For the last few years, I've had this overwhelming desire to leave Chicago. (Very similar to my desire to leave Lawrence in 2001.) My 20's were a mess. I was a mess. I'm very surprised I still have friends from that time in my life. I lived with people...good people...who believed in me and tried to help me get back on my feet. When I look back at those times, it's hard for me to be proud of who I was. Living here, it's hard for me to break out of that mess of a person into who I am now. This past weekend I saw friends who spent a lot of time with me during that messy time. I lived with them for a year. Last night, I reverted back to my shock value way of being. Saying things to cause a stir, being ridiculous and feeling like I had to be a certain way. They did not notice it, but this morning as I thought about the night before, I felt embarrassed. I asked Jason if I embarrassed him at all. He said no. He's been the one I've been around the past few years as I've slowly put myself back together, gotten off all medication and grown. I feel healthy now. I've been so slow in the maturation process and have far to go, but I feel like I could be a good friend to people now instead of the bi-polar freak show I used to be. I was sort of fun...but I was unreliable, flirtatious and lazy. I hate that. Now, I would say I feel a bit boring...and I'm afraid of showing that off. My life is balanced and good. It has meaning. I married my friend...a man who really loves me and all the messy parts. I feel sick sometimes when I look over the past several years. I allowed myself to be used, I used others, I was flighty, irresponsible and always played the victim. I was surrounded by strong women though. Interesting. I've always surrounded myself with people I wanted to be like. Living with Lisa and Kelly...women I admired and wanted to closer to. They were so put together and had direction. I had none. I've put off a lot of people I'm sure. Insecurity has a way of showing its head in crazy and dramatic behavior. Now it's hard for me to be around those who remind me of that time--I seem to become that person again. I want to move in order to reinvent myself. I want to come back and visit in my new skin and have them feel proud that they know me. Jason helped me so much to find balance and humility. I've always been an emotional person. I feel a lot. I love my friends but don't show it as I'd like to. Some people are uncomfortable around a lot of emotion. You never know who might shy away from an outpour of love and affection. Fact is, I love my friends here in Chicago and would miss them, but I feel like I can't break out of the old Valerie until I'm out of here. I want to see another part of the country. I want to raise a family. I want to continue to grow into the woman I want to be. There are too many ghosts here. I continually run into memories of foolishness and regret. A crisp new place full of new beginnings sounds perfect. The old times are easier to laugh about when people know you've changed. I'm not sure anyone really knows who I am any more. I'm out here in the burbs living more in the future than in the present. Jason is my constant companion. I see him desperately trying to find a new way of life. He's very cerebral. I'm more emotional. It's a great balance. He loves me and allows me to constantly grow and change without holding me to old ideas and behaviors. I need to take a page out of his book.
I need to find a way to live my life and be proud to talk about it. I need to find a new job, I need to give back to society and I need to find a way to leave a positive impact on those I come into contact with. There are women in my life that I've always admired and idolized. It would be nice to have that effect on someone else.