Help!! Life is Driving me Crazy!!

I’m going a bit stir crazy from being stuck in the house since Friday due to not so hurricane anymore Florence. I’m working on my second puzzle, watched countless hours of tv and movies, taken several naps, eaten my body weight in hurricane snacks and played several card and board games with the family. It was only a matter of time before a blog post came along.

My daughter and I just finished playing “The Game of Life.” First of all, why does this game have a whole name and not just “Life.”

Anywho, I have played this game several hundred times since I was a child. Even though they’ve updated the game and cards, the premise is still the same. Hop in a car, spin the dial, go around the board collecting money, paying for things, getting a job, attempting to live your best life before ultimately retiring while you wait for everyone else to catch up.

Now that I’ve lived a little bit of actual life as an adult…I have a few bones to pick with this game! I’m also adding it to the list of things that seriously set me up with unrealistic expectations of real life adulting.

Here they are:

(I’m sorry there are no funny GIFs to accompany the list…my internet is on the fritz due to the storm and my data sucks)

1. You automatically start off with a car. This is not real life for the vast majority of people. Somehow in the game of life, however, everyone stars out on the same playing field with a whole car. And it doesn’t end there…

2. Everyone starts out with $200,000! Again, not realistic for 99% of the world. It’s safe to assume this game starts out fresh after graduation as your very first adult life decision is to go the college track or career track. I’m not sure I know anyone who finished high school and had $200,000 in the bank whether saved or given to them. My fri bad aren’t rich. I got a lap top when I graduated. Not $200,000. So let’s see, so far in this unrealistic life I’ve got a fully functional car which I did not have to pay for using my $200,000 in cash. Sweet!

3. Career or college track. So this one isn’t so bad. It’s pretty realistic for most people to go one or the other. Going to college track means you get to pick from special, higher paying college track jobs. You also have to pay $100,000 in tuition, which again, not super unrealistic. However, thanks to that random $200,000 you happen to baby lying around you can pay for it outright, don’t have to take out loans, don’t have to work your way through college and can afford to eat more than Top Ramen every day. Sweet!

4. Next stop: pick your career! Again, pretty reasonable. Most people have some sort of choice as to what job they have. Even if that choice is between two jobs they hate or don’t want to do it is a choice. We won’t knit pick this one too much (hmmm knitting. I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll add that to my list of things to do before I go insane in this hurricane). So I ended up being a veterinarian making $100,000. I’m not sure how much a vet actually makes a year so I’ll take the games word for it. I checked out some other cards though and realized this game is ridiculous. They have teachers make $100,000 and athletes making $50,000. We all know that’s a lie. I will say, maybe the game has it right on this one though. That’s definitely how it should be.

5. I only have to work for thirteen years!!! There are a total of thirteen pay days on the board. Assuming I make $100,000 a year and not every two weeks that means I’m only working for thirteen years before I retire. Sweet!

6. Action!! So as you go around the board you pick up action cards that either cause you to earn money or pay money. I had to give Taylor $20,000 for stealing a stapler but earned $40,000 for making a smoothie. These actions are beyond absurd but such is the game of life I guess.

7. You have to get married. There is no way around it. The board demands you to stop and pick a spouse. I have a current obsession with Kaycee from big brother so I decided we were getting married. If this game is going to make me live in a fantasy world where I managed to get married a year after graduating from college with a job paying $100,000 a year then I figured I might as well go all out and marry my current girl crush. Pretend life is good people.

8. I appreciate that it gives you the option to have kids or not. It may force you to get married but it doesn’t demand you procreate. Sweet!

9. Retirement. Every one gets to retire. No one works until one day they go home after the end of their shift and pass away in their sleep because they could never afford to not work, or they had to continue to work because their social security check wasn’t enough to make ends meet. Nope. You just pick wether you want to spend the rest of your life in a fancy mansion retirement home or a cozy cottage retirement home. Sweet! Also, if you are the first of your friends to retire you get an extra $400,000 just because. Double sweet!

10. Remember those action cards?!?! I hope you held on to them, because you get a smooth $100,000 for every action card you earned. Just imagine, if after you retire you got $100,000 for every memory you made along the way! You also get $50,000 for any kids you chose to have. Isn’t the game of life grand!

