Shoutout to your strong friends

Someone asked me where I’ve been.

For the past few months, I have been a little off the grid (I guess). I haven’t posted on the blog, I have turned down countless social invites, and rarely even check my personal social media accounts. Personally, I’ve had a lot going on. I started a new job where I am writing and on social media, ALL day, Patrick and I transitioned into living together again, my grandfather passed away, Misia (our dog) has been having health problems in her old age, and I have been struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which has left me feeling tired and cranky AF.

But, while I work on getting myself back into order, I have also been spending a lot of time thinking about others. When I moved to Charleston, I lost friendships. Friendships that took me 25 years to build. Simply because it’s difficult to maintain friendships from 900 miles away, especially in your 30’s and everyone has careers, kids, spouses, etc. In the past 2 years, I have also lost both of my grandfathers, a great aunt, and my great grandmother (all expected, because that’s what happened in life).

Then recently the media has been filled with other major losses as well. A couple of weeks ago, I got sucked into watching the second season of Thirteen Reasons Why (a show centered around a teen who takes her own life). During that binge session, the world learned about the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to suicide and (while watching the show) I learned about the suicide-related death of a classmate of mine.

The talk of death, loss, and mental health were surrounding me. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, sometimes when things like this happen, I just can’t freaking stop thinking about it. In this case, the death of my classmate really kept me up at night (literally). While we weren’t friends, our younger brothers were, for probably the last 20 years. I spend 12 years walking the halls of the same schools as her, I followed her on social media, and we talked here and there. She was such a sweet, wonderful person and her passing really left a hole in my heart.

Now, I didn’t mean to start off my first blog post in 3 months on such a sad note, so stick with me! 

Then last week, I was talking to a friend of mine at work and she said that the same types of thoughts had been weighing on her mind, too. She went on a trip to NYC with some friends and during a spin class, the instructor paused to reflect on the issues of mental health in our society and asked that the class “check in on your strong friends.” No, not the friend who is killin’ on the bike next to you while you daydream about donuts and try not to pass out. 

But the friends who seem to have their shit together. The friends who, on social media, seem fine, happy, and content. The friends who we run to when we need help.

The friends who despite their outward appearance, may not be strong at all. So while the words aren’t mine, I think they’re powerful enough to share. And you don’t have to get all deep and creepy about it either. Just shoot them a little love note to say “Hey there! Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you and I hope you’re doing well.”

That’s it. So whether it’s your former best friend from 3rd grade, a friend who is on the other side of the country, someone you talked to at a networking event a few times, or your friend who lives down the road that you just haven’t seen in awhile, reach out to them. Stay in touch and let them know that if they need someone, you’re there. It could mean the world to them.

So to MY friends- the friends from Northwood, East, NU, Canisius, volleyball, former jobs, my current job, The U.K., Charleston, and everywhere in between, please know I love you and I am always here.

Whether you need someone to listen or a partner to down a bottle (or two) of prosecco, just know I’ll be there.

XO – J

 

 

The Las Vegas Massacre… I’m Not Okay.

My heart hurts so badly for everyone impacted by the horrific tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas last night. I can’t even begin to imagine what the victims and their families are going through. I am very blessed to not be directly impacted. So if I am not directly impacted… why am I writing this?

To be honest, I am not sure why this is hurting me so badly. I just need to get it out. Unfortunately, we see this fairly often. My first memory of a mass shooting was when I was in 5th grade and the Columbine High School Shooting occurred. I was in my freshman year of college when the Virginia Tech Shooting occurred and I was leaving an amazingly fun event for HIV Prevention when the Orlando Pulse Night Club massacre happened. All of those events happened when I was in a place that I could say “holy cow, that could have happened to me today.”

But this event did not directly impact me in any way and for some reason, I am more upset than I ever have been by news like this. I saw the news by 6 am and my heart immediately fell into my stomach. It was hard to get ready for work and drive knowing what those people were still going through. I got to work and most people hadn’t heard yet. I wasn’t going to tell them. I didn’t want to talk about it. I couldn’t without breaking down.

