highs & lows

In the last blog I wrote, I said I'd save the panicking over my future for after Warped Tour. Well, "After Warped Tour" arrived about three and a half weeks ago. And the panic is real. 

If I've learned anything over the past three hundred and sixty five days, it is that in life you will experience highs and lows. The highs will be amazing- incredible experiences that you wouldn't trade for the world. And they'll go by entirely too quickly. The lows will feel debilitating- terrible moments that you question everything. Moments when you feel like a failure and when you start to regret everything you've worked so hard for.

I've been at a low point for the past three and a half weeks. I think a lot of people have realized that because I'm not my usual peppy and ambitious self. I've spent a vast majority of the past three and a half weeks in bed with very little motivation to do much of anything.

I spent the last three years of my life in Chicago, obviously, attending college and immersing myself in a new city- making new friends, building contacts and relationships in the music industry- and becoming a new person that I never got to be at home. I like to refer to Pittsburgh as the city that birthed me and Chicago as the city that made me who I am. That city made me independent and motivated, a hard-working and well-rounded human being with high hopes for the future in ways that Pittsburgh could have never. And then that same motivated kid graduated college in three years and moved away from Chicago and back home. I was told by a lot of people that I would regret graduating in three years. "No," I said, stubbornly, "this is what I want and this is my decision to make and does not concern anyone else." And so I went about my business and graduated college before I could legally drink alcohol. It felt like validation. Everyone who told me I shouldn't do it could eat their words. I assumed I was in the clear. I would return from Warped and find something to do right away because Chicago made me this strong independent woman who could do anything I put my mind to! I realize now how unrealistic the thought of finding instant stability was, but I never could've anticipated just how miserable I've felt since getting home.

Getting my Warped Tour job for the summer put me in a unique position when I was finishing out my senior year. While my friends were looking for full time jobs around March of last year, I was offered my job for June-August. I stopped applying for full time music jobs because companies wouldn't want someone who couldn't start until August, and came home and worked at the ice cream shop I'd worked at for four years for the three weeks between graduation and leaving for tour.

I had the absolute time of my life on Warped Tour but started questioning essentially everything the exact second I landed back in Pittsburgh. What am I doing back here? I have a degree now, I don't want to work aimless part-time jobs that don't have anything to do with music and offer me no sense of fulfillment. I don't want to live in a city with a pretty much non-existent music scene. I just built so many great relationships in Chicago and now those same people and companies are seven and a half hours away and I'm here, stuck trying to start over with thirty-thousand dollars in debt. So then I decided I'd move back to Chicago ASAP, even if it meant working retail to pay my bills and picking up day of show music gigs to keep me from losing my mind. I found a sublet that would've worked like a dream but it unfortunately got filled and so I'm back to square one. Finding a roommate to move in November-ish is hard so I'm just trying to wait it out until the timing seems to work out better. In the meantime, I continue to apply to full-time jobs across the country, hoping to find something that'll make me feel like I have a purpose. Coming home as a college graduate without a full time job was bad. Living at home after three years of being independent is worse. But combining those two things with coming home from a tour I've dreamed of doing for years, being around incredible people and doing something I love every day has been the absolute worst. I don't have friends in my hometown anymore so I'm glued to my phone so I can feel connected to people. I am about to start a Promotions Assistant job with CBS Radio where I'll work events and hopefully remain connected to the music industry while getting my feet wet in radio. I'm hoping to lock in a part-time job at my favorite venue in the city this week, too. But most of all, I hope to be able to move back to Chicago soon and continue to build on the foundation I created in that city. But I don't know what's really in the cards, and maybe it's time I try somewhere new and build my life there. Whatever it is, I hope it's fulfilling. And I hope it happens sooner, rather than later.

The point of this post isn't for it to be a "woe is me" type of tale - besides, I'm positive a lot of fresh college grads can relate to most of it. I just think it's really important to be vulnerable and honest. Social media is a lot of times all rainbows and butterflies, but life isn't like that. I'm struggling and I feel confident enough that I'll get through it to admit to having a hard time. The highs may not be forever, but fortunately, neither are the lows so I'm ready to keep trekking.