RelationshipMy relationship, though on the blog and Twitter seems pretty ideal, is incredibly challenging. Telling friends and family that I met my boyfriend on the Internet is one thing, and I'll admit, it irks me how frequently peoples' eyes glaze over when I begin to answer the question of "how did you two meet?" But beyond how we met, we were long-distance for three months, which was difficult in itself.
And then he did the incredibly selfless thing of picking up his life, and packing it into a single suitcase, to move into my old bedroom in my mother's house. And we didn't transition very well into this new thing of seeing each other every day. I wasn't ready to give up my space, my time, my room, my "long-distance-relationship life". I wasn't in the mood to have to decide what movie we'd watch, what to order on our pizza, or figure out our schedules. Sharing a bed every night was not something I grew used to easily.
And beyond the little things, our relationship has changed immensely over the last two months. In fact, there was a period when I was positive that we were going to break up. Crazy, I know. But I want you all to know that even though things were dark, and that every day presents challenges of varying degrees, this relationship is one of the most rewarding parts of my life. And while we are still figuring things out, I'm grateful for everyday I have with him. For those of you who encouraged me to end it, I did take your suggestions to heart, but I am happy with my decision to stick with him.
My parents have been separated for over a year and a half. The divorce is still being finalized. While I have been working on figuring out how to accept the major event of a 28-year marriage ending, I have come to a place of acceptance. I have relationships with both of my parents which have changed gradually in the last two years. Most days I "get it", I understand why it happened, and I accept that this has happened. We are still working the kinks out of holidays and birthdays, and I'll admit I dread Thanksgiving, even though I love food.
And I worry. I worry almost every day about how things are going to turn out. I think about what will happen to my mom, and where she will end up living. I worry about marriage itself, if it's something worth pursuing at all. I worry about my siblings, and I worry about losing my concept of family. I worry about who will watch the cats, and if everyone is happy in their new homes. But beyond worry, I miss things. I miss my family, I miss living in the same house. I miss dinner together, and cramming into the car, and going on family vacations. I know I took so much of this for granted, but I do think I had a very wonderful upbringing. I'm just in that strange gray area of figuring out what's going to happen next.
I know a lot of my friends and family and friends of family think that I love my job. That I am lucky to be working in such an amazing place. While I am grateful for full-time employment with benefits, and happy that I've had a place to keep my mind off of my relationship and a divorce for 35 hours a week, I'm willing to admit that what I do here at the museum is not my livelihood.
In 2010, I started as a wide-eyed intern in Museum Education - and I fell in love. Between completing rigorous research on the collection and getting students and members excited and engaged with art, I was in heaven and convinced this was the place for me. But the internship was eight weeks long. I was unemployed for a month, then took on a temporary position in Development, which as stated, I thought would have been temporary. Anything to work at an amazing museum, right?
Temporary turned into 14 months of photocopying, filing, mailing, and being a Jill-of-all-trades. I felt myself shrinking into my chair over time. I have a degree, I completed a thesis, I am a colorful engaging person. But I sit in a chair for seven hours, staring at a computer, feeling completely unfulfilled. I had little to no responsibility, few projects, and nothing that I am working towards. Nowhere to grow.
My temp job turned into a full-time position, but I did not choose the job, the job chose me. I seldom get into the galleries. And, I'm ashamed to admit this, but I only interact with the art when I schedule the time to do so. I have not visited any other museums in Chicago in the last year. I rarely go to gallery openings in the city. What brought me into this museum, my passion for art, is no longer a part of my day-to-day, and I miss it. It saddens me to know that I have been working so hard, fighting to prove that I matter more than being a temp, but that nothing has really changed since I was hired.
It's been incredibly difficult for me to write all of these things down, and publish them on my blog, but I think it needs to be made known that some days, I do get really sad. That while I tend to post happy, upbeat, exciting things, I'm not goofy and upbeat everyday. In fact, most days I become overwhelmed by that one overriding thought of what I will do next. And I mean really do. What will my next job be? Will I go back to school? Will I move out of my apartment? Will I continue to live in Chicago, or will I go somewhere else? And what about Spencer? What about my family? Where will we all end up?
Though I'm not entirely convinced graduate school is the answer, I do know that feeling this way for this long is unnecessary. I don't have to stay in this job, I don't have to stay in Chicago, hell, I don't even have to stay in the nonprofit arts sector. I can do anything. That's one thing my family and my relationship have taught me. I am capable of anything.
I already feel like a little weight has been lifted from penning this down. If you have any suggestions or want to offer me any advice, I'd love to hear from you. I'm sorry to post about being in a funk, but funks happen. As do ruts. And I am so ready to get out of this one.