I’d really been missing Tampa lately. And for the life of me, I couldn’t really figure out why. Because the weather in Kentucky during the summer is just as hot as (if not a little smellier than) it is in Florida. The humidity is still sticky, the roads are just as crowded. And of course, when I was in Tampa, all I ever really wanted (or worked for) was a stable relationship… and I never truly found it. But, then, I had enough income there to keep me satisfied… and so the only thing I really NEEDED to work for was finding a relationship that was great enough to keep.
Some days I’d miss the weather (who wouldn’t?). Other days I’d miss the Dunkin Donuts that I’d stop at once or twice a week on my way to work. Or I’d miss getting to hang out with my friends on weekends. Most of all, though, I’d miss my apartment. It was the first place that I’ve ever had that *really* belonged to me. That I had outfitted all by myself.
I’d walk in the front door, into my living room. My TV, with its cable box humming happily below as it recorded stuff on the DVR, would be the first thing I saw, sitting next to my five shelf bookcase. To my right would be my constantly-extended futon (it seemed more practical to have it in bed mode instead of couch mode) with my laptop sitting on top of it, waiting for a World of Warcraft session. On the far right wall would be my seven foot tall bookshelf, and the floor to ceiling (pretty much) windows) – a lamp in front, on an antique table, my grandmother’s old trunk at its base, as well as book overflow that did not fit on the two bookshelves. (Books organized alphabetically by author’s last name.)
On the left would be my dining area, with my kitchen table (circa 2002 – when I got my first condo) set up neatly… sometimes looking as if it were a dining room table with tablecloths and placemats. Or, sometimes, depending on the phase of the moon, would hold my altar cloth and candles… oils… tarot… whatever I’d be working with that month. The kitchen existed next to the dining area, with a fridge full of whatever it was I’d be eating that week, and a pantry that held not only dry and baking goods but also my laundry machines.
Further back you’d have my bathroom, decorated in Alice and Wonderland décor (most of it things I created myself). And my bedroom… with its red and black comforter and sheet set, my filing cabinet, my nightstands and another (much older) TV with my Roku and Netflix for watching before I fell asleep.
And let’s not forget my balcony… a screened in porch that sat off my living room, where my cat and I would sit, watching the water spray up from the lake behind the complex… she’d be watching the ducks. I’d be painting.
You could walk in the door and you’d know, immediately, that I was a girl who liked to read. I was a girl that would occasionally relax with the television (for select shows) but more often than not spent the evenings whiling away her time on the patio with her paintings and creativity… or gaming… or else cooking up something in the kitchen. And that’s what Tampa stood for to me… it was a life I’d created all on my own, it revolved around me and what I wanted to do, and my house, like everything else, reflected who I was and the things that were the most important to me.
But then I realized… when I really got down to it, when I really thought about it, it wasn’t TAMPA I missed at all. It had very little to do with the town itself, but more or less the fact that I was missing the things that I had created, had specifically chosen, to do because they represented who I was. It was going to the places downtown that I loved because I loved them. It was having my little quirks and hobbies. It was having my apartment, full of my stuff, that I had created into a refuge for myself to exist in, on good days and bad days.
I’d chosen to leave it for Ormsby. And I don’t regret, not even for a minute, doing what I had to do to make Ormsby a permanent fixture in my life. Because if I had not moved, he and I would not be doing this. Life with him has been worth it. But that’s the thing… my life has, at least since I moved, revolved around him. Around his business. Around his hobbies. Because I have to save money; I still have to pay my bills (particularly my storage one, because some day I WILL have my space back, and I will want all of my things). Until then, what I had was World of Warcraft and the running that I do. WoW was paid for. The running is free. It wasn’t everything, but I was pretty satisfied.
Finding employment, at least until this last week, has been a challenge. And so I re-enrolled at the University of Louisville as a full time student last month, hoping to get a second degree that would make finding a job easier. I’ve been looking forward, since then, to having those classes… having something that I could do on my own. I kept applying to places, but was content to settle with a part time job that would coincide with school.
At least until last Friday. I got the call that changed everything – a law firm that I’d applied to and interviewed with two months ago called me at 8:30 to offer me a position. It was exactly the position I’d been looking for ever since I moved – Training and Technical Writing… full benefits… and a salary that is equal to the salary that I left behind in Tampa. I thought about it for a weekend… only because I was dead set on school and I wasn’t sure whether I could balance them both. But today I accepted it. And I downgraded my school schedule from full time to part time… I still want that degree. I see the benefit in HAVING that degree. For the sake of making myself more marketable in the field I’m in now, but also for the possibility of branching into others.
I don’t intend to move out of the apartment I now share with Ormsby. This was only supposed to be until I got on my feet, but we like living together. And to be honest, I can’t imagine my life without him anymore. But I have the essence of myself back… or at least I have the part that made self-sufficiency possible. Because, see, I like being with Ormsby because I CHOOSE to be with Ormsby… not because I depend on him for survival.
My stuff is still in storage, yes, and it will stay there for the foreseeable future until I can pay down some debt and recoup my finances from eight months of job seeking, and until I can find a bigger place for us to live. But I don’t have to consider which necessities to sacrifice for others. I don’t have to stay away from Victoria’s Secret or Smoothie King anymore. I can, in essence, afford the little things that make life pleasant, and therein, be more satisfied (even though I will be crazy busy).
Everything (school and work) starts August 24.
I can hardly wait. 🙂