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Transitions and New Beginnings

In many ways I viewed coming back to Southern California, coming home. This is where I lived for 15 years. This is where my closest friends are. This is where I feel most like me. In essence this is where I grew up. This is where they have wonderful non-chain restaurants.

Yet, coming back has been wonderful and more difficult than I thought. A lot has happened in the last two years. I’m not saying you can’t go home again, but I wasn’t prepared for the adjustment.

Ah yes adjustment, that could be why I keep dreaming of fake weddings which are ironically about death, the end of an era so to speak. That is definitely the case for me.

Coming here is a great new beginning, not just a continuation of the life I longed for while I was in Ohio. That life is over. Friends move on, get married, have babies, move away, or you just have less in common. It happens.

So this is a new beginning. With new beginnings comes awkwardness, uncertainty, fear, exhilaration, nervousness, and risk. Yet there is also much anticipation for what will be and what I am becoming.

One of the great things about this time, before I find a job, is that I am having a chance to reconnect with people that weren’t as big a part in my old life. I had coffee with a friend I haven’t seen since college. It was great. I’m also meeting new people and am actually going to church. I’m having a chance to reconnect with God, outside of the bubble that is my family and all of the baggage that entails. I like it when its just me and God. I am finally able to reconnect with his love for me. I couldn’t feel it there for a while.

All of this means that I am slowly getting back to me and coming back alive. I feel like I’ve been sleeping, surviving, and enduring, that is not living. I’m scared out of my mind about many things but I’m finally getting some traction and moving forward. I am grateful for this time of reflection, healing and rejuvenation. So much to process. So much to decide. So much to absorb. While I’m starting to worry about finding a job, I know this time is sacred. I wasn’t ready to jump into a job when I first got here. I’m getting there.

Goodbye Ohio

Hard to believe I’m leaving in two days.

Hard to believe I’ve been here for two years.

I am so scattered right now. I don’t think I’ve really stopped to process anything. I really only decided to leave six weeks ago. But like taking off a band-aid I knew I needed to leave quickly or I wouldn’t do it. As much as I don’t like living in Ohio, the role I play here is a very familiar one. In many ways I’m leaving that as much as anything else.

Yet as I sit here at 1:26 a.m. packing random crap in boxes I’m feeling anxious, scared, nervous, sadness and fear. There are at least eight other emotions in there as well, but those are the top six. I’m sure they’re all normal.

Leaving Ohio is very different from leaving CA. There isn’t a fanfare. No goodbye tour. No big to do. Instead I said goodbye to those that meant the most to me and just want to leave quietly.

I’m not sad I’m leaving. I just wish things were different. I’m not leaving like I thought I would. Nothing about these two years has been normal. It’s just bittersweet, the whole experience.

Debbie, my friend who will be driving back with me, is arriving tomorrow. I have a ton of last minute errands, packing and preparation to do.

Processing Life

These past few weeks have been difficult.

I’m interviewing for two different jobs. My dad is moving to a new house, so I’ve been helping him pack. I’ve also been traveling 4 hours back and forth from OH to IN to be with my aunt during chemo. Not to mention watching my nephews thrown in along with prepping for a big craft fair this Saturday both by making chocolate for my dad and jewelry for my mom. Oh and my dad had knee surgery today, so I sat at the hospital all day.

I’m exhausted. Emotionally drained. Physically tired. Soul weary.

The weather is turning cold. The skies are grey. The trees are naked and I feel like it all matches my mood right now. I’m on edge. Little things are bugging the crap out of me.

I’m not hopeless. I’m not freaking out about anything. Life is just stressful right now. I also realize that some of this is part of the aftermath of my parent’s divorce. As the oldest child I am now called on to stand in the gap, a lot. There are needs to be met. There are things that need to be done.

I’m also realizing how much of a team married couples are. When one of those people is removed from the equation there is a giant hole. With the move my mom would have packed, organized and transferred all services. My dad is responsible for finding the heavy lifters and getting it all moved. My dad didn’t stop to think about the things my mom usually does. This is just one example of many. As I step in to help I am hit with a wall of sadness and grief. There is a pain in realizing they are no longer a unit.

I could say no. I could walk away. I could draw harsh boundaries but I want to help. I want to encourage. I want to be involved. I just haven’t figured out how to do that and still take care of me yet.

I realize I need more me time. I know I need to find space to rest emotionally and spiritually. It’s just hard right now. I’m shuttling back and forth between my mom’s house and my dad’s house. I’m hoping that if I get the job I want it will buy me some space.

I especially feel responsible because my brother has removed himself completely. That is how he is choosing to cope. To me that is unacceptable. I can’t do that. Perhaps that is because I’m the firstborn and we naturally assume these roles. We naturally feel obligated. We are used to taking the reigns.

