Charlotte’s Got A Lot

There’s nothing like a long car ride (or shower for that matter…) to really get you thinking. This past weekend, I had the pleasure (seriously) of babysitting my adorably wonderful niece, Avery. During my 2-hour journey home, my mind wandered, as it so often does.

I thought about how absolutely flipping grateful I was to be able to drive not too far to be able to spend the weekend with Avery. How down to my core, I could not be more thankful to be a car ride away from all of my favorite human beings. Seriously! I’ve got my parents and one sister (and her fiancée!) in Charlotte, and another sister, her husband and their sweet angel baby just down the interstate. I’ve got my closest friends around the corner (or quite literally, in my apartment). Life is pretty dang good.


I had been thinking, as well, about my blog and how I haven’t written here in quite some time. I mentioned this to my girlfriend, Kenan, and she suggested it’s because I’ve been too busy enjoying and living my life to want to sit down and document it. And admittedly, I think that’s exactly the reason. I find it easier to express myself in written word when I am down, and perhaps I don’t even find any need to express myself when “up!” I know I appreciate these “ups” because of all my “downs,” but I think it fair to myself to document the highs as well.

I won’t say that getting to this point of sheer gratitude and overall happiness has been a walk in the park because it certainly hasn’t. For those of you who know me, or perhaps have even just had the slightest of interaction with me, you know that I tend to be an anxious individual. And by “tend to be anxious individual” I mean I am probably one of the most anxious people you’ve ever had the joy of encountering. So, for me, being content and having a true sense of peace may look a little different than others, but gosh it’s a welcome frame of mind…that’s taken work to get to.

After college, I had an incredible job with Comcast/NBCUniversal. I lived in two incredible cities and made countless incredible friends. In addition, I had a plethora of incredible opportunities at my fingertips from this job. On all logical accounts, I had it made and I was set. But, I found it next to impossible to connect this logic with my emotion. At every turn, with every new and exciting development, my heart was still pulling me far away from this incredible job in these incredible cities. Once my emotions took hold of me, my mental health suffered, my eating disorder crept back and my heart felt as if it were shattered. I no longer even felt like myself.

Truth be told, and again from a logical standpoint, it makes NO sense. Even to me. How could I be unhappy with all that I had? I was not without – not without employment, shelter, food, love, friendship, etc. I had it all, but something about it was not right. But in order to make things right, I had to make a difficult choice – to leave the incredible job in the incredible cities with the incredible people. Let me tell you, it hurt. It stung like hell. I’m an overly self-critical person, and this was a blow to my pride. I had given up. I was weak. I was stupid. I had let go of the greatest opportunity I’d ever been give because, plain and simple, I was a frickin’ baby. Or, at least that’s how I felt.


When I arrived in Charlotte, I was unemployed and felt life had beaten me at the ripe old age of 23. Wonderful. I managed to pull myself up by the boot straps (barely) and set out interviewing and found a new job that was just as incredible, with equally as incredible people. I still judged myself, though. This wasn’t Comcast/NBC, and Charlotte isn’t NYC or Philly. I let self-doubt creep in. I worried others must be thinking the same – what a loser that girl Katherine is. Blah, blah, blah, on and on and on.

I don’t know when it hit me though – when it hit me that #1 no one gives rat’s behind what you’re doing, Katherine and #2 you don’t give a rat’s behind what other people think about what you’re doing – but whenever those 2 things clicked inside me, I felt pure contentment. So content, in fact, that I didn’t even realize just how content I was…know what I’m sayin’?

I made, in my opinion, some pretty tough choices and took, for me (aka one of the most risk averse humans to walk this planet), some pretty big risks to get to this point. I worked hard to settle back into Charlotte, to reintroduce myself to my beloved hometown and to get involved with people I loved so dearly, but hadn’t regularly interacted with in person in years. While making these decisions and doing these things wasn’t always easy because of my self-doubt and quite frankly, self-pity, doing them is what got me out of my rut, and got me to believing in myself.

And, even though I keep telling people “I just moved back to Charlotte,” I’m coming to the realization that it’s almost been an entire year. An entire year for which I am utterly, unabashedly grateful and have become utterly, unabashedly happy.

Charlotte, you’ve really got a lot, and for that, I am thankful.

 

But This Wasn’t The Plan…

Sometimes, there’s nothing like a nice, long drive alone to fully immerse yourself in your thoughts. So, today, as I drove home from visiting Megan + Rusty + Avery in Greenville (well, technically Taylors), I was flooded with thoughts – and suddenly flooded with tears.

