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Choices, lessons and grace.

November 25, 2010 1 comment

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving again. WhenI think about the year since last Thanksgiving…whoa. Really?

Last Thanksgiving I was on the verge of a major move across the country. I was breathless with new possibilities and ready to take on the world.

Oh, that Katie. That sweet, naive, ambitious, optimistic, dreamy Katie.

And how things have changed since then. Last year I was thankful for family. For choices. For making known what I wanted (thought I wanted, I suppose. I don’t know anymore.) and having the courage to go after it.

It was a truly interesting year — a life-changing, dream-transforming year.

So here’s what I’m thankful for this year.

I’m thankful, as always for my incredible set of parents. I’ve thrown quite a few little curve balls at them in the last year, and most recently in the last two weeks, and they’ve never let me down. Even when I thought they would laugh, they never did. They never scoffed at my grandiose and far-reaching dreams. No matter how far into the various corners of the world they reached. They accepted what I have wanted to do thus far and have gone with it quite nicely.

I’m thankful I have a sister who tells me what I need to hear, even when it hurts like hell.

I’m more than thankful I have friends who listen to me bitch and moan and whine. I don’t deserve their listening ears, but they’re always there for me nonetheless.

I’m thankful for new experiences — good and bad. This year was completely and utterly transformative, and I can’t believe I am where I am today. It’s not where I expected to be, but it’s not entirely bad.

And I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I’m so thankful I moved to Boston. That city, it changed me, as trite as it sounds. It’s a part of me now, and I’m terrified I’ll forget those four months.

I’m thankful for all the little things: learning the T and memorizing the stops I needed to get to my little apartment on Shepherd Ave. I’m thankful for my flower job and for working for sweet Betsy. I’m thankful Steve became my friend and taught me how important it is to give–even when I think I have nothing. Because until I’m in Steve’s position I always have something. I’m thankful for all the wonderful people I was able to meet — people who taught me how to look at the world in different colors, to find the beauty in the mundane.

I’m thankful I found a home in a new part of the country other than West Texas.

But this year I’m most thankful for learning lessons. It’s been one of the hardest years of my life, but boy, have I had to grow the hell up. And I love that. I love that I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve finally realized that coming back to Lubbock wasn’t a failure.

Not going to Boston would have been the failure. Simply taking the leap and making it in the city for a few months was the success. And it taught me I can take big chances and dream big dreams and come out the other side partly unscathed.

So this year, I guess instead of “Peace, faith, courage and possibility,” my words are these: “Lessons, choices, opportunities. Grace.”

And still peace. Always peace.

And this year is so different from last year. Last year I had a clear idea of where I was going and where I wanted to be. Last year I was a dreamer and bit more innocent. Now my ideas are foggy and unsure. But I think that’s ok. I’m looking forward to figuring it all out and finding a new place to land.

My watch is still set to Eastern standard time.

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been four months and one day since I moved back to my little spot in Texas.

That means my time back in Texas has officially exceeded my time in Boston by one day.

And I don’t like it. Not one bit.

I miss you, Boston. And it’s not technically you; it’s the dream of you. It’s the joy of living, of trying something different. That’s what I wanted. This is why I drive myself every single second of every single day. So I don’t think. So I don’t feel you. So I don’t have to love you; so I don’t have to know how much you broke my heart.

Before today Boston still felt close — it still felt like something I’d lived recently. But now I’m realizing exactly how quickly that time is running away from me. Yesterday, I could look back and say, “One month ago exactly, I was doing this.” Or, “three months ago I was on my way to NYC for Valentine’s Day.” Somehow, now that I’ve been back longer than I lived there, it feels different. I felt like in some way my time here mirrored my Boston time, and maybe when next four months are up I could get the hell out again. And I feel like I can’t say those things anymore because then I’m truly living in the past and not paying attention to my life in front of me.

When I looked back at my move to Boston, I always smile when I think about that day: January 10, 2010. I thought it was the first day of the rest of my life; the day when my life would change. And it did. But I thought the next time I’d be in Texas I’d be a bonafide city girl, ready to swing through Midland for my best friend’s wedding, dazzle my friends and family with my newfound confidence and then resume my fabulous life in Beantown.

I woke up that January morning with a stomachache: Fear, uncertainty and excitement were at war within me, and I couldn’t decide which to let win.