So it’s a whole bag of emotions. I need to get them out. I need to release them. Crying is part of it, but I also need to be creative. I think that’s why I’m so irritated right now. I haven’t had the time I want to focus on this show. I have had zero time to take photos. I haven’t been to a museum in a while. There have been no festivals to enjoy. I am also on people overload. As an introvert I need time alone. I have no space to be by myself. I have no space to call my own. I miss all my stuff that has been in boxes for almost two years.

So there’s a lot going on. It’s not life or death and I feel like I should insert some positive thing right here, but I can’t. It would be insincere. It’s not that I don’t feel positive. I can see lots of evidence of God moving in our lives. I feel settled into my skin more now than I ever have before.

It’s just hard right now. I’m jonesing for a trip to CA. I need to be with my peeps. I’m hoping it will work out that I can go for my 35th birthday. We’ll see.

Ode to 2008

The time has come to bid a fond adieu to 2008.

It was the best of times and the worst of times.

I’ve blogged about the big-bad things ad nauseum – leaving California and all my wonderful friends, adjusting to Ohio, and visiting California as much as possible.

I’m choosing to focus on other things that happened this year. I decided to do some marketing as a contractor. It was great to have my own schedule but dealing with different personalities was challenging. Basically I’m not enough of a diplomat to do it. I don’t like having to be so nice and accomodating all the time. It just isn’t in my nature. I’m not that nice. However, I did get to go to Georgia, a place I’ve never been. It also faciliated my trip to Savannah. I have been dying to get to Savannah for years, and I got to go with one of my favorite people, Debbie.

I’m working with my dad right now. He bought two businesses in August. We were working 16-hour days trying to get ahead and figure out what the heck we’re doing. We’re finally starting to get some traction. I am believing that 2009 will be a good year for us. We have some great ideas and good help. Phew.

My sanity, at two points in the year, came in the form of two friends that braved the wild frontier and visited me here in Ohio. Lisa came in May, her first trip to Ohio in her whole life. Shocker, can’t imagine never having been to the great state of Ohio. We had a whirlwind tour of all the highlights. Erika came in September. We went to Pittsburgh and to visit her grandma who lives in nearby Elyria. How great is it to have friends that you can just pick up where you left off. There is no pretense, entertaining or BS. It’s just honesty, sincerity and unconditional love.

The past 10 months in Ohio have also been a tough yet good time with family. I have gotten to babysit for my nephews a lot. They are both crazy, so much fun and test every nerve I have. Yet, when I don’t seem them at least every other day I go through withdrawls. I have also seen a different side of my parents. Rather than slipping into the role I’ve played my entire life I’m able to just be me, which is so much easier. Another sign all the therapy paid off.

There are also things that stay the same regardless of where I am – I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I still have no idea where I’m going to end up. I’m still single. These familiar friends are still with me. No idea when those will be resolved. I am learning to be more comfortable with the ambiguity.

I don’t regret my decision to move here to Ohio. I am beginning to make new friends here. I’ve nearly stopped comparing everything to California. I’m trying to move on and embrace this season of life right where God has me now – Ohio. I don’t want to miss the good because I’m wishing I was somewhere else.

I am looking forward to 2009 with anticipation and excitement. I believe its going to be a good year, perhaps not what we expect but full of new adventure and opportunities for growth. How is that? LOL. I’m downright pollyanna and optomistic. Not bad.

Empty

Janine and Tina moved out today. Our house is emptier and emptier. I will be there through Thursday and then leave on Friday morning for Ohio.

It really hit me as I came home tonight that life as I knew it is over. It was depressing to walk into the empty condo. There is no life left in it. Everything that made it a home is gone.

I will miss Tina’s smiling face asking me how my day was.
I will miss Janine yelling Marrrrti as I walk in the door.
I will miss Tina mooching food from me. LOL. It really was endearing, after a while 🙂
I will miss all the girl conversations with Janine, about really inappropriate and personal topics. LOL.
I will miss living with peers, in the same stage of life with me.
I will miss having them to debrief my day/dates/people with.
I will miss the sense of home we created together.
I will miss sitting at the kitchen eat-in yakking about anything and everything with them.
I will miss their generous hospitality. Everyone was always welcome at our house.

We are all so amazingly different. Sometimes I’m shocked one of us didn’t die and then there are those moments when it just worked. Maybe same sex roommates are a prep for marriage. Who knows. I do know that I learned so much from them this year. I was so blessed to be able to share a house with them.

So thank you Janine and Tina for helping to shape and mold me. You will forever be apart of me and I’m so glad that you’ll always be in my life somehow.