Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom...

For this Wednesday's Wisdom I bring you these words from Almond Tree Designs
I need to remember and own these words right now. Well, really forever.

The Last Friends...

I just finished watching the last episode of Friends. I couldn't keep myself from crying. I've been watching all the seasons again since I got them for Christmas.

Tonight I made "better than mhhm cookies"; burnt the first batch because I didn't set a timer. They don't taste the same. I don't have my good Guittard chocolate chips, just like I don't have my good friends here to share them with me. There's no good in eating cookies alone.

Chadly and Josh aren't here to pretend to worry about their manly waistlines and then proceed to eat at least 4-5 cookies a piece. Sarah isn't here for me to put my head on her shoulder. Amy isn't here in her cute socks and sweatshirt. Emilee is far away in the Philippines and Cassie is back at school.

We are all spread apart now; moved on from our Brooklane days. I'm the furthest away and tonight I'm feeling it. All alone in my studio apartment with only the company of Harper, the cat I got on Saturday. Still trying to decide if that was a good choice or not. Listening to "The Freshman" by The Verve Pipe on repeat. Left a voicemail for Sarah. And now, I'm writing this sentimental blog post.

I don't know how we got here. How I got here. So far away from anything I ever imagined. It's where I'm supposed to be, but I'm scared. I wonder if I have what it takes; wonder if I'll ever feel like a grownup.

For the first time in my life I'm not afraid of failure, but I need to make sure I give it my best shot.  Right now I'm struggling to navigate all of the changes in my life. To fully embrace all of the opportunities laid before me.

I can do it. Just keep telling yourself that Clarissa...

Friends photo source

Finding Newberry Academy...

This morning I got up. Harper, my new cat, was sleeping under my bed. I ate breakfast and took a deep breath. Today was third time's the charm. Time to go to church and start making friends. After I showered, Harper came out of hiding and attentively rubbed against my leg the entire time I was straightening my hair. She didn't want me to leave when I closed the door to head off to the train.

It was sprinkling when I left my apartment. By the time I got to the train it was full on raining. At an unfamiliar stop I moved west, grateful that I'd lived in Utah so long that I figured out how to have a sense of direction. The rain poured harder the more I walked. So much for straightening my hair. Moisture is my hair's enemy. Of course, I walked to far and had to pull up the church's address on my phone, attempting to locate Willow St. It was nowhere to be found. I was about ready to get back on the train, get my car, and drive back for sacrament meeting. Instead, I headed south on Orchard St praying I would find Newberry Academy, the school where church is held. I chose the right street. A white sign with the familiar Church logo welcomed me to my destination. Hooray!

Inside I found a family ward meeting in the school auditorium and heard voices upstairs that sounded like they might be coming from young single adults. As I walked down the hallway, my ankle gave out as it sometimes does, and I fell flat on my knees. More than anything I was scared someone had seen me. It would be such a perfect story if they typical.

Without drawing any attention to my little stumble I made it upstairs and found Relief Society. We meet in the school library. I sat in a row by myself but one of the girls quickly came over and introduced herself. She was super nice and we chatted for awhile. During our lesson Tiff, our teacher, had us talk to the people next to us to get to know each other. Sandy and Mariah, seated behind me, enthusiastically asked, "Can we meet you?". We chatted for several minutes. They were very friendly and smiley. Sandy is a flight attendant for SkyWest and Mariah is a fashion writer. Since I'm the new girl they found out more about me than I found out about them, but it felt good to connect with people.

One of the girls sitting in front of me, Katie, instantly befriended me. After Relief Society she let me be her shadow and went around introducing me to people. By the time we were ready to go to sacrament meeting I actually new the names of some people and Katie and I exchanged phone numbers. I also met my branch president. He seems really personable and nice. After church I met up with two of the girls I had met at the social activity for new members a few weeks ago. They introduced me to there other roommate and we all walked to the train together.

My first day of church in Chicago couldn't have been better. I can't wait to get to know the branch members and really make some friends. No more being alone in the big city!

Photo of Newberry Academy by John Knox

Monday, September 19, 2011

A rainy Sunday...

It's been a picturesque day for writing. Rain falling at varying speeds. My studio apartment void of silence thanks to cars surfing along wet pavement. The familiar scent of moist air filling my hungry lungs. Despite it all, this day has not brought the promise it possessed.

This weekend my hours were all backwards. Not being able to fall asleep until 2:00 am and not waking until noon. Missed church for the second week in a row.

This time it wasn't by conscious choice. Last week I didn't want to go. I was overwhelmed and scared. Slept through the day on purpose.

Today I was excited and ready to take it all on. No depression or anxiety to get the better of me.  I got up early, moved my car to a different parking spot, ate breakfast, and started to read my scriptures on my bed. Next thing I knew I was waking up at 1 pm. Church was over. I'd slept through the whole thing. So much for feeling the spirit and making new friends. Hello "epic fail".

Next week has to be third time's the charm. No excuses or mishaps allowed.
(photo source)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom...

I've been in Chicago for over a week. All of my IKEA furniture is assembled. I've been to both of my classes once. Yesterday I got my first Chicago parking ticket. I started a new job today. My new life is slowly starting to take shape.

As I contemplate this major transition, a quote from the movie How Do You Know keeps coming to mind:

"I don't know if I have what it takes for everybody's regular plan."

Reese Witherspoon's character Lisa makes this comment while talking to George (Paul Rudd) about figuring out the next stage of her life. Everyone has their own journey. We know that. No one's life follows the same formula.

I'm serious. I feel things deeply. I'm not happy-go-lucky. I know I'm not invincible. I'm good at being alone. I've always been good at it. I feel like I'm always going away; that I don't get to stay in one comfortable place. Yes, many times that is my choice but it doesn't always feel like it.

This probably isn't making a whole lot of sense. That's what Reese's words are for...they embody what I'm feeling right now. A feeling that's been with me most of my life; one I'm still trying to figure out.

On another note, here's one more piece of Wednesday Wisdom from How Do You Know:

"We are all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work."

In more ways than one, I will continue adjusting until I get it right.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trying to get out of the corner...

This is a rather odd first post for my Chicago blog, but right now the reality of this big change in my life is hitting me. I'm excited, but I'm scared. I'm alone. My dad is back home and it's just me.

Everything I've ever wanted and everything I've ever been of afraid of are staying me in the face.

Today was an "I'm scared and can't handle this" day. I didn't fulfill one of the goals I had for this week. I chickened out. Retreated into my corner...something I'm learning how not to do. I guess it's fitting my blog about my life up until this point is called "around my corner". Now, every day, I'm reaching out to see what's beyond safe borders. Already, some days are better than others. It's a struggle to always be up for the task. One step at a time. Successes along with failures.

So, as I embark on this life-changing journey, here are a few ideas I've come up with for things I can do when all I want to do is hide in a corner of fear:

Listen to uplifting music

Get OUT of bed

ANSWER my phone

CALL a friend

Read a good book

Find 1 reason to be happy

Pick 1 thing that's scary and do it anyway

Make a green smoothie

Take a walk

Put on lipstick

Try a new place to eat

Find something to take a cool picture of

Read my scriptures

Get on my KNEES and pray

Remember, one day is just one day...if I fail there is always tomorrow