London

I am going to London next week for the first time. I am attending a dear friend’s wedding and I’m thrilled. It’s a solo trip and I’ll admit I have nothing in the books per se. Probably the only thing in mind is the Tate Modern because my boyfriend knows how much I love art. Everything else I am leaving up in the air so I likely won’t see all the famous tourist traps. I just want a time to be and get lost as well as meet up with some locals. Lots of my friends will be in town and it’s going to great to be in a place that I don’t know well. In contrast to my Arizona trip, I have saved up money and I have been working some side gigs to be able to gallivant. There is this tiny part of me that says “you don’t wanna miss out on ALL London has to offer”, but another part of me says “let’s take a long bath in the hotel and walk dogs all day”….

I was looking at experiences on Airbnb, it’s a new feature where they sell a little outing or excursion like ceramics, street art tours, scarf making, and flower workshops. It’s unique to their site whereas you usually book a place to stay now you can book an event. It intrigues me and Stephen assures me there is plenty enough to do in London, however it has me thinking. I would love to make a scarf or learn how to make a proper flower crown. One thing’s for sure, I am definitely going to be buying and drinking tea.

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Precipice

So I have returned from my trip to Ireland. I can say, without a doubt, that the country stirred something deep within me. I had a feeling it would. It’s like I could see my life there and it frightened me. It also thrilled me. I loved learning about the history, I loved the sights, I loved hearing the voices, the craic, all of it. I especially enjoyed spending time with my boyfriend’s family. The roots are deep in the county of Leitrim. Generations of this family and it caused me to harken to that unknown part of me. That part that yearns to learn more about my own heritage.

I also realized so much. How I want to be a mother one day even though the prospect terrifies me. The life I want for my family, a life of love and acceptance and a field to grow up in. I want to be near to loved ones. I keep thinking about what all this means because it means Ireland will be my home. Maybe not for forever but for some time–it makes nervous to think about being far from my friends and far from my brothers.

Yet, I have to forge my own life. I want my life to be my own. I don’t want to forget where I came from but I want all the goodness life has to offer. Even if that means being far away from where I was born. I am standing at the edge of a cliff and staring into the unknown. The precipice of my life and looking to dive into the next bit. The uncharted waters. I have some time to get ready for that moment. I feel I’ll be ready.

Net Worth

I have returned from my vacation. It was awesome. I had a few doubts about how to be alone again, about spending and asking myself “do I really deserve this?” I hate how that comes up when I am supposed to be enjoying myself. My mind can’t even give me a rest on a holiday break. I kept thinking I am spending too much or I shouldn’t be throwing caution to the wind. But when do I honestly get a chance to fly solo and toss everything aside. So I went for it full force. I wandered around Papago Park, I showed up to a tourist place when it was closed, I hiked cautiously over snake holes (it’s too cold for snakes I was told thank fuck), I sat and journaled, I chatted to new people and met up with an old friend. One of my favorite things I did was see the Grand Canyon.

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Ok random story, I volunteered at this camp last summer called One Step for kids with cancer/in remission and one of the campers was in my same tour van with his family! They are from Skokie. What are the odds? The van can only fit like 10-11 people max excluding the driver. Also, I am nerdy and I learned a lot about cacti and other plants local to the desert. That was my other favorite thing about Arizona, all the mountains, desert and plants. Loads of the plants are medicinal so you bet your booty I was looking that stuff up!

So I flew back home this morning at about 1am. I basically vegged out in my bed watching Tales from the Crypt reruns. I didn’t want to face reality that I am back. I have things to do. I cancelled my free dance class  (I just didn’t feel like leaving my apartment) and braided my hair since I never learned french braids… I’m practicing now. I finally got the courage to look at my finances and rang my phone carrier to demand a better plan. I get less high speed data now but no charges for going over. That allows me to save money until I switch onto my boyfriend’s plan. I cancelled my Birchbox subscription to save a few dollars. Now I check my budgets and it’s like damn. My net worth is in the negative taking into account my loans, my credit cards, etc. Well… that sucks. That part of being an adult I can do without, thank youuuuuu. This is why I’m going back to school so I can get a job that I like and finally get compensated for it then travel all over the fucking place as I please without any guilt. #goals

Anxiety Levels Rising

I filed my FAFSA. I have a trip to Phoenix with no car where everyone says I need one… I am going by myself which is both exhilarating but terrifying because I haven’t done this in awhile. I keep myself awake with thoughts of failure. Wave after wave of tension and uncertainty. I just want to breathe. I let out some tears and got a hug from Stephen this morning. I spoke to my advisor for psych school this morning felt some relief. Then I was cut from working some extra hours next week at this school camp. Makes me even more eager to leave that silly place, makes me bonkers.

