Friday, September 28, 2012

The Places We Live

Every two years or so, I tend to pack up all my belongings and leave a place I've grown to love. It's a place where the secrets to opening cabinets and locking doors have all been told to me, but their tricks still leave me stumped from time to time. It's a place that has gathered a myriad of memories but still could hold many more. Every time I move, I feel like I'm doing so prematurely. Like there is something still waiting to happen within these walls and now I've only got 48 hours left to figure out what that something is. I have to remind myself that that something will happen to me, and not to the apartment I'm once again moving from.

The longest I've lived in any one place since I was 18 was my first apartment in Minneapolis and it was for a full two years. I documented the day I got keys to the place. I'm glad I did. I imagined what was then unknown to me happening there over the next year. I don't know what I thought would happen, but I'm certain whatever it was didn't actually come to fruition. It never does.

Maybe that's why I move so much. I'm a fan of new beginnings and seem to seek them out once every few years. Moving so much has kept my earthly belongings to a minimum. I for some reason need to shed my skin every once in awhile and make a fresh start. I wish I wasn't this way. There is a part of me that is jealous of settled friends who know what to expect and are satisfied with where they are. I wish I could just relax and resist the urge to pack up and try something new. Mainly because this packing up thing breaks my heart every time. The places we live are alive with us and leaving them is like leaving a comfortable and satisfying relationship for someone you're not quite sure you'll be happy with, but who you have to go for because otherwise you'll never know.

You'll just never know.

So that's why I keep moving. Because I'll never know what it's like if I don't. I'll only know where I am. Granted, the last time I moved was completely out of necessity and nowhere near my personal desire to do so. But now that I think of it, it usually is anyway. I love this apartment more than most of the places I've lived. It's got character, it's a great location, a decent price, and my landlord is wonderful. It helped me get over one of the most difficult break ups I've ever gone through and then served as an abode where I foolishly yet necessarily pined after an Englishman. The solitude here has helped me, has hurt me, and has let me grow. And while I feel like I could stay for another few years, I know I can't. It's time to go try something new. It's time to go after what I really want for once and since I was cursed with the desire for a completely un-lucrative career, I have to downsize in the residence department. I'm going to have roommates who I'm not dating for the first time in 7 years. I'm going to have to learn how to share a bathroom and a kitchen. I'm going to have to figure out how to split bills and what food is mine. Change is scary, but change is good.

I just have to remember that one day it will be ok to settle. Because even when you settle, you still can't accurately imagine what is going to happen to you in the next year. It could be anything. And even if it is the scariest thing in the world, there is another side to come out on.

I remember when I graduated high school, I had a thought that I've managed to keep with me since: "A year from now, who knows the people I'll know". I couldn't even fathom the thought of what turned out to be the most familiar faces in my life; one who is my soon-to-be roommate. It was petrifying and wonderful all at the same time.

A year ago I was leaving a long-running overseas relationship for someone I wasn't quite sure I'd be happy with, but who I went for because otherwise I would have never known. Well now I know. He wasn't for me. But a year ago, I also wasn't in this band. I also wasn't going on tour. I also wasn't going to take a leap of faith and leave this apartment I love so very much as a sacrifice so I could pursue something I've loved my entire life.

Change is good.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Blog, I didn't forget about you. No. In fact, I would have posted in you on Thursday night if the Amtrak ever got on the technology train (pun intended) and figured out a wifi connection onboard. I did the next best thing though. I opened up a good old word document and wrote the following as car #12 rocked its way down the rails...

Every time I’m on the train, I look at the people working on the train and envy them for the cool job they have. In reality, it’s probably a really lame and stupid job, but it seems novel. Living a life on the rails and coming across all sorts of people young and old traveling across the country. All of them at different points in their lives, with different backgrounds and experiences. The train unites them together in a long line of cars bobbing down the tracks in a slow and comforting rhythm.

But tonight I’m on the squeaky car. Luckily my music is doing a good job of drowning it out.

Tonight I looked at the train employees and was content with my place and theirs. I had no desire to quit my job and take up a life of traveling across the country, catering to a variety of passengers. I think it’s because I’ve landed my own job traveling across the country, catering to the malleable minds of Appalachian youth. Out of context this sounds ridiculous. It kind of is. A couple months ago I went out on a limb and auditioned for a touring theater company that puts on educational shows for children across the country. And I got cast.

I leave in January. It’s only for two months, which I’m happy about. I know by March I’ll be missing Minneapolis something fierce and will embrace my return to this city that I find myself loving more and more with each time I leave it. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

What I’ll do when I’m back is beyond me. I’m working with Courtney on figuring out a plan to get headshots and commercial work. It’s something I feel completely incapable of doing. But she described the whole process as breaking through tissues; daunting tissues that only turn out to be tissues after you’ve discovered how easy they are to break through. Why am I pursuing this sort of thing? Because my heart and my mind won’t rest until I do. I’ve been so logical and responsible I’ve pushed what I really love aside just so I could make the rent and pay the bills and have some left over to pay for a good time.

But I realized I spend most of my time toiling away at a job I’ve grown to hate, just so I can spend money on wine. Something has clicked in me over the past few months. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but there was a day when I realized that I could do whatever I want. Well, whatever I want within reason and morals. I love performing. I love creating. It is something I’ve known since I was a kid. Am I good at it? Who cares? I love it. I should do it. If I’m not good at it now, I’ll get good at it by doing it.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take the plunge. I’m going to go on tour. I’m in a band. I’m going to get headshots and hopefully commercial work. I’m going to continue working with the amazing Courtney McLean who is showing me that the tissues really are just tissues. They may be scary, but they are easily broken.

I’m not envious of the train workers because I’m finally on a path to doing something that I love. I’ve finally become ok with myself. Thank God I figured it out before I hit 30.