I remember touching down on the runway at Logan and leaning past the man next to me to get a glimpse of my new city. I sighed, not really sure what to think.

There are so many things that made me happy in Boston, and so many things that were hurting me while I was there.

Those months in Boston stretched me further than I ever dreamed possible. I’ve talked about it before, in this post, about how much Boston tested me. Back at home, I could see the changes in myself. And that was important to me. My time in Boston wasn’t about having grand adventures (although those were wonderful); it was about growing up. Changing. Living. Figuring out what i want and what and want to do in life. Boston is still so much a part of me, it’s scary. Almost everything I experience here reminds me of life in Boston. Something. A song puts me back at a night in a bar in Fenway. A particular smell has me walking through the Common on a sunny day, just getting off work from my flower shop. And flowers — that job was rough and at times I despised it, but now I always stop and “smell the roses.” Or since roses aren’t technically fragrant, the freesia. My favorite.

But now. Now I’m in Lubbock. Now I have a job I’m grateful for, friends and co-workers I love, my family close by and an apartment all to myself. In the last four months, I don’t see any growth on my part. And that makes me sad.

What I’m figuring out is that I cut my grand adventure short way too early. I let go of living and let my fear bring me back here. Maybe Lubbock is the right place for me for the time being, but it’s not going to fulfill me for long.There’s nothing that drives me; nothing that moves me; nothing that really makes me question anything I believe. It doesn’t’ stretch me.

I went into my move naively; I didn’t see the future as something to think about. All I knew was that I wanted out and I wanted out now. Maybe I should have thought about it more; maybe I shouldn’t have been so “brave.” I should have had the foresight to realize problems would happen and I’d have to deal with them.

But, I didn’t. And I’m back in Lubbock. Things aren’t so bad, but it sucks to be so disappointed in myself.

Remember when…

August 15, 2010 2 comments

Oh, hey! Hi. Hi.

Remember the glorious days when I used to write incessantly and then post it on Facebook so that everyone and their mom saw it?

Yeah. Those were good days. I miss them. A lot. I love writing. I gotta get back to that.

But I feel as though, in Lubbock, I’m frozen when it comes to putting my thoughts on paper. I’m so focused on not thinking about where I am, and trying to figure out where in the heck I’m actually going, that I forget to actually live day to day. It kind of sucks.

Argh.

I’m tired, so unbelievably TIRED, about constantly writing about freakin’ places I miss. Before I moved I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of Lubbock and never, ever look back.

And then I moved. And I loved Boston, truly. But the entire time I was there I wrote about how much I missed Texas.

Now I’m back, and all I can think is that I miss Boston more than I’ve ever missed anything in the world.

My biggest problem is feeling as though I stunted my growth. When I came back from Boston I felt like a new girl. I’d faced new things and learned to stand up to problems and people and speak up for myself. I finally learned how to be confident and bold — to a point. Here, nothing really challenges me outside of work. I’ve settled back into my old life so quickly and so easily it feels like it’s swallowed me up completely.

It’s like I’m chasing this constant feeling of peace. I’m always trying to find that place where my heart actually feels still in some ways possible. My sister and my mom say I need church. But I don’t know. I think I need adventure.

I need to nurse this restless feeling and let it take me where it wants to.

What I’ve been looking into lately allows me to choose an unconventional lifestyle; a life spent stretching myself to my furthest limits and actually trying some new things out.

I want to write about actual adventures.

Half of what I loved most about living in Boston was that things constantly seemed to happen to me that made life exciting. Brilliant. Unpredictable.

A man prayed over me in Starbucks.

Steve brought me coffee every single day at that flower shop of mine.

I stumbled upon forgotten gardens on my walks.

I learned from Betsy.

I unfortunately was the victim of an Internet scam. Looking back now it’s funny, but I’m pretty sure that was the demise of my Boston experience.

I danced my heart out to unconventional bands.

I let my heart be broken a little bit by the diversity of people living in one place. Truly.

The point is, you have to have experiences to write. They always say authors write what they know, and right now, in a city where very little is happening to me, there’s not much for me to write about. And I don’t have time to be imaginative. (I mean, really? It’d take a shitload of imagination to spice up this place.)

I don’t want to moan about missing Boston anymore.

Yet, I’m not going to whine about living and working here and wanting to be out again.

