Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My [Personal] Life Right Now

If you know me, there's a decent chance you read my blog. You also know that my posts are usually for entertainment purposes and don't really mention very private matters that I hold near and dear.

That's changing today. Today, I thought I'd write a very personal, bare-all kind of post. I'm telling you this up-front, so if you're having a bad day, you may want to skip this one because it won't cheer you up. I'm not even sure if posting this publicly is a good idea, but I think just writing some things down will help me feel better. And maybe other people my age feel some of the things I've been feeling as well, and maybe they deserve to know that they aren't alone. I don't usually post things quite as personal as this, so please try not to judge too harshly.

Here goes...

Recently, I've been feeling stuck. Like I'm at a crossroads, and I don't know what to do. It feels like nothing but bad things have happened to me since I moved to Charlotte, and I'm having a hard time getting to know the place or even giving it a chance because I can't seem to separate this amazing city from all of the bad things.

After I had the car wreck at the beginning of June, I had a minor breakdown. I did not realize then how much of an effect it would have on my well-being in the future. I was very far from home and lacking my major support system. C was out of town. When I told him what had happened, he said he was getting back on the road to come back to Charlotte. Good news! But there were some circumstances surrounding his return that did not add up to me that left a sour taste in my mouth afterwards. He was very vague and we never actually talked openly about why it took him so long to get home when he was only a few hours away. Part of me did not want to know, so I tried to let it go. I tried because he wasn't technically my boyfriend yet. He didn't technically owe me anything. I should've just been happy he came to see me later that night. So why couldn't I be the "cool girl" and just let it go? I knew I wasn't getting the whole truth, so I don't think I ever allowed myself to fully heal from the things that happened that day to be able to let it go. I never allowed myself to completely trust him after that either. Looking back, this day marked the beginning of the end of our relationship in my mind, which is ironic since we actually made it "official" two days later.

I broke up with C at the end of September, which ended up hitting me harder than I thought it would. But my heart had been breaking for quite some time before that. He had gotten distant and quit treating me like an important part of his life. It seemed like he thought he didn't have to try anymore once we made things official. He shut me out from his family. Never once did he sincerely ask me to come home with him to meet them. And when he got stressed out (which was all the time), we would barely say a word to each other. We went from being together 4-5 times a week to maybe once. Twice if I was lucky. He did not want--or know how--to communicate with me. This left me feeling vulnerable all the time, which in turn made me angry. I spent a good three months being angry with him and living for the few times we did have together when I wasn't mad about something he did or [as was the case most of the time] didn't do. I even alienated the few friends I had made in Charlotte because I got so wrapped up in the stress my relationship was causing. Even though we barely saw each other, I spent most of my energy trying to figure out what I could do to get him to talk to me and do the small things I asked him to do.

I had become a person I didn't even recognize. I wasn't this girl. The girl that ditched her friends to hang out with a boy. The girl that let someone else control her happiness. The girl that got so wound up one little thing could break her apart.

I finally came to a realization: The relationship was toxic. I was exhausted. I had waited months for a change and things were only getting worse. So I broke it off. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. He had been my best friend and my support system in Charlotte, and now I was making the decision to cut him out of my life. I just couldn't understand why two decent, relatively sane people couldn't make something as seemingly simple as being together and enjoying each other's company work out. It broke my heart all over again.

I don't believe in a soul mate. I don't believe that only one person out of 7 billion is made to be with only one other person. I believe that any two people with similar values, morals, interests, whatever, can fit together and fall for each other. I believe that you can find someone who can fill those small voids we each have and feel complete. I also don't believe that, when you find this person, it should be hard. What I can't seem to make sense of, though, is that when someone claims to care about another person, why is keeping them happy so hard to do? Why do they stop doing the things that made us fall for them in the first place? Small things, like answering a text message or letting us know when you're going to be later than the time we agreed upon. I [stupidly] put everything I have into a relationship, and when it's not reciprocated, I feel like I have to pick up that slack as well. It is too much to take on.

