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Goodbye to Chicago, the people

Last month I said Goodbye to Chicago, the city, in terms of neighborhoods, places, and things. This time, more importantly, I am saying Goodbye to Chicago, the people. They were the ones that truly brought life to that city.

Goodbye Old Friends

If you’ve had the privilege of seeing me dance at a bar as if I’m in a music video, you will find that I’m not so special once you also see my friends, Justine, and CJ doing the exact same thing. Nobody else needs to be there. Nobody else needs to be watching. Nobody else even needs to be dancing. Those two are my dancing partners. Leaving everything we had on the dance floor, sweat, glory and all, is one of the many ways I will remember Chicago. Now in all future occasions of life, I will search for them on a dance floor.

Goodbye Chicago the People

As wild and good kind of crazy, as my friends Mike and Rachel may be, seeing their storm actually calmed me. There was never a dull moment at their apartment. Even now, as I am I not there, I know something is going on. Laundry may be stacked up to the ceiling. Pens from Amazon may be scattered all over, as well as dollar bills and spare change.

Now with their newborn son, I can only imagine their new chaos. Yet, I always admired their ability to entertain each other and find humor in life circumstances. More importantly, I was genuinely comforted to be in the presence of true love. It gives me hope for myself. They set a goal for what I’m looking for. They showed me it exists.

Goodbye the Brumfields

Rachel also continues to get smarter, which I’m sure she loves seeing I think this. Her logical perspective helps bring me back down from an emotional turmoil I can find myself worked up in. I am forever grateful to have a friend since first grade who continues to make me laugh and keep me so grounded, in my life.

Goodbye to that Chapter

Leaving those people wasn’t necessarily hard, because they have been in my life, nearly all my life. I know I will see them again. I have said goodbye to them, more times than I can count. Saying goodbye to the people in Chicago, specifically goodbye to that chapter of our lives can feel overwhelming if I let it. I didn’t cry and I haven’t yet. If I ever do, I’m sure it will sneak up on me. Those cries are the worst. Next thing you know, you’re crying in the Target parking lot, while a song from 2004 plays on your radio.

Goodbye Chicago the People

Goodbye to my main chick

Mikeala was a co-worker I knew for years, who became a great support system and my go-to girl for anything and everything while I was there. Our nights were filled with discussions of our goals for the future, analyzing past relationships over a bottle of Rosé, ordering another Espresso Martini, (even though we really shouldn’t), and dancing until we sweated out the calories of our full course dinner. I will forever miss our days and nights at Soho House. We would be there for hours, without any idea where the time had gone. Never underestimate the importance of single girlfriends. She was my rock in a hard place and I miss her dearly.

Goodbye to Chicago Soho House

Goodbye to Chicago, my Improv Class

My Improv class reminded me of how alike all humans are. In a place of vulnerability, it’s impossible to not relate to one another. Listening leads to understanding. Laughter helps too. Receiving compliments from my classmates made me feel good and want to lift others up. I miss that random bunch and will carry the experience of Second City with me far longer than I anticipated. One teacher in particular really pushed us to be the best we could be and was helpful in directing us. That class was a good way to close my Second City experience.

Recently, my entire class FaceTimed me after a sold-out performance, they organized themselves. Immediately, I realized how much I missed them. More than I thought I would. They were at The Vig, a restaurant bar we frequented after class and performances. So much so, that we became friends with the security guard, Ron. They were asking me questions like, “Are you coming to visit?” and “When are you moving back?” and it oddly made me panic. Like, Crap, should I? Am I not done living that life? Am I truly saying goodbye to Chicago, the people? I suppose I need to go back and visit to know for sure.

Chicago Second City Class
Some members of my class at The Vig

Goodbye to Chicago, my roommate

While living alone was nice in my first apartment, with winter coming I was happy to come home to a roommate. Hibernating indoors makes it easy to not see or interact with humans for at least two days. Alicia and I were co-workers, who had never met before, but I immediately found it comforting to have someone who felt everything I felt.

I laugh every time I think of us searching for the remote through blankets, lying in our “forts,” our feet in the chairs in front of us, while we lied on the couch. Binge-watching television in the winter feels less pathetic when someone is next to you doing it too. Same goes for drinking pop with pizza and breadsticks from Happy Camper, at least once a month.

I’m grateful Alicia got me out of the house to do things I normally wouldn’t have. Although she is far more intelligent than I am, able to appreciate museums and artwork, I’m just glad I can say I went to the Art Institute, the Chicago Culture Center, the Field Museum, and the planetarium. Even more than that, I went to sporting events, without a boy or alcohol involved. She was the best co-worker I could’ve asked for. Always working hard and pointing out things to me in a way that either made me feel validated, or bewildered that I hadn’t realized it myself.

