First and foremost, I dislike talking about myself, so this is a little awkward for me. Introductions make me nervous. See, I have social anxiety anyway so when people want to hear about me I just get all sweaty and shaky want to jump up and run away from the situation. I can’t just say, “Hi, my name is Stef, and I’m from “insert interesting place here“, and I studied at “insert a school people have heard of here“, and I now work at “insert prestigious company here” as a “insert flashy career title here“” .. because for me, it’s not that simple. I’ve gone to several schools. I’ve lived in many places and I’ve held so many different jobs you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you exactly how many.
But still, I get asked sometimes about my background and I find that even I trip over explaining what I’ve done and when and where I did it. So as I fire up this new blog (and yes, I’ve started and quit many of those too), I feel compelled to put it all out there once and for all. The path was never straight and narrow for me; it’s probably going to sound pretty weird to you.
But anyway, here’s the lowdown .. (aka, more about me than you ever really wanted to know.)
I was born! I lived in Georgia and Kentucky because my Dad was in the army, but we eventually settled in Ohio where the rest of my family lived. My parents got divorced when I was in kindergarten and I went to live with my grandparents until my mom re-married. I had awesome times and not-so-awesome times growing up. Didn’t we all?
I graduated from a very tiny high school in Ohio, 8th in my class (out of only 80-ish people, so .. good but not great). I received a scholarship from the local hospital to attend The Ohio State University and major in occupational therapy. What happened as to why that didn’t work out? Lots of things, all of which I take full responsibility for. But rehashing those reasons would be a whole other blog post in itself, maybe even several. For now let’s say everything from boyfriend troubles, to depression and social awkwardness, to feeling lost in the crowd, to wanting to change my major to photography (and if I did, lose my scholarship) is what happened. It just didn’t work out.
I quit school and started working two jobs (Mark Pi’s Express & a BP station) so I could keep living in Columbus on OSU’s campus. Having two jobs quickly got old, so I quit Mark Pi’s and just worked at BP as a shift manager. I thought I was the shiz, being a “manager” and all. I worked the graveyard shift alone and I loved it. I met creepy characters as well as some really cool people. I had the most awesome circle of friends and can safely say those were some of the best days of my life.
Met a guy on spring break in Panama City Beach and dragged him back to Ohio with me. My friends hated him and did not trust him at all or even want him around. But stupidly I thought I knew better and I packed up what little I owned (about 2 duffel bags worth of stuff) and moved away with him to Jacksonville Beach, FL. We didn’t know anybody there, we just wanted to live at a beach. We arrived by Greyhound with only $40. We had nowhere to live. He found a job at an Irish pub and I found a job at Subway, where I again quickly worked my way up to shift manager (even when homeless, I had a great work ethic!) The story of how I got by without a place to live for a while, eh .. that’s another story for another time. In no way am I ashamed of the fact that I was homeless. I grew as a person in so many ways during this time. I truly wouldn’t go back and change anything even if given the chance.
Life in FL was harsh and rough all the time. The relationship I was in (if you could even call it that) bombed hard. There was lots of cheating and physical abuse (not on my part, all on his part). I fled to Tennessee to live with my aunt. I worked odd jobs until I could afford an apartment of my own (odd jobs which included everything from cleaning houses to repo-ing cars for a used car lot). When I finally found an apartment, I got a job at Taco Bell within walking distance of my place which was great, because I had no vehicle. And guess what? I became the shift manager there too within a month. Whoohoo. But it didn’t pay well and I got tired of working most nights until 3am (and walking home alone at that hour). So I saved up enough to buy an old, beat up Ford Escort and ventured out to find a better job.
I worked for a while at Talbot’s catalog call center as a personal shopper, a while as a collection agent, and a while at a company that handled accidental death & dismemberment insurance policies. I hated all the jobs except for the last one, and stayed there until 2003.
2001 – 2003:
Somewhere in that time I became all friendly online with a guy who was from Holland, we’ll call him X. I took a two week vacation to go visit X and during that time I decided I *had* to live there. I wasn’t so much in love with HIM as I was with Amsterdam. Ahhh, Amsterdam. But I made myself believe that I wanted to move there to be with him, when really I just wanted to move there to be with Amsterdam. If only one could marry a city ..