11. What’s missing?!?! Well, during this round of the game of life, me, my wife Kaycee and our daughter lived in my car the whole time. Yep. I never bought a house. There were chances to do so but I was never lucky enough to land on a spot in order to purchase one. Maybe this part is pretty realistic. But heck, since they were giving away cars and money at the beginning they could have at least hooked me up with a free apartment or something.

So yea…clearly I have spend entirely too much time in this house and the typically soothing sound of rain is actually driving me insane. Someone save me please!!!

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Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Leaves of Red Orange and Gold, and Everything Nice…

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This Is an ode to my favorite season…

Fall…

Where football starts and the terrible heat of the Summer begins to fade.

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Fall…

Where sweatpants are common clothing choices and nobody will bat an eye if you show up everywhere in them. (Well, maybe in DC they will because….DC)

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Fall…

Where you can take a leisurely walk in the city or park and not feel like you’re about to suffer from a heat stroke or sweat every pound off of your body.

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Fall…

When the leaves put on a show over the span of hundreds and hundreds of miles just so you can travel a short distance to witness the beauty of nature.

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Fall…

Where pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon rules your sense of smell, and you feel all warm and cuddly inside.

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Fall…

The feeling of a crisp breeze that blows on a slightly warm day, letting you know it’s got your back.

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Fall…

The memories of waiting for your parents to rake the leaves into a big pile, just so you could jump in it.

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Fall…

Halloween

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Fall…

Thanksgiving

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Fall…

Hanging around a bonfire with some of your closest family and friends with a beer…or sitting around a campfire roasting hotdogs and marshmallows

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The greatest things are here when fall comes around. You can’t deny it.

It’s the best season there is.

Bar none

Completely

Without a doubt

Number 1

*Take that, take that* #PdiddyVoice

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I Love Myself…Now What?

“You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.”

First of all…this is absolute bullshit. Let’s just put that out there.

Oh yea, I’m in that kind of mood. You might as well strap yourself in and enjoy the ride because I honestly have no idea where this is headed.

Anywho, as I scrolled through Pinterest looking for quotes to summarize how I feel right now, I repeatedly came across some variation of the bullshit mentioned above. As someone who has spent a lot of time repairing herself after others have come in like a bull in a china shop, as someone who has tried every time to put those pieces back together into something soft, and beautiful and not jaded by the selfishness of this world, as someone who does in fact love them-self including their flaws and quirks and oddities and imperfections, as someone who knows the world is out to make her hard when she is meant to remain soft…as that person I CALL BULLSHIT ON YOUR LOVE YOURSELF QUOTE!!

Why? Because it’s simply not true. Every day people choose to love others who are broken and do not love themselves. Every day people choose to be in relationships with people who do not have it all together and do not love themselves. Every day babies are born, and have no idea what it means to exist let alone love yourself, yet anyone within an earshot or their cries has the natural inclination to love and protect and nurture that tiny human…who does not love them self. Ok. I know that’s extreme but hopefully you get my point. People who do not love them self receive love, in all forms, all the time.

I have decided that this is another one of those things that people say to single people when that person is being extra vulnerable and the other person doesn’t know what to say. They mean well, but it’s actually quite harmful. What you are saying is…you aren’t there yet, you aren’t ready, you don’t deserve it yet, you aren’t perfect. As someone who has been told they are perfect and amazing, yet still no one wants to actually be with them…it’s infuriating. So for the record, don’t call me perfect. I’m not. It will only make me want to throat punch you three times in a row.

So here’s the thing. I’ve done the work. I love me some me. Yea some days I annoy myself, I get on my nerves, I question myself and my worth, I feel broken, I feel stupid, I feel unworthy, some days I look in the mirror and see a goddess, some days I see a monster, but at the end of it all I love who I am, who I was, who I will be, where I am going, what I am doing, and the way I choose to be in this crazy world. I’ve got that part down. I love me despite it all…

So if I go off this crazy logic, it should be raining men right now!!! NOT! Alas, here I am, with no one to love. AND BEFORE YOU GO THERE yes, I have my daughter, I have my family, I have friends , I am beyond blessed…BUT WHY DOES THAT MEAN I CAN’T BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF THAT AND HAVE A MAN!

