Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In My Mind I'm Going to Carolina

On Monday morning, I put the last of my things in my car, gave my key to my roommate, and said a tearful good-bye to the city that's been my home for the previous three years.  

When I first moved to Charleston, I didn't think I'd be in South Carolina long.  And I didn't think I'd become so attached to the Holy City.  But I was wrong on both counts and am having a hard time imagining my life away from the idyllic streets and cityscapes.  

For me, Charleston will always be the city where I found myself (or at the very least, started on that journey).  I know a lot of my feelings about Charleston relate back to the years of my life that I spent there.  I was 23 when I first moved to Charleston, I had no responsibilities and no commitments and was enrolled in a program where I met a lot of wonderful people who were a lot like me in some important ways.  

Strangely enough, I think I had the "college experience" in law school.  Even though the past three years were some of the most difficult and trying of my entire life academically, they were also some of the best years for personal growth and for my social well-being.  I made lifelong friends, found a passion, and started on what I hope will be a great career.

I could wax poetical about Charleston, but it is late at night and I'm afraid such ramblings will bring me to tears (again) so I'll keep it short.  August 2010, I quit my job, packed up everything I own, moved 400 miles away to a city where I knew exactly four people - my aunt, my uncle, and my two cousins - and had the best, most amazing, incredible, freaking time of my life.  And even though it was hard (it was so hard) I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Have a great night y'all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve Years Ago

I know I'm writing this late, but it seemed wrong to let today go by without comment.  

Twelve years ago today I was a freshman in high school.  It was the second week of school.  It was a Tuesday.  The sky was blue.  The air had the first hints of fall in it.  I had finally managed to find my way around the high school without feeling completely lost.  I was wearing a red shirt.

It was first block and I had World History with Ms. Greenough.  Not long after the school day had started, Ms. Everhart, the teacher in the room next door burst into the room and told my teacher to turn the TV on.  Horrorstruck, my class saw the first tower on fire.  We saw the second plane hit the second tower.  We saw the first tower fall.  And then the bell rang.  

For the rest of the day, New York was on my mind.  We weren't allowed to watch TV for the rest of the day in school (I'm sure Ms. Greenough might have even gotten in trouble for letting us watch what we did).  I don't remember a lot of the particulars of what happened that day at school after that first class.  

But I do remember my mom hugging me close when I got home.  I remember my dad crying when he got home later that night.  I remember being glued to the TV for hours upon hours.  I remember relieved phone calls to family and friends that still lived in New York.  I remember a sad phone call from my aunt telling my mom that one of her friend's husband had been one of the first responders that day who never came home.  I remember going to church the next night and crying my eyes out as the congregation sang "Amazing Grace."  I remember the moments of silence in the weeks that followed.  

Maybe more than anything, I remember being scared.  I was never really scared growing up.  I knew I was safe.  I knew my family was safe.  I knew that absent a horrible accident or debilitating illness, my life would keep moving in the direction it had followed for the pst 14 years.  Now I didn't know.  I didn't feel safe, for weeks and weeks, sleep was hard to come by.  When I think about my life pre and post 9/11, the biggest difference is how quickly that feeling of safety went away.  How we all lost something no one knew we really had.

Before I sign off for the night, I'd like to thank the first responders and all of the heroes that have proudly served our country not only on 9/11 but also in the months and years that have followed. 

May we never forget.  God bless America.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adventures in Dating, Part 1

**Disclaimer: names of the dated have been changed to protect their anonymity.**

**Disclaimer 2: I don't talk about this part of my life a lot, so I'm taking a BIG leap of faith by posting this**

For those of you who know me in real life, you know I don't date much.  I've always had a lot of guy friends, but not a lot of boyfriends.  When I was still living at home and would get upset about being single, my mom would always tell me that I intimidated boys because I was loud and smart and funny.  To me this has always been a weird statement to handle.  I know that I'm loud; but the smart and funny comment are somewhat debatable.  And (for argument's sake) even if I am smart and funny, why wouldn't these things be qualities that a guy would look for in a girl?  And I'm not THAT loud.

