I was much more confident in who I am in comparison to two years ago. Therefore, I sucked up my confidence- and maybe took another sip of wine- and asked a question that I wanted to ask. A question that has been on my mind, and perhaps the only question I really wanted to know an ‘answer’ to.
Well, like before, the cards aligned fairly well to tell the story of my past & present situations. Yet, two things really stood out to me. The first was this: The thing you desire the most is also the thing you fear the most. Right away I knew what that one thing was because there’s only thing I desire the most; and coincidentally it just so happens to be the one thing I fear the most. LOVE. The only thing that terrifies me for the vulnerability it exposes yet is the reason I keep myself going. The reason I keep searching for answers.
As he summarized my cards, these final words brought along my answer (in the form of clarity): “You’re on your way.” To tell you the truth, that may have been exactly what I needed to hear. Isn’t that all we really ever want to know? That all the effort we put in, each and every day, is worth it? That all the stress and tears are making us stronger? That each person we meet, and those we love, are guiding us along our journey? Isn’t that the only answer we’re searching for in life?
When I made the decision to stay here in Chicago two years ago, I had no idea what to expect. I still only knew a handful of people and my job was still completely unfulfilling. There were no fireworks nor shooting stars making my decision for me. Instead, I trusted the spark within that said, “You’re going to be okay. Just keep trying.” And I must say it was the best decision I’ve ever made because of all the things it’s bestowed to me these last few years.
Most times when we feel a feeling, that spark within us, we have no idea what it means. But don’t worry about figuring that out just yet. Simply trust that feeling and let it guide you along way. Because one day, perhaps two years later, those you’ll finally see those fireworks in the sky and gain a clear understanding of why you felt that spark in the first place.
~This is one of those times when your brain kicks in and tells your heart, ‘Good things are worth waiting for’.~
We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
The walk home from the hospital on Tuesday nights always reminds me of Athens, OH: My College Town. The side streets, loud bars, and one particular 4-way intersection, which I always hope to be abandoned so I can create my own diagonal crosswalk, all bring along a welcomed sense of nostalgia. It’s the little things in life, kids. Believe it or not, I used to be one of those college kids in the loud bars (on my beloved Court Street) on Tuesday nights enjoying 25-cent wings, 2-dollar mixed drinks in plastic cups, and a priceless buffet of OU-loving friends. But that was a long time ago…well, five years ago.
I look forward to that walk so much, even going as far as to turn down rides home in order to have those 20 minutes to myself. No cell phone. No email. No to-do list. No stress. Just me, my city, and my nostalgic mind on a romantic walk home after a soulful night of baby therapy. What more can a girl ask for?
Surrounded by a city of millions and thousands more tourists, silence is a rarity in Chicago. However, I’m learning that it’s not impossible. Although silence in terms of noise- or lack thereof- is what many first think of, it is silence of the heart that this girl and many others find themselves looking for something- whether or not we actually know what that something is.
A mere stranger once said to me, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” At twenty-years old, I didn’t know how to take those words. What did he see in me? What did he think I was looking for? How did he know before I even made this realization?
During these last seven years, I never stopped to hear the silence. Too caught up in finding something else, I overlooked what I already had. Believing that I had to be better, grow up quicker, and become somebody else, I lost sight of myself…except when I walked the streets of Athens. Usually with Brandon or other friends at times, the streets provided me serenity as I was able to leave the commotion of my restless mind and abandon the desires of my dreamer ways. I miss those walks. I miss those run-down streets. I miss Brandon and his perfect companionship. I miss Athens a lot. I miss it even more on Tuesday nights when my nostalgic mind kicks in as I turn onto Fullerton.
I cannot tell you the last time I spent a Tuesday night in a bar, and in a few weeks I’ll be back in Athens for the first time since June. And while I miss those days dearly, I’m okay with it now. Because for 20 minutes each week, after I finish my volunteer shift, I can count on my heart to fall silent and clarity to fill my mind. I can take a deep breath and know that everything is fine.
Last night after a rejuvenating spinning class with Stef (Thanks again, Stef!), I ran into a former friend from my hometown- right here in the big city of Chicago. Of course Facebook previously notified me of her arrival and we communicated via a few messages, but seeing her in the middle of the streets was a great surprise. And being the fact that it was my birthday, it was one of those unexpected moments that reminds you exactly where you came from and how far you’ve traveled– sometimes literally, like in my case.
My birthday has officially come and gone, and now I sit here wondering what’s next? What’s in store for me this year? I’m 27 now. Where are the fireworks? Where are the answers? Why do I still feel like so much is missing? And then I remind myself that one’s birthday really is just another day and age is only a number.
