My e-journal, all the nitty-gritty, overly-emotional, sappy stuff…

Planting Roots. January 31, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN,family,SCHOOL/CAREERS — MESSIE @ 11:08 pm
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So today was my first official day working at the Science Center. Well, technically the 2nd, but yesterday was just training, so I’m not counting it. Katy, my supervisor, shadowed me for a few minutes in the morning, but I was on my own the rest of the day. One of the other girls I work with couldn’t believe they’d have my first day be on a Saturday–considering how busy it usually gets on the weekend–but I think I did alright. It was a little overwhelming at first, what with there being so many people and all, but I actually liked that it was that busy–it made the day go by pretty quick. It was non-stop all day from when we opened at 10, all the way up to around 4 or so. We close at 5, so yeah, it was definitely packed.

Granted, it was only my first day, but I like the job already. I think it’s going to work out okay. Interacting with all the kids that come in is fun and the people I work with are so nice and easy to get along with. Two of the girls both work second jobs at the Grand Ole Opry, which is really cool.

Everything is great. School’s going well and so is work. I’m meeting people and making new friends and contacts. I love it. I’m actually surprised it’s going this well, but since it is, I really don’t want to jinx it by second guessing it all. I’m just going to enjoy it. That’s the plan.

In some negative news, my mother’s back in the hospital. She was having pain in her stomach so bad that they had to call an ambulance to take her to the ER. They ended up admitting her today and the last I talked to her, she was waiting to hear from the surgeon on how they were going to proceed and what needed to be done. It’s the kind of news that really sucks, you know? I can’t help but feel a little guilty for being so far away when something like this happens. I mean, I’m 900 miles away, building a new life here without everyone else. I feel bad because I’m not there and there’s really nothing I can do, but at the same time, I don’t want to stop everything I’m doing here, you know? I mean, everything is going so well right now and I’m finally somewhere where I feel like I belong. This is where I want to be. My life is here now. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what’s best for me and that I deserve this fresh start and all the good things that are happening in my life, but still, it’s hard. I just feel so disconnected from everyone back home, you know? And there’s no quick or easy fix for that, other than giving all of this up and moving back to New York…and I really don’t want to do that. I’m happy here, for the first time in a really long time. I’m not ready to give that up. Does that make me selfish? Honestly, I don’t even know.

So yeah, that’s what’s been going on these days, in a nutshell. I’ve got to work in the morning so it’s time for this girl to call it a good night.



3 Weeks In. January 28, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN,SCHOOL/CAREERS — MESSIE @ 2:18 am
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It’ll be three weeks on Saturday that I’ve been down here in Nashville. In some ways, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, and in others, it feels as though I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind. It’s crazy. Everything is happening so fast, it seems. Classes are well under way and the work is picking up. I’m glad I decided to only take a couple of classes this semester. The students I spoke with back in April when I came down to visit the school and sit-in on a couple classes weren’t kidding when they said the workload is insane. The school definitely takes the curriculum here seriously, that’s for sure. The heavy workload aside, I’m glad I choose the two classes that I did. The photography class I’m taking is pretty awesome. The professor is really nice and laid-back and the people in the class are downright hilarious. We get along really well with one another and have the most random conversations. Today, for instance, these two guys in the class started a heated argument with each other over Kim Kardashian, of all people. In a nutshell, the one guy shared his opinion on Kim’s so-called talent–or lack thereof, according to him. The other guy–clearly a big Kim Kardashian fan–took offense by the comment…starting a back-and-forth little banter. The rest of us just sat there and watched them go at it, finding it nothing less than amusing. Like I said…so random.

Anywho, we’ve started working with our 35mm cameras, which is fun. I’m already familiar with working with the cameras from a photography class I took in New York a couple of semesters before I moved down here. That class dealt specifically with black and white 35mm film, which we had to process and develop ourselves in the darkroom. As much as I love working in the darkroom, developing the film itself could be such a tedious task at times. We’re not doing that in this photo class though. We just have to take it to Walgreens or a photo place and they develop the film for us. It’s so much easier that way. Instead of black and white, this class deals with color film, so it’s a brand-new playing field. And we get to play around with Photoshop…which, of course, is always fun to do. Well, for me, at least.