As I drove down I-85, I let the tears fall freely. Certainly I was sad to be leaving their cute little family after a great weekend, but I realized these tears were representative of so much more. And one word kept resounding in my head: GRATITUDE. Unspeakable, unfathomable, overwhelming gratitude.

 

The majestic Queen City #704

My move back to Charlotte in December wasn’t planned. I was a part of a (wonderful) two-year rotational program with Comcast/NBCUniversal. I had completed my first rotation (a year in NYC) and was about to finish my second (6 months in Philadelphia), and head off to my third. I would move back to New York for my third rotation, and finish off the program at NBCU, where I would then transition into a full-time role. That was the plan.

But, my heart was hurting. And as a result of my heart hurting, my health (both mental and physical) was suffering terribly. My anxiety had peaked, and my eating disorder had me strangled in its grips. Every thought of mine was filled with paranoia – from work to relationships to food. I worried I wasn’t performing at my job, I worried people were mad at me, I worried (and obsessed) over every calorie that entered my body.

With the flare in my anxiety, and with the constant thoughts about food (and the, more often than not, daily bulimic episodes), I slowly felt myself losing it. I was sleeping 11+ hours a night and yet, unable to get out of bed. I was mopey and sad and hurting. And worst of all, I was scared.

I was scared as I witnessed my eating disorder creep fully back into my life. It had overtaken me – every bite, lick, taste and thought was consumed with terrible eating disorder behavior. I tried to brush this aside, I tried to quietly take control of things on my own, but with each day, I was further gone.

I knew that if I didn’t make some kind of a change that this would destroy me. So, I resigned.

I left behind my first job out of college, in the middle of the prestigious program I was a part of (and had become a part of me), with an amazing company (and amazing people). It was terrifying, but I knew I had to, because truly, my life depended on it.

I needed my support system, and I needed them at my side. That’s not to say I didn’t have a support system in NYC or Philly (I did – and I love them all!), but I needed my family. I needed my very closest friends. And, I needed my doctors. I needed the people who knew me down to my core, because I was drowning.

Nick Nick Nick Nick


Kat & Cat


To tell your employer and your coworkers that you are resigning is probably the scariest thing ever (especially when you don’t have another job lined up). And it wasn’t the plan. This was going against everything my Type-A, perfectionist self stood for. How could I leave a job, mid-commitment? How could I let down this company? How could I let down all of my fellow program mates (who had become my closest friends)? As a person who has high standards for herself (and who is very hard on herself…), I struggled, but the voice inside my head, and every fiber of my gut, told me I had to do this. I had to do this, but doing so meant going against “the” plan.

The plan I had worked hard for – late nights at the college library, interview prep, 2 big city moves. I had planned my life around this plan (for lack of better words), and suddenly I was going astray. And I was scared.

But, as I sat today on I-85 in tears, it hit me – I had gone against my plan, but I had listened to, followed and trusted in God’s plan. Of course! Why hadn’t I realized that sooner?

Gal Pals!


Avery is everything.

 While it wasn’t my plan to leave my job, God knew that this move was just what I needed, and he planted the idea in my head and lead me to act on this. He was the voice inside my head telling me to return home, because He knew that it was what I needed. And, He gave me the strength to talk to my employers about all of this. He redirected my plan so that I could follow His.

Family.


Since moving back, I have made strides in my health – first in freely discussing it, but second in gaining control back from my eating disorder. I’m not perfect (and never will be), but I am making progress, and that’s all I can ask for.

Most importantly, though, I’ve been reunited with my people. And, while I knew I missed them when in NYC and Philly (hello FOMO all the time), being back has made me realize how much I must’ve missed them, and how many milestones I would have missed had I not come back. Kelley & Matt’s engagement, Megan & Rusty moving into a new house, Panther tailgates with my parents, every second of Avery’s life – all things I wouldn’t have been able to actively participate in had I been home. In addition, I’ve been reunited with some of my best friends from high school and college (and found a job I enjoy!) – what more could I ask for?

Just missing Rusty and Avery 😦


A huge, huge part of me felt like I was letting so many people down by moving (namely, my employers/coworkers…and myself). I was embarrassed. I felt like I was being judged. I felt like a failure for not sticking to the plan.

Hindsight is 20/20, though, and while I didn’t stick to my plan, I listened to God’s voice in me and rewrote my plan, according to His direction. And for that, and so many other things, I am grateful.

XOXO

Empire State of Mind

Helllllo my internet friends! I hope you didn’t think that I fell off the face of the earth, or that I’d forgotten about you. I merely took some time off from blogging to completely enjoy being at home in the interim between graduating from UNC (Go Heels!) and moving to NYC to begin work with NBCUniversal. Now bear with me, as this is an aggressively long post.

My, oh my, how busy I have been! I spent May and June trying to get myself organized to make the big move from my hometown of Charlotte, NC (born and raised, baby!) to the Big Apple. Basically that consisted of me stressing about all the things I had to do, but waiting until the very last minute to do all of them. Typical. So, I passed time lounging by the pool, reading Gone Girl and hanging with my friends and family. ‘Twas lovely, truly.

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The ending to this book had me feelin’ all kinds of crazy.

 

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Ah, the Queen City in all her glory.

 

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A Charlotte sunset.

 

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Home sweet home.

On Thursday, July 3rd, I flew from CLT to LGA with a heavy heart. Yes, of course I am thrilled about this new adventure – I am in the capital of the world with a big girl job right out of college – but nonetheless, it is hard to say goodbye to those you love. With tears in my eyes, I hugged my parents and boarded my flight. And, honestly, there were more tears in the cab to my apartment. Like my beloved Mimi, I am just not one for goodbyes. I am sad to leave the South, where my parents, sisters and closest friends live, but I am looking forward to the fun to be had in the Big Apple!

You’d think that once I arrived at my apartment that I’d unpack, but alas, my “stuff” (AKA bed, dresser, hangers, EVERYTHING I OWN) doesn’t arrive until July 14th. Sigh. So, for now I am living out of two suitcases and sleeping on an air mattress. Could be worse – at least I’m not homeless!

The very first night I got to the City, I met up with my best friend from UNC, Tara, who is a native of New York. She had invited me to go on a river cruise around the City with her and her friends from home. Knowing I would have nothing to unpack, I attended and had a blast. Also on the cruise was our friend Emma who also went to UNC – bringin’ the South up North.

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Me, Tara and Emma
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What a view!

This July 4th was not quite the Independence Day I am used to. My roommate, Kelley, and I spent the day tackling a rather long t0-do list trying to get some items together for our apartment. We visited Kmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond, which are conveniently located near our apartment. We got everything from a kitchen trash can to a window AC unit for our main living area. We walked blocks and blocks and were utterly exhausted, but managed to shower and head down to the Manhattan Bridge to watch a spectacular fireworks display. Then we crashed.

The following day, I went on an excursion to Queens to purchase a love seat. After having THE WORST shopping experience with Ashley Furniture Home Store in Charlotte, I had to start from scratch in finding living room furniture. Ugh. So, I decided I’d make the subway trek to the Macy’s Furniture Showroom out in Queens. After having a bit of trouble finding the right subway entrance (and getting laughed at by a subway worker) I finally found the correct “R” train headed to Queens. I hopped off the train and found that the Macy’s Furniture Showroom was in the same complex as a Target #blessed. I found a darling love seat that is set to arrive soon and spent some more dollars in “The Red Mecca” (which by the way has an escalator just for shopping carts – lolz!).

Again, I was dead after that excursion, so I came home, had some dinner and watched Netflix on my little air mattress. I promise I’m not really this lame (well, maybe I am?).

Today (July 6th), I woke up early and went to church at 9 a.m. Conveniently, there is a Catholic Church right around the corner from me. However, it is a Polish Church that only offers two masses per week in English. I checked it out, and while it is a beautiful sanctuary, I had such difficulty understanding the priest that I may have to continue “church shopping.” Still, though, it is nice to know that there is a church very close should I ever want to pop in for some quiet prayer time.

After church, I unfortunately had to haul myself to the Walgreen’s Health Clinic. Like a five-year-old, I woke up with an outrageous ear ache, and sure enough, I have an ear infection. I thought people were immune to those after, like, age 10? I’ve officially been proved wrong and now have some antibiotics in my arsenal.

Post doctor’s visit, I had some lunch and tooled around my neighborhood aimlessly. It was so lovely to just be able to stop and look around, without any true place to be. The highlight of my day was visiting Washington Square Park, which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. It is quite the destination for people watching, and it is truly a beautiful park. I really do love that, despite being such a “concrete jungle,” New York does have some stellar community parks.

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Washington Square Park – a must see in NYC!

 

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That’s me creating “bubble art” in the park!

 

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Pollination and what not.

Tomorrow I’m off to Philadelphia for the week for training for work! The real world is officially knocking at my door – I can’t believe it!

Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram – my username is @tarheelinthecity and I’ll be hashtagging with #tarheelinthecity as well.