All I can do is move forward. That’s a scary thought. In some ways it feels like I failed by coming back, so striking out for a second time is infinitely more scary. But hey, time will tell.

Things really aren’t so bad here.

Maybe I need to search a little deeper for those interesting moments.

But I don’t think anything will compare to getting prayed over by a man in Starbucks. We’ll see.

I got an Easter bunny from a homeless man.

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Oh, my poor little neglected blog.

I want to update it so bad. I want to write and write and let the words flow. But I am so tired.

I want to tell you about the things that have happened this week. I want to tell you how today my homeless man, Steven, brought me a chocolate Easter bunny because I gave him chocolate Easter eggs on Easter. Sweet, sweet man.

I want to convey to you all the depth of my exhaustion at 7:30 in the evening. That’s the saddest thing. I’ve had to be at work at 7:30 a.m. the last three mornings and have worked between 11 to 13 hours each day. And it’s been difficult work. Today I didn’t stop moving. I made bouquets. I cleaned flowers. I helped customers. I set up the display. I cut stems. I. Did. Not. Stop.

I want to explain to you all how just typing hurts my fingertips. They’re raw and cut from stupid flowers. I need to bandage them tonight and hope that they heal.

Meh. I really do want to write but it’s not coming tonight. It’s almost my bedtime. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Categories: Boston...again. Tags: , , , ,

This week got away from me.

April 5, 2010 2 comments

It’s been a week since I last posted, and that makes me so very sad.

Life has been crazy. Life has been beautiful.

Boston has been enjoying a few days of perfect spring weather. Right at this moment it’s a blissful 74 degrees outside. The birds are chirping and the trees are beginning to blossom with fresh buds.

Unfortunately, I am inside and working on my first press release for my writing job. That’s OK, though. I’d rather be writing right now.

I wanted to take a break and update you all (y’all) on life.

Work at the flower shop has been pretty good so far. Thursday I worked at the shop in Beacon Hill, where most of the orders are placed and arrangements are made. My boss wanted me to learn how to put flower arrangements together. Unfortunately, I am not a natural at it, but I will learn. I’m determined.

Easter weekend at the shop was absolutely insane. My fingers stopped working at one point and I could barely tie bows anymore. That was a bad half-hour.

My bosses left town for a week, which is kinda cool, but it means I have another week of working double shifts. That means that Tuesday through Friday I’ll be at the shop about 11 hours each day. Then Saturday I work all day again (12 hours) and then all day on Sunday. At least I’ll be banking when these pay checks come in.

The downside is that it means I have no life outside of the flower shop and my bed. When I get off work I usually stumble to the T stop in Copley, doze off on the way home and then fall into bed the second I walk in the door to the apartment. It’s a quiet little life, but at this point I don’t think I’d trade it for anything.

On the social life front, however, things are a little more rough. Like I’ve said before there are two sides to this experience. One side, the one I’m trying to focus on the most, is making it in the city. So I’ve at least opened the door to that and have started writing, which is significant.

The other side to this is trying to meet new people and go out and do more things. I’m finding that a little more difficult. Although work keeps me so busy, when I do have a little down time I want to try to find something to do. This is when it gets hard. If I were in Texas it’d be no big deal. I would basically have my pick of three of my best friends and we’d go get coffee, go shopping, or just chill out.

But here? Here things are different. This is when I miss being in school. I miss the built-in set of friends I had from classes and stuff.

So if you guys have any suggestions on how to un-creepily meet people I’d love to hear them.

Categories: Boston...again. Tags: , , , ,

Hair-raising success.

March 29, 2010 6 comments

Hello, everyone. Say hello to me, Boston’s newest freelance writer.

Hmm? What’s that? How did this happen, you ask? I’d be happy to explain. It goes way back. Settle in; it’s a good story. And it begins with my hair.

I’ve had issues with my hair a long, long, very long time.

It’s curly. It makes me look like a fourth grader. I switch products weekly because nothing ever seems to work well at controlling the curl. Or keeping it straight. A couple years ago I finally took the plunge and chopped it short, which I loved.

When I moved to Boston I decided a new life meant a new haircut. New place, new me. That was the idea. Because I was trying to save money at every turn I held my breath and went to this place called Blaine Beauty School. Basically the place gives cheap haircuts and highlights because the students are the ones who are the stylists. They are watched over by their instructors, but still, it’s a little nerve-wracking.