I quit the AD&D job. I moved to Holland. Renting a place in Holland is not so easy. There are wait-lists miles long. Buying a place is astronomically expensive. So, I lived there with X (and his creepy, unstable mother) in their tiny, cramped house. Very, VERY long story short, that didn’t last and it wasn’t long before I found someone new. Now here’s where things start getting a little more stable! That “someone new” is now my husband of 4 years, who I’ll refer to as just Husband because he probably wouldn’t want his name all over my personal blog and that’s ok. Only getting to that married point wasn’t easy .. did I mention Husband was one of X’s good friends? Yeah .. there’s that. Another time. (I’m totally downplaying this for the sake of brevity. The start of my relationship with Husband was AMAZING and he is the greatest person. Hearts & stars & fireworks & stuff.)
I had to leave Holland because Husband (then boyfriend, you with me?) was still in college and didn’t have a job. In order for me to keep living in Holland, he needed to prove he could support me by having a steady income. But he was really close to being done with school, so, I returned to the states (a very small, not-so-nice town in southern Ohio, to be exact) and went back to school as well. We Skyped daily and visited each other a couple of times. I worked as a communications specialist (aka news writer) for my university and a cashier at BP again (I know!) while taking classes full-time. Somewhere in there I did an internship as a graphic designer at the local hospital’s PR offices. It’s all a blur really. Most of the time I was just incredibly exhausted and barely knew where I was. BP was in a shitty part of town and I didn’t feel safe working alone so late there, so I quit and worked at Subway (again!) in a better part of town.
Husband (boyfriend) moved to Ohio and we got married! And he still works for the company he worked for in Holland. We were lucky he could do that.
End of 2008:
I got my BFA in graphic design and we decided to move to Raleigh, NC. Why Raleigh? Well, we heard it was a happening place! I had high hopes for that, anyway. It didn’t go quite as expected. Though we lived in a nice neighborhood, our neighbors were dicks. We had a difficult time making friends here. We became disenchanted in various ways (another post ..) I thought I could find a great job here, but ..
.. after a long & hard job search and many, MANY dead-end interviews I found a job in a retail pharmacy in a part of town called Cameron Village. Working in a retail pharmacy is a lot like working in fast food, only you are handing over bags of drugs instead of bags of burgers and fries. You get yelled at and cussed at just as much (maybe more!) The stress was incredible. I loved my co-workers but I could not hang. This is when I made the decision to go back to school .. AGAIN .. and this time to do something in the medical field. Hospitals always need people, right? Job security, right?! So …
December 2011, NOW!:
We moved out of our 1st NC apartment and into a condo in a quieter area 6 months ago. It’s finals week and I’m taking the last class I need (anatomy & physiology) to apply for acceptance into the x-ray tech program at Wake Tech. I need a certain amount of points to be accepted into the program, and as of right now, if I pull a B out of the class like it looks like I probably will, I’ll be right on the edge of the minimum points needed to get in. 90 some people apply each semester, and about 20-25 are accepted. Getting an A in the class would have bettered my chances. But, I’ve done my best and I have worked hard for that B. My application is submitted and all I can do is wait. It’s going to be a sort of a long wait, folks. I probably won’t know anything until spring. And if I do get accepted, that’s another two years of studying. I’m sure my hair will be completely gray by then.
What will I do while I wait?
I’m not quite sure yet. Look for a job? Read a lot? Join a gym? Make jewelry? Tweet way too much?
Maybe all of the above.
What if I don’t get accepted?
Erm, well .. I don’t know yet.
I get asked a lot, “Why did you ever leave Holland?”
Truth is, I didn’t want to. I had to at the time. Would I ever go back? You betcha. Would it be really, really difficult to move back? Yes.
But not impossible.
For now I’m happy to have options, even though things are a little weird and uncertain. But then again, if you’ve read this far, you know that things have always been weird and uncertain and honestly .. LIFE is weird and uncertain so nothing has really changed.
Do I really want to be an x-ray tech? Yes. I really do. I wish I had made the decision a long time ago, skipped the graphic design degree and just studied radiography instead. I want to take pictures of your insides. Sounds creepy when I say it like that, huh?
And so .. there you have it. All the news about my life thus far that is fit to print.
I promise to use this more, even when I feel like I don’t have anything to say or have the most mundane things to share. Sometimes I get very, very tired of sharing things within a 140 character limit or announcing things on Facebook where no one really responds or gives a rat’s ass, or simply clicks “Like!” Ugh.
I need more substance than that.
This blog won’t just be about school. It’ll be about all kinds of things. Music and books and day-to-day ramblings and complaints and food and stuff.
And now that I’ve shared so much, I want to know more about you too. So, why not leave me a link to your blog or Tumblr or wherever you share more than 140 characters? And if you don’t have such a place, why not start one? I’d read it!