Sunday, May 31, 2009


Options... I seem to have so many at the moment and it's making me feel a little nomadic.

I feel no real tie to Chicago anymore. Once my parents move out of the city (and the midwest altogether), that's going to be it for me. The rest of my family is in New York, my closest friends no longer live here, and my job isn't enough of a reason to stay. My job has been good to me. I've been with it for 5 years and in that time I've had the flexibility to go to school and get a BFA in Interior Design. Without the flexibility its offered (working off hours and the chance to work in the evenings if needed) my degree would have taken much longer. Now that I have the degree, I'm ready to move on.

And on top of that, this city is wearing me down.... to a small nub. It's loud, dirty, crumbling, crowded, and pockets of it truly smell like garbage (no joke, drive down to Ashland and Clybourn, its narsty). I feel like I've been to every bar, driven on every street, eaten at every restaurant, shopped at every store... you get the picture. My tolerance is all but dried up. I used to love it here, but I could only see the good parts. In the few warm months we have, its quite pretty. We have a lovely lake. We have lush, green boulevards and plenty of public parks. But what the fuck Chicago? Is that all you've got?

I see a pattern here. "I could only see the good parts." Sounds a little like my relationship, no? This is why it's also difficult to be here. I've lived in Illinois for 14 years, 10 years of which have been in Chicago and 9 years of which have been with him. All of my experiences here include him. I don't really want these reminders anymore. I want to start fresh in a new town and not be faced with the memories, good or bad. I'd like to make some lovely new memories and perhaps make some exciting new mistakes.

So where do I go? Spin the globe and pick a city? It seems as arbitrary as that. It can be just about anywhere. Two on the list so far: Anywheresville, California or Charleston, South Carolina. Why Charleston? I dunno!

To add insult to injury (and I am not exaggerating) there seems to be a college party across the street blasting Animal Collective while a chorus of drunk men are screaming out lyrics right outside my bedroom window. I might have heard a motorcycle too, which makes it feel like a lamer version of Road House... but without the Swayze. 

Oh, Chicago.... I'm so over you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grace in Small Things: 7 of 365

Photo by darkviper

Sometimes it's not easy to find 5 separate things to find grace in every day. So in the interest of documentation, I've decided to break the rules. I think that's allowed. So here is just one instead of five.
  1. Floating.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in
Grace in Small Things.

Monday, May 25, 2009

3 Months Later

My 3 month anniversary of the break-up was May 16th. Three months is a little less jolly than 1 month. At 1 month I was optimistic, proud, buying flowers, delving into insights, celebrating milestones, completing tasks, and seeing the whole world stretched out before me. 3 months feels different.

I think now it seems much more final that 1 month did. It's setting in.... it's over. And although I knew that before, the reality of it is becoming more clear. There's a different kind of sadness and I think the difference now is that I am, at times, angrier at myself than I am at him. This is a big shift and one that I did not see coming. I never felt like I was to blame before. I didn't want to beat myself up, I was kinda too fragile... I didn't deserve to be beaten up. But now I feel my part in what happened.

So much of his behavior was awful. So much of the selfcenteredness and the apathy was not okay. And yet, I acted as though it was okay. I acted as though all of it was normal and I adapted to his behavior in order to make it fit. Well that's not fair. I was not treated the way I should have been and deep down I knew it. I knew he wasn't the kind of partner that I needed, and yet I glossed over it. The warning signs. The miscommunications. I brushed it all away.

When I look back on 3 months ago I see a good deal of change. So much so that I can hardly recognize who I was or the choices I was making. Was I just blinded by love? By commitment? I can't really say. All I know is that I neglected the dull aches of anger and hurt that were telling me something was not right in the pit of my stomach.

And so I feel angry at myself for letting it all happen. I feel like I let myself down. To voice all of it. To be heard.

But I know that's not true. On one cold January night, my voice came burrowing out of me. My body shook as I blurted out the words. That I needed more. That I deserved so much more. And then I left.

So, I didn't buy flowers this time, it wasn't a flowers kinda day....but if I had, I would have bought some lovely white mums. Because, you know, I'm quite lovely.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My life is approaching fast.

Right now I'm searching for an apartment. While I love the idea of starting out on my own, getting to decorate my own home, living in my own space, starting new traditions and living my own life -- I'm also kinda scared. I haven't been alone in so long. Will I be okay?

