It's been 6 years since I moved to Phoenix.
It's weird how sometimes you have to go so far away from where you started to find yourself. I am proud to be from Iowa and love that my roots are there but I always knew in my heart that I wouldn't be there forever. When I moved to Chicago I thought that was it. I would be in the big city (and by city I mean the suburbs) forever. It was close enough to home where I could hop in the car and be there in a flash but far enough away that I could be on my own.
Chicago was where I began to grow up. I knew no one and moved directly into an apartment that I had never seen (eventually it became one big crack house -story for another day- remind me to tell you about the time I came home to find "die bitch" written on my door). Details...
Looking back on my life there it was very lonely. I did date alot (oh yeah, I was a dirty dirty ho)but as anyone who is single can tell you nothing makes you feel more alone than dating a series of random people. And they were- random I mean. I dated everyone from a Hugo Boss model (seriously) to a basement dwelling porn addict....and guess who I was more attracted to? ::sigh::
It was good alone time though and I think I really needed that time to figure out who I was as my own person. Not Karen's daughter or Cory's sister or anyone else I was in Boone and in Ames all of my college friends had scattered and I felt the need to spread my wings as well. I got my chance to do that in Chicago and loved the feeling of walking around the city gave me. Its like I was invisible and that was great for me. I don't know if I can explain why that is so great but after living so long in a place where I couldn't turn the corner without seeing someone who knew far to much about me it was nice to be in a place where no one knew me at all. It was liberating and for whatever reason it was what I needed to break those small town ties.
The good thing about my time in Chicago was I did find my career path there. I don't know where I would be or -who- I would be if I hadn't found and fell in love with recruiting. It is a great thing what I get to do and I won't go into a whole rah-rah thing about my job, except that its more than my job. Being a recruiter is who I am and even when I did step away from it during my time at Jobing I was still a recruiter who was doing something else for awhile.
I never ever thought I would live in Phoenix. It never even entered my mind. I always thought I would end up on the east coast. Dunno why that is just what I always kind of thought would happen in the back of my mind. One of my college friends had moved to Phoenix and one day she told me I should move here. Things in my industry were dying and it was January in Chicago and I happened to have just got a good commision check, although it was going to be the last for a long time. She told me how much she liked it in AZ and that I could do great here. I thought about it for a minute and said "sure." I threw my stuff in the back of a truck and my stepdad and I drove out. The whole saga of getting here is again, a story for another day but suffice to say it was 5 days of HELL. I was sick as a dog and we had very bad weather- very bad. But I made it here and now here it is 6 years later.
When I think about who I was when I got here compared to now it is incredible. The personal journey I have been on is incredible even to me. Chicago is where I grew up but Phoenix is where I found myself.
I have a line that is close to my heart that I have referenced before and it is "your life is a reflection of your mind." It hit me so hard the first time I ever heard it because it struck me that my life was NOT a reflection of my mind. I did not feel that the life I was leading was a true reflection or representation of who I am in my soul. That drove me crazy and really got me focused on becoming who I was meant to be, to really live up to my own potential.
During my time here in Phoenix I have fought and won so many battles with and endless horde of demons. At times it seemed they were winning and they did win some battles. My life is has been a war and I have fought and fought but I have come out ontop....eventually. I struggle and stumble and I fail horribly. In fact I was just talking to my niece (and by talking I mean IMing in Facebook) and in her beautiful 20 year old logic she was telling me she was afraid of failing and letting people down. That broke my heart to hear and I wanted to shake her and point to the few years of my life as Exhibit A of how to fail before an audience. That has always been my big block. To be "together barbie" was soooooo important to me. I HAD to be ontop of everything and look in control and knowledgable. I succeed because if I was at the front of the pack no one looked to closely at what you were doing.
It wasn't until I did get broke down in a pretty dramatic way in front of a big group of people where I had to really face my fears and take that long look into the mirror that I feel my life really began to move forward. We all have our blocks and those things that just jam us up -and its not until you embrace those flaws as a part of the whole that is you, can you become the person you were meant to be. I am sure everyone has heard of that quote "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...." (if not, you just did) It is so true. The dark is good, you can get comfortable in the dark. You can hide in the dark. If you stay in the dark you never ever have to see what your life really is and denial is a very safe safe place to live. But stepping out, taking risks, letting people into your cave and showing them the dark places.....THAT is scary and uncomfortable. The crazy thing is that people love flaws. We love people with flaws because it makes us think that maybe, just maybe we aren't so weird. That we aren't alone. And that is comforting.
I think the single greatest thing I have done in my life is lowered my guard and let people see the flaws. Truth is everyone was already looking at them but I was in such denial I couldn't accept that. Once I revealed my dark stuff I found such a freedom and peace in admitting to myself what everyone else knew all along.
I really feel in the past few months even that I am finally coming into my own. I feel like I have a strong grip on some of the larger demons that have been torturing me all my life and I have overcome MAJOR challenges. I have closed the door on some heartache and let my heart be healed with the help of my brother (who is close to me and will always protect me). I have opened my heart to the possibility of new things happening and taken on some big exciting new challenges.
I will still struggle and fall. I will still fail fabulously. I will still grow and learn and I will do it with everyone watching because I know its better to live my life in the light than to hide in the dark.
My life IS now a reflection of my mind and while I might not always be right I have that balance of knowing who I am on the inside is what you see on the outside. Love me or leave me, I am who I am.