I seriously wish someone would cut the bullshit and just be honest and not try to spare my feelings. I wish someone would just be like look Ashley, here’s the issue, your awesome but your breath stinks, or sometimes you have psychotic breaks and turn into the devil and no one is actually telling you, or that super hard blink thing that you do it’s just to much. No one wants to deal with that. Whatever it is just let me know. But this “it’s not you it’s me”, “Jesus hasn’t sent the one yet,” “your just so amazing and it scares people”…all that that shit is for the birds.

I know this. I have an intense, burning desire to love and be loved. Some days it’s a little less intense because life chooses to dangle hope in my face like a carrot and I get tired of trying to reach it. I don’t know how many more times I have in me to try to bite that damn carrot. I’m sure I’ll keep trying though.

Choosing me is hard, every time, but I do it. I just hope one day someone else won’t find it so difficult. Hope, however, is a terribly painful thing to have.

Happy Birthday Harry

It is no surprise to anyone that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Those who aren’t fans may consider me a super fan but I’m a fan in that I have a tattoo, several clothing and jewelry items, and watch the movies often. I also fantasize about a Harry Potter themed wedding. I’m not so much a super fan in that I don’t dress up on a daily basis, or stalk the actors, or quote the movies and books in normal conversation. I’m kind of like an average super fan. Just enough for it to be quirky.

Anyways, today is Harry Potter’s birthday!

The actual character, not like the date the first book was published or the date the movie came out but just literally the characters birthday. And it makes me happy.

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone into detail as to why I love Harry Potter so much. Other than the fact that wizards and magic are just generally awesome, Harry for me is like an old friend who showed up in a time of need and while we may not be as close as we once were, he’s always there and always provides a source of comfort.

I must confess, there was once a time when I was anti Harry Potter. I judged it without knowing and had this Christian engrained mindset that anything having to do with witches and magic was obviously the devil incarnate. I am ashamed of this, but I have made peace with it and Harry has forgiven me.

Things changed when I was in my senior year of high school. I took whatever the name of the library class was as an easy grade. I was 17, pregnant and not really in the mood for most things. We had to read a book and write a report on it. I scanned the shelves and landed on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Call it fate, call it divine intervention, call it what you want but I found the book and never looked back. I read the book and instantly fell in love. Harry Potter transported me to another world. Where I wasn’t 17 in high school, fighting with my daughter’s father all the time, sick of watching TV, gaining what would be 100 pounds, and feeling more and more lonely as the days past. Harry Potter provided me relief and a break, comfort and peace in what would be the beginning of the rest of my life.

I met Harry, at the same time I made friends with a classmate who would be murdered later that year. I realize now I feel the death of people I don’t completely know the same way I experience the death of book characters whom I love. As if the world has lost someone amazing and I didn’t get the chance to fully know them. I grieved him and I continued to read.

I read through all of the available books (at that time it was through Half Blood Prince) in about 2 months. I even forced my social studies teacher to finish the library copy early and turn it on so I could check it out. He didn’t yell at me for reading in class.

And then I waited. The last book came out when my daughter was a few months old. By this time, her father and I had broken up for good, most of my friends were out doing whatever 18 year olds who aren’t pregnant and don’t have babies do. I pre-ordered the book, stood in line with my sister because my mom forced her to go with me, and waited for midnight. I remember this being the first time I felt like a bad mom since she was at home and I was out doing something that I wanted to do. I got the book, I went home, and I read until 4 am. I finished the book in two days Reading during a family reunion to make up for time spent in the car when I couldn’t read (stupid motion sickness). I came home, locked myself in my room and read until I was done. I cried. I laughed. I took a break and screamed when I thought Harry was going to have to die. I cried some more and then cried again in happiness when everything ended as it should. I grieved for those who didn’t make it. I closed the book and life went on. I felt different. I grieved that the story was over. I remembered there would still be movie premieres and that made me happier. For anyone who reads this and thinks “that’s it. She’s crazy”… well…

Or be offended. I don’t care.

