Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for the ‘worrying causes wrinkles’ Category

Internets, this is the first weekend I’ve had in about three weeks ALL TO MYSELF. I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to this weekend, plus a 3 day weekend to boot. Seems that I probably jinxed myself somewhere along the way.

The weekend started off great, I continued great email banter with the Date on Friday, participated in a gratifying graduation ceremony seeing my students off into the wild blue jobless yonder but still really great, had a two hour power sesh with my best friend over the phone which felt like I was right there in her apartment like we used to do.

Saturday, I woke up to FLEAS. I’m not kidding and I’m not getting into specifics because it’s horrible and disgusting and I seriously have not eaten in the last two days due to the horror of it all. The culprit are my cats. Indoor cats so don’t ask me how they got there but they did. And they are treated and have been retreated. Problem is… I didn’t catch it in enough time for them to just stay on the cats, which means I have spent all day Saturday and today basically scouring, vaccumming, or washing anything that is not nailed down in my apartment. I fogged it yesterday after crazy cat lady (who is also a suspect in the flea caper of 2009 but I forgive her because she scrubbed down both cats for me with flea shampoo) agreed to take them for me so they’d be out and safe while I fogged the hell out of it. Things appear much better today but there’s still work to be done.

This is the most helpless feeling I’ve ever had and I’m trying to keep perspective; it’s not cockroaches (thank god!) or anything but still I feel like after everything I do, I have to start all over again. I have not had more than two minutes of time to rest while I’ve been in this place this weekend. I realize that there are people who have it a lot worse in other areas of their lives than fleas in an apartment and would willingly trade places with me but I can’t think of anything worse, for me, than not feeling comfortable in my own home.

If things still don’t work tomorrow, I’m calling an exterminator. Ugh. I should have done this in the first place but at least I know now. Lesson learned: when trying to solve your own problem particularly of the insect variety, do NOT search for answers on the internet as you will just find stuff out that you never really wanted to know and will become paranoid. I hate ignorance but man, it’s fucking BLISS for a reason.

Okay, so the highlight of my weekend was that Date and I decided to meet up for coffee Sunday. Date and I met on an online dating site. I normally would never have joined but I thought it might be a good way to meet people and maybe see parts of Austin, I would not normally maybe do by myself and two, I do trust this particular site as two of my friends are getting married to people they met on there. Also I wanted to get a sense of the kind of guys here and since I don’t have a huge network of friends yet nor am I hitting the bar scene, I thought this might be the best way. (I have since realize that this idea is like trying to figure out what kinds of sickness people get by looking at sick people – this doesn’t not make any sense, I realize but hey I’m hungry and I’m exhausted because I have fucking FLEAS, remember? Make it work in your head.)

Moving on, I am not necessarily looking for a serious relationship right now but I figured that by keeping my feet wet in the dating pool it might make me more willing to not have issues about it when it eventually happens. (HA! Don’t you love my rationalizations??!) ANYWAY, Date (if this continues I will give Date a name) and I have been having some decent email conversations. Thanks to my last relationship or the lack of things I needed in my last relationship, I really appreciate the things Date has been doing and showed while we were out.

He chose a coffee shop halfway between us, one that was ‘very Austin’ in it’s decor, attitude and clientele. ‘Very Austin’ is hard to describe unless you’ve been here but it served for tremendous people watching. He had earlier asked for some book recommendations, and I brought some of my collection along for him to peruse. I had offered to loan him a book, partly because it seemed natural but partly to see if it would lead to seeing him again as he’d have to return it.

When I pulled up to the coffee shop, I was really nervous mostly because it was so crowded and we hadn’t really gone through the specifics of meeting up once we got there. I was sitting in my car putting stuff in my purse when I caught a guy walking towards the general parking area out of the corner of my eye. Turns out it was Date. He was faking going to his car, which ironically was parked right next to mine. We hugged and he asked if I had any trouble getting here. Later when I checked my phone, I realized he left me a voicemail right at the time I arrived letting me know he was there and if I needed any help finding it. (This was the first time I had been in that neighborhood).

It was a little awkward at first but he gave me recommendations on the house favorites, since he used to go there a lot during grad school and after. He took my order and picked up the coffees, while managing to hold the door open for me as we went outside to sit. Once we were settled, across from each other, the conversation started to flow. He’s really easy to talk to, he wanted to know much more about me (turns out the only other person he knows from IL is from the suburb I grew up in, ironic) and my thoughts on Austin. He asked follow up questions that I want people to ask me (sounds confusing but it’s because about a specific quality of mine that most people don’t pick up on and he did) and is a good listener. Typically getting to know you conversations like that have ended up with the guy interrupting to say his opinion or turning it back to be all about him. He opened up about himself, but not too much too fast, but just enough to keep me thinking of other things I wanted to ask him or discuss once I left.

