just over here trying to avoid cognitive dissonance…

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I just spent some time scrolling through my September New York City trip post (ha, the one that I posted back in February…about my trip that was in September…).

The thing that makes me really sad about not moving to NYC is that New York City is most definitely, perfectly and decidedly me. I look at the picture of myself with Fearless Girl and the couple of me in Central Park, and that’s me. And looking at my photos from the High Line, and of the skyline, and at the Yankees game and they all make me feel freaking alive because I know that NYC is my place. It’s a physical embodiment of my determination and my love of humanity and so many other things that are just me.

And I don’t know this for sure—maybe I’ll prove myself wrong—but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to walk around downtown Kansas City and feel that. At least not for a long time. I think Kansas City is going to be an incredible place to live and explore in, but I don’t know if it is decidedly me. (Insert frantic 3am nightmares of being stuck in Kansas City* for eternity with a fragmented identity…it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting for the day hahaha.)

I look at that girl in those September New York pictures and remember how right it felt to be there. Recently I feel like I keep having consecutive identity crises. Well, okay, back up. I know who I am right now more than I have at any other time in my life. I’m so, so grateful for that. But I think the emotional me has grown at a different pace than the social me. Lately I keep feeling this need to be all of the full, daring, strong person that I’ve grown into with everyone that I interact with, but then I hit a wall and something says to me, You’ve never been that person. You don’t know how to be that person—not in any place outside of your head. Which of course is crazy negative self-talk, but sometimes it happens and what do you do?

The Tess in those NYC pictures is the Tess at the beginning of a crazy and rewarding journey of finding myself that’s taken place over the past 7 months. It’s been 7 months of showing myself what I want out of life, and showing myself that I am capable, and focusing myself on the things and people that bring the most meaning to my life.

The possibility of living in NYC felt like it could have been the beginning of the process of leveling out the emotional growth and the social growth, since I would have been living in a physical environment that so clearly matched that emotional growth. I feel like changing my environment in that way (going from Provo to NYC) would have been the perfect jumpstart to figuring out a way around that wall that keeps coming up so often these days.

I think I can do it in KC too, but it’s weird to me to not have any idea of what life is going to feel like there. I know what Provo life feels like. I know what NYC life would probably feel like. But I have zero idea of what KC life will feel like—and that’s freaking me out a little. I’m terrified of stagnation and of not finding the courage to be my authentic self.

I feel like I’ve hit on seven different topics in this post haha, but it’s chill. Basically, the process of finding yourself is hard, but the process of learning to actually live that person and to live unapologetically is even harder.

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*side-note: I am VERY VERY VERY excited to move to Kansas City, and to be working at VML. I am so grateful to be starting my career at such an incredible agency, and Kansas City does seem like a killer place. It was so clear to me that this opportunity was the one that I needed to take, so no regrets here! :)

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