It’s kind of hard to explain what Harry Potter meant for me at that time of my life. I won’t say it saved me from any deep dark thoughts as it has for others but it did comfort me. And that’s what I needed at that time. For that I am eternally grateful.

As time has gone on, I’ve noticed that for some reason Harry Potter has been a way for men to try to get in good with me (didn’t think I’d make it through a post without turning it into a commentary on my dating life did you!). Something they didn’t understand or care about but somehow I convinced them to watch it with me and then they realized it might be a good way to get into my pants or something. I’ve had to stop that. I’ve decided to keep it sacred for me. To only offer this piece of me and time spent with me to people who care. To not encourage just everyone to watch and read it because they may not appreciate it. And for the most part, to not really explain my love of it to anyone and just take whatever jokes they made about it as they came. One day, someone will appreciate it and they will also let me have a Harry Potter wedding because they love me! Or at least hints of Potter (maybe?!?)

But yep. That’s it. Today is Harry Potter’s birthday. I’m about to start my period so I’m a little emotional for no reason

And regardless of what life throws my way, I can rest safe in the knowledge that Harry Potter and all its magic will be a soft place to land if I need to recenter…

A year of reflection…

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, and needs help, please don’t hesitate to use this number. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

This time last year I kind of made a decision to change my life. I felt that I was suffering from possible mild depression (self diagnosed) for at least 3 months, maybe longer. I had been about 8 months out of a serious relationship and about 3 months out of a situationship I thought I wanted to be in at first but then realized I didn’t want to be. And during that time I tried to do things to keep my mind busy. Visited friends in Wisc. and Seattle, WA. Took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale. Took a random road trip with my bestie to help her get her car situation handled before her move to NYC. I felt like I was handling it OK.

And I was, kind of…but it was all just a distraction.

Heartbreak Hotel…

The break-up was one thing. I mean, people go through break-ups every day, but after you’ve lived with someone, even for only two years and they are no longer a part of your life that way, it hits you. Especially when it feels like no one else wants to be with you. Which that couldn’t be farther from the truth, but that’s just how it felt. I just felt lonely most of the time, and not wanted. I mean, the depression did start a little bit before the break up but I wasn’t really aware of it, and it got worse afterwards. I got through it, but that was only one stage of the whole process.

During that phase, there were times where I felt like being alone a lot. And yeah, sometimes you need your alone time, but I got to a point where I felt better off alone, like I didn’t need anybody. Fortunately, that didn’t last too long, because I have amazing friends who I tend to miss on occasion now. lol

Friends

About this time a year ago, my ex-roomie (now best friend) moved in, and this is where I felt a lot of my anxiety and depression started to go away. I had the whole house to myself for almost a year after it being occupied by someone else for two. Just having her there helped a lot. I mean, I still liked being in my own space within the house, but I didn’t feel lonely anymore, even though we were in separate rooms a lot of the time. She helped fill the void of emptiness in the house. It was a great start to getting control back to my life. And even though we never really talked about my depression much, it’s almost as if she knew. She just had a great way of communicating and just being there for me. I mean, she’s a wonderful understanding and knowledgeable person and I’m glad I opened my home to her.

And we all know about my BFF LeAnna. I’ve opened up to her about how I felt a lot and she is always there to help talk me through things (even though I don’t listen sometimes, lol). I know I’m hard to get along with sometimes, but I’m glad she doesn’t give up on me. 🙂

Work work work work work work

Another source of my mild depression and anxiety came from work. I wasn’t feeling successful at my current position at the time and I’d unsuccessfully applied for at least 3 other positions over the last 4 years before landing my new job. I felt like no one wanted me. I got to the point where I didn’t know where life would take me next because I wanted to move up in my professional career, but without any connections or experience other than what I had, I felt as if I was stuck, and that kept me down for a long time. I love my company (gawd knows I do), but it was hard to deal with being turned down so much. I almost let myself not apply for this position, due to just not feeling like I was what they wanted. I almost let it get the best of me in that situation and almost talked myself out of it, but I’m glad I didn’t. A promise I made to myself, that I would work towards bettering myself continued to live on.

