Home

Today, I sit at the airport waiting to get on my umpteenth flight back to my hometown in Western New York. It is cold there (by my standards), especially for late May but I am so looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I have been going back “home” about twice a year, and am trying to wean down to once a year– something almost unimaginable. When I saw this secret posted on Post Secret, I had several mixed feelings. Home has been so many places for me since 2005 when I officially left the home I had known since about 1990 (Any questions, see a post from several months ago ūüėČ )… but¬†where is my home now? What should I consider home to be?

 

Compliments of PostSecret; on back, "Things were easier when I knew where I belonged."

Compliments of PostSecret; on back, “Things were easier when I knew where I belonged.”

 

It’s not that “home” (New York, home) has stopped feeling like home, but maybe it’s that so many things have felt like home that it’s hard to recognize the comfort of “home” when it hits you. Have I moved so often, referred to so many places as home, become de-sensitized to the cozy, comforting feeling that I don’t know what “home” feels like anymore?

 

After my freshman year of college, I spent that summer at “home” (New York) and my friends came over almost every evening (literally, almost every evening) and we hung out in my mom’s basement and ate party mix and watched Legally Blonde the Musical: the Search for Elle Woods on MTV. After that summer, we all went our ways until December when the group was back together. I will never forget when my friend Jackie walked into the entry way through the garage, inhaled a deep breath through her nose and mouth, sighed and said: “ahhh. Amanda’s house.”

Oh yeah, I guess my house (like everywhere else) has its own smell. After that, I longed to be away from “home” long enough to know that smell and to have the opportunity to take it all in and to know the smell of something so cozy and familiar. About two years later, I walked into my mom’s house and if only for 15 seconds, I inhaled my own deep breath through my nose and mouth and I could smell it. It felt like jingling the bell from Santa’s sleigh in¬†The Polar Express and still being able to hear it years later. It smelled like home.

 

But here we are in 2013. In plain terms, home has been Webster, Orlando, and Tampa. When I first moved to Tampa¬†(for the second time), it was¬†hard. Home was still Orlando, and home was in my bed in the apartment complex off of International drive. Home was the kittens and my ex who I had moved in with (maybe too soon, and maybe more on this later). Now I was in a single hotel room in Tampa. ¬†Alone. I have prided myself on being comfortable with change and my adaptability… but am I? Is anyone? Especially since that uprooting, my idea of home has become incredibly foggy. I have grown roots in Tampa. Church family, friends family, coworkers, a new beau or two; still moving apartments, but such is life.

One of my coworkers grew up in St. Petersburg which is a stone’s throw from downtown Tampa. We had made plans to do something one weekend, and I knew she was also planning to visit home– her parents. In a text message exchange, I asked where she was at. “On my way home,” she replied. I asked for clarification– “To Tampa or St. Pete”?

 

“Tampa,” she said. “If I was going to St. Pete I would have said ‘to my Parents.””

 

Oh. Well I guess that makes sense. This small statement really hit home and forced me to have the difficult conversation with myself that I realized I had been avoiding. Home. I guess I should start referring to Tampa as “home” and Webster as…. hometown? Family? Visiting my parents’? What about later in life when Tampa is no longer home? I think I have loved so many places and let so many places into my heart that it’s difficult to be able to define home, and what home is supposed to feel like. Maybe I have exposed myself to so many places that are supposed to be/feel like home that I have become numb and have forgotten what it is like to just be in one place– one “home”– for an extended period of time without being uprooted and relocating myself and my belongings.

 

I’m not sure what the future holds or what my numerous future “home’s” will look like, but the tradeoff of seeing/visiting/living in new places will always outweigh whatever longing I have for (pretending I enjoy) staying in one place for too long.

 

 

What is “home” to you? Is there a place you live now or lived once that will always feel like home to you?

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Things I Love Thursdays | Chopping Off Your Hair For a Good Cause (or Because You Feel Like It)

This is a day belated… but I had class yesterday and was up early to run (yay!)… so here we are at Friday!

 

 

 

A couple of days ago, you may have read that Kellie Pickler shaved her head¬†¬†to raise awareness about breast cancer and to celebrate and support a close friend. Shaving your hair off is no easy feat; it’s not just a “cosmetic” thing… hair grows back unevenly, many women look “weird” or “masculine,” and it could throw some women into fits of insecurity. When I cut my hair short recently (not shaved-head short, but pretty damn short) the women I worked with supported me, saying things like, “women who know they’re pretty can rock short hair,” or, “women who are already confident don’t have to hide behind their hair.” I’m pretty sure a lot of them hated it and thought I looked ridiculous but… I don’t really care ūüôā

I love that Kellie Pickler who used to look like this¬†(and is self-admittedly not a natural blonde) has no hair as a music-industry entertainer. I think that’s a huge sacrifice to make to support a friend– A good one! When I was a cashier at Wegmans, a woman came through my checkout line and she was wearing a baseball hat and kept adjusting it. She was very clearly uncomfortable, and let me know that a close friend had recently been diagnosed with cancer and to be supportive, this woman shaved her own head with her friend. I just remember thinking how awesome that is… I mean, that is¬†love. I know that if a close friend of mine was going through that, I would be on board with shaving my head in support of her… not for the recognition, but I know what it’s like to lose a whole bunch of hair, and it really, really sucks. To have had someone who understood would have been pretty invaluable.¬†So, shaving your head is brave.

