A Year On My Own | What I Learned
It’s hard to believe that’s it’s already been a year that I’ve moved out to California. It’s even crazier to think that I haven’t seen my parents or my friends or my home for a year. While this isn’t my first time out of the house, its definitely my longest and farthest departure from home. Since it’s the one year anniversary of my leaving home, I thought it might be nice to write a post talking about everything I’ve learned since moving.
Taking Care of Yourself Can be Really Hard
When I moved out to Orlando I quickly realized that living on my own, although extremely exciting and liberating, can be really, really hard. On my old blog I even shared some of the difficulties I experienced such as taking care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally. My year in Orlando was one of the best and worst times of my life. I made so many friends, did so many new things, but never felt like I was really stable in any facet of my life. Believe it or not things got even harder for me once I moved back home. While I lived in Orlando I had the luxury of having my family nearby, parents that visited and bought me groceries occasionally, friends that would always visit…
Here, all the way across the country, its the same but still so different. I haven’t seen my parents in over a year and my heart has become so incredibly homesick. FaceTiming my mom turns into crying. And while I’ve made so many amazing friends here and done so much exploring with the love of my life, I just feel like I’ve made no progress in taking care of myself. I have trouble motivating myself to do things that mean putting myself first - and no, that doesn’t mean treating myself to shopping trips because that doesn’t help fix my mental and emotional state. I mean things like going for a walk, meal prepping, saving money - Don’t even get me started on money. I feel like that’s what stresses me out the most nowadays.
In some ways, I’m glad I moved out here when I did because my living expenses are minimal, which means I can make the most out of my time here. They aren’t lying when they say California is expensive. But saving is still pretty hard and I’m not the most strict with my budget and that needs to change. My parents still help me out from time to time but it’s not something I enjoy. When I moved out I didn’t want them to worry about having to support me anymore. I hate accepting help from anyone ( a trait I unfortunately picked up from my father ). So, while it’s been hard and I’ve had my bad days, It’s good to know that I have things I need to work on.
Most People In Southern California Live in a Bubble
Upon first moving to California I discovered that most people here can be mean. I chalk it up to overpopulation. Most residents are tired of all the people they’re constantly surrounded by. Not to mention that everyone here hates waiting for anything. When I first started at Costco I quickly realized how short, impatient, and flat out rude most of the people I encountered were. That’s not to say Southern California is the only place in the entire world that has rude people but when you come from the “South” ( I use air quotes here because I still don’t really believe Florida is the South ) where everyone is so nice that even the homeless people go out of their way to be polite, it’s kind of jarring. Then there’s the bubble…
I love blogging. I love sharing my experiences, tips and tricks with my friends and readers because it helps them and I love hearing feedback from people that have resonated with my stories. I feel like that’s what it’s all about. But most bloggers here in California have Range Rovers and Louis Vuitton this and Chanel that and it’s like there’s this little bubble, especially around LA where I feel everyone has to keep up appearances. Every time Edwin and I go out and take photos for my Instagram or blog I feel a little silly because it’s like “who am I to sit here and act all cute and think I’m a blogger?” Instead of just enjoying taking photos for a hobby I feel like I’m not up to par with other high end bloggers and influencer and just flat out rich people of LA and I NEED TO STOP. The amount of comparison that I noticed myself and my friends doing was unhealthy. Go take photos, be a tourist, purse a passion without comparing yourself to anyone else! Live outside of the bubble.
Okay, okay - I know this one sounds like I’m tooting my own horn but let me explain. I am not the kind of person to give herself credit for her own achievements no matter how big or small. While the decision to move to California was made months in advance, the whole process was so fast that I didn’t have time to process it or give myself credit for it. I came home from vacation, packed up my life, and took a one way flight without giving it a second thought…
It was at the Las Vegas Airport while I was on a layover waiting for my last flight that I sat on the floor and thought “what have I done?” I wanted to cry. And when I got to Edwin’s house (which he wouldn’t be home for another two weeks) I sat in bed and I cried. I honestly started to wonder if I had made a mistake. But Edwin’s parents had written me a letter letting me know that they were there for me - that we were family. That I was going to be okay. And it made all the difference.
Almost a year later and I realize I’ve come so, so, so far. I’ve made some of the most amazing friends which is a huge deal for me because I never thought I was good at making friends. I learned to take a lot of bullshit and not let it phase me. I learned to put myself out there doing something that might feel a little awkward and embarrassing. I learned to navigate Southern California which is a HUGE deal for me since I’m terrible with directions. I have done so much and never gave myself any credit for it. It turns out I just had to be a little bit more confident in who I was.
I Gained a Family
Edwin’s family is so different from my own. Back home it was just me, my mom and my dad. My mom’s side of the family lived in Puerto Rico and what little family my dad had lived like hermits out here in California. I never had a big family and I always dreamed of having one. Edwin gave that to me. His family accepted me without any hesitation. His parents, his bother, his cousins, his aunts, his uncles… Honestly, it just really makes me want to cry thinking about it.
I won’t lie - there are times I wish my parents could be here. There are times I wish both of our families could spend time together. And while that can’t happen right now I know it’ll happen soon. I love the fact that my mom and Edwin’s mom text each other. I love that I don’t have to walk on eggshells 24/7. Is it always perfect? No, of course not. But having the ability to be mature and communicate through our issues and have fun regardless is part of what makes moving out here absolutely worth it.
I Would Do it Again In A Heartbeat
My Mom still asks me: “Are you happy with your decision?” And I always say yes. It’s hard. It’s downright grueling at times. I’m not always happy. I battle with very dark and sad thoughts. But it’s necessary. I remember praying to God years ago to help me grow and to change. I still feel like this whole year has been a part of that process. I feel like that growing season will never stop. If you’re doing it right your whole life should be a growing season. The simple fact that I get to spend time with Edwin and get to be vulnerable with him ( no matter how much I might hate it in the moment ) makes everything I’ve gone through in my life, all the emotional abuse, the physical abuse, the mental abuse, and all the shitty friendships and relationships so much more worth it because I came out on top. And with him by my side I continue to come out on top.
By the time this blog post goes up his birthday will have already passed and it just makes me so happy that I get to spend it with him - even if all we do is sit at home and eat pizza. I’m happy that I’ve made such amazing friends here that support me, my blog, my YouTube channel, every other creative endeavor I undertake as well as who I am as a human. It’s amazing. It’s exhilarating. It’s something I don’t think I ever would’ve gotten back home. Sometimes I think about going back to Brooksville and it makes me nostalgic. I think of how different I’ve become. I think of how nothing has changed back home. I feel like in that moment I realize all the growth I’ve experienced and it makes me smile.
Thank you guys so much for reading this week’s post. I think out of everything I have written thus far, this is my favorite. I adore the chance to open up and be myself with all of you and am super happy that I’ve decided to continue the creative exploits that bring me closer to you. See you next Sunday.
The Hones Pisces