Wait for it

Wait for it

On the top of my graduation cap, I put two of my favorite lyrics from the hit-musical, “Hamilton,” not realizing how true they would become to me at this point in my life.

I am the one thing in life I can control…

I’ve always been the one to initiate any and all sort of change that has happened in my life. I made the choice to get out of a major I wasn’t pleased with, I stepped down from a stage manager position because the person in charge made me feel useless, I ended friendships because it was long overdue, I made a lifestyle change because I couldn’t live the way I was any longer. Anytime I’m ready and want to do something on my own terms, I do it and no one can talk me out of it.

Change was coming, I just didn’t know it yet.

I’m not falling behind or running late…

I’m not late in the sense of time, because theatre teaches you one should never be late, but my maturity has never up to the same speed as my peers. I didn’t develop social skills until high school in my late teens, I didn’t figure out study skills until I graduated college, I understood class information and lessons days after it was taught in class. It’s always taken me longer than everyone else, and it still does.

In high school, I knew I wanted to major in theatre in college. Originally, I wanted to major in a performance focused curriculum, but after my first year, I just knew I had to graduate with a theatre degree, regardless of what my focus of study was. I added another major, switched that second major and minor too many times, and I graduated after five years with two degrees in theatre and communications with a minor in journalism.

I thought, “Okay, here we go. I have the skills to get a job!”

After coming home the summer I graduated school, I applied to multiple different places, with absolutely no luck. I began thinking, a small doubt in my mind, that maybe, just maybe, what I’m doing isn’t what I should be doing.

My first change happened: I moved to Buffalo in January 2018.

Two months later I took a job at a call center and six months after that I realized my mental health was spiraling out of control, so I left that job and have been living off my savings since August.

It was time for another change but I need a sign.

I’m willing to wait for it.

And I did but not for too long.

The world works in mysterious ways because before I knew it, I got my sign.

My mom went to a medium where she mentioned my brother and I. She told my mom that I was a healer, I had a healing aura, and that I’m capable of anything. It felt good to be reminded I’m intelligent and capable beyond my own self-doubt and insecurities. Through everything my mom told me, I just kept thinking of the part where the medium said how I was a healer.

I mean, all my friends can attest that I am the mom friend of the group. I take care of people when their sick, I took care of a girl I didn’t even know in college who was too drunk to walk one Saturday night. I am always the DD when my friends and I go out, I put other people’s well-being before my own. I make sure everyone is okay mentally, physically, and emotionally. I always take care of people.

I got the sign. I’m healing, a healer, and that’s where it all began to make sense.

Out of no where at 1 a.m. this past fall, I began feeling my fingers type rapidly in the google search bar, “n-u-r-s-i-n-g p-r-o-g-r-a-m-s i-n -b-u-f-f-a-l-o,” that I didn’t realize what I wrote until my search results appeared.

Nursing was never something I considered. For over 10 years, I had my heart set on being in theatre. It’s what I always knew I was going to do from the time I was in middle school in my first musical. I knew that, I believed that. But I’ve changed drastically over the years, and as I’ve changed, my thoughts, goals and dreams have, too.

I’m not upset over my five years spent at Fredonia. I don’t regret the degrees I studied, the classes I took, the shows I did and the opportunities I earned. Two years out of school with no luck, savings or some sense of security will make you think… a lot.

Maybe, I might not be in the right place. Maybe, I need to take another couple turns down this uneven path I’m walking. Maybe I need to step out of somewhere that’s comfortable to somewhere that is unknown and scary.

…I am the one thing in life I can control.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t compare my journey to someone else’s. I’ve learned that just because someone got from point A to point B one way, doesn’t mean the way I get to point B is any less. My story and journey is nothing like I originally thought; and that’s okay.

What does this all mean? Well, after much consideration and long hours of studying, I’m going back to school, sooner than I actually anticipated.

I got accepted into a LPN, Licensed Practical Nursing, program here in Buffalo starting in April. It’s a 1,100 hour, one year program.

I studied my butt off for my entrance exam in December, I found out I passed mid-January and before I knew it, I put my deposit in today, Feb. 5, for an official acceptance into the program.

I’m really excited, more excited than I’ve been about anything I did during my first round of undergrad. If I decided I wanted to do be a nurse when I was 18, I wouldn’t have been ready or mature enough. If gaining entrance into a program didn’t mean anything to me, I wouldn’t have studied as hard as I did, panicking from the doubt about, “what if?” I didn’t pass.

But I got in. This program is going to challenge me and I’ll have to put more time in than the average person because of how I learn and study but I’m doing it. It’s happening.

I’m 25; ready, nervous, excited and determined about becoming a nurse.

In a year, I’ll be an LPN. My goal is to become an RN and then earn my BSN within the next 10 years or so.

When I became a stage manager in college, I had this feeling, something I still can’t fully describe. In that moment during my first show, I knew that stage management was my home in the theatre. I had that same indescribable feeling for nursing; I just know it’s where my career lies ahead for me. I’m listening to my signs, trusting my instincts and understanding these moments that are happening in my life as they happen.

And I’m exactly where I need to be.

Because I waited for it.

I am a work in progress

I am a work in progress

It’s been over a year since I graduated college, moved back home, went unemployeed for over half that time, borrowed too much money from my parents, moved to a new city, started a new job, and began this thing called, “adulting.”

It’s been over a year I told myself I would give myself a break from theatre (participating, not seeing), to give myself a chance to understand who I am outside the performing arts.

It’s been a year ago since I really felt like myself.

Maybe it’s my crippling anxiety and depression but let me tell you, nothing prepares you for life outside the bubble that’s college. In college, you’re surrounded by the same people, places, entertainment and expectations. Now, in adulthood, effort to keep friendships is even harder, saving money becomes near impossible and fulfilling life-long aspirations become more of a dream than a promising reality.

Maybe it’s just my journey where I feel this way but seriously, like “Dear Evan Hansen” puts it:

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To put it as eliquently as I can… Adulting is hard, and I’ve learned it can be really lonely.

For one, I’m a social butterfly. Think of it like Tinkerbell: I don’t need attention, I need people in order to live. I enjoy my alone time and doing things by myself but it’s not the same as actively feeling lonely.

I live for the personal connections we make in this world. We’re nothing without the people we hold close to us: family, friends, mentors, coaches, teachers, directors, you name it. Those are the people who make us who we are today. Even that, I haven’t been able to see all those people who mean the most to me as often as I’d like.

But for over a year, I’ve put a lot of what I’ve wanted on the backburner. Any dreams I once had have gone out the window. Any expectations I had for myself and my future have disappeared. I don’t look forward to really much anymore, except when I see a show or the chance I do get to see my friends.

In the beginning of the year, I left my home in Ithaca, in the comfort of my best friends and my family, to move three hours away into the unknown to take this chance. A chance to start over, become someone instead of something.

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It’s been almost seven months and the most exciting thing I’ve done is see almost a dozen shows. I’ve seen my friends in Buffalo, but since I work weekends, it’s a rare adventure now. I’ve seen my friends in Ithaca, but we haven’t all been together since March before I started working. I’ve crossed shows off my list, but I haven’t been a part of the theatrical process since Playground last summer. I have a job that pays decent for what it’s worth, but I’m in a never-ending loop of getting up, going to work and then coming home to sleep.

There’s no excitement. There’s no fire, spark. I don’t really have that purpose in me anymore. I’m lonely, I’m lost, I’m struggling and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Maybe I haven’t been the best of friend, maybe I haven’t reached out like I usually do, maybe I’ve kept all of these feelings to myself because to me, I just feel like I don’t know how to handle this whole adulthood idea when everyone around me does. I feel like I’m behind everyone who’s much more successful than I am at this point in life.

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I’ve become what I’ve feared the most; a failure. I’m only 24, I know I shouldn’t be feeling this way, but here I am.

Now, I’ve always been behind everyone else my entire life. Newest trend? I got into it after it was a thing. Supposed to be reading at a fifth grade level? Whoops, I’m reading at a first grade level. Discovered a new hit song? Well, it’s been number one for over four weeks now. Should be getting a job related to my field of choice like my friends are? Nope, I’m no where near that.

No matter how hard I try, I am always four steps behind everyone else. I’ve always have, and I’ve grown accustomed to maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

If you’ve kept reading thus far (thank you!), I promise, I’m not here for pity or anything like that. I’ve been feeling like this for quite some time and since speaking from the heart can be the trickest to articulate, I’ve found comfort coming back to my writing. Finding that one security of putting my feelings and thoughts out there that maybe, just maybe, someone else is in the same boat as me. That I can stop feeling like I’m alone in this huge world.