I want to be safe in Phoenix and have fun. I know myself, I will end up soaking up sun and being antisocial for most of it which is what I need. I’ll probably spend too much money on transport but oh well. I need some desert heat and peace. I can’t wait to see the terrain for now though stressing has me paralyzed!

Can’t Sleep

It seems life just gets busier and crazier. In a good way this time. It still gives me anxiety though! I am spending the night at my bestie’s house in Indiana and I can’t sleep at all. I keep thinking about my trip to Phoenix in a week and after that Ireland in spring then London in summer.

The original plan was to go to Ireland in the summer and then I would pop over to London for a wedding but after lots of discussion and arguing with my boyfriend, we finally settled on going to Ireland for Easter and he offered to cover my expenses for London. It was one week of wondering what is the right thing to do. Trip planning has never been so stressful, we would get somewhere and then we would both be stubborn. Luckily we found a resolution and I am relieved. As hard as that decision was it was a relief to argue about something real. In the past with exes it would be petty shit.

This was real trio we have been planning and we wanted us to have the most time in Ireland with his family as well as giving me a tour of the country. I could be living there one day after all!

In addition to stressing about travels, I finally submitted my application for school and within a week I found out I was accepted! It is fantastic and I am so happy but also nervous. This is a huge step for me and I am committed now. It is daunting.

Yesterday I was given news that I was offered a scholarship as well due to my high GPA in undergrad. I don’t know how much it is yet but I am going to work hard to get more scholarships and grants to finance my education. That was something I didn’t do enough of in undergrad because I didn’t research or go after it. I am definitely going to do some work study. It is kind of exhilarating to be like making amends in a way for my naive approach to financials at age 18. Now a decade later I am wise to go after every avenue to know that at least I tried!

So my mind is full of thoughts of school, my aspirations for this year, all the traveling I am doing before school starts and working extra hours to save up for that first term/semester. Perhaps not sleeping in my bed is keeping me up or a combination of that and feeling like my personal life is finally better than any dream could be.

I can’t ignore the national reality all the time but I just needed this. I have been so drained from the news, the incompotence of the current administration, the racism that is far more overt in the USA now. But my therapist said I am incredibly sensitive to emotions and it makes sense to feel the cuts deeply of our current president’s shitty choices and orders. She told me if I need to close off from it that is what I should do. And I have. I left my phone in my bag when I went for lunch and read an old magazine. I found some free books to read on my phone. I think turning off social media and getting away from the news even in that small time is exactly what I needed. And I am going to keep doing that.

If they don’t let me back into the United States after my trip to Ireland I know myself and I would make shit work. Haha.

Didn’t Know I Needed That

Alright y’all. I have grieved for my country and tried to write a novel. I got about halfway which is more than I had any year before, woot! Some of it was old writing, new writing, and some things I didn’t even know I was capable of. I still want to continue my novel and edit the fuck out of it. The community of writers I follow in Chicago are so supportive and I hope one day to meet up with some of them to chat and write, they were very compassionate when I knew I couldn’t finish 50,000 words by the end of November. I hit a rut and I was so crazy busy.

I almost worked part of my holiday break until my therapist strongly recommended I take a breather. I have been stretched thin with work, dancing in the pantomime, social events, holiday shopping and spending time with my boyfriend. It’s been a doozy and I have hardly spent time at home let alone by myself in a peaceful environment! So I took her advice and decided to take care of my physical and emotional health. I was struggling with a cold and a bout of eczema so this weekend I went to the doc, got my meds and creams then huddled in my apartment. I haven’t left since! Today I plan to venture out and get some air but I think I really needed that time to just lay, answer to no one, moisturize, schedule some appointments, and just think about what I want to get done on this break.

Sometimes that sneaking feeling of I should be cleaning or doing this and that came in but I told myself I have plenty of time to get that done. Without having to work extra hours I can do as I please, sure more money would be grand however I desperately needed time away from the school I work in. Most importantly, I need time to write my essay for the psychology school I want to attend. My boyfriend says that has to be my priority for this break and it is. I began a draft, mostly stream of consciousness stuff. A starting place to get all my thoughts out (well the first part of them!) and then I can go back to smarten/condense the words. After that it’s a matter of 2 recommendation letters to get submitted by my coworker and an old professor.