Am I allowed to have a weak moment on here tonight? I’ve already talked to Adriana, Stef, and Julie this evening (thank you ladies!) and now I’m contemplating calling Joe to have some to shoot-the-shit with and calm down my weary mind. I’m not sad. Maybe my feelings can be best described as confusion? Like when you’re on the verge of a change and you’re not quite sure how it all turns out and therefore you end up second-guessing yourself. Okay, now you’re probably confused too so let me try to explain myself.
(Just called Joe and left him a voicemail. I could use his distracting stories and nonsense tonight.)
Yesterday was wonderful. It really was. Other than the disappointing news that began my work day (I’m over it, mostly), it was just how I wanted it to be. Simple, memorable, and a bit sweaty (Yay for spinning class! Thanks again, Stef!). Anyways, yesterday I had a mini quarter-life crisis (?) epiphany. I’m 27 years old now and my life is still practically the same. Kristin, bless her heart, got to deal with that email and reassured me that I am nowhere near the same person that I was because of the experiences that I’ve encountered from living in The Crazy Windy City these past two years. She’s right and I know this, but sometimes we all need someone else to remind us when life clouds our ration. (Thanks Kristin!) I know I’m not the same girl I used to be, and in fact I have a blog full of posts to prove it.
So that epiphany I had centered around the idea of adopting a puppy…finally. If you know me outside of this blog then you know that this is something I’ve talked about for awhile, especially since moving to Chicago. However, so many factors have contributed to me not following through with these plans (yet). But yesterday, in my ripe old age of 27, I decided to pursue one of my dreams and take a look a the lovely pet adoption organizations here in Illinois and let fate guide me along my way. Que sera, sera.
There’s more behind this decision but I won’t waste your time with all the details. But I will say that after a playdate with Hazel & George, as well as a summer of Bachelorette Parties, Bridal Showers, Weddings, Engagements, Babies, and Pregnancies, I feel more maternal than I ever have before. Perhaps it’s the Curse of 27. Idk. But whatever it is, I am overcome with the emotions that I want something to hold on to. Something to be responsible for other than myself. Something to believe in. Something to call mine.
I want to love and be loved, and if that just so happens to be for/from a dog for the mean time, then I’ll just have to accept my fate. I have so much to give, and give I will. Even though I’ve been doubting it all evening, maybe I really am ready to adopt a puppy (tomorrow/this weekend/soon). I always knew that 27 was going to be a milestone year and if this is how it begins, then so be it.
I could have walked those streets forever last night. It was just one of those breezey evenings when everything felt peaceful and you’re perfectly content with where you are at the time. Sure life here in Chi-town isn’t perfect and I really am starting to see truth in Adriana’s theory about Chicago slowly breaking up with me. There’s not much here to hold on to but still I find myself trying to hold on to something.
And that’s why I want a puppy. Not entirely true, but there’s some truth behind that. In all honesty, I just want to take care of someone(thing) other than myself. Maybe this is a little too deep but I just want to know, maybe, that I”m worthy of having such a thing.
Oh well, Mr. Joe Zummo just called me back so it’s time to end this post. Good night, kids! I’ll be sure to let you know if a puppy finds his/her way home with me tomorrow.
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
The title of this post comes from lyrics of City by Sara Bareillis. (Stef, add this song to your playlist.)
Women and elephants never forget.
Another night, another dream about the past. I hold Facebook responsible for placing old friends and memories into my subconscious mind. From what I can recall, last night’s dream was centered around a high school basketball game where many of my former teammates were present. Come to think of it, within this dream was another memory from all the way back from a fourth grade basketball game. Seriously, who remembers this kind of stuff?
After waking up this morning, I laid in bed for twenty minutes, attempting to fall back asleep, and my reminiscent mind was flying around in all kinds of directions. While part of me enjoyed thinking about these memories, truth be told, it’s also kind of painful. My friend, Matt (MT), used to tell me that I was running away. At the time I couldn’t see it this way, but now I know that he was absolutely right.
I just watched the trailer for Eat.Pray.Love. , starring Julia Roberts (based on a true story and novel by Elizabeth Gilbert). In the trailer the mother of the female lead character (Julia Roberts) says to her: “Oh my baby, always searching for something.”
Was she talking to me?
Anyways while my journey and life experience are different from hers, I easily see myself in her respective scenarios. It was hard to watch. While soul-searching is meant to bring (eventual) inner peace, serenity, assurance, and confidence, there is a long, exhausting process that one must go through to achieve such beauty. And when it all comes together, it is beautiful. It’s what keeps us going on the cold, rainy days. We know that there are better days to come, and we’ll appreciate them more because of the ones before.
The title of this blog struck me as fitting after choosing to write about this morning’s occurrence. (It’s a quote from the movie, Remember Me, which I’ve yet to see and hope it doesn’t disappoint.) While I found myself thinking about people from my past, I also inevitably wondered, have my fingerprints completely faded from others’ lives that I once touched? Do people think of me (every now and then) the way I think of them? And if so, how do they perceive me?
That’s the thing about Facebook that I really find daunting. You’re ‘friends’ with these people from your past, but how well do you really know one another years after the high school ‘friendship’ or ‘acquaintances’ runs its course? Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see a former classmate get engaged/married or become a mother/father. And I love catching up with an older friend over a few messages. However, with me being in Chicago and away from the Hampton social scene for 7-8 years now, that’s really where it ends. So other than Facebook status updates, Happy Birthday postings, and an occasion message here and there, how can we really still call these people from our past ‘friends’?
In this never-ending search that I seem to be on, I cannot help also wonder how others see me. For the most part I’ve learned to not care what other people think of me, but I am human so of course there are occasions every now and then. But it’s not the typical judgments and characterizing that I’m talking about, but rather what impact do I have one the lives of others? And maybe I should rephrase that because I don’t just mean my (real) friends and family members per say. But those acquaintance/friends that don’t really know you, and the people that you come across once in a blue moon.
Did my simple smile brighten the worst day of their life? Did I compliment their outfit and it just so happened to erase their “I feel fat in this” mentality? Did I talk with a little kid at the store and it made him feel like the most important person in the world?
It’s these little moments that make me who I am and brighten me day as well. Those barista/friends of mine constantly heighten my mood with their chit-chat, and I still remember Bradley who complimented my ‘cutest rainboots ever’. These simple gestures stay with you longer than you could ever expect. I mean here I am on Saturday night writing a post about these people, and they don’t even know it.
Do you ever wonder why you remember certain insignificant moments (or so they seem to be at the time)? And why sometimes you forget the big, highly anticipated endeavors?
And let’s blame this on the glass of wine sitting next to me, but have my fingerprints faded from the lives that I may have once touched? I, myself, find that I commonly hold on to memories that I wish I could go back and change…(cough) Casey (cough) being the main one. Why don’t his fingerprints ever seem to fade? Will they ever? And better questions, have my fingerprints completely faded from him?
You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
On the train today, the song Grey Street by Dave Matthews Band popped into my head. I was first introduced to this song during my first year of college at Kent State, which seems like ages ago. All day long some of the lyrics have been playing in my mind…
Oh look at how she listens; She says nothing of what she thinks.
She just goes stumbling through her memories; Staring out onto Grey Street.
And she thinks, hey. How did I come to this?
I dreamed myself thousand times around the world; But I can’t get out of this place.
There’s an emptiness inside her; And she’d do anything to fill it in.
But all the colors mix together to grey, and it breaks her heart.
It’s ironic how years later this song still has special relevance with me whenever I hear it. There’s an emptiness inside her… that still exists, even though I’ve experienced so much and feel more content with my life than in years past. Isn’t it fascinating when one song can always have the same impact on you no matter where you are in your life? I really don’t hear this song’s message as hopeless. Instead I hear the realness in it. It may be embracing the sadness that ‘she’ feels, but there’s still some hope and dream left in her. There’s an emptiness inside of her now but she’s just looking for her way to feel what she’s always been hoping for: happiness.
I’m a dreamer. Always have been, always will be. However, over the years I have gained the strength to pursue some of my dreams and take chances. Afterall, I’m writing this from Chicago- where I live. Some days I wonder how I got here and how I’m still here. Today was one of those days.
On the train I really thought about who I am and what I want out of life. In class we’ve been discussing values and what’s most important to us. Typically we spent more time on things we value the most…this got me thinking that I do not spend the majority of my time doing things that are important to me.
How can I change this? Actually I know how I can, but is it really practical? My current job is what keeps me from doing what I want to be doing. So then I quit and everything is better, right? Maybe. Probably. But is it that simple?
An almost complete stranger once said something to me that still plays in my head. He said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” At the time I was caught off guard by Angelo’s comment. Afterall I was only a twenty-year old sophomore in college, who was naive beyond belief and fairly sheltered. But why did he say that? Did he see something in me that I didn’t realize at the time. Because looking back and knowing myself better now…he was right. I was looking for something, even though I didn’t know it at the time.
And here I am, still looking for something. But now I have a better idea about what this may be. ♥ K