Dating, is the worst

I know I’ve said this many times before, but yes, a lot of my uncertainty and depression came from dating. Not necessarily because nobody wanted to date me, but because I felt like nobody I wanted, wanted to date me. This prompted the “I think I’m over white men” post back in March. This, along with how easy it is to ghost people, the fact that most people just want sex and then they are through with you, the fact that you think that nobody likes you; It brings a lot of bad energy to your soul. And after going through that song and dance (myself even, being the lead in it, sometimes) just does a toll on you.

BUT…

It started in October of last year; that was the last time I seriously dated anyone. After dealing with someone for months, and feeling like there was something there, only to be told that there wasn’t, I refused to let it affect me anymore, and I slowed down actively dating. I mostly turned to hooking up (responsibly!) as it was less of an emotional connection and I can easily forget about Bob from tuesday rather than talk to Scott for months and then all of a sudden, nothing. So yeah, I still have Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, Scruff, whatever you call it, but I decided to just not put my feelings out there anymore. So all in all, I turned into some sort of a fuckboy, but it helped ground me a little bit. May not be the healthiest way overall to do this, but it works for me for now. And while I have met people throughout this time, it was more so a casual thing that could have turned into something, but never did, and I’m OK with that. Not saying that it’s right, but that’s what I needed to do at the time for me.

So what prompted this blog post?

July 30th 2017 was the beginning of not letting all of this crap above control my life. On this date last year I made a decision to work towards bettering myself. I dealt with a lot of depressive situations and anxiety prior to early last year and it just got worse over time. I knew I was going through something, but being the hardheaded person I am, I didn’t seek out help. Well not in a general sense, anyway, but my friends were there to help with it, even if they didn’t know I was going through something.

When I woke up and saw this post, it was almost like a weight was lifted off of my chest. Well, the weight was already gone, but it made me realize how heavy it was this time last year. Little by little, I was freeing myself. This, this was everything I was wishing to work towards. I owned the fact that I wasn’t OK and I dealt with a lot. I put it out there for the world to see, and that’s when I decided to work towards a healthier me. No, it wasn’t an easy process and I still deal with many moments to this day, but I refuse to let that hold me down. I have to remember that I can’t let it win and with this new job offer, I feel like it’s a sign. Confirmation that everything I worked towards changing and bettering about myself was finally coming to fruition. I’m still no where I want to be, but I’m better.

Everybody’s story is different. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. One of the ones where depression doesn’t completely control their life. My experience is nowhere near what others may be going through and won’t mirror someone else’s experience. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system of family, great friends, and a stable job to help keep me grounded. I realize not everyone is fortunate to have this foundation or even fortunate enough to only need this type of foundation to lift them out of depression. It’s real out there. Everyone goes through this in different ways and I just hope that they are getting the support needed to overcome. Please don’t be like me; reach out to someone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-8255

Change is the only constant…

Change is inevitable.  It’s something we all go through in life whether we want it to happen or not.  In most cases, our idea of change is an unwanted variable that comes along, ruining good things and making things worse over time.  But change can happen for the better, and most often does.  We don’t like to openly invite change to make things better, but it’s only because it’s unfamiliar; And everyone tends to be a little scared about unfamiliarity.

So, as I go through one of the biggest changes of my life, I have to remind myself that change is a good thing.  To want change is to know that you desire more from life, and that where you are has become to stagnant and complacent.  Sometimes, change is desired, and sometimes it’s needed.  In this case, I think it was a little bit of both. I can only hope that it will bring good and positive things to me in the future.  So with that said, here are a few reasons why I think change is good and something we should all embrace and strive for:

Change gets you out of your comfort zone

I’m some sort of an introvert, so I know all about comfort zones and being in them.   But, doing things that are unfamiliar to you builds confidence.  Without confidence, you won’t get too far in life. With confidence, you are more willing to put yourself out there and take chances.  I’ve had to learn this and still am trying to get used to being confident in/with change.  Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to spread your wings and show the world what you can really do outside of your normal comfort box.  And no, you don’t ALWAYS have to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s good to go back and chill, but don’t stay there.

Change allows you to grow

Change is life.  It’s how this whole ‘life’ thing works.  Getting you out of your comfort zone is the basis of change, and allows for you to grow, and as you grow, you learn.  And as you learn more, the better off you are in life.  Growth from change allows you to experience so much more than you ever would staying in your comfort zones.

