Settling In.

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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