We’ve had a couple of 2-D classes so far, which isn’t too bad. The professor is old school, so the lectures are pretty long-winded. After the first class, I seriously contemplated dropping the class and registering for a different one. I really wasn’t looking forward to spending 6 hours a week absolutely bored out of my mind…or having to do all the drawing and painting that’s in the syllabus, for that matter. It’s not that I can’t draw…because I can. I just don’t like to. The same goes for painting. Unfortunately, it’s a foundation course, meaning I have to take it whether I want to or not. Hopefully the pace was pick up soon and ease some of the boredom. Hopefully.

I start work on Friday…which is really exciting. I think I’m going to like working there. I really do.

It still feels a little bit surreal to me that I’ve already got a job down here in just a couple of weeks time. It’s also really scary because now it means I’m going to have a reason to stay come summer and not go back to New York as I’d originally considered. I still feel a little guilty about it…contemplating not going back. I’m still having moments where I wonder if I’m doing the right thing or if I made a mistake by moving here. I don’t feel like it was a mistake, but the uncertainty is still there. It’s hard to imagine myself building a life here, 900 miles away from everyone I know and love. Honestly, I never thought I’d do it. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I’d be living here in Nashville, contemplating setting down roots here…I wouldn’t have believed them. But here I am…and I’m happy. Really and truly happy. I love this city. Now, I can’t imagine moving back to New York and ever leaving this place. I feel like there’s so much more here for me than there was in New York. I mean, there’s my family and friends, but excluding them, there’s really not much else. I feel like I can finally be myself here. I don’t have to pretend anymore that I was happy when I really wasn’t. I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulder, running from and trying to hide from the gritty parts of my past. There’s no one or anything holding me back. No impossible expectations thrown at me, expecting to be met. I’m in control of my own life again…finally. I’m where I’m supposed to be…


Decisions, Decisions… January 26, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN,SCHOOL/CAREERS — MESSIE @ 12:01 am
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I’ve got some good news to share with y’all…looks like Messie here will be staying put here in Nashville this summer! I got the job! Yep, I got the phone call this morning from the nice HR lady that I interviewed with on Friday and she offered me the position…which I gladly accepted. Of course. I have to go in tomorrow morning and fill out all that new-job boring paperwork, then a thorough walk-through tour of the facility and all the exhibits, and if there’s time, squeeze in a little training.

I’m so excited. And all that second guessing myself these past two days over whether I’d done well in the interview was clearly for naught. ( I suck at interviews, by the way.) It’s like public speaking for me…something I absolutely loathe doing. As such, I can tell you that you’ll never see me running for President or any other seat in Congress one day. No way. I hate giving speeches–always have. I don’t know why, but it makes me really uncomfortable and anxious. And that whole “imagine the audience in their underwear” trick does NOT work. I just freeze up. The same goes for interviews. I get myself so worked up and anxious that I can barely focus on the questions I’m being asked, and so nervous that my mind goes completely blank and I don’t know how to answer them. Apparently my nervousness wasn’t as transparent in the interview as I had thought, because I got the job.

This is another vital step for me that I’m taking. Getting a job down here is important if I want to stay here in Nashville for good. Which is–for the moment at least–what I plan to do. So that means no going back to New York for the summer after classes here end in May. My family’s probably not going to like that idea–I think they still have it in their heads that this is just one of my harebrained ideas and that I’ll eventually realize how crazy I’m being for being so far away, and end up going right back to NY. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this time. That’s not going to happen. Sure, this was a big leap of faith–me moving down here–and maybe even a little bit reckless…but this time is different. In the past, they’d be right and that’s exactly what I’d probably do. But in all those instances, I never actually followed through with what I said I was going to do. But this time I have, this time I did. And that, in and of itself, is MAJOR. The hard part’s over…taking that first leap and moving here. Now it’s just a matter of filling in the rest. Of putting down roots, so to speak.

Still, my staying for good isn’t going to be an easy thing. It’s one thing to be gone for a semester and not see your family for a few months…but this is a little more than “just a few months”. This is permanent…possibly. It’ll be strange, that’s for sure. It’s going to be hard not seeing them for an extended period of time. Especially not seeing the kids. Part of me feels guilty for even considering it, when there’s those kids. I want to be with them and be there for them, but I can’t do that and try to start a life at the same time. It’s just not possible.

