The Real Struggles of Chicago

As you may or may not have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I also haven’t really posted with the frequency I set out to. That’s because I’ve been struggling. Moving to Chicago has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I wanted this blog to be fun and funny and I wanted to be honest here, so I just stopped writing when I didn’t feel like I could be fun or funny. But it’s not fair to myself to stop writing when I’m feeling sad because that’s when I need it the most.

So today’s post isn’t really filled with lolz like I hope the others are. But I still feel compelled to share this because I think it’s worthwhile. When I’m struggling and I hear someone else tell their story, it helps. I feel like someone else understands me, I feel like there is hope for me, I feel less alone. So I hope by sharing this, I help someone else feel understood, hopeful, and less alone. At the very least, the acts of writing and sharing my story will help me because being honest about our struggles and sharing those struggles is so crucial to working through them. If you can’t tell, I’ve really been hitting up the self help books. I’m currently reading some Brené Brown because she is the literal best and Oprah loves her. Oprah loves Brené’s work, so I love Brené’s work. Oprah is my Regina George.

Anyway, the biggest challenge of this move has been the homesickness. I knew I would feel it, but I did not expect how big of a presence it would have. I miss my parents, my friends, my old job, my old coworkers, my old improv theater, my old city, my home. All of that is not to say what I have right now in Chicago is bad. I do have a lot of really great things happening here. I’ve just been consumed by grief, by the struggle to say goodbye and let go. I don’t know what the answer is in the long run, but for right now I think I need to stop playing the comparison game. That game isn’t fair. I’m not comparing reality to reality. I’m comparing a version of Chicago engulfed in grief to a version of New York and New Jersey that is romanticized and devoid of the struggles that follow me wherever I go. This is a hard truth I’ve had to learn. That running away to a new place won’t solve the problems inside. I mean I really thought I knew that before I left and was convinced that’s not what I was doing with this move. But I can see now I was wrong. It wasn’t the entire reason for my move, but it actually was part of it. That is really difficult to admit and confusing to take in.

As hard as all of this is, what gives me a sense of calm is being completely honest and finding the truth between the heightened versions of Chicago and New York and New Jersey. And as sobering as it was to realize I have the exact same stuff to work through here as I did in New York and New Jersey, I can now see I have been given the gift of clarity. There’s no more denying or finding an external explanation for an internal issue. I have some real work to do. Thank God I got two of Brené’s books for Christmas!

I don’t want to give the impression that the challenge of this move has been completely negative though. One positive aspect has been my new appreciation for my parents. Being this far from them has given me a different perspective that has unlocked so many levels of gratitude. I love them so much and miss them every day. But every time I have seen them since I moved has been incredible. If this new outlook is the only thing I gain from my move, all of the tears and homesickness and anxiety will be worth it. But I also know I have so much more to learn and gain from my move to Chicago. My biggest reason for the move was personal growth, I just forgot how hard personal growth can be. What gives me comfort is that taking on a challenge for the purpose of growth has always proven to be worth it in the end.

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