Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lessons Learned from a Georgia Girl Living in Colorado (Part 2)

Remember that one time when I said I was going to keep learning (the hard way) little lessons in Colorado? Well, here are some more for your reading pleasure.

No one told me that I'd have to wash my car...a LOT. The shit they lay down on the roads combined with dirty snow makes my hard to dirty and already gray Honda Accord straight up nasty. Like, I have to use that gas station squeegee thing on my HEADLIGHTS, nasty. Luckily every other car on the road looks the same, so I feel less bad about it. I will tell you guys that getting my car washed the other day made my heart burst with happiness which is also indicative of the fact that I can adult SO HARD.

I also knew I would need boots. I just didn't realize that I would need all the boots. My Tom's and ballet flats don't do shit in freezing temps and wearing them makes me look like an asshat. I'm used to having several shoe choices when I go out because, girl, so this has been an adjustment. I've been living in my Sperry Duck Boots. Every. Day. And even on the coldest and snowiest of days, they haven't made the cut. So recently, I had to invest in a tall, waterproof, insulated pair of Sorel's for the days when I step out of the car and into a foot of snow (like when I get my car stuck in the driveway and have to climb out the passenger side). I've discovered you can be warm or cute...never both.

Speaking of cute. The style here is that there is no one style for women, really, and I LOVE it! I'm comfortable in whatever I wear however I'm wearing it and that, y'all, is ah-mazing. Make up? Cool. No make up? Cool, too. The only complaint I have about cuteness in Colorado is the overwhelming use of trucker hats on bearded dudes. Kudos to the trucker hat inventor, 'cause he/she is making BANK.

Also. Humidifiers are key. KEEEEYYYY to avoiding dry everything. Nosebleeds in the grocery store, on the way to work or while you're trying to enjoy a glass of wine aren't cute. I'm just waiting to be in the middle of a date when a reenactment of the red wedding decides to start happening out of one nostril. (if it does happen, you'll get a full report, though!)

Some of us thought I was going on an adventure when moving to Colorado. Were dirty cars, boots and nosebleeds what you were thinking when I used the term "adventure"? No? Welcome to Helen's World. ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hello, Reality, You Nasty B****

I'm not sure what happens that brings me from being OK with things to a bawling mess on my drive home after work, but it happens. It's that smack in the face forcing me into the lonely parts of my reality, I suppose. And Reality can be a big ole bitch!

I knew these moments would come. I knew that I'm an emotional creature and that this would be a little more tough on me than for most.  I knew they would bring huge tears and what feels like a breaking heart. Knowing all of this hasn't made it any easier, though. 

I talked about embracing the suck and I do...or at least, I'm trying.

I have to make it clear that leaving Georgia wasn't just for a kick ass job out West. It wasn't just the opportunity for me to try new things, step outside of my comfort zone and get a fresh start. I knew that leaving Georgia meant I would be in state where I knew no one and that these lonely nights would come and they would force me to face myself.

It's uncomfortable to do...to look at the why's and how's that led me down all the paths that got me here. Even though it's uncomfortable, I understand it's importance.

See, I'm realizing that what keeps moving me forward is my overwhelming belief that there is something more out there for me. And maybe I'm not quite ready to find it, but I am willing to work for it. Finally.  

Yes, eventually this WILL be a fresh start, but for now it's time to dig into being uncomfortable. To lean into all that hurts and trust the process of healing, understanding and forgiveness. To embrace my flaws and imperfections. It's long overdue.

So reality, as nasty as it may be, is something I'm finally OK facing because I know its worth. It won't be easy and I won't always be great at it, but bring on the quiet moments, bitch! I'm a constant work in progress and I've got this!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Lessons Learned From a Georgia Girl Living in Colorado (So Far)

I've been here about 2 and a half weeks and already I feel like I've learned so much. And typically I've learned the hard way. 

Because. Helen.

Example? Snow tires. On my first free day off from work I got Brucey and myself all ready to go for a hike...there are so many places within a 10 minute drive from where we live and I was SO excited to get out like an adult and go do something active. We didn't make it out of the driveway. Halfway up to be precise. Turns out, my front wheel drive Honda Accord with questionable tread on it's tires to begin with, was incredibly ill-equipped for snow. Halfway. We got halfway. Then we rolled back a little bit to "get more traction" because I was told that's something you do. Terrible idea in hindsight. Good news is I missed the stone wall that lines one side of my driveway by a literal inch (I measured). Bad news is I had to climb out of my passenger side, I cried a lot and poor Bruce had just gone on the most underwhelming car ride of his life.