My experience was great though. This guy named Jason cut my hair, and he was the sweetest man ever. We hit it off and talked about everything while he painstakingly cut and highlighted my hair. Three and a half hours later he was finished. And he told me wanted to give me a haircut that made me more distinctive. He said my haircut would help prospective employers take notice of me and notice me more.

Two months later this is exactly what happened.

Last Sunday I was working in the flower shop when this woman came in. She wanted to buy flowers for her mother-in-law, and she didn’t care what she got. In her words she “despised the woman.” Haha. While I was wrapping her flowers for her, she commented on my haircut and how much she liked it. She asked me where I got it cut and from there we just started chatting. One thing led to another and I mentioned how I recently moved to Boston from Texas, then I told her I’d just graduated from college.

She asked me what I’d studied and when I told her journalism her eyes lit up.

“Journalism? So you write then?”

Yes. I write. Not well. But I try.

But I didn’t tell her that. I told her that yes, I write and I love it. I told her I’ve been looking for any sort of job that would give me more experience.

She whipped out a piece of paper and started talking again, telling me about what she does and that I should e-mail her. She told me she knew people at the Weekly Dig and at Stuff and at the Boston Phoenix. She told me she was looking for someone to work on writing projects for her. This woman moves very quickly and before I knew it she was out the door, leaving me with her e-mail address in hand and a fluttering heart. I was wondering if it was some sort of a joke.

A couple days later I decided to shoot her an e-mail to see what whould happen. I kept it quiet from everyone because I didn’t want to be embarrassed like I was with that other job. But after receiving a positive response from her I started to feel better. We set up a meeting for my next day off, which was today, to talk about getting started on some writing projects.

Basically, this woman is an event planner for JP Centre/South Main Streets. It’s an organization in Jamaica Plain that’s focused on keeping the community a part of the big cities. It focuses on shopping locally and drawing tourists into areas of the city that are off the beaten path, so to speak.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went in today. I was afraid to hope. I didn’t want to be disappointed again.

But, my readers, I was anything but disappointed. 

I met with the woman and she started reeling off story ideas for me to begin working on immediately.

She wants me write about First Thursdays, an art event in JP. She wants me to do profiles over interesting people in Jamaica Plain, one of whom is the former personal assistant to Steven Tyler. Yes, the Steven Tyler. She wants me come up with my own ideas and be creative. I have a bit of free rein with this project, I was excited to learn.

After picking my jaw up off the floor I started furiously writing everything down. She threw names and numbers of contacts at me so quickly I could barely get it all down. She suggested I write a story a week. She told me she wanted me to write a few press releases for her events; press releases that will possibly be in the Weekly Dig and the Phoenix, and if she can swing it, the Boston Herald and the Globe. The Boston Globe. Yes, the Globe. Me. In the Globe. It’s a slim possibility, but it’s a possibility nonetheless. (And in case you forgot, possiblity is my favorite word.)

She set me up with a more professional e-mail address and is getting me in touch with a designer to get business cards. She wants me to be able to hand out my cards as a freelance writer at events, because apparently, I get to attend them with her.

She wants to help me because by writing these stories for her I’m helping her out.

Why do I deserve this? I feel so blessed. Three months ago I was at home in Midland and had graduated 10 days prior. Now I’m in Boston, working at a flower shop and acting as a freelance writer.

What if I had never done this? That thought scares me even more than actually moving here scared me. What if I had never moved here, had never gone to that beauty school on that one night that Jason was there? What if I’d never started working at the flower shop and never met this woman?

What if I’d listened to the professors and advisers at school who told me not to move to Boston?

I have to wonder what I’d be doing right now. 

I know this isn’t a “forever” job. I know that it’s not permanent and I know that it sucks to not get paid for my work.

BUT.

But it’s something to put on my resume. It’s more experience and it’s a way to get my name out there in Boston. I am a writer in Boston. How supremely awesome is that?

I’ve always been told how difficult it is to get “in” in Boston; that it’s an extremely closed community to outsiders. This is how I picture it. Boston is a closed door. But I shoved my foot in the miniscule crack and I’m forcing my way in and won’t stop until I make it. I’ve got my foot in the door.

