A well-brewed cup of black coffee can be a wonderful thing. But some days, you just need a well-crafted latte. And some days, you just need a well-crafted soy latte because the soy is lightly sweetened with vanilla and you’re on a sugar fast but you need something sweet so bad you kinda can’t take it any longer. Soy latte. Please.
I am one week and one day strong on my sugar fast (except for an errant funnel cake at the state fair, but I refuse to feel guilty about heavenly once-a-year funnel cake indulgences.) I am doing this simply because I love sugar and I eat far too much of it. The goal is to make it to next Thursday – two weeks – without eating any candy, cake, ice cream, sweet pastry, or any food item with refined sugar or fructose. It’s a slow-burning hell.
The saddest confession, though, is that I am eating more Tabasco-flavored Cheez-its in one sitting than I’d ever care to admit. One sin for another, Father… one sin for another.
Concerning my trip to New York City, it ended as beautifully as it began. The weather remained at a pleasant temperature in between a few short summers showers, and after all the walking and getting lost and getting found and breathing it in I can say it was the best trip I have had in my life so far. There’s been very few of them, but it was the best.
In the long-term aftermath, the NYC trip just irritated the traveling bug within me. It didn’t scratch it but inflame it. My hopeful list of travels keeps expanding with the more I hear of other’s experiences in different places. Canada, Iceland, Japan, India, Belgium, Spain… In the next few years I will seek out opportunities to travel as often as possible, always with the hope of experiencing the locations in as much as an authentic way as a visitor possibly can. The most achievable traveling goal: to backpack as much of Europe as possible per time and budget. And I want this to happen next summer.
As for this summer, it has held about as many changes as I can currently process. I felt that once I graduated college that moving to a new city was a wonderful inevitability. It must happen. My ideal first step needed to hold opportunities for acting, modeling, and music while I could develop friendships and launch into life on my own. After a time of considering Atlanta and Nashville and, in a brief moment of insanity, Birmingham, I chose Nashville.
Now, I’m here.
I will say “coincidences” boldly when describing the journey. I cannot remember exactly how it all fell into place. Somehow after a month of anticipation I had employment and housing lined up in the space of a week. Starbucks kindly welcomed me back into their corporate arms and I found a fabulous living situation on – wait for it – Craigslist. So after being hired via phone interview, I met my potential roommate in person on Sunday, and moved up on Tuesday.
This town and its people are very warm and welcoming, partially because, as I have quickly realized, nobody is even from here. A town of transplants that welcomes even more of their own kind. The little communities and social circles expand and link in funny ways. In Huntsville I tended to move in and out of defined communities to pursue different hobbies and be with different friends, where as here the communities seem to flux within themselves. Meeting people wasn’t ever a concern of mine, but I now have a weird fear that I won’t know who I am actually hanging out with – people are very unpretentious. And I don’t know enough of the music community to know off-hand who anyone is. Well… Guess I better just be myself. And polite. Very polite...
I am such a small fish in a huge pond here, and I am so thrilled about it. Knowing that I am surrounded by such overwhelming amounts of talent is completely freeing. It is unnecessary to worry about reaching some kind of level or achieving a certain point. It doesn’t mean anything. I can tend to myself and develop how I am supposed to develop. Someone will always be better, another person could be just as driven. This is an element of dissimilarity that I appreciate so much, in the most bizarre way. It is inspiring.
Underneath it all, this move and change holds some amount of shell shock for me. Perhaps I should be honest and say a huge amount of shell shock. Huntsville held my entire social structure; all my friends, all my hundreds of acquaintances, all my fellow students and all my accountability partners. I hardly ever ran errands without seeing friends, hardly ever had to eat alone, and hardly ever went a day without an invitation to hang out. I hardly knew anyone from anywhere else. And there are my parents, who are my biggest supporters and love me more than I deserve. And then there are my three younger brothers, who are my favorite people, who I would hug everyday and feel their love – they are still growing up in Huntsville. I left it all.
Moving to Nashville was like being submerged. Like a switch. It all stopped. Everything went dark. The reality of it slowly raked through me. Two days after moving, I sat on my bed, my stomach empty and aching, my eyes miserably dry, and felt the silence wash over me. I was alone in a city I barely knew, in a room I just unpacked, with a roommate I just met, with a quiet phone and fresh rejection filling every emotion. I had never felt such emptiness. I had never felt such frightening freedom.
It hurt and I loved it. It hurt and it reminded me that there is so much more. It hurt and I knew I could handle it. It hurt and it has made me better.
I am just over two weeks here. My directional sense is improving, I have scouted out some terrific restaurants and shops, and I have met so many great people. I will continue making friends and learning about people and hoping the effort will be returned. Huntsville doesn’t hold anything for me anymore and never will. I doubt I will ever move back. I feel only the tug forward. I am so excited to make Nashville home for a while, with its funky combination of humility and unbridled talent, Southern friendliness and ruthless drive. I want to learn and grow from Nashville and its people, and even if I can only give back in the tiniest of ways, I am going to try.
This posting marks the end to this blog Out of the Muse. A muse has been an intrigue of mine since my obsession with Greek myths began, and this title held for me a presumptuous promise that one day I would write, one day I would sing, one day I would perform, one day I would love – and perhaps with all the uninhibited grace and passion I yearn for. I began this blog the month of my seventeenth birthday and it has reached the end to its purposes… being that of an outlet, a drawing board, growing channel, and a measuring rod. Although, the time comes, and I don’t know how to add it up.
It is probably unnecessary to list the changes or review the material. I am the whole of the life experiences that I wrote of here and of so many more. The addition is done.
There’s a moment of gathering of self; this is who I am. Where and who I’ve been are in who I am. God has shaped me into this woman through the paths he led me down. I thank him for who I am. And thank God I am eager to live – eager to pursue everything that is next.
Thank you to all who read my thoughts. You are invited to follow my next writing space: kaitrich.wordpress.com, to be launched in October.