So I search, and I search... seeing a variety of dingy, dark, small, old, crumbling apartments all over Chicagoland. I explore new neighborhoods since the thought of living in my old neighborhood makes me feel...well...ick. No thanks. And in my search, I stumbled upon a forgotten land called Logan Square. Trees, grass, boulevards, manicured lawns, old churches, historic landmarks. It's really lovely. I had forgotten that. I have happy memories from Logan Square, as that was the place my best friend and I lived about 5 years ago... and we had so much fun.

I think that's where I'll land, but wherever it is, it will be by myself. At times its a frightening thought and at times its liberating. I have to say, it's nice to think that I won't have to put up with anyone else's bullshit. For so long I cared for someone else, and for the most part did everything in our home by myself and for us. The thought of doing everything just for myself is pretty exciting. But the thought of being alone is, of course, tough. While I feel like for a long time I felt alone in my relationship, I wasnt really alone. He was there. And now he's not.

But guess what, I'm alone now and that's my reality. I'm not wishing for something to change in my relationship, I'm not giving up any part of myself, I'm not agonizing over someone else's feelings or needs, and I'm not compromising myself at all. That kinda rules.

And while I feel all inspirational and shit about my new life, I'm also pretty freaked out.

Original calligraphy by Andreza Keiko Mori

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Number 9

I found this on Lolita. I think it's lovely and am now considering a tattoo of a nine. 

Just considering...

Image by Lolita.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Was it a waste?

It's been about 2 months and 2 weeks since I left him. When I think of how that time has passed, I think of all the positive things I've done, the change in me, and the clearer way in which I see myself. Then I think of the last nine years I spent with him. What was I doing? Was it a waste of time?

We were together for nine years and that seems now like an eternity, my whole adult life. I spent my twenties with him, pretty much every year of them. Sometimes I feel like all that amounted to nothing. I mean here I am, living with my parents, about to live on my own for the first time (no roommate, no boyfriend), I'm trying to change careers, I'm finding myself all over again, I'm starting from scratch.

I was sitting in a friendly, oddly comforting, dark, divey bar in the middle of the afternoon, catching up with a friend who I hadn't seen in years and who is also going through the break-up of a long-term relationship. She said to me, "I'm starting to think I've wasted a big part of my life." I knew the feeling, I told her that sometimes I felt the same way. But then we looked at each other in disbelief, both saying, "How could you think that? You've done so much!"

I've always seen her as a woman who charted her own path, fiercely independent, never answering to anyone. It never seemed like any part of her personality was silenced. She traveled, made lots of friends, explored new hobbies, became a dancer. I asked her how she could think that was all a waste. And then she said to me that she was starting to realize that all those years weren't wasted. It wasn't her life that was stagnant, it was the relationship that never evolved. I remember how I began to see other relationships around me grow and I watched my own remain unchanged from one year to the next. I wished desperately for a change because I knew I was growing and I wanted the relationship to grow too.

So we both looked at each other, seeing women that in our eyes did wonderful things with the past years, and we knew we couldn't view our lives as wasted.

I wanted to pursue Interior Design and I worked hard to get my BFA.

I wanted to travel and I went to Italy, London, Paris, Hawaii, Costa Rica.

I met incredible people, had wonderful experiences, had horrible experiences, and changed my life over and over again.

I was a waitress, an art gallery assistant, an art exhibition installer, a museum's assistant curator, a line cook, an instructional designer, and an interior design student.

I've fallen in love and had my heart broken.

For the last nine years I was truly loved and I loved back. I took part in one of the greatest experiences of my life and for that I am grateful.

I've allowed people to come in and out of my life who have taught me, guided me, scared me, and pushed me.

And I've made a friendship that became one of the greatest gifts and because of it I've grown up to be the woman I am today.

No, none of this was a waste.

I finally made a change because of how much I've grown and I plan to spend the rest of my life evolving and growing without any limits. Constantly changing. Constantly growing.

photo by Robert S. Donovan

Friday, May 1, 2009

Grace in Small Things: 6 of 365

    1. My face lighting up, thinking of a possibility.
    2. Laughing so hard as I instant message with my BFF.
    3. Pleasant thoughts.
    4. Smiling for no reason.
    5. Getting very excitied for future plans.

    Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in Grace in Small Things.


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