I seem to go through this about once a year: My life is not where I want it to be. Though I'm not even sure where I would like it to be. What, married? With kids? I can't imagine that scenario either. It scares the living shit out of me. I still feel like I'm trying to find my place in the world, but I'm not making any progress. Sometimes I feel like moving to Charlotte was almost a step backward, but I also hate the fact that I haven't given it a good chance and allowed myself to be happy here. I've been so focused on what has gone wrong since I got here, that I've lost sight of all the things that have gone right.

I've learned so much in the past 6 months:
1. I'm still good enough to get a job in my field.
2. What it's like to drive a stick again.
3. What I don't want in a boyfriend and the red flags to keep an eye out for.
4. A new appreciation for my family when I do get to see them.
5. Getting the opportunity to make friends in, and explore, another part of the country.

But the positive things are hard to focus on when you feel like your life is in pieces. I think now is the time for a deep cleanse. Inside and out. I've lost sight of who I am as a person. And I know it is not healthy to rely on outside factors to make me happy--the next step, city, job, guy, etc., so I am making it my goal to get back to the inner peace I used to feel when I was single and happy being alone. I may be alone, but I refuse to be lonely. And I know that no relationship or fear of being alone is worth sacrificing happiness for. I will come back stronger after this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Camping: Rookie Mistake

After a couple of months in Charlotte of trying to make friends, keeping sane at my new job, missing my family, having a car wreck, buying a car and dealing with boyfriend problems, I was seriously stressed out. I hadn't been to the beach in over a year, and I desperately wanted to get out of town. I had also been wanting to take a camping trip for a while, so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and camp on the beach. I did some research and found Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina. It was only about three hours away and it seemed perfect. I could get there, turn my phone off, sit on the beach all day, read a book and not talk to anyone at all. I was super excited. I booked it for that Saturday and Sunday night. I couldn't stay Sunday night, but booking the night allowed me to stay as late on Sunday as I wanted. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to de-stress and get away from the city. I was SO excited.

I got up early(ish) Saturday morning, loaded my car and got on the road. Traffic sucked, but it didn't matter. I was just happy to be doing something. The weather was beautiful the whole way down. I rode with the windows down and the sun in my face.

When I finally checked in around 2pm, I was already feeling better. I couldn't wait to get to the beach.

I found my camping spot and decided to go ahead and set up my tent--I planned on being at the beach for a while, and this way I wouldn't have to do it when I got back. I unloaded my car, got set up, changed into my bathing suit and finally headed over to the beach. I got a little lost on the way, but eventually found my way to the path that lead to the water.

I had been on the beach for about 45 minutes when it started to sprinkle. I didn't think much of it since it was just a few drops of water here and there, but soon enough, it started to actually rain. So I packed up my stuff and started on the long walk back to my tent. I hadn't gotten as far as the boardwalk when it began to pour. My only towel was getting soaked! But it didn't matter. I was at the beach! Nothing could ruin this trip.

But something did.

I had just made it back to the trail that lead to my tent when I realized I hadn't put the rain flap on it.


Shit. Shit. Shit.

Please excuse the language, but everything in my tent was soaked. SOAKED. Not just my only towel, but my bag that had all my clothes in it, my blankets, my books, everything. The tent had about an inch of standing water in it. Shit.

By this time I couldn't even be mad about it. I laid down on the soaking wet blankets and tried to figure out a solution--all the while, it was still pouring down rain. In my tent. The rain didn't show any signs of letting up, so I made the decision to pack up and go home. I dumped as much water out of the tent as I could, took it down and put it on the picnic table. I squeezed out as much water as I could from the blankets and took them, my cooler and bags back to my car and put them in the truck. Thank goodness for that floor/trunk mat-thing the car salesman was so happy to point out to me.

After getting my car loaded up, I turned my phone on and started telling the people who knew where I was about my utter failure. It was embarrassing, but all I could do was laugh about it. Hey, at least I tried!

On the way back, I started to realize that this probably happened for a reason. I had been feeling down and kind of pouty, but this was just the kick in the ass that I needed to force me to realize that things could always be worse. And despite everything, I was actually feeling better.

It was only when I stopped to get gas about an hour outside of Charlotte that I realized I'd left my tent on the picnic table. 

Shit ... Really?!

And there was nothing I could do about it. It was balled up on a table and would be mildewed by the time anyone found it. And it cost me less than $100. It just wasn't worth going back for. 