He has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, a real bright light blue that are gorgeous and kind. That’s the only thing I can think of when I see them. Kind. He was most curious about how I felt about Austin, if I was homesick and all the things he loved about Austin and places and happenings that go on here that I didn’t know about. I had had the sense that maybe he was sort of over Austin, since he’s been here for years, prior to meeting up so it was kind of cute to me that he wanted to make sure that I like living here.

We laughed a lot and got another round of the house specialties and we spent about two and half hours sitting there before a threat of a thunderstorm finally forced us to leave. He walked me to my car, opened the door for me after I unlocked it and hugged me goodbye. No kiss but that’s okay. In fact, now I want to kiss him so that was probably a smart move on his part. Miles and miles away from the traditional first dates I’ve had in my life, which usually involved copious amounts of alcohol and resulting bad decisions.

This was different. Different good. Different in that it was a confidence booster for me. Different in that it helps me start to really see my life here. Probably not with him, which is fine, it wasn’t the point. I’ve heard from him already thanking me for the good time he had and when I left he said he’d call so who knows? But this summer is starting to make me smile. Fleas and all.


I think I must be genuinely naive. I’m sure in some instances it’s an endearing quality. But quite frankly I feel like I should be better than that. I knew going into this year I would be faced with some changes. Honestly, I thought most of my changes had already happened. Naivete alert! Isn’t constantly changing and evolving a good thing? Doesn’t that mean one is open to possibility and therefore enjoying life?? I would think so. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that before.

But when I think back to when I was 22 and 26, ages in which significant movement happened in my life, I was so different at each of those points. Like moving towards the next destination on a very long track. I’ve come such a long way and I thought any changes still to occur would certainly not be as shape shifting as those prior. Haven’t I grown up enough to stop shifting into completely unrecognizable shapes?

This week was a tough one for me emotionally. For every reason and no reason at all. Not that this needs to be justified because I support mental well being, but I started going to the counseling center on campus. Mostly because it’s free and also because I wanted to make the most of whatever changes I’d be going through. I didn’t expect much. My counselor is a lovely doctoral student, who does a very good job of listening but not so much in the challenging department. I was a little disappointed that we have been spending the last couple months discussing the break up – although the timing of those sessions was perfect. I had gotten a little frustrated because I felt like I was just talking and not getting anywhere. Last week, however, was different. I thought I’d had talked the break up out, although I know this not to be true, but we moved into a discussion in which I had to start to face some truths about myself.

Truths that I didn’t even know lay within every fiber of my being. They are difficult truths. And one truth is so shocking that I didn’t even think to associate with me. The truth is I’m a control freak. My outward self, judging by my clothes and my mess of an apartment are real examples to me that I couldn’t possibly be controlling. In fact, I’ve noticed how laid back I’ve become over the years, that the control couldn’t possibly there. It’s there alright. With every thought, it is the puppet master of my mind. It is the truth that keeps me from living in the present but rather supplies all my worries about the future, the worries I can’t possibly control. It is the truth that keeps me from facing my own medical history truth, no, facts. The ones I push out of my mind because it’s easier not to deal. It is the truth that keeps me from having faith that I will be okay, I will be loved, and I will make the right decisions.

It is also the one truth that if faced, will significantly change my life. The worry of being stuck will never be a possibility. The life full of passion, I so desperately hope for and have waited for it to start, will happen.

It’s ugly in its’ parts. But it is one I have to face, it is undeniably the truth I internally hoped to face and went looking for. So I’m going to face it no matter the pain it will cause me or the hurt I don’t want to feel. Perhaps once I do, I can find comfort in my changes and finally pull into the station and stay for awhile.

Oh, hello there. How are you? Is your summer flying by? Mine is. I’m moving out of state in less than a month. How do I feel? It’s crazy!

Now that I’m not working, I think it’s sunk in to everyone that I’m really leaving. So I’m getting bombarded with the emails and the calls and everyone wants to know? How are you??

All I can say is: “It’s crazy!”

Crazy, is not even a fair description of how I feel. First off, I don’t even like using the word because I despise how mental health is treated in this country and I don’t want to condone the use of this word.

But it just slips out.

Rather, what I’d love to say is “You know, I don’t know. One one hand I’m really really excited I’m doing this. I’ve never taken fully realized a goal of mine to this capacity before so I’m not sure how I should be feeling. I’m getting sad I’m leaving my comfort zone. Streets that I can navigate with my eyes closed. Knowing I can just drive an hour and see my parents when I want to. My boyfriend and I just spent two weeks apart and we were calling or texting each other every day. I have no idea how that is going to translate into one year. I also had no idea how much I missed him, how much this apartment was filled with him until he wasn’t here. Or how much I love really love him. I’m also slowly running out of money, I’ll be okay until my loans kick in but it’s not a good feeling. I wanted to truly start over, get new furniture, buy a new camera, and get one last really expensive hair cut so I could just maintain it. I’m not sure if that is in the works right now. I went down to campus this week and finalized some things and even though I treat that town like the redneck haven it is, I actually like the idea that it only takes 15 minutes at the most to go from one side to the other. That the traffic will never be as bad as Saturday afternoon traffic in the city. I’m starting to look forward to all the reading on a subject I sought out articles to read in the past, just for fun. I feel my confidence building with the knowledge that I’m going to be really, really good at this. But then yesterday, I took a walk. 2 blocks down my street. To the Beach. The beach and a park that stretches on for miles. I never knew it was there. All this time and I never took the time to walk 2 blocks down my street. I never knew what I was missing. And that scares me most of all.”

But who wants to listen to that?

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for me. I think it started with going back down to Indiana, to where I’m going to spend the next year in grad school. The purpose of the trip was to find a place to live, but something much bigger happened. I suppose the reality of the situation hit me that this is where I’m going to live. Obviously, it’s something you think about. But when I chose the grad programs I wanted to apply to, I chose them for the program, not for the town or city that it occupies. I think, for graduate programs, that is what you have to do.

Unlike undergrad, the program is the main factor, the priority, not the extraneous information such as, does it have a winning football team (it does not, the failure in football seems to follow me), is there a good bar scene (probably not), or how great is the mall (woot for JC Penney!). I am confident in my decision to attend this program as it will allow me to have the best experience possible additionally at a lower cost and less time to complete the program (something at 29, was important to me).

This confidence, however, immediately drained as soon as I drove into town for the third time. Unlike the first two times, I wasn’t so much focused on my destination because I had been there enough to go without directions (however, not without a speeding ticket). So when I drove into town, and driving around the next day, I was looking at it with new eyes, the eyes of a future resident. And these eyes were FREAKED out.

First, I am moving from a large, Blue city in a Blue state to a small Red city in a Red State. Secondly, like much of the rural Midwest, it is a depressed town. Without the university, the town wouldn’t exist.

Now, I’m not some cosmopolitan city girl who can’t live without her martinis and brunches. In fact, I now make my own martinis and choose local organic places to eat my breakfast, if I choose. I’m also no stranger to rural college towns in the Midwest, having spent my undergraduate years in one. But it’s quite a different experience when you are spending your 4 years in a bubble. As a grad student, I made a conscious choice to live farther from campus, to commute a tad, and to separate myself alone from groups of students.

I will conclude this portion of rambling but just stating that it is hitting me that even though this is the journey I chose, and with no regrets, it is a journey I will take alone. (Well, my roommate will be coming with me, I can’t give her up, duh!) Sure, I’ll make friends with my cohort, and thanks to the wonders of facebook (which, I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest person registered) I’ve already gotten to know some of them. But it is daunting to understand how reliable I must be on myself. More than when I moved to my own place, with no help (except for the rad mover guys that showed up 2 hours late), More than when I traveled the country as a collegiate consultant and always had a warm place to stay and food provided for me, more than when I moved into my first apartment in the city into a place with 2 strangers for roommates.

Amazingly, a transformation has also happened. After 7 years of contemplating if this is the right thing for me, of wanting and craving it when times in my current career went south, I am actually doing it. A lifetime spent of regrets, and rethinking my choices and living in the past when life was easy (hah!) is gone. I have no trepidations or reluctance. My last day in corporate America is Tuesday. I have 6 weeks of packing, cleaning and spending time with those important to me. Then I’m off. My future, my journey is right ahead of me and I feel like I am on the right road, in cruise control and it is scary but exciting and wonderful all that the same time.

However, if my loans would come in like they are supposed to in the next couple of weeks, I may just be worry free!
P.S. Although I know this post was long – be thankful that I didn’t also include the other things that are making this weird, like being shunned by my boss, the boyfriend and I agreeing to stay together next year without knowing what the future might be and completely close to broke paying off my remaining debts. But that stuff, that’s all in a day’s work.


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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