Chicago Blackhawks Game

Goodbye to my new friends

All of CJ’s friends positively affected my life. In a city where I often felt lonely and clueless about how to cope with winter, I walked into a room full of strangers who lit up at my presence. They made me feel so welcome, always offering compliments as if I was the coolest bitch in the world. Some of the most fun I have ever had in life was with them. I am forever indebted to CJ who spoke well on my behalf, including me in anything and everything he was doing.

With the friends I had, I realized weather conditions didn’t matter. If anything, it made getting together and having fun that much more important. There is such a great sense of community in that city. I was blessed to be a part of it all, year round.

I do miss Chicago. I thought I didn’t, but realize I said that to make leaving easier. I suppose I miss the people there, more than the city itself, although it was beautiful. Aesthetically, I loved living there, the atmosphere; it’s entire ambiance. It was my, “kind of town,” but I don’t know if it was my home. I could definitely go back to visit, as often as life allows. Then again, I never thought I would live there until I did. Time will only tell what’s in store for me next.

Goodbye to Chicago, the people, sounds so final. I will see them all later.

MegazineGoodbyeChicagoThePeopleBoystown

Let me know what your favorite part of reading this was! If you’re one of the people I talked about, tell me your favorite memory!

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The Importance of Being Present

Earlier last year and even into the year prior, I came to the conclusion that I was rarely present. I lived in a different city and felt I wasn’t even taking full advantage of it. When I was asked questions like, “How do you like Chicago?” or “What are your favorite things about Chicago?” I felt like my answers sounded like I was listing off a resume for an interview. I began to ask myself, “Is this my life or what? Who am I? What am I doing?”

There would be days I had off work, particularly in the winter, where I would take a personal day. I’d set everything aside for “me time,” but felt as though I hardly enjoyed it, because I was thinking of other tasks I should’ve been or needed to be doing. For someone who claimed to be exhausted and needed rest, I was a walking contradiction as I worked myself up to the point of inner anxiety. It was as though I forgot how to relax. The entire time I was “relaxing,” I was in my head about something. Something stupid, I might add.

I felt as though there was never enough time. As if I didn’t even know what I was doing or where the time went. I always hoped to be utilizing it properly, but found it rather difficult. I was constantly thinking about what was to come, or what happened in the past that shouldn’t again. Yet by doing so, I wasn’t serving myself or anyone else properly. I was coming to the realization that moments spent in your head, filled with worry and distractions, especially while with your loved ones, are times you don’t get back. They are time wasted.

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Falling asleep at night was the only way I found peace. By losing consciousness I was no longer thinking negatively. Whether I was worrying about my career moves, guilting myself for being alone and not hanging out with friends, obsessing over a man who didn’t care, or scolding myself for not being as fit as I imagined for my body. Only to wake up and start the vicious cycle all over again. I began to see how much I exhausted myself and understand, that I truly was my own worst enemy. I knew I was trying, but I also knew I could do better, a lot better.

Thus, I dedicated my time at work to be the most productive, and my time at home to relax. But as my writing process and submitting to agents for my book came to an end, I suddenly felt like I didn’t know what I was supposed to say or do anymore. I felt stuck. Then I understood I should surrender to that. I don’t need to be doing something all the damn time. Waiting is something.

MegazineTheImportanceOfBeingPresentWork

The unknown after Chicago loomed over me. How my job wouldn’t be the same, as well as my environment. Then what would I do?  What was next? I would have months ahead of me to figure this out, but the obsession continued. Until I finally realized, I don’t even know why I care. Why am I worried? I continuously remind myself that I never know where life is going to take me, but I trust and know something will happen, as it always does. After all, I was living in Miami, without Chicago on my radar when the opportunity presented itself. That’s why being present is so important. For life is always changing, mine especially so. It’s impossible to focus on the future, because I genuinely don’t know what it may bring.

Now I appreciate how things take time and those things are based on the choices I make. So, I’m happy I’m trying to make good ones.

Right now for me, I need time to truly focus on myself. Not think I am, or tell people I am, but truly enjoy my time alone, and not in such a way that I’m searching or waiting for something. I’m no longer in a rush to find answers and know everything. I know I have a lot ahead of me and that I’m doing my best.  That’s all I can do. I need to enjoy this time of working on my own. Working on my self, my relationships, and my craft. I have everything I need.

Life is good. I am blessed. I am at peace. I am present. I am here. This is my time. This life is mine and mine alone. Being present is a good feeling.

MegazineTheImportanceOfBeingPresentTreePose

Let me know if this resonated with you at all in the comments below! Feel free to share, if so!