Posted in Adventures

First Time Living On Your Own – Tips

Over a year into living in a home that’s not my parent’s, I feel like I have finally found a place of comfort. The first half of a year was terrible. I cried almost every night. I was sure I was not cut out for this “adulting”. For someone who never went away for college, I was 21 living with my boyfriend, four hours away from everything I knew for the first time in my life, and I was terrified. But moving away from home was also something I had always wanted to do, so I had to find a way to enjoy it. That didn’t actually happen until almost eight months after moving.

My first tip is to make your house your home. One of the hardest parts of having your first apartment with little money is the comparisons you make between the one bedroom you’re living in, and the beautiful three bedroom your mom kept. Push around the furniture in your living room until it’s exactly how you like it. Decorate the walls anyway your management allows. I hung white and blue Christmas lights around my living space to add a softer lighting, which made me feel more at home on nights that I was seriously homesick. Buy a cheap throw blanket and toss it over the back of your couch. My first couch came from a retirement home auction and a bean bag chair serves as my lounge chair. I found cute throw pillows at Walmart and made sure our bean bag chair was one of my favorite colors. Make sure your living space makes you feel at home.

My second tip: explore your town. It’s tempting to stay inside and watch Netflix all day, I know, I’ve been there. But, step outside. Even if it’s only for an hour a week. Even if it’s only five minutes. Find someplace to explore and make a list of each you enjoy – that way you can always go back to one if you’re feeling complacent. You don’t fall in love with a place by sitting on your couch.

Next, don’t be afraid to fall in love with your new town. Sorry, no pictures for this one, but it’s probably the most important on my list. I self sabotaged for months after first moving. No matter how much I left the house, I always found something to ruin the day. I was always too tired, too hot, too cold – until I realized the problem was me. I was too afraid to fall in love with a place that wasn’t Vermont. What I had to learn over time was that a person can love multiple places at once.

Find things that remind you of home and fill your new place with them. For me, this was pumpkin spice candles and brewing a fresh pot of coffee every morning. I decorated my walls with pictures of my family and places back home I loved. This way I could always be reminded that those things weren’t gone from me, just a bit further away.

And finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to “nail” this right away. Often it appears that people move away from their parents and are instantly living their best life. That’s rarely what actually happens. Living away from home is hard. Crying is okay and completely normal. Calling your mom at one in the morning because you just wanted to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie and you can’t remember what her special ingredient was is totally fine. Take this day by day. Keep yourself busy.

Living on your own for the first time can be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever experience. You just have to get through the rough patches first. You’ve got this.

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Posted in Poetry

When You Died I Read

When my world fell apart I went to the bookstore.

I went to the bookstore because there I am a stranger.

The aisles are just hallways and each person is just a traveler.

I went to the bookstore because the pages on the shelves

hold more stories than I ever will so within those pieces of paper

They must know greater heartbreak than what I am feeling

and there is a comfort in that

knowing that in this bookstore as I pass each title

I am not alone.

When my world crashed around me

I didn’t buy anything at the bookstore.

I wasn’t there to exchange paper for paper –

I ran my fingers down the spines of each bound cover I could never have

and I thought of your face.

What a beautiful thing you are – they are –

so far gone from me yet within finger tip distance.

I could flip through your pages but I will never get the chance

to read your novel.

 

-CM

Posted in Poetry

Stranger

When I saw you from across the cafe I recognized not you but the sadness behind your eyes was one I knew all too well

I know we have never met but I want to take this moment to sit next to you and tell you not my name but something far more important like

we are strangers but not even a stranger deserves to be alone and I will sit here with you all day if that means you decide to continue fighting

you are struggling to hold on to the last strands of hope you have left and you are hiding it so well but your eyes give you up

your eyes that tell stories of defeat, loss, heart break

I am reaching across the table now to hold your hand tight and confide in you that I too have been in the same place you have been and I know what you are feeling

We are strangers but allow me to hold onto you, allow me to take away some of this pain and hold it on my back for a while, allow me to take a shift of this long work day

allow me to help you find your way back home or maybe just back to yourself

life is hard and it will beat you up and hold you down until you can’t fight back but everything is easier when you have a friend

please allow this stranger to be your friend, all friends start out this way

you see I don’t have anything to get out of this but your happiness and I know you can fight back if only you knew you had someone in your corner so

let this stranger stand on the sidelines and tell you

you are not alone.

-CM

Posted in Thoughts and Opinions

For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.