i’m moving (again)

Photo: Audrey Lew

Not to be dramatic but making decisions actually sucks. I can barely pick if I want chips, an apple or a baguette on the side of my Panera Bread order. Anyway, I am moving away from Chicago in September (I am not missing Riot Fest though, come on) and moving to Cleveland, Ohio well Lakewood really. Not just because there is a Sheetz, either. But I figured I would walk through this whole decision thing in case someone was curious and because writing is therapeutic for me.

Before Chicago, almost all my decisions were safe and pleased as many people as I possibly could (shoutout to my therapist for helping me get over that). I stayed at home for college, didn’t drive, had never lived on my own – which there is nothing wrong with because that pace worked for me. Then I was like oh I am going to quit my fun stable job, learn to drive, and move to a different time zone halfway across the country because I am too comfortable, not growing, and not reaching my full potential as an individual!! Haha! But no it was rough. I learned so much the hard way but I learned a lot. I learned rejection and the importance of asking for help and was unemployed for over 2 months. I had to face a lot of fears. I had to let go of relationships that were holding me back or making me feel like a burden. I got in a car accident that totalled my car right outside my apartment. I learned to keep my circle smaller, learned that not everyone is going to like me – learned that is ok. Learned boundaries, and balance, and the importance of wanting to get better for yourself. I learned what communication and vulnerability looked like. Learned to give myself permission to disappoint others on the journey to finding myself and what actually makes me happy. Learned to realize I am happy. Learned to laugh at myself. I found some of the best friends I ever had. I fell in love. I grew into myself. I found a job that allowed me to use empathy productively to make people feel heard and seen. I tapped into my creative side shamelessly and started writing again for the first time in a while. I dove headfirst back into music. I found a city that felt like home. And it still does – it always will, but I need a break. And that’s ok. It’s ok to outgrow the places or people that once were exactly what you needed. That doesn’t make them any less special.

I am bad at taking breaks, I have such a hard time giving myself permission to slow down and not try to plan every second of time out. It makes me feel lazy and unproductive, but as someone working hard to work with my anxiety so I can be the best version of myself for me and the people I love – I need to embrace a slower pace in life and work. Chicago grew me so much so fast in ways I don’t even think I will fully grasp until later in life but I have to admit it is not always healthy for me right now. A major city is a whole different world. There are days it feels a lil too crowded and it makes me feel lost or overwhelmed. The traffic can make me feel stuck, like I should also be in a hurry. I know there are different pros and cons to everywhere but I have conquered so many “irrational stresses” and now I am left with so many I can’t make go away because of my environment. I was a lucky kid to grow up with a big backyard, so many woods to hike in during the summer, friends who lived down the road – this feeling like there was space to grow. I think I want that again for a bit. I am ready to slow down a bit and live somewhere that encourages that mindset and a slower pace. And I am letting myself not get frustrated that I didn’t adjust better / completely. What works for someone else isn’t going to necessarily work for me. We shouldn’t feel guilty for not thriving in the same soil others are blossoming in. We should only focus on finding where we feel like we can grow. Right now I happen to think that is Cleveland, Ohio.

So that is that. I am trading Cheesies for Melt. But no really – it is kinda a big deal. I am ready to make a career move to have a more challenging job and invest more time in my people and my passion projects. And in all honesty living somewhere cheaper will allow me to travel farther for fun because I will be able to drive to my hometown of Baltimore or back to Chicago without much planning. It’s gonna be good and it’s cool to actually say that and mean it. I am definitely nervous and I don’t have it all figured out yet but it’ll work out. I always go back to this saying “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” So I am trying to be excited because I know what I want for myself and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there even if it takes time. It feels good to value my happiness again and place more of an importance on that than just make decisions that are easy or logical. I don’t have to justify my decisions to anyone – I just have to know I am doing what I believe is best for me and let that be enough.

I am going to miss this city a heck of a lot but I know I will be back plenty. I know I will be FaceTiming Danielle or Morgan like the week after I actually move. So many people here let me really lean on them and I couldn’t be more thankful to grow a support system and to learn that I deserve that. Being “on your own” has definitely taught me that you need people.

OK I digress because I am a rambler and I COULD keep going. I just hope you all learn that you deserve to be in spaces where you have the space to grow, are supported, are celebrated, and even challenged. I put so much value in comfort and routines that I sacrificed my own joy and potential and I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to wait for everything to be perfect and aligned when I could just do it and figure the rest out. And if you have the right people in your life, they’ll have your best interest at heart and encourage you. Moving to Chicago was the craziest decision I may have ever made but I am proud of it and I am ready to figure out what’s next for me over there in Cleveland. See you soon!

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