When I was in high school I'd had a boyfriend.  We were pretty serious at graduation and went to the same college, so we kept on dating.  We were together through our first year at UVA and then the first semester of our second year.  For reasons I won't go into here, we broke up just after that second Christmas break.  To me, it happened suddenly; but I think he knew he wanted to end things for a while.  Because I was 19 and naive and had low self-esteem, I left that relationship broken.  I ate and cried and ate and cried and ate and cried.  Three months later I was 30 pounds heavier and only just starting to piece my life together.  Not only was I up about 4 pant sizes, but I also seriously doubted and despised everything about myself: I felt disgusting, ugly, stupid, undesirable, and hopeless.

Throughout the rest of college and when I was working, I'd fall head over heels for a guy only for him to fall head over heels for another girl or for the timing to not work out.  More often than not I was friend-zoned (yes this can happen to girls too).  Thankfully (or maybe ironically), law school saved me from this pattern.  True, I didn't date; but I also had a lot on my plate - there was a lot of studying, papers to write, exams to take - a ready excuse to the answer "why aren't you seeing anyone?"  It also didn't leave a lot of time to meet new people and most of the guys in my program were either married, seriously dating someone, or seriously not my type.

About a year ago I decided I was ready to take the plunge and start dating.  I went on a few first dates - some were ok, some were not.  I met some new people, gained some confidence, felt better about myself.  All positives.

Then I met Steve.  We met at a wedding.  We danced for most of the night and hung out at the after party.  I gave him my number and we texted a lot for a while.  He even took me out on New Year's.  Since we lived several states apart, we talked and texted a lot, but didn't see each other often/ever.  In the end it didn't work out.  But because of all the conversations and the interest that Steve showed me, I felt like I could be seen as interesting.

As things fizzled out with Steve, I met Nate.  Nate was in the class behind me at my law school and was a friend of a friend.  We met at a school function and wound up hanging out for the rest of the day.  He asked for my number and called a few days later to ask me out.  Nate and I got dinner and had a great first date.  He was sweet, funny, and very shy.  We hung out pretty regularly throughout the semester, but it was never serious.  Nate was always complimentary and paid me a lot of attention when I would run into him.  Even though nothing really happened between me and Nate, he made me feel attractive and desirable.  

The semi-relationship / romantically-tinged friendships I had with Steve and Nate made me feel better about myself than I had in years.  I finally could see myself in a relationship; finally believed that someone would actually want to date me.  After years and years of watching my friends fall in and out of love, I was finally ready to fall on my own.  

Then I met Henry.  

But that's a story for another day.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hello Blogosphere!

Hello?!?!  Is anyone out there?!?!  Probably not, but world, I'm BACK!  

Now it's been almost a year and a half since my last I'll try to catch you up really quick.  I finished my 2L year, worked for a real estate firm in Virginia, worked for the mayor's office in Charleston, served as SBA Vice President, learned how to make some banging guacamole, got over my fear of public speaking, made a lot of new friends, hosted a bachelorette party, went back to Charlottesville, was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's weddings, got an iPhone, served as SBA President, went to D.C., turned 26, found my mojo, rediscovered running, dated a little, studied for final exams, saw Kathie Lee and Hoda Live, enjoyed Charleston's night life, graduated from law school (!!!!), started studying for the bar exam, moved out of my downtown Charleston apartment, studied, moved in with a friend for the summer, studied, ran, studied, ran, developed a severe caffeine addiction, ran, studied, studied, ran, studied until I dreamt the law, studied until I didn't sleep, drove to Roanoke, studied, took the bar, drove back to Charleston, chopped off my hair, fell into a recovery coma, went to the Dominican Republic for a recovery vacation, caught up with old friends, and am now in the process of moving to Virginia and finding a full time, grown up job (you know the kind I'm talking about: one with benefits, a regular paycheck, and a demand for a professional wardrobe).

WHEW!  The past 18 months have been stressful, challenging, and amazing (well 15 - those 3 months of studying for the bar were hell on earth).  And now?  Well now I'm unemployed and attempting to enjoy my last few weeks in Charleston.  But if I can be completely honest, I don't really do tons of free time well.  I mean I have a great tan (product of my vacation and lots of hours by the pool/beach) and I'm doing a lot of reading (almost half-way through the last Game of Thrones book) and applying for A LOT of jobs, but other than that I have a lot of hours to fill.  And I think I should do something constructive, so I've rediscovered the blogsphere.

Now most of the events that I mentioned above probably deserve their own post.  But that's a promise I'm not quite willing to make.  But I will promise this.  I need to do something good with my free time.  So I'll write.  And just in case I don't get to these events, here are a few pictures to hold you guys over on some key events of the past 18 months: