Life is Busting out ALL Over!

The Wall

Posted on: May 12, 2009

3336432680_22c0a185d92Another Austin Sunset from Pennypacker Bridge – photo credit

The week before last I hit a wall. My breaking point, if you will. After almost exactly 4 months in a new city in a new state (which feels like the other side of the world), in a new job in a new environment and going from corporate to a government employee (in the crudest sense of the word, but it’s so evident in how different things operate not to mention s–l–o–w), my brain went on strike. All the new information, the new faces and names, my brain had reached it’s capacity.

This week, the semester is over, save for finals but as far as I’m concerned, my semester ended for me when I hit the wall. It was as if all the information I had consciously and unconsciously absorbed since 2009 started was swirling around at such a fast pace that there simply wasn’t enough room for anything else. The effect on me, was one I felt deeply, as I desperately wanted something, anything to find a tether and bring it back down to settle, at the very least so I could get used to it.

It was also during these past few weeks that I have longed for Chicago. I think missing is too soft of a word. I would have typed ‘desperately missing’ but I’m trying to keep my use of desperate to once a post – lest I need to create a category for it (but there’s 3 so far, bygones). It’s not a new feeling, I have missed it greatly since I’ve left and tried to push it away.  But as my lifeline to the world, others call Facebook, kept commenting how great the weather has been, I could feel my heartstrings pull north.

The weather is great in Texas as well… for August as I know it to be. It has been no less than 95 degrees with such humidity I have to check with others that Houston in fact has it worse, so I can be grateful for something. I don’t hate the heat but fall has always been my favorite season. It’s really not the heat (and I know I shouldn’t complain) it’s the lack of build up to the heat that has thrown me and made me homesick. I loved this time of year in Chicago, when the weather, for however many glimpses, allowed us to shake off the hibernation and start to venture outside for walks on the lakefront or gather together for grilling out, when the sun shone just long enough to bring out the skirts and if it was too cold by the end of the day leaving work, it didn’t matter because we knew of what was to come. And it’s why I loved living in the city. The heartbeat that maintained a steady pulse throughout the winter months so that the build up of energy could explode in the summer.

I suppose that the winter months in Austin could represent the same thing but having experienced for the first time, my natural biorhythms were not used to it yet. The strangest thing has happened, though, since I’ve hit that wall. I’ve really started to enjoy myself, and enjoy Austin tremendously.

I’ve forged a strong friendship with a co-worker in which has taken me to the most beautiful spot to watch a sunset in Austin, a long night of talking and sharing and relating even though we are in two very different stages of our lives, and I’d never thought I’d say it: a fantastic old school Texan honkytonk. A great bond with her daughter, the cutest 3.5 year old on the planet, who shares my love for belting out The Sound of Music, who runs to me for hugs, was the first one to notice my new hair cut and who won’t leave me alone, when she comes to see her mom after day care, until I promise once again that “Yes, I promise to watch Bolt with you.”

I have made amends with a relationship that was very hard to let go, endured an ongoing saga with the one who let me down only for him  to realize that I was indeed that One, something I had known in my heart all along but could never trust that feeling enough. I somehow found the strength that words were just words and follow through was just more important and all of it was no longer what I, the one who had waited to hear it, wanted. I finally realized that letting him go was the best thing I could do for me, even if it meant hurting him, something I did not want to be responsible for after he had had a lifetime of hurt. But not being honest with him would have cut his scarred wounds even deeper. I knew I loved him enough to let him go and when I finally saw through the smoke that he didn’t love me enough to do the same, I closed the chapter. I am someone who can find a way to make anything work , and on the eve on what would have been our 5th anniversary, I forgave myself for exerting so much energy on something that would not, or was not meant to, work. Months of not knowing which was the right thing to do, showed itself when all I felt was relief once it was all said and done for good.

I have found a new hair stylist, in the cutest little yellow house in South Austin, who is honest and promises on what she delivers and whose cut does not stop receiving compliments. I bought tickets to a music festival I can NOT wait for, even though I might have to tolerate more heat than I want for October and still am trying to figure out how to get there without driving. I think 5 months is enough time to figure it out.

I hosted my mom for Mother’s Day this past weekend on her very first trip to Austin. I dragged the poor woman through hikes and outdoors in blazing heat and she still couldn’t find relief in my car which holds the little air condition that really could not hold up (fingers crossed for the summer!). With all the tours and the restaurants I’ve been dying to try but had not yet, I realized how great this part of the country I live in really is. And how lucky I am to be here. When I hugged her goodbye at the airport, I realized that the only thing I wanted to do was get back in my extraordinarily hot car, now blowing hot air instead of A/C, and get on to work and at the end of the day, back home, yes home, to my apartment. I smiled the whole way.

I ended my first semester with more relief than I thought I’d feel. I received thank you notes from students for whom I only did what I could, just trying to get by on my first outing. I became a mentor for some, and found mentors in others. Even if their phones are fancier than mine and they are on the brink of I life I wouldn’t choose for myself, I have learned far more from them than I had hoped to give to them. I have had little signs along the way that wink at me letting me know I’m headed in the right direction.

I am happy. I think I was afraid to be happy here, where my connections are few and my roots are struggling to break through the thick, thick Texan limestone. But they will. And I’m ready to be present through every experience that those roots’ struggles and eventual successes might bring.

That wall, the one that I hit where I threw up my hands in frustration, broke me. But it also broke my expectations of how I should feel and through it I found a way to climb over the wall and now can see over the other side.


1 Response to "The Wall"

This is an awesome blog post. Partially because there are bits & pieces of it that strike a cord with me, but also because it is so well-written. I moved a long way from home too–Connecticut to Florida–a little over seven years ago. It’s exciting & scary, but it takes a little while to get past the initial feelings, to hit our individual versions of your wall, break down any expectations we were predisposed to having and really become a resident of our new environment. There are things I still miss about living in New England–most notably, four distinct seasons, Autumn, the possibility of a White Christmas–but I have also embraced what my new world has to offer. In trade, I have the most glorious Winters (barring Christmas which I cannot totally adjust to even now) and the heavenly scent of orange blossoms each March. It’s an adventure that I am now open to, even as I miss where I came from, and I know that if I left it now, I would miss Florida as well. It’s funny how the very moment you feel like you’ve hit the breaking point & want to run back home, the next you realize you *are* home now–or so it seemed for me.

Wow. This comment is epic novel in length! I should stop now. 😉 I just wanted to say that I truly appreciated your post, and I applaud your strength of character & spirit in turning to a new chapter in regard to your past relationship. Here’s to new faces, new places & the journey! =)

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musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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