I admit I am nervous but if I take care of my essay, the rest is just following up on my recommenders…

Also this week my boyfriend left for a solo trip to Washington D.C. He needed a break himself, he handles emotions in a different way and he is definitely able to keep busy without it taxing him. Color me envious but our needs are different. Even then, he too decided time away to himself was necessary. He mentioned it once in passing when I planned to apply to school that he would like to travel and sometimes alone because he couldn’t pay for my ticket all the time. At first it stung. Like a lot.

I wanted to travel but going back to school would mean I wouldn’t work for the first time in a long time. I would ideally like to find a small job but it still wouldn’t be a ton of income. I don’t make much now but all of it is going to me and my lifestyle. That will change next year. It’ll be going to school, books, other expenses and the money will be borrowed instead of my own. That’s gonna suck. I remember crying a bit and taking a breather in the next room to process that reality. Not only would it be a challenge for me but our relationship.

Going back to school is huge and it’s going to last a few years, years of not being able to go on trips when I want or attend social events that I enjoy, etc. It really hit me and I expressed how I would be upset. I would never stop him but it would suck because I’d feel like baggage left at home since I have so much to do. He assured me that wasn’t it, what he appreciates about our relationship is that we are both independent. We could do things on our own and together. He admitted that if I wasn’t even mad about him wanting to do things alone it would have concerned him.

I want to do all of things but I have to accept I can’t! He booked these tix to the east coast and I thought I’m going to miss him terribly. I’ll be real I miss him a lot I love hearing from him, seeing pictures and getting his snaps. Also, I really do love having this time alone even though I’m in dreary, cold Chicago! Same old, same old… but having this time to myself, no sharing the bed haha, not having to speak to people that I don’t want to talk to (too many holiday parties), staying in my pajamas, watching the movies I want, making messes that I can clean up later. It’s totally what I needed.

Soon enough he’ll be back in a day or two and if anything it gave me a chance to miss him, to recenter and also to look forward to my own solo trip. 🙂 He bought me tickets for my Christmas present. I’m going to Arizona by myself. I’ve always wanted to check out the desert and I’m hoping to book a day trip to Grand Canyon. We’re hoping to save for a couple’s trip in Spring and we have Ireland/England this summer. I may not have opportunity to travel a ton next school year but I’m getting it all in now so I can focus on my career goals. Here’s to remembering to take care of myself in the coming year.

 

28th

So it’s my birthday. *waves victory flag*

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Taken a month ago… when I was 27 -____-

I made it this far. I feel better lately but I am still an emotional wreck. My therapist says it is about phases and reconstructing yourself. One day I feel like I have my shit together and other days I feel I am breaking down. Today, I felt relieved. I saw my NOLA travel companion/lover/whatever and I was able to hear about his travels. I really enjoy spending time with him yet I was a little sad knowing that the time had to end; when he had to depart and I would be alone again.

I usually like being alone. Today I wanted to spend all that time with him but he has his life and I do have shit to do. It’s one of thing that I find myself doing a lot, I let myself be of service very often and I dislike that. I really want to practice saying no. Which I did earlier, I was rather proud of myself.

I was invited by this guy I like to come to NY. We have been talking back and forth. I’ve liked him for very long fully knowing he is on the east coast… it’s definitely unrealistic but the feels are real. However, I kept bringing up the idea of us meeting up and he said he couldn’t meet me here but I could come there… Yeah, um no. I used to be up for that impulsive shite. I did it before and it was awesome, but not this time. I told him no and I explained that I tend to take chances on people and I need to learn to take chances on myself. I am tired of risking my feelings and my heart. I need to trust myself again and take a break from putting effort into whatever ridiculous fantasy in my head.

I barely have my life sorted, I can’t catch a flight to fucking NYC to maybe have a flirtatious fun time and then it end up in heartbreak. I just can’t afford that shit financially or emotionally. No matter how much I like a person. That’s what 28 years of life has taught me so far. And that I really like being taken out for meals on my birthday in contrast to planning a party… How wise I am. *throws confetti*

Cuba, yay or nay?

New year, not really new me. Same me, new destinations–or hopes for destinations.

