A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A very special episode of "As The Saint Spins".

"You make me feel a little older,
like a full grown woman might" -The White Stripes, Cold Cold Night

Over the last couple months, I've been experiencing a sort of renewal. I recently described it to someone as feeling like I've been napping for a long time, and I'm starting to wake up. I feel all the signals firing in my brain, sometimes coordinating and producing thoughts that other people seem to be interested in, which surprises me. I also feel another part of my brain lighting up like a switchboard: the part that decides what I'm interested in and what's best for me, and moreso, the part that's decided that I don't have to care how all that is received by others. I've really hurt myself and thrown off my timeline, allowing myself to curl up into a stifling mold that's never, ever been a good fit. There are a lot of contributing factors for this: a very poor choice when it came to a spouse, an even poorer choice regarding timing and importance of education, deciding I was pretty much trapped here and that I might as well shut off the part of me that wants more.

Assimilation. Stagnation.

Eff it.

It doesn't matter how many contributing factors there were or how many obstacles are still there. This life I've been living here in Corinth simply isn't good enough for me, and I'm not going to be ok with it anymore. I don't mean I'm not going to be happy while I'm here (I firmly believe that happiness is 75%attitude), but rather that I'm not going to be satisfied to stay here. This is not where it ends for me, under fluorescents and being forced to listen to pop all day and watching the light in my eyes dim a little more every morning when I brush my teeth.

So I'm currently in the process of looking for an additional job in order to pay off the last of my debts even faster. It's crucial to 1) get this brain to a real city, and 2) get this brain back into school and give it some formal feeding. Untapped intelligence isn't cutting it. I've been coasting on potential for a long time. Enough of that. It's time to see what I can do, and what I want to do with it. The more I talk to my eloquent, scary-smart boyfriend, the clearer all this becomes to me. Ditto Tamara and Lindsey. I'm so jealous of Tamara and her back-to-school goings on, I can barely see straight. (I ain't hatin', lady. Just sayin'.)

It's time for some major changes. The first big change, I think, is the decision to act like the adult that I am and stop making excuses as to why I haven't pursued excellence until now.

Changes to follow: my body and how I treat it; the way I organize everything in my home, my car, and my skull; choosing a school, and relatedly, choosing a city toward which to haul my ass as soon as possible. And to aid in those last two, I'll be securing a nights&weekends job within the next two weeks. I want to make this move happen by January. A lot of decision making to do during that time, but I'll at least have a nest egg ready for when the final decision is made.

I really, really like Chicago. It's big and exciting, and some parts of it really remind my of my beloved Midtown (Memphis). I particularly dig the transit system and the mind-boggling concept that maybe I don't have to own a car and the corresponding lifelong car payment, gas money, and maintenance headache. I love that there's something really fun to do in a five minute's walk in any direction, and that if you know how to look, said fun is free. People were surprisingly friendly and helpful, there are unlimited dining options, and don't get me started on education options. That's another post entirely. And while I would not consider moving to another city solely because of a man, it certainly helps that there is a man I'm nuts about in that particular city. Just as when I was considering moving to Buffalo, the one big thing holding me back is the godforsaken climate. I have been raised mostly in the south. As our comparatively mild winters come to a close around March every year, all I want to do is lie still out on a flat rock and absorb the sunshine like a lizard. When the temperature cruelly dips to anything below 40, I burrow into layers of cuddly long sleeve t-shirts and homemade socks, guzzle gallons of hot tea, and pat myself on the back for making it through when the sun smiles down on me again. I like the feeling of my bare shoulders starting to sizzle in April, when the mercury starts hitting the 80's. I go through June, July, and August, prettily glistening and happy. I am assured that there is indeed of brief window of terrible, suffocating heat every summer in Chicago, and the idea of that is what I know I'll cling to all winter, should I decide to head North.

I know that the weather seems like kind of a dumb reason to move or not move somewhere. But I really, really hate being cold.

This was how Buffalo was described to me, and why I decided not to move there:

Let me just make it clear, in case I haven't, that it gets COLD here. Bitterly, finger-eating, face-shattering COLD. We are situated right next to the largest collection of fresh water in the world, and the winds that come off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are f*cking blustery nose eaters. The low pressure systems that move across the lake suck moisture as they travel and when they make landfall on the metro Buffalo area they vomit snow in torrents. It's a weather phenomenon called the Lake Effect. There are beers and diners named after it. For at least three solid months a year you deal with mass quantities of snow, and for six months out of the year you deal with the cold. You MUST have special clothing - padded, insulated socks, shoes big enough to accommodate said socks, thermal underwear, insulated wind-resistant gloves, scarves, ear muffs AND winter hats. None of these are optional. Your heat costs will be astronomical if you're not okay with sitting at home in four layers, two pairs of socks and slippers, a winter hat, and never feeling your nose. Snow is heavy. It looks fluffy and light, but wait until you start having to get up at 5AM to shovel the stuff out of your driveway for 2 hours so your car doesn't get stuck / can movie. It is cardio, and it is work. Ordinarily simple tasks - like taking out the garbage / recycling, running to the grocery store, going to work - take on whole new worlds on complexity when there is snow on the ground. If your gloves get wet with it and they're not waterproof, you're f*cked. If you're cold natured or get cold easily you will freeze your ass off all winter long. Ice can be invisible and you will bust your ass if you're not totally careful. If you have a dog, taking it out multiple times a day will a tremendous amount of work to your daily tasks.I just want to make sure you fully realize what you might be getting into. --Tamara

Yeah, I know it's milder in Chicago than in Buffalo. But you know what? They're both damn cold.


Anonymous said...

I wish you the best of luck in finding your new city and your new educational path!

Foz the Hook said...

Great post. Be aware that the car money you save in Chicago will be offset by other expenses.

Also, all education up here is very expensive. Simply working long hours at multiple jobs will not pay the bills for that. You would also find your frustration grow when you consider that you benefit less than you might from this very expensive education because you are working all the time.

People get it done, but there are very few alternatives to assuming huge debts.

That said, there are people up here who would love seeing you frequently.

and yes, it is cold.

sarah saint said...

"People get it done, but there are very few alternatives to assuming huge debts."

I have no doubt that that will happen, regardless of where I choose to go to school. I'm going to be working multiple jobs here in order to save some money for the move. Some cushion money to get me started. I'm not entertaining any fantasies that I can just pay as I go. Unless, of course, I start stripping.

"That said, there are people up here who would love seeing you frequently."

Sylvia? I like her. She's nice.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget grants, scholarships, work study, and research stipends! Every little bit helps.

sarah saint said...

Can I start calling you T-Bone?