I missed my two year anniversary. I moved to Charleston on August 3, 2013. I was 22.
My parents were sad, my brothers were sad, my extended family was sad, my friends were sad. Heck, my pup Cookie was even sad...I think. And I was sad to go. But when I graduated college, I knew I needed to leave Illinois. Quickly.
It's not that I had anything against Illinois (Southern Illinois to clarify). I still don't. It's easily one of my favorite places to be in the world...and that's saying something. I just knew that I wouldn't find what I was looking for there. It was too easy. I would become complacent. Go through the motions. Blah blah blah.
I missed celebrating my two year anniversary of moving to Charleston. I missed celebrating the most important decision I've made in my life thus far.
I chose Charleston on a whim, basically. Which, up until very recently, has been how I have made all of my major life decisions. Cue my parents chagrin. I really knew nothing about Charleston except that (1) it was the place where my dream job was located and (2) the crotchety old & dead John C. Calhoun hailed from its historic streets. When I officially got the job, I didn't even look up in google images what I had signed up for. That's trust.
For some people, type A's probably, my re-telling of this story is causing you stress. Imagine your stress times 1,000 - this is what my parents and loved ones were feeling. I was just so excited to be doing something new - something in which I didn't know if everything was going to work out. I think that is what made it easier for them to let me go.
I missed celebrating my two year anniversary of moving to Charleston. I missed celebrating moving to Charleston because I was too busy living in it.
Two years of AmeriCorps VISTA and two years at Reading Partners. Now I can say I'm starting my third year at Reading Partners and thank god I'm not a VISTA. I was hired full-time. I made it to the big leagues. I'm a real adult. I'm I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T...okay you get it. It wasn't a hard choice. They offered me the job and I wholeheartedly accepted. I believe so much in what I'm doing and where I'm doing it. Every day, I get to see kids' lives transform. Their little brains are being prepared for a life I know will be brighter and fuller. This one thought makes waking up for work worth it.
Because of my job, I made friends. And the friends I made introduced me to their friends. And so on. I've made a lot of really great friends and I am so thankful.
So, I don't just stay in Charleston because of my job, or the beautiful scenery, or the great friends I have. I stay because my collective experiences here have made it a home. It is a place where I can thrive and do things on my own, or not do things on my own. A place where I feel safe and loved. A place where I can find something new to appreciate every day. A place where I can eat the best fried chicken in the world and not feel guilty for the amount of grease I've consumed. A place where PBR is cheap and available everywhere (ya'll knew I was going to bring it back to that).
Charleston is a place where I want to be. Thanks for letting me be.
Always and forever - LYLAS - Kate
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Moving to Charleston has been both a challenge and a blessing, and in the past three months I’ve seen my life change in so many ways. I’m not sure if I’m a better version of myself entirely. I feel different but I don’t really look different. I talk the same—as any southerner will remind me—but the words I use are often times cautious rather than impulsive. My actions have the same good intentions, but I still have the capacity to devastate and frustrate others, and these three months have proved that to me time and time again. As a result, I’ve avoided feelings. I wear my mind on my sleeve in order to guard my heart from truly connecting to anything. I live in a sea of complexity and I welcome it because it keeps me from ever fully recognizing the overwhelming reality of how much life can suck. But it also keeps me from recognizing the beautiful parts and the good I contribute by just simply being.
I can’t help but think that my shift in mentality, emotions, and actions all boil down to the fact that I’ve lost integral parts of life and have yet to fill the holes in again.
For example…I’m currently running away from God. I’m not sprinting yet, but I’m certainly not walking either. Up until this point, I’ve always had God and God’s people in my life. And I'm not saying I don't have that here...I'm in the South...there is literally a church around every corner.
What makes it hard is that I feel alone in the midst of an overwhelming Christian presence, which I will admit is my doing. No one can make me feel inferior except for myself and no one can make me feel alone and distant from God except for myself. I have the ability and the capacity to change everything--to take charge of my life and bring back the zest I so desperately need. I CAN do that. But I'm not.
As I listen to a man ask for “extra hot coffee” at Starbucks, I think about the boldness it takes to tell people how you really feel but also to tell yourself how you should feel. I don’t have that—at least not right now. I accept complacency. If Starbuck’s gave me lukewarm coffee and I really wanted hot coffee, I’d just say, “that’s okay, thanks anyway.” I’ve accepted a life of average-ness and along with it I've welcomed average emotions. I put up a good front--I broadcast that my coffee is extra hot--but if you actually put it to your lips you would see that it's not true. I hate that. I hate that I can't be a full-version of myself to anyone. But I also don't think that I've felt the need or want to be that intimate with a person yet, and especially not with God. Funny enough he already knows that.
I'm not saying all of this to elicit a response or for you to pity me, so don't do that. I'm just having a moment of honesty for myself--kind of--so I can look back on this and acknowledge it and then move on. I want to push forward, but I don't think anyone can do that unless they realize what they are even moving away from. I will continue to work on how I feel, and how I confront and I will never forget that I always have amazing amounts of love coming my way.
Bear with me, then, as I figure all this out. Also, I can't think of a more emo and cheesy way to end this post than with a quote from the man, the myth, the legend, Bob Dylan:
"Don't think twice, it's alright."