Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A brand new invention? One year is a long time...

I've never been that good at titles, so borrowing from Vanilla Ice is just...expected at this point, right? Anyway, I'm not sure who I'm talking to, as I've more or less let this blog gather dust in the corner. But I'm here now, wanting to give it another spin, and start writing...things. Things that aren't necessarily related or news or about anything specific. To extend the hell out of a metaphor if I want, and to cut to the bone blunt if I want as well. I think I need to get my own space back.

Today I was thinking about my Chicagoistversary. One year ago today, as I was coming out of a friend's funeral, I got an email that my very first article for Chicagoist was posted. My first byline! It made a day full of sadness, uncomfortable conversation, and uncertainty so much brighter. I felt like it might be the start of something entirely new and very good for me.

I find it so funny, in reflection on this, that the title of the piece was "Come On, See Happy." It was a time I was trying to make sense of someone being so unhappy that they felt there was nothing else for them, which is something a lot of people have been talking about lately. It was also a time when I wasn't that happy. I was trying to heal and figure out my life after a sad series of events that left me vacant one significant, person shaped space in my heart, and I was mostly hiding instead of healing. Home every night, weeks of tornado shows, half-assed attempts to be with people when I wasn't feeling like putting things out there, really. I wasn't really happy. But I was trying. I took a kayaking trip like one I'd missed out on due to injury a few years back with new friends, and it was amazing. I was doing things I always wanted to do instead of just *saying* "I've always wanted to do something like that" and getting so much out of it.

I participated in GISHWHES, which had a huge impact on my confidence, my sense of adventure, and my willingness to let myself be rejected. I pretty much credit GISHWHES with me even being at Chicagoist, since it was that newly found confidence that led me to respond to the tweet asking for A&E writers instead of talking myself out of it with well thought out points about how I didn't have the right qualifications.

But here I am, a year later. I have interviewed a member of the Deftones, who I listened to obsessively in high school, met and interviewed the creators of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, which both me and my boyfriend adore and led to meeting quite a few other people, and interviewed one of my all time favorite comedians. I've explored Chicago's museums and gotten to see concerts I otherwise wouldn't have, and had the opportunity to treat my friends and boyfriend to these things from time to time.

It's quite a different place I'm in than the one that I was in a year ago. The afore mentioned boyfriend makes the word seem inadequate to describe the relationship. It's a partnership unlike anything I've experienced, and he's got the most amazing heart. I honestly think I could not love anyone more than I love him, and for the first time, I feel like I have that, too. It's not without its problems, but it is standing the test of time, and I feel like I'm growing and learning, and finding that I only want to keep doing those things, and keep getting closer.

I'm busier than I have been in a long time. And while the things I'm doing are AWESOME, there are times I wish I didn't have such a packed schedule. Oftentimes I'm trying to squeeze an article in after the day job and before sleep, or on lunch, and rushing to cover a story after work and start the cycle again. In regards to the day job, I'm a forever contractor in a department that's not going to expand ever again. I would love to keep working there, but for what I make, and now planning for what I want the future to be like, it may not be practical to stay, and the reality is there may not be anything I can do but start over.

Sometimes I feel like I've been a bit of a bad friend, not keeping in touch as much as I want to, and not having the energy to do the things I used to. Between stories and relationships, my calendar is more full than it ever has been, so a night like tonight that's my second one in a row at home feels decadent, necessary and comes with a side of guilt.

There's ups and downs. Lately, the stress of finances, figuring out what my next step on the day-job level will be, family and friend obligations and some growing pains in the relationship have made me feel a little bit more down than usual. A little more frenzied.

It was a good time, then, to look back a year. It reminds me to see happy. It reminds me of the great things I've seen and done since then. It reminds me of a time when all I did was take care of myself, even to my own detriment, and helps me try and find a better balance now.  So I think I'll start writing here more regularly, and if anyone is reading this, poke me if I don't, eh? And I think I'll make sure my nails are a new shade a week instead of shards of orange glitter that are a month old, because that makes me feel pampered and pretty and like I care about how I look.  I think I'll start yoga again, because it made my body feel better, more toned, and it was relaxing. And it might seem too ambitious, and like too much change at once, but one year later, I know I'm capable. Time to let the rubber meet the road.

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