I guess I’ve got a decision to make eventually. But not right now. Right now I’m just going to enjoy this good thing and not worry about things that aren’t even an issue right now. I’ll figure all that other stuff out when the time comes…we’ll see…



A Fine, Fine Mess. January 23, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN,LIFE,SCHOOL/CAREERS — MESSIE @ 10:29 pm
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Yeah, so I’m a crying-freakin’-mess at the moment…just finished watching the latest Parenthood episode, and um…yeah. To those of you that have watched the show from the beginning and stuck by it through its entirety–I needn’t give an explanation.  I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. Chances are you’ve spilled a few tears of your own over these past few episodes, and last night’s especially. For those of you that haven’t seen the show…well, for starters, you’re really missing out. I highly suggest you sit down with your Netflix and have yourself a Parenthood marathon. You won’t be disappointed. Yes–the show is that good!

To give a little synopsis of the show for those of you that haven’t seen or even heard of it, it’s about families. That is, just one in particular–the Braverman family. It’s a really good show that realistically portrays the inner workings and nuances of a normal family and the relationship/bond they all have with one another. They’re loud and opinionated and dysfunctional…just like my family. I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it yet, but again…I urge  you to check it out!

Anyhow…the show makes me think of my family. And for the first time since I got here, I’m starting to miss them…and home. Mostly them. It’s just weird not seeing them like I’m used to. I miss them just being there.  All the noise and the dysfunction and the constant drama–I didn’t think I would, but I miss it. It’s so quiet here, you know? There’s no constant sound of the kids running around and playing or the adults sitting around bickering with one another. All that was frustrating when I was there…but now, it kind of feels like something is missing. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just…something. Maybe it’s the chaos. I mean when you grow up around enough of it, it’s almost like you don’t know how to function without it…so you miss it. Not enough to move back there…just a little bit. I can’t hardly wait to see everyone in April when I go up to surprise Bug for her birthday. It seems like a lifetime from now, but I know it’ll go by fast. It always does.

In other news, I had my interview at the Science Center today. It went really well, I think. The place kind of reminds me of this interactive kids museum out in Rochester that we took the kids to a few times, only it’s more science-y. It’s really neat and the lady that interviewed me was really nice. If it works out, that’ll be great, but even if it doesn’t, there’s plenty of other job opportunities for me down here. I’ve already applied to several places, and a couple of internship programs that start in late spring/early summer. I’m in no rush to get everything figured out right away though. I only just got here. I have all the time in the world. And I’m in this amazing city…I can wait…happily.




Looking Up. January 22, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN,SCHOOL/CAREERS — MESSIE @ 12:12 am
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Well, the long weekend–I don’t have any classes on Friday and classes were cancelled Monday in observance of MLK Day–has come to a close. Thank goodness–I might add–all this free time has been driving me slowly insane. The roommates went home for the weekend, so I had the apartment all to myself. It was quiet and peaceful…and boring as hell. 🙂 So to fill some of that free time–I swear I’ve developed some kind of adult-onset ADD these days–I went on a couple of driving excursions. In addition to Nashville, I’ve now been to Franklin, Madison, and Ashland City–all cities in middle Tennessee. I made the mistake Friday night of riding around and got stuck in 7 lines of rush hour traffic on the I-65…lesson learned–never doing THAT again. Despite that little driving/judgement gaffe on my part, I’m actually getting really good with all these interstates. I’m not nearly as intimidated by all the different connections as I was the first couple of times I drove them. I can officially get to/from Walmart and Nashville West now without the use of the GPS…hooray for that success!! 🙂

Things have been going really well down here. Great, actually. Admittedly, I’m a little surprised at just how great things are and how well it’s going. I won’t lie–I had some reservations going into this. Before I moved here to Nashville, I had some concerns about how this was going to turn out. I thought for sure that it wasn’t going to work or go well. After all, in my experience–things have a way of going awry. More often than not, I tend to somehow jinx myself and end up ruining everything. That old saying “you’re your own worst enemy”–yeah, that’s me. I’m a hot mess even on my good days. I was afraid that I’d get here and hate it–that it’d turn out to be yet another mistake, one of many–and I’d end up running back home to New York. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I love it here. The city, the people, the amazing weather–I love everything about Nashville. As much as I miss my family and friends back home, I have yet to feel homesick. I’m not exactly sure if that’s a good thing or not–but I’d like to think that it is. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, for the first time in a really long time. I don’t think I made a mistake in moving here. Just the opposite actually. I think this move was one of the best decisions I could’ve made–and did make–for myself. I’ve only been here a little more than a week, but already I feel like a completely different person. I feel content. And happy. Which for me–is no small feat, I might add.