Everyone kept saying to go home and hug your loved ones. Well, I just moved to a new city. Away from my family and my boyfriend who I lived with. I don’t have many people here and the only “person” I was going home to was my dog. Losing my family or my boyfriend in a tragedy like that is literally my greatest fear. I wish I still lived in NY and I wish I was still going home to him. I wish I could hug him and cry and tell him how much I love him. I wish I could bury my head in his chest and thank God he’s okay and with me. But I can’t do that. I feel more alone than I ever have in my life. Again, I am blessed. I am so blessed my family and friends weren’t there. I am so blessed that even though they’re 800 miles away, they’re alive. I am blessed that I can talk to them.

But my heart still hurts. My heart hurts for the people who lost their lives and the ones who lived and had to leave the event without the people they went with. My heart hurts in fear of the world we live in. The older I get, the more these events scare me. I have so many emotions and on days like today, they’re hard to sort out.

Whether directly affects or just sad and scared like me, my sincerest condolences. If you’re hurt, angry, sad, and like me, just need to get it out. Email me. Comment below. Write your own post and share it with me. I am here to listen. Thank you for listening to me.

XO J

7 Things I didn’t Expect when I Moved 850 Miles from Home

For 29 years, I lived in the same town. I spent my entire life in the same neighborhood and when I decided to move away from home, I knew it would be hard. I left my fun job, my family, my friends, my serious live-in, handsome boyfriend, the first house I bought, and my 8 year old dog who I adopted as a puppy. I knew I would miss just about everything about home and I knew I would feel lonely in a new city. I tried to prepare for that the best I could. However, in the first two weeks in my new city of Charleston, SC, the hardest parts of the transition weren’t necessarily the ones I expected and the most exciting parts weren’t the reasons I moved.

1. The most frustrating thing I have ever experienced is constantly being lost and trying to follow a GPS. I knew I would rely on my GPS a lot, but I didn’t think about how I have fallen into a routine over the past 29 years and now, I can’t even get a damn cup of coffee to help me through the morning commute. I have to GPS my way to a Starbucks, only to accidentally pass it and not be able to turn around because I am on a one-way street.

2. Suburban Crime is a Culture Shock. Where I grew up, we occasionally had the freak suburban crime, but for the most part, the really bad crime was confined to certain areas of the city. Here, you have murders two blocks about from half million dollar homes. That is a common theme throughout the city and the suburbs, which made house hunting an added challenge.

3. I don’t know where things are in the grocery store. As if finding the grocery stores and farmer’s markets haven’t been frustrating enough, I don’t know where a damn thing is! Grocery shopping becomes an all day affair when you have no idea how to find what you need. Luckily, the gorgeous Summerville, SC Aldi came to my rescue!

4. My fitness routine has gone down the drain. I imagined moving to Charleston and jogging outside year round, paddle boarding in the marsh, and driving up to NC to hike and bike. But, what I completely neglected to remember is that it’s freaking HOT in August and there is no way I can get a decent run in without collapsing from the heat index, I don’t have a gym (yet), I sold my kayak and have no idea where to get a paddle board, and my bike is thrown on top of my couch in my storage unit. It’ll take more than 2 weeks to get back into the grove.

5. Dating to find friends is harder than dating to find a boyfriend. Since I only have one friend in Charleston, I have been making an extra large effort to try and meet new people around the city. It’s EXHAUSTING. When dating to meet a man, I would type in my criteria online as if I was shopping for shoes, and my preferred selections came up on dating sites. With friends, I have forced myself to stay out too late, drinking too much beer, and conversing with people I didn’t even necessarily like in order to try and build up a social circle. I had 5 “dates” in two weeks and met some pretty amazing people and some people I don’t care to see again.

6. For everything I miss about NY, there is something to love about SC. From weather, to restaurants, to shops and boutiques. As soon as I start to miss something from home, I discover something else that is new and exciting that I can’t get in NY.

7. I don’t want to go back. I was venting to a new friend about some struggles I was facing and I was having a really hard time being away from my boyfriend and dog. He caught me off guard when he said “If you could go home tomorrow, would you?” My immediate response was “No.” Sitting on fun bar patio, listening to live music on a Saturday night, in 85 degree weather, I felt happy. Yes, I am sad, and frustrated, and sometimes even very depressed. But overall, I am happy with my decision to have moved. I am LOVING the warm weather, and I can’t wait to get into a routine and keep exploring!

XO J

IMG_5114.jpg