Oh well!

By this time I felt like I'd lost it completely. I laughed about it and decided to have more than a few drinks that night to make up for it. So, when I got home, that's exactly what I did.

Sorry. No pictures from this disaster of a trip.

I think I could use a Camping 101 class or something. Is there a Guinness World Record for shortest camping trip?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buying My First Car

Since my car was 10 years old and had over 250K miles on it, I knew it wouldn't take much to total it. Basically, an angry ex could have keyed it and it would've been worthless. So, slamming into someone's passenger side door definitely did the trick. After getting the official call from my insurance company telling me it was indeed, totaled, it was time to go car shopping.

I had no idea where to start, but I knew my one requirement was that this car be a stick. I drove one in high school and missed it. I had always entertained the thought that my next car would be a stick, and now was finally my chance. So I started looking at Jettas. They weren't expensive and seemed pretty safe. Carmax had them, so C came with me to test drive one Monday night. When we got there, they didn't have a stick for me to test, but I tried an automatic just to see how it drove. I didn't like it at all. It felt like my Accord that was 10 years old.

That was when the salesman suggested the Civic SI. He drove one and loved it. I figured, why not? So I test drove a 2013 SI with navigation. I loved it. That car was nice but way out of my price range. But now I had something better than a Jetta to focus on and look for. I had no intentions of buying a car that night, but I wanted to get started on it since I only had my rental car for another week. Our salesman found an SI we could get transferred from Texas that was still slightly out of my price range and wouldn't be in until Saturday--cutting it close to the deadline of turning in my rental. But we put in the order anyway and called it a night.

I spent the next day or two looking around different websites trying to find another SI in my price range and finally landed on one at Priority Honda in Huntersville, NC. It was a beautiful blue that I fell in love with before even seeing it in person. It had some mileage on it, but it was closer to my price range, and I thought I could talk them down to get it just right. The test drive went well, so we went inside to talk numbers. They came down to within $500 of my price, so I went home to sleep on it.

After talking things through with my mom, my step-dad, and C, I decided to go for it. So on Wednesday, June 18, I bought the car. It took hours to get all the paperwork done, and I was stressed out the entire time. I'd like to shout out to Dale Denny (the salesman who finished the paperwork with me) for being so great and easy to talk to. He cracked jokes, was super nice, and made me feel a little better.

Buying a car and willingly signing my life away to debt was not an easy task for me. This was my first time making such a huge purchase all by myself. And doing it without my mom was painful. It was overwhelming to say the least, and the mere thought of it exhausted me. I was 10 hours from home, so my mom couldn't exactly pop over to help me (though she did offer). Thank goodness for C. He was super helpful to me throughout the entire process. By my side the whole way and talking me off ledges right and left. I honestly don't know what I would've done without him.

Does this make me a grown-up yet?!

Isn't she pretty?!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Official Welcome to Charlotte

When I lived in Nashville, people constantly complained about Tennessee drivers and how horrible they were. Coming from Mississippi, I did not necessarily agree with them about this, because the drivers in MS were 10 times worse. I had no idea there was such a thing as "better drivers" out there.

However, in Charlotte, I was introduced to a whole new breed of driver: the red light runner. These drivers pay no attention to yellow lights. You may be thinking, "But Emily, most people don't pay attention to yellow lights. Yellow means speed up and then look for cops." But it's different here. Here, we still have the driver who thinks yellow means speed up then look for cops, but there are also at least three others behind that person who follow through the light as well. Long after said light has turned red. It's a problem.

In short, the red light runner is a thing here, and on June 8th, I became a victim to one. I was coming back from Trader Joes and, as I went through an intersection, I saw another car coming into the middle from my left. It had been raining and I thought she was going to stop at her light (silly me). She did not, and I ran into her passenger side door.

The airbag deployed and scraped up my arm. I thought it was broken. My right foot was hurting. I smelled something burnt. It had all the makings of my high school car wreck, but I was aware of what was going on around me this time. I freaked out and immediately started crying.

Since this happened right smack in the middle of Uptown, a cop was there before I could even get a grip on what had happened. He looked in my window and told me to call 911. I called them, crying my eyes out, and told them what happened. They sent an ambulance. Then I called my mom.

Once the right people started showing up, they had me get out of the car and go into the ambulance to get checked out. I was okay other than my arm and foot, but I did not want the ambulance to take me to the hospital. I wanted to wait until C was able to take me once he got back into town. I could only think about the fact that I didn't have a car anymore and had no way of getting back home afterwards. And at this point, I just wanted to be back in a familiar place. So a police officer gave me a ride home--the wreck happened less than a mile from my apartment. I limped up the stairs and started making phone calls. Mostly to my insurance company.

Since I had just bought some wine from Trader Joes, I poured myself a glass and lied down on the bed to wait for C to get back to town. Hours later, I was in so much pain that I decided to go ahead to the hospital without him. I didn't want to wake up in the morning unable to go to work when I had plenty of time to get checked out that night. One of my friends was nice enough to take me, so I didn't have to go by myself. After some X-rays and about three hours of waiting, they decided nothing was broken and sent me home.

Welcome to Charlotte!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Adventures in Moving … Again

Charlotte story number one begins in February this year. I decided I wanted to make a change. I wasn't exactly sure what brought on the feeling, but morale was low in the workplace, and it was affecting me more than I should have let it. So I began the job search. At first, it was just to have something to do. To me, there's no better feeling than sending out my resume. It makes me feel accomplished. I figured I'd just keep an eye out for now just to "see what was out there." But after spending one Friday night at home applying to jobs, this feeling started to take root. All of a sudden, I wanted to find something and leave town as soon as possible. I could sense the new adventure right around the corner, and I was more than ready for it.

I knew that if I was going to change jobs, there was no reason for me not to change everything with it. I had nothing holding me to Nashville. And Nashville was the only city in TN I was willing to live in, so this was going to be a big change. It was just me and the bunnies, and the world was my oyster once again. Since I knew I'd be looking out of state, I didn't expect anything to happen soon since it took so long for me to find the job I had when I came from MS. I was wrong.

The very first job I applied to was in Charlotte, NC, Nashville's sister city. And out of the six I applied to that night, this was the only one I heard back from. They wanted a phone interview. We scheduled the interview, it went well. I came to Charlotte for an in-person interview, and the rest is history. I was offered the job February 28 and turned in my two weeks to Healthways on April 1. My coworkers thought it was a joke, but it wasn't. No April Fools here!

I found a place to live and scheduled my move-in day for April 21. I had help scheduled as well in the form of my Aunt and Uncle, Pam and Rusty, and a friend in Charlotte who eventually became my ex boyfriend. He will become a recurring character in a few of these posts, so we will call him C.

For my last Saturday night in Nashville, Meagan and I decided to break away from the norm and stay in for the night since Sunday was packing day and she was being so kind as to help me load up the U-Haul … just kidding, we went out for one last night of drinking, dancing, shame and regret. AKA: the usual shenanigans commonly known to us as a typical Saturday night.

We had a great time, as usual, and I think we actually went home early. We managed a much more grown-up night of drinking/dancing minus the shame/regret. I was proud of us.

Anyway, after one last Sunday morning brunch, we had to go pick up the U-Haul. This was interesting because I had to drive that huge truck over a mile back to my apartment. I was terrified and looked ridiculous--Meagan laughing at me the whole way, but I managed to get it backed into my front yard without incident. Score!

We spent the next few hours hauling all my junk out the door and into the U-Haul and trying to pack it as neatly as possible. Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing when it came to packing that much stuff for a long trip, but Rusty helped straighten things out the next morning. He and Pam are pros at packing U-Hauls, thank goodness.

My life in a box.

In less than 24 hours, I was ready for the next chapter of my life. Not overwhelming at all.

The Bitch [Blog] is Back!

So much has happened to me over the past 6 months. I got a new job, moved to a new city, gained and lost a boyfriend and a car (and a 4-person tent), and I've finally decided to start blogging again. You can all thank my friend, Meagan, for that one. And, just to clarify, the boyfriend is not dead, I "lost" him in the sense that he became an ex. Stories about the car and tent to follow.

Since the end of April, I've been navigating a new city, making new friends (trying to, anyway), working a new job, and driving a new (ish) car. And I've racked up a few stories to keep you fairly entertained for the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned.