You may have slightly noticed that I sorta kind hadn’t posted in, oh, I dunno, AGES. Welp. Here’s a quick timeline of events: as you know I moved to Florida, I had a good time, met some of the loveliest humans on the planet (!), I started working another job, some unfortunate events happened, I flew back up to Massachusetts for my older brother’s wedding, flew back to Florida, things got worse, I made plans to move home and here I am, sitting in my hometown Starbucks, writing this post with a clearer and more stable mindset.
Unfortunately, that is just the timeline and not an explanation. Everyone has been asking me why I moved home with both excitement that I’m back, and then some sadness because the move that I was so excited for just didn’t work out. That is partly why I felt the need to write this. The other part is just kind of a “keep this in mind” for anyone thinking of making a decision that is big like this.
First things first, my mental health went from cloud nine to the concrete in about two months of living there. I was always alone or working on my classes or at one or both of my jobs. When I had time to myself, which was quite often, my mind wandered to bad places and I started telling myself I wasn’t good enough and I won’t be enough, I felt as though things would be better off if I wasn’t there, my friends/coworkers didn’t like me, etc. Basically, every bad thought I could possibly think of was on a constant loop in my mind. My self-esteem went down the drain, too. I was, once again, ashamed of my looks, I wasn’t thin enough, my skin wasn’t clear enough, my hair wasn’t pretty enough in comparison with everyone else. I wasn’t eating nearly as much as I needed to be nor was I running like I wanted to, and I blamed it on time but it was mostly because I had no energy to do so. The positive and self-loving mindset that I had spent years working on was all gone. I hated everything about me all over again and it is going to take some time for me to get it all back again. And just when I thought things would be okay again, something(s) would happen and I’d spiral even farther.
There was a lot of drama, too. I mean what else would you expect in a house full of young women. I am not saying I am 100% blame-free. For instance, there was an argument that I started but did try to work out so that we could get along again, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Things in my life that I preferred to keep to myself or between friends were shared with people who didn’t need to know everything I was saying, feeling, or doing. Some of the drama I wasn’t a part of, but it was just there and that’s not an environment anyone should be in. And amidst all the background drama in my life, I faked a smile and laughed along so no one could tell that I was slowly wearing away inside.
On top of the drama, living in the Orlando area is not cheap. For some context: the cost of living in Orlando is 3% less than it is in Massachusetts. The minimum wage in Florida is $8.56 and in Massachusetts, it is $12.75. Because of this, my pay at Starbucks in Florida (about $9.50/hr) wasn’t enough for me to be able to afford everything. So I reopened my Indeed account and started job hunting. I was having no luck until early October when a smoothie and gift shop opened up around the corner from my Starbucks. And on the day it opened, I walked in and asked to fill out an application. The next day the owner texted me for an interview and after my shift at Starbucks that morning and saying goodbye to the family that was visiting, I went in, talked to the owner, and walked out with another job. I was so excited! But in having and working two jobs almost every day, with only one full day off a week, it meant I had to give up school for the time being. And if you know anything about me, you know I love school and I couldn’t wait to get my degree and be done with it (that is until I eventually decide to go back for my master’s at some point, of course). But in order to be able to afford everything, I had to give school up and it sucked. Additionally, I was so busy all the time I even stopped trying to look for jobs that would help me towards my dream career. I got so discouraged because I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree (which is what a lot of the places I looked at required) and I had no recent experience in the field. So I settled on about 20 hours of sleep a week with just enough money to get by for quite a few months.
Then, a few weeks after my visit back home, I called my dad for the 45 minutes I had between jobs crying in the back of my pickup truck telling him that I decided to move back home and then later that evening I cried to my Mum on the phone, too. I hadn’t planned on where I was going to live when I had gotten back yet nor had I thought about how I was going to move back. All I knew was that I was tired of being tired and getting nowhere and that going home was the best decision for me. And so far it has been even for just the few short weeks that I have been here.
But I didn’t tell everyone that I was coming home. The only people back home who knew were my family, Megan and her parents, and some of my coworkers at my home Starbucks. My mum flew down on January 30th and we spent a couple of days in Florida so she could see where I worked and hang out and have fun (if you are ever in the Orlando area and want a break from the hustle of the theme parks, I highly recommend Wild Florida) before we had to make the drive up the east coast back home. The drive was long but we played my music (my Absolute Bops and “Oldies” playlists, primarily) and even made “friends” with a semi-truck for about 4 hours of the trip. On the 3rd we stopped in New York for lunch at The Pandorica and made it home that evening. No one knew I was home. On Snapchat I hid my location, made a private story for those who knew I was coming home, and my streaks were pictures of close up things so that no one could even get a hint of where I was. I went almost completely quiet on all social media so no one could get wind of me being home. My friend, Becca, came into Starbucks while I was working and ended up finding out earlier than the rest of my friends but promised she wouldn’t tell anyone. Then on February 8th, there was Massachusetts’ first Grand Officers Day and almost all of my friends were going to be there. When I first got to the place where the event was being held, Becca and I walked in and registered together and then I surprised my friends who work in Main House at Camp and that was a lot of fun (even though I didn’t get to hug Megan until about 15 minutes later). All of my other friends were at the luncheon and when that was over I got to surprise them all one by one and it was so exciting especially when I got to surprise my little sister, Mel, who also had no clue I was home. All in all, it was a great day that even included pancakes, so that’s a bonus.
I am so thankful for the friends I made in Florida. Everyone who worked at the Starbucks I was at was so wonderful and welcoming and they became like a second family. They are some of the most wonderful people ever and I will always be thankful for the friendships and memories I have with them. So if you ever go to the Downtown Celebration Starbucks, just know you are having your drink made by some of the loveliest people in the state! If you go to Gypsy Moon Market in Downtown Celebration, I recommend buying the carrot cake smoothie (it is absolutely delicious) and also check out the website and blog (you may already know the person who is going to manage it *wink wink*). I am thankful to everyone who helped me out in Florida when things got tough because you all mean so much to me in so many ways and I will be back soon to make sure y’all aren’t up to too much mayhem. Florida was a good experience but I am so happy to finally be home and go forward with my life and that I get to send normal Snapchat streak photos to my friends, again.