Change and being adaptable are seen as positives

We all know that things at work never goes as planned.  As a bag-boy at the local grocery store I learned that being open to change is how you get recognized.  Work itself, is just one big ball of Murphy’s law ready to explode on your hour after hour. And being susceptible to change allows you to handle these situations like a BOSS.  Adaptability and change go hand in hand.  If you allow your resistance to change to keep you from taking charge or handling a situation accordingly, this is definitely seen as a negative.  Change allows you to be creative in solving a problem. A plus in many employer’s eyes.

Change can help spice up your life

In more ways than one…lol.  I am very accepting of change for this reason alone.  Doing the same things over and over for an extended amount of time got me into semi depressive moods many times, because it felt like I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere in my life.  The same routines of my day to day allowed me to focus on why I felt like I wasn’t successful, or why my life was “boring”, and contributed to a negative aura and thought process.  Change, just in your daily routine, can help with these types of thoughts and maybe a big change could help as well.

Change allows you to experience new things

As we all know, change presents opportunities.  Without being open to change, I wouldn’t be making the biggest move of my life in 31 days. Simple as that.

You have to put yourself out there.  We as humans get to the point where we’re just really comfortable and complacent and just refuse to embrace change because we’re so familiar with the constant. Be open to change and all of the good impact that it may have on you.  Who knows, it could lead to great opportunities that you would have never imagined.  It could change your life.  To fear change, is to fear the unknown, and that totally understandable, but how long are you going to let the fear of change dictate how you live your life?

It’s Official…

746 Elders Story

Why do I feel like I’m about to throw up? The room is spinning, I can’t have a concentrated thought to last more than a minute and I think I’m becoming a big ball of emotions.

I saw it… The MLS listing for my home, and it may be the first real sign of “wow, this is actually happening”.

I’m on the verge of picking up everything and making the biggest change of my life that I don’t even know I’m ready for.

I know that when I wrote my other blog A First-Time Home Buyer’s Confession…, I mentioned that my house never really felt like a home.  While that is still true, I can’t forget about all of the memories I’ve had there.  Too many to go through, but I’ll share my first one.

I have this thing about when I move somewhere new,  I go in, open the door, blast the Air Conditioner, turn on the fan (if there is one) and then lay down in the middle of the floor.  Alternating between having my eyes closed, feeling the aura of the room, and then having them open, staring into the void of the ceiling fixture. I’ve always done this, ever since I’ve owned my first apartment back in 2009, but this time, it was different.

This was mine…

As I laid there, I thought about what I would do with my own space.  How I would treat it. My first housewarming party for my first home.  Where I was going to put all of the furniture. Buying all of the furniture to be put in there.  My mind was just racing to have this opportunity given to me.  No, it wasn’t given, it was earned.  Then, my mind goes blank, and I just lay there.  I just am.  I feel the air from the AC and ceiling fan blow on me, and I’m just happy to call this new place my home.  After all the time and effort spent on buying a home, I was relieved.

It was a culmination of hard work and an awesome bank that would basically give a loan to a dog as long as it had good credit and made enough money, lol.  No, buying a home isn’t easy and you definitely have to be vetted and go through a long ass process before anything happens, BUT I survived. That was good enough for me to be proud and feel that I’ve beaten a negative statistic about people who look like me in society.

3 years ago, I moved into a place that I could call my own.  Again, hindsight has let me know that right now this isn’t what I need in life, but back then it was a great feeling.  I truly felt like an adult.  Like, I did something amazing.  To own a home at 27?  Especially since I felt like I was sort of failing at adulting at that point in my life. Everything just started going well for me, and I feel like owning a home at that time in my life was a great decision.  However, people and things change, but what won’t change is how grateful I am to have been in a position to buy a home (as little as it is) and also grateful that I have the opportunity to sell my first home to be a part of something better in my professional career.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.  Life is hard.  It comes with good and bad, happy and sad, clear-mindedness and confusion/uncertainty, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Now, I’m off to DC tomorrow to go apartment hunting…I hope I don’t cry.