The Streets Are alive
They may not be
As beautiful as
Or your gated communities
But they bleed
They scream for
Love and attention
They long for
The Streets are alive
And they refuse to be
I took a trip to see my family, friends and boyfriend in New Jersey on December 31, 2013. When I left CT, I was trying to escape from a lot of the things I felt were making me miserable. I had a job I hated, a seasonal job I had been abruptly fired from, and very few friends; loneliness was a day to day fact of life. I thought that going “home” would bring me a sense of happiness I wasn’t experiencing in CT. What started out as a leisure trip quickly turned into a journey of self discovery.
When I got to New Jersey, everything was wonderful. I was staying at my boyfriend’s place (not really ‘his’ place because he lives with his grandmother) and I was content with drinking and seeing my friends just about every other day. The plan was to stay in NJ for two weeks, party, and come back refreshed and ready to work. Due to laziness, a blizzard, and countless other problems, I ended up staying almost 2 months. I stayed about a month and a half too long.
I’m a very realistic person. I understand that I am at fault for staying away from my job and responsibilities for so long, but I have to say, I’m happy I did. Living with my boyfriend and his family and observing how he interacted with them, showed me a new side of him I had never seen before. Out of respect for him and the way he has chosen to live his life, I will not discuss what I saw on the internet, but just know, I didn’t know how bad he had it. He never had a moment of peace and my heart actually broke for him. Was I sad that he was in the situation he was in? Yes. But did I feel like that situation was self-induced? Yes. Long story short, what I saw over the course of those two months was the catalyst I needed to move forward with my life, without him.
I have been back in CT for a week now. I could have kissed the ground when I finally entered the state. I had never been so happy to be in CT in my life! You would have thought I had just won the lottery. Indeed it seemed that way after the ordeal I had suffered through.
I know that I stayed in NJ too long. I know that I stayed in my boyfriend’s grandmother’s house too long. Nothing positive can happen when you’re a grown person living in someone else’s home. They have a system; a complex way of behaving and functioning. It may not work for outsiders, but it works for them. Ultimately, I decided that it didn’t work for me.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been thinking about my own life and ways to improve it. I settled for a bad relationship so long, and when this truth was revealed, it made me wonder what else I was settling for. I came up with sooooo many things I want to change…
1. I’m settling for my job. I have been listening to people who tell me that I should be thankful to have a job for years. I AM NOT thankful to have a job as a cashier at 27 years old. I understand that things are hard. But when you aspire to become a psychologist and end up making minimum wage as a cashier, you have settled. I’m going to keep pushing until I’m living my dream.
2. I’m settling for being overweight. Let’s face it. It’s easy to be fat. It’s easy to eat 3 slices of pizza. It doesn’t require sacrifice or will power. I want to start actively trying to lose weight. I want to learn to show some restraint. I’m never going to be comfortable about jumping back into the dating pool if I can’t fit into a bikini…
3. I’m settling for ‘easy’ men. I figured out that I have a type. That type is clingy, dependent and out of shape; the ones who are easy to control. Since your partner is a reflection of yourself, I figure that I’m displaying the same characteristics that I hate. You attract what you are. Since I want better, I have to be better.
So, the bottom line is, never settle. People will tell you to be happy for what you have. There’s nothing wrong with that. You should be happy to be in a good situation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for a great situation. Love yourself and know that you deserve the best. Dream big.