So tomorrow, I get to start working on my first story. And that makes me so unbelievably happy. I feel like I’m about to burst out of my skin with joy.

It’s days like today where I’m going to be so happy I smile widely at strangers. This is when I feel less skeptical and cynical about the world. This is the type of day where I’m able to believe in magic and in hope and in the power of dreaming.

Because look where dreaming big got me.

Whataweek.

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Well. I guess it’s finally time to update everyone on life in Boston. A good update. A thorough update.

Work is great right now. Although the hours are long (LONG), the work is mentally and physically taxing and I’m exhausted by the time I get off work I love it.

Here’s a rundown of what it entails: If I open the shop I have to be at work at 7:30, except on the weekends. Luckily the shop opens later on Saturdays and Sundays. I spend the first 2-3 hours setting up the display out front. Some days, like Sunday, it can be crazy busy in the morning and the display will end up taking me close to four hours. This is good though because it means the time absolutely flies by. After that I usually have a list of things to take care of, which is left by the person who closed the night before. This can consist of things like making bouquets, sweeping, watering the plants inside and outside and myriad other things. It’s rare to actually finish the list within my shift though, simply because the shop does keep so busy. Especially rush hour. Whoa. Rush hour SUCKS.

But the job is enjoyable. It’s more about the people than anything else. My bosses are wonderful. They’re a married couple and started the company a number of years ago. My co-workers also are great. We get along really well so far. There’s two Katie’s who work here (big surprise). So the other Katie is “Little Katie” and I am “Katie Texas.” I like it.

Then there’s the customers. For the most part, people are great. I love making bouquets of the dozen or half-dozen of roses for men. They’re always so appreciative and I have to believe that somewhere in Boston one woman’s (or man’s, you never know) day is being brightened by something that I made. It’s a good feeling.

One day I was outside setting up the display and a man came up and introduced himself to me. He said (and the Boston accent was insane), “Hello, my name is Sonny. I’m looking for flow’as for my sistah. So’s here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna stand out here and drink my coffee. And if you would be a doll I want you go make somethin’ real pretty for my sistah. Thanks, sweetheart.”

Uh, Ok. That was amazing. And so I decided to get creative and I put together a bouquet of white roses and vivid purple tulips. I’m all about the simple. And that sweet, awesome Boston guy loved it. Or he said, “I’m a guy. Do’s I look like I know what to do when it comes to flowahs?” Hahaha. He gave me a $5 tip though and told me to get coffee. Thank you, I did.

Another morning I was opening and man came by looking for something for his wife. He said he only had $7.50, and what could he get for that much? I told him he could get a bunch of tulips but they’re $8. After begging me to drop the price (which I couldn’t do because I’m only an employee) he called his friend who lives in the area to ask him for a dollar. I guess he really wanted the flowers. Anyway his friend wasn’t around so he got off the phone and was extremely dejected. Then something pretty cool happened.

A bum was walking by and stopped and pulled out a dollar. He handed it to the man, who looked a little surprised. The bum goes, “You’re short, right? Here’s a dollar.” The other guy said, “Thanks, man!” And the bum says, “Don’t thank me; thank God.”

It was pretty cool. It’s things like that that make this job interesting. And life in general.

So now on to St. Patrick’s Day. It was so much fun! My friend from home came in town with his best friend for the last leg of their road trip and stayed at my apartment. Although I had to work from 7:30 to about 4:30 I met up with them as soon as I was off work. And from there the drinking commenced. We saw so many crazy people. Boston gets wild! There was green everywhere we looked, including a man dressed in a lime green spandex body suit. Haha.

I definitely should have dressed up better. I suppose now I’ll know for next year.

After my friend left on Friday, though, I got incredibly homesick. More than anything I wanted to jump in the car and hide in the backseat for the ride back to Lubbock. It’s not that I’m unhappy here; it’s just that it gets lonely sometimes. I still miss my best friends, my parents, my familiar and safe life back home.

But then I meet people who make this uncertainty up here worthwhile. I meeet random strangers on the streets of Boston who remind me why I’m here and what I’m doing. I take encouragement from the people who come into the shop and strike up a conversation with me when they hear me say “ya’ll” and then commend me for making the move. I see things here that I know I wouldn’t see or experience back home and it makes it better. It’s just a matter of getting used to the pace and life up here and then I’ll be fine. It takes time!