So I am trying oh so damn hard this year not to spend money on new clothes (this means whenever people offer me their last season/donation/out of season clothes I say yes yes yes) and I tried to eliminate taxi/Lyft/Uber but I already failed a little this week. Damn it, I am trying. It means a lot to me to pay off what I can and also spend money on experiences not on things. That is my goal for this year. New experiences. I upgraded my laptop, my phone, etc. Things that have been needing an update are done.

Now it’s time for everything else.

I was posed with an opportunity to go to Cuba in the summer with some new friends. Thing is it would include cycling which I do know how to do–I just choose not to because I am terrified of riding on a bike around cars and I lack the endurance lately. Also I do not own a bike. And there is this teeny weeny, almost insignificant issue that I’m American with a passport from you know AMERICA. There are a lot of restrictions for Americans to travel to Cuba. Recently, many of these restrictions were lifted but I have to put way more thought into my itinerary. I cannot go to Cuba solely on the basis of tourism. I’ll be fined. Now my friends do not have this problem, one has an English passport and the other an Irish one. No rules for them, no fines. Also they cycle. Shit.

I pondered, maybe they were joking about me going. Nope. Invitation is dead serious and Cuba is quite appealing to me. I speak the language, I love the food, tropical weather does wonders for my hair, I could get to know locals, explore another island… I like all of these things.

The obstacles seem like they’re beckoning to take them on and I’m like… is this me taking on something too stressful for the fuck of it or is this me seeing what my limit is? I still can’t tell you. I did figure out a backup plan though. If I can’t feasibly get my ass to Cuba after all the training, running, biking, finding a proper reason to go to Cuba that contributes to their society–I’ll go to Spain where my former roomie is. Good plan, right?

Crescent City and beyond

Last week, I flew to New Orleans and it was far better than I expected it to be. I was worried and stressed. I thought, this is too last minute, too impulsive, too unplanned… It went smoothly up until the last day where my couch surfing host cancelled last minute and I was stressed then got a hotel, spent way too much money and… still made it back to Chicago alive and not regretting any other part of my trip. Perhaps 4 days or less in New Orleans is enough, but I still couldn’t believe how wonderful it was. I saw the level of poverty there but I also saw the shameless hustle of people in that city. The rich history, the food, and the beautiful scenery. I sat in Louis Armstrong Park chatting for hours with my friend and finding myself feeling that sense of this is what was meant to be.

No matter what happens beyond that holiday, I’ll always look back in fondness and pride that I went for it. I did it and I experienced the newness; a completely different lifestyle for one week.

I came back this past weekend with a bit of those post-holiday blues and reminiscing about all those new memories I made. Even in New Orleans, I thought about my past and yes, my ex. I didn’t let myself ignore those feelings. How I missed missing him daily. I knew that I wasn’t missing him all the time like I used to. The distance and the lack of communication is quite present. He is no longer part of my daily life. I recall experiences we have together and I miss them. I miss him. It’s this strange paradox of I miss him and I don’t. I miss his smile, his laugh and his embrace. I miss his gentleness from the beginning of our relationship. I don’t miss his sexist comments, judgments towards me or my friends, or that temper that brought out the worst in both of us.

I took good with bad and thought that’s what love is. It’s more than that. So many elements make a relationship function and it’s constantly evolving, it’s ongoing. I am still moving on. I am not over it. I’m not, not in the least. I’m honest about that. But I’m not clinging onto those golden moments of our past. I see them, I cherish it and I wish there were more. But there isn’t. Beyond that, I have no idea what else there is. I want to reach out and say more, but nothing comes to mind. I guess I want to catalogue and detail those beautiful true stories that occurred so that way the awfulness in between doesn’t taint everything. How can you have that beauty without the tragedy? I’m still mixed up and that’s how it’s going to be for awhile.

I did another thing.

So I bought tickets to New Orleans for my fall break.

I bought them purely on a whim. I have this app called Hitlist that tells me about deals on flights and I was talking to my friend who recently bought tickets. They asked to compared ticket prices and they were just the right price for me to say fuck it. I am going. I need this. I need something. I need an escape. I want to go somewhere new and experience something else.

Something different.

Now the dread comes in where I wonder if I am running away from my feelings or if I am being too rash. Am I making a huge mistake?

I do not know. Despite everything that’s happened, post break up–I know I have changed for the better. I learned a great deal. I can love. I have capacity for lots of love and adventure. I won’t know if this is a big disaster until I get there. There’s no right time and no I’m not over everything but who gives a shit? I am going to New Orleans and it could be awesome or terrible or both. As someone used to tell me: only one way to find out.