So, I think I’m going to start writing regularly about my experiences and feelings. Like a weekly public check-in on my inner world. Eeek. This is really scary for me. Which is why I’m making myself do it. I intended to post this on Friday and start a Feelings Friday type of thing. But I didn’t. So, in the spirit of ihatenj and accepting things not always going as planned and changing intentions and keep moving forward… here we are. Feelings Friday on this Sunday.
When I started this blog, I totally wanted to write about what’s fun and good out here in NJ. Still do. But I also wanted this to be a honest place for me, which doesn’t always want to run around shopping. Actually, I sorta always want to run around shopping. But, I also like to go deeper. And I wanted to use this forum to establish a fuller conversation about what makes a place a home, what makes people feel good, which is really varied.
A friend of mine who lives in Miami recently said to me, after reading ihatenj, these places you are posting about look amazing. I want to live there. And I responded – Let me be clear, I am posting fun places in New Jersey. The state of New Jersey. I can’t walk to them. I can’t drive to them in 10 minutes. They are not in my backyard like they were in Brooklyn. And I miss that accessibility. I am driving 1 hour to find a good store. I am meeting amazing people, but they are not my neighbors. I love walking and seeing and doing and talking to people. Instead, right now I am driving to get to somewhere that I feel good and normal and to do these things. I have had to work at it. It is often a destination instead of surrounding me.
I think about the whole – you are who you are wherever you go thing – the question of is it the place or the person. And I get it. I agree with it. I’ve gone to therapy to question it and myself. I’ve asked, what’s wrong with me that I’m not content. And at some point I realized it’s also okay to not like where you live. Some people never think about it in terms of themselves – they are able to say, I don’t like it here and move. I am sometimes jealous of that. Like life and community doesn’t need to be so much work. And I also recognize that some people are more affected by surroundings than others. I don’t know. Some people move every two years and some people (like me) feel like they made this choice and go to therapy and shamans to investigate what they are doing wrong. I am even writing a blog about it. Crazy.
Ugh. It’s okay to not like a place and make a change. It is okay to become unstuck. A close friend, who does not dwell on shit like I do, said to me – Laur, it’s okay to change your mind. That concept is so simple yet was so hard for me to comprehend. And so important for me.
And lastly, when I express these feelings, these doubts, it has been clear that they affect people. Especially local people as I guess it feels threatening – which I totally get – I am not meaning to insult your town, your experience, your NJ – but it does affect people. I guess that’s why I started this blog. To have a little bit of a eyes on your own page moment. Where everyone can figure out what makes them happy while we have these conversations in the process without feeling bad to someone else. [Note: Facebook sucks for this reason. Everyone is so fucking defensive].
I think location and happiness is dissimilar for people. Some are really happy with this lifestyle. And it’s all good. I just really want to be authentic here and speak to my experience. And I know that some people will relate. And some won’t. And I am super interested in the people who don’t have an alternate narrative and hope to learn from them on my journey.
Surprisingly, writing this blog, spending time going to cool places and talking to interesting strangers and being in and out of my current comfort zone has been good for me. It has been fun. It has felt invigorating. I have loved driving out through New Jersey farms. I have loved visiting the Delaware and Ocean and meeting people doing creative things. I love asking questions. I always have. So this has been a great mix of adventure and interviewing and feeling and reflecting. But, just to be clear – especially if you’re not familiar with NJ – this is not my day-to-day life.
I want to start doing Interview Mag style interviews with people about what is home, why do you live somewhere or leave somewhere. NJ is a great state for this blog, as Jersey has always gotten the bad rap. But, it really could be ihateanywhere – a way to discuss how one’s surroundings affect their happiness. And I want to incorporate other voices and stories in the process.
Okay. Enough for now.. Lauren xxxx