 

Although, didn’t we all think Britney Spears went crazy when she shaved her own head several years ago?

Yeah… That wasn’t “brave,” that kind of was just crazy. Or, was it? Many more women are taking the plunge and either cutting hair very short or shaving it off altogether. For others, hair is defining– it is femininity, it is beauty, it is who they are. Admittedly, I guess that was partly me.

 

After my month and a half in the hospital a few years ago, about 75% of my hair fell out in chunks… I have not been through chemotherapy or other radiation treatments… but I imagine it must be something like that. If I knew then that I wouldn’t look ridiculous with a pixie cut, i would have undoubtedly gone down that route. Instead, I went with a bob cut and you could see right through my curtain of hair. It has taken¬†years to grow back… several months after the initial “falling out,” my hair stood straight out at 1/2 an inch to an inch long, and it drove me crazy. When it had finally started growing in without looking weird, my ex was joking and said he was going to shave half of my head off (after I had jokingly threatened to shave one of his eyebrows off… I’m not entirely sure what started this, but it was definitely me), and I burst into tears. I felt terrible– I told him he’d done nothing wrong, but my hair was just… my hair. It had fallen out after I had already lost so much (my life and friends in Florida, freedom and flexibility, my plan…) and was only just¬†finally coming back. And here I am, three years later going against everything and chopping it off. I also went blonde this summer, which was something very, very new for me (my “about me” picture is blonde… I will have to take a new one soon with the brunette me).

 

Basically, I went from this:

 

 

To this:

From left to right: Myself, Sam, Jon

 

 

To this:

Just cut!

 

 

To this:

Myself and Amy at Star Wars Weekend!

Of course, now I’m in the process of going back to brunette, but I definitely feel¬†significantly¬†more confident with really short hair. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a choice… If I’m having a bad hair day, EVERYONE will know… no more default ponytails or french braids. And I literally have three hairstyles: styled, mohawk, bed head… or a combination of the three. I have the worst cowlick EVER on the back of my head, so if it’s not styled correctly it looks super wacky. Regardless, I’m so happy with my hair, and have received mixed reviews from men. All of my ex’s hate it (DON’T CARE!), guys I meet “prefer” longer hair (DON’T CARE!) and guys where I work LOVE it and tell me it looks great (if they’re lying, they hide it well and I don’t care!)… and their opinion doesn’t exactly “matter” either, but it sure does make me feel good… because of the three, their thoughts have more validity.

Anyway, now I’m growing my hair out again… we’ll see how long this lasts. At least for now, I’m going for an “Audrey Hepburn look for Halloween, circa¬†Roman Holiday. After that, I’ll either let it grow out a bit more and then get sick of it and chop it off again. Thankfully, I have a WONDERFUL hairdresser at a local salon who treats me super well. I think that’s half the damn battle…. finding a good hairdresser.

Any hair cut horror stories? Inspirational stories? Did you cut your hair and love it or hate it? Comment below!!

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old…

My friend Jess recently posted on her blog, Curating Style,¬†about the difficulty of making friends as an adult. I’ve been thinking a lot about her post and my experience in making friends since college. Since then, I’ve realized that it’s probably one of the most difficult things to do… and I’m working full time and enrolled in a full-time MBA program.

Let’s overview of my life since college… Moved back to Rochester, NY: had some friends around from high school, but didn’t really meet anyone new that I hung out with. Moved to Orlando in December 2010: this is when I met my ex (at work), some other (great!!) friends (at work). Moved to Tampa in August 2011:¬†really bonded with a few co-workers, recently met some great people through church and my MBA program.

Moral of the story: Making friends as an adult is really, really hard.

When I was seven, I took swimming lessons, and there was a girl in my class who likely asked how I was doing or made a comment about the swimming lesson, I responded, she said, “want to be friends?” and I said, “sure.”

No longer are things so simple. I think as we get older, we do have time constraints and things like that holding us back from keeping up connections with old friends, but more than that is it that it’s just as hard to MEET new, worthwhile friends as it is to meet a good man (or woman)? Do we use the same techniques to make friends that we do to find a romantic partner? Are we willing to put up with more from our friends than from a partner? Less? Are we too picky with friendships, or maybe not picky enough?

I have met some of my closest friends here in Florida, and am endlessly lucky to have them just a phone call (or 1-2 hour drive) away. However, I can’t forget my close friends who are still up in New York (and Hawaii, and Illinois, and Ohio, and Maryland, and California, and soon-to-be Australia). Thank the lord for Facebook threads and Google Docs and people who aren’t terrible at staying in touch. Two of my close friends are getting married next weekend, and it breaks my heart that I can’t make it (CONGRATS AGAIN, KELLY & MARA <3). But that’s work, and life, and growing up. Isn’t it?

But I like meeting new people! And I like making new friends, and having old ones, and being social with worthwhile friendships that are easy and comfortable. I guess that’s how I like to go into new romantic relationships too– if I feel like I’ve known you forever, it’s heading in a good direction.

SO, maintaining/ creating friendships without letting life get in the way. Talk about a balancing act. It reminds me of this:

Not sure where this is originally from, but I got it on MemeBase

Well, that’s all for now. Until… next time ūüôā

If you have any miraculous tips or advice, please comment below!