Another example? Winter clothing. The temps here can drastically change from -1 degrees to 35 degrees (which feels downright BALMY, btw). That means that the stupid, yet adorable, Patagonia jacket and cashmere gloves I lived in during Georgia winters were not going to cut it in Colorado. Cut to a trip to REI on day #4. Thank you, convertible Columbia jacket, real gloves, neck buff, wool socks and cute, but warm hat....(and a big thank you REI member rewards, as I feel I'll be cashing in). 

Oh, then there was this one time I got the worst f'ing hangover from 3 beers. This, of course, was after spending a fair amount of time bragging to my co-workers that, yes, I had already consumed a bottle of wine at 9,000 feet and felt just fine the next morning thank you very much. (*Note...said bottle was not consumed while on my own and I was celebrating my move. Don't judge). For some reason, I haven't learned to shut my face and that brag session turned into one hellacious headache and bout of nausea after meeting someone (no one exciting) for THREE beers at, like, 6,000 feet. Got home that night felt fine, next morning? Wanted. To. Die. Maybe this has something to do with drinking a lower altitude then climbing higher? Maybe I'm full of shit? I dunno. It happened, though.

For the most part, I'm fairly acclimated, minus my first big and very sexy nose bleed this morning. 45 degrees feels warm and 60 is glorious! Everywhere I drive is scenic and breathtaking (other than the outskirts of Denver) and I hope I never get used to it. I live in a state that encourages people to get outside no matter the weather and I've got list after list of places to visit and hike and bike.

Although I have a long way to to go, this Southern girl is getting it figured out slowly, y'all! Even if it is the hard way.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trying to Embrace the Suck

Yesterday at the shop it seemed as though every person that walked in the door was a regular...they would come in to the store, see me, sorta smile and immediately look for a familiar face. In fact, someone begrudgingly said, "Oh. A new face." before finding one of the guys in the service area. Even though I know that this is temporary and those same people will soon know me and be MY regulars, it still sucked.
Couple that with having Sunday and Monday off and desperately trying to think of things to do besides sit here and stare at Brucey and I remembered that I'm alone out here.

Normally, after a tough day (or any day, really), I'd find someone to do dinner with. Or we'd grab drinks...or we'd make plans for me to go over later in the week to hang out with their cute kid and catch up. Last night that wasn't an option. I came home, had a glass of wine, hugged my dog's neck and cried.

I remind myself daily that I haven't been here 2 weeks and that I live in this beautiful house on this beautiful mountain with these gorgeous views. And then I get sad again because I want to share it with my people...and I haven't found my people out here yet which can be so incredibly isolating. 9,000 feet up a mountain full of switchbacks is out there, y'all.

I knew this would happen. I knew the tears would come and I know that this isn't forever. I'm going to continue reminding myself that this is normal, to embrace the suck and continue to move forward knowing that this is temporary.

This afternoon and tomorrow, I'm going out in my not Subaru to explore. Maybe I'll stop and have a craft beer somewhere since that's a big thing here. And maybe, juuuust maybe, I'll step outside of everything that I'm comfortable with and meet someone new. Either way, I'm embracing this suck while missing my people.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Faith In Humanity Restored!

In early November, I made the very scary decision to move to Colorado. I got a job offer I couldn't refuse from a shop that sought ME out! Yes, they heard of me (SHIT) and WANTED me to work for them....How could I say no?! It was a fresh start in a new state and the opportunity to push the boundaries of my comfort zone.

I quietly started telling friends and family who were all incredibly supportive. From my brother who has yet to tell me how much he'll miss me (YOU BETTER) and did nothing but end every text with an exclamation point in excitement, to multiple friends offering to drive my scared ass across the country. Being a single gal with a dog, no partner and strained relationships with my parents, my friends are my family. (That made leaving a bitch, BTW.)

There have been dark moments in all of this. Moments of complete panic and self doubt and "WHAT THE F--K AM I THINKING?!" moments. There still are....And when I was unexpectedly let go at the end of November from a job I loved with my everything without the chance to say goodbye to my staff, my customers and my reps, I was in a dark, dark place. It wasn't just a smack in the face, but a sobering reality that there was absolutely no turning back.

I say it over and over again that social media is a pain in the ass. I'm admittedly on it way too much, but I can't help myself. I like being connected to people. Once the announcement that I was moving was made on Facebook, my world exploded with sweet messages of love and support from people I haven't seen in YEARS. 

I've often felt whiny and unappreciative of this awesome opportunity and every single time I've made a status or posted a picture, the amount of support and encouragement has been overwhelming. If you're reading this, it's most likely because you saw the Facebook status. And if you saw the Facebook status, then you are one of the hundreds of people who have kept me going through this crazy beautiful and scary transition in my life. You inspire me to do better....to keep moving forward and to believe in myself. Thank you doesn't quite cut it, but I am forever grateful for the love and the connection.

See....social media isn't always so bad after all, y'all. Now excuse me while I go take more pictures of snow!