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I’m trying to find that passion within me again, but it’s only getting me so far when I’m stuck living the same reality each day. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, maybe I haven’t really started over like I’ve planned since this whole year began.

I’m an ambitious person, when I have my mind set to something, there’s no changing it. I find that to be one of my best qualities. But when you don’t have anything set as a goal, where do you go? How do you start?

Something has to change. My job? Maybe. My aspirations? Probably. Where I am? I don’t know.

Maybe this is what rock bottom feels like. Well, if I’m at this so-called bottom, I can only go up from here. That’s the first goal, going up!

Hey, look! We’re already making progress.

Adulting… It’s not a trap

Adulting… It’s not a trap

Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

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Adulting is trying to navigate the partly sunny dirt path that never seems to ends.

Being an adult is making huge decisions that will ultimately benefit you ten years down the road more so than the immediate present.

Adulting is trying to figure out what classifies as good health insurance. And for that matter, trying to save money while drowning in student loan debt where the total number you owe, visibly, never seems to change.

It’s also about making memories, taking wild adventures and “see[ing] the world” while having to (presumably) support yourself almost 100% for the first time in your life.

*Cue scream*

I can’t be the only one who is terribly scared of adulting, right?

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When I graduated in May, I had this idea of what was going to happen: I would work one last summer at Chautauqua Institution, come back to Ithaca, find a job and save as much as I could just to pay my student loans. Sounds reasonable, right?

But as everyone knows, life doesn’t always work out the way we have it in our heads or what we want to perceive.

I came back in August and applied to some jobs in Ithaca, nothing. I continued to look online for various jobs in and outside the Ithaca area, nothing. My bare savings was running out, my student loan payments were going to begin in December and I had no job to my name.

Something needed to change.

All my college friends were in Buffalo, finding their own personal success in each of their endeavors and I thought, hey, I can do that. I should be doing that. Why aren’t I doing that? Finding success.

So, I did something.

I found myself in Buffalo by the start of the New Year.

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It’s been absolutely insane. I threw away over 7 garbage bags full of trash, clothes to donate, things I had no use for in bags to donate and I headed 121 miles west to Buffalo. I have just enough room in my apartment just outside the city, with access to all shops and stores which are only a two minute drive down the road in all directions. If I want to go to the mall (read: LUSH), it’s at most 15 minutes, depending on traffic.

In Ithaca, I would have to drive, at most, 15 minutes to get to the grocery store and over half an hour to get to the gym or post office. If I wanted to go to a larger mall, it would take me almost two hours to head north towards Syracuse. Living closer to things and places is a whole new world.

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Now, my main reason for moving to Buffalo was not because my college friends are here or that there are more jobs to apply to, although those were major perks. I was becoming too comfortable in Ithaca.

So many people stay in Ithaca forever, in this bubble of our liberal college-town, with the same annual events, with the same beautiful gorges, with the same people you pass by on your everyday outings. Staying in one place is definitely not a bad thing, but I’ve realized that I can’t live in a place that is always… the same.

Ithaca is a beautiful place to visit and definitely to live in. And I do I have my friends, family and my favorite things to come back to. Trust me, I miss all of my favorite people and places, a lot… Oh, lets be honest, I miss my dog, Jack, the most.

But I don’t want to live in the same.

I’m 24 years old with so much ahead of me. I’ve realized that if I want to better my life, I need to start making the choices in order to do that. I can’t sit in what’s comfortable waiting for the opportunities to magically appear before my eyes. If I want something, I need to get it myself. I can’t live in comfort because it’s safe.

I don’t want to live in what’s safe or comfortable. It’s not a life worth living, being comfortable and never embracing life changes or taking the opportunities that come our way.

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If I succeed, I succeed. If I fail, I fail. But at least I tried. I can say I did it. I can say to my future children, “I did this. I found success and I failed and I learned from it all.”

We don’t succeed when we stay safe. We succeed when we do something risky. When we push our own boundaries to the edge to see how far we can actually go is when success presents itself.

The twenty-fourth book of my life is underway, and we’re almost through the second chapter. Right now, nothing can stop me and there’s no challenge that will defeat me.