Today was even better. I got some good news from a job I applied for last week and they want me to come in for an interview this Friday. It’s awesome. If things pan out, they’ll work around my class schedule, which is just perfect. Also, it could end up being a permanent thing, which would be even better. Unfortunately, it’d also mean that I’d be getting a place of my own down here and staying for good, instead of heading back to NY for the summer once the semester ends. Who knows…I’ll guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and go from there. Until then…




Home Sweet Home. January 18, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN — MESSIE @ 12:46 am
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Well, I’ve been in Nashville for officially ONE week now…and have yet to feel even the slightest bit homesick for New York. Naturally, I miss my family and friends there, but I don’t miss the place. It’s weird how that is. How you can just leave a place you’ve spent 27 years of your life in and travel to some place completely out of your comfort zone, and actually feel secure there. I love it here. I almost feel guilty for saying that, but I do. Nashville is a beautiful city with so much culture and opportunity. Things that are sorely lacking back in New York.

Tennessee line just changed my mind

And it’s MY heart I’ll follow this time…

One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed since moving here is how much faster everything moves back in New York. It’s like everyone there is rushing through the day just to get to the next. They don’t have a chance to just stop and enjoy the little things in life, the little moments, the important things. It’s not like that down here. Life is so much slower down here…in a good way. You can actually appreciate things for what they are. There’s this lake right by the Res Halls that the campus kind of frames, and I was out there this morning for I don’t even know how long. I just sat there, basking in the sun (it was a beautiful 50-something degrees out today!), watching the ripples in the lake from the breeze…and it was so peaceful. And beautiful. It felt like…dare I say it…it felt like home. Which is crazy, I know. I mean, I’ve only been here a week. I shouldn’t feel so settled here, at least not this quickly. But I do. I really, truly do. I’ve always liked to think that everything happens for a reason…and my moving here to Nashville is no exception. Something brought me here. Something made me choose this city to go to school and to live. I’d like to think that it was meant to be. That whatever it was that brought me here, it was fated. Like this is where I’m supposed to be. For so long, I felt like I’ve only been half-living, just going through the motions, not really caring what the future held in store for me. But that’s all different now. That feeling is gone. I feel alive here, for the first time in ages, and it feels good. It feels right

Watkins By The Lake

Watkins By The Lake



Settling In. January 14, 2015

Filed under: #NYtoTN — MESSIE @ 8:17 pm
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Well, it’s my 5th day here in Nashville…and so far, so good. Had a semi-productive last couple of days. I’m settled for the most part in my apartment. I haven’t really made any progress with the roommates, but then, I haven’t really attempted to begin any sort of conversation with them, either. It’s not that I’m deliberately being anti-social or anything, it’s just that they seem to be in their own little world, one that I’m clearly not part of…and one that to be completely honest, I haven’t yet decided whether I even want to be a part of. I don’t think the three of us have much in common with one another…at least, that’s the impression I’m getting. It’s okay though. I think once classes start up and I get more settled, meeting people and making friends will be a cinch. At least, that’s the idea. We’ll see.

Speaking of classes…which don’t start until Thursday…I took care of my registration and schedule yesterday with my advisor, who happens to the head of the photography department here. Her name’s Robin and she seems really nice. I actually sat in on one of her printmaking classes back in April when I came down to visit the school, so that was pretty neat. She seems like she’ll be really easy to talk to and work with–which hasn’t always been my experience when it comes to advisors–so that’s a good thing. As far as classes go, I decided to only register for two this semester, so my schedule is going to be fairly light. They’re both studio classes–so 3-hour sessions–and how it’s scheduled, I’ll have one class at night Mon/Wed and an afternoon class Tues/Thurs, with Fridays off. I figure this way I can get a decent job down here to fill the majority of my downtime.

I’m getting to know my way around all these interstates a little bit. I’ve already made a couple of trips to Walmart, Best Buy, and the local Kroger. I even opened a couple of accounts with the bank down the street. I haven’t really done any exploring yet…unless you count the times the GPS got me lost and I ended up cruising the streets of downtown Nashville. 🙂

So far, I have yet to feel homesick…fortunately. I mean, yeah, it’s hard being away from everyone…and calling just doesn’t seem to do it any justice…but I think I’ll be okay. As a good friend told me recently, I’ve done the hard part. I took the first step. I could have given in to my fears and doubts about this move and changed my mind to stay in New York, but I didn’t. I embraced the fear…I used it to follow through with my decision to move to Nashville and now I’m here. I’m sure part of it is that it still doesn’t feel real…that it hasn’t sunk in quite yet. It’s still early. I’m sure in a few weeks it’ll really hit me and I’ll start to realize that I did this–that I moved 900 miles away from everyone I care about and the only home I’ve ever known. I’m sure there’ll be tears. But to turn back now…to run home with my tail between my legs…well, that’s simply not an option for me. I won’t do that. I worked too hard and I’ve come too far–literally and figuratively–to turn back now. I’m confident that I can do this. I’m 27 years old. I’m not a child. I don’t need my family to pick up the pieces anymore. For so long, they’ve been like a crutch for me. When things got hard and were bad, I’d always turn to them to make it right…or they’d step in the moment they sensed something was wrong. And while I’m grateful to them for that–it’s time for me to cut those ties. I’m an adult…and I need to start acting and thinking like one. This is just my first step towards doing that.

I did go ahead and book a flight to NY at the end of April though. It’s Angelina’s (my niece) 12th birthday on the 23rd and I want to surprise her. For some reason, she was specifically upset about me missing her birthday when she found out I was moving down to Nashville, so I want to surprise her for her birthday and be there when she gets home from school that day. She’ll go nuts. 🙂

Still, I won’t lie. I’m scared. Hell, I’m TERRIFIED. Sure, I’ve been on my own before–those two years at Colgate, my apartment with the Bestie, my last apartment–but this is different. At least, those times I still had my family relatively close-by, with Colgate being the furthest away by a distance of just an hour’s drive. This time, I’m 911 miles away from my family and everything I know to be safe. If we’re talking metaphors here, I basically just climbed out of the shallow, safe end and threw myself in the bottomless, deep end with this move. I’m completely out of my element here. Nothing and no one is familiar. Having grown up in a small town/area where everyone knows everyone, I’m at a serious disadvantage here in the city. I feel completely exposed and vulnerable right now–which, if I’m being honest, scares me more than anything else. I hate feeling vulnerable…but unfortunately, I don’t have a choice in the matter this time. I asked for this, though. It was my idea/decision and I knew going in that nothing about this was going to be easy. I know it’s going to be a struggle…and there are going to be times, I’m sure, when I’ll feel hopeless and defeated and want to go running back home to New York, but I’m committed to seeing this through.

My father and I were talking on the phone Saturday morning while I drove from Louisville to Nashville and at one point he asked me if I was 100% certain that this move was what I really wanted to do…and if so, was I doing it for the right reasons. I told him the truth–that it was complicated. And it is. I don’t have any real right answers to those questions–not yet, at least. Am I 100% percent certain that this move is the best thing for me right now? Honestly, no. But then, I’m not entirely certain of anything at this point. It’s going to take more than 5 days for me to figure that out. As for whether I’m doing this for the right reasons…well, that depends on what your definition of “right” is. Technically, I’m here for school…but that’s not specifically why I’m here. I guess it’s fair to say that I’m running away from a few things. I know how the saying goes that you can’t run from your problems…but sometimes, you can. Better yet, sometimes you just have to. Either way, it’s my prerogative to do what and as I choose. Besides, it’s not so much running away as it is that I’m looking for a fresh start. Sometimes, you need one. So that’s why I’m here. To get away from all the drama surrounding my past in New York, and figure out what I want and need out of life without someone hovering over my shoulder telling me what not to do.

I love it here in Nashville. The people are so warm and friendly and unassuming. They’ve been nothing but welcoming since I got here. And the best part is, no one knows me. They don’t know what’s happened in the past or have been privy to all the lies and rumors that were spread around about me back home. For the first time in a really long time, I can actually be me. No hiding. No feeling ashamed. No looking over my shoulder when I go outside. I can go out to bar and have a good time without running into any unwanted familiar faces. In NY, there was always this black cloud that seemed to follow me wherever I went, but not here. It’s gone. I finally feel free. No more pretending. No more living my life on other people’s terms…just mine. I couldn’t do that in New York. Godknows, I tried, I really did. Nashville’s a good fit for me, I think. I’ve heard people say that it’s more like a big town than it is a city and they’re right. I’ve only been here less than a week, but I can already tell that I’m going to love it here. I feel like my life is just beginning…



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