It’s been two months since I received by BFA in dance from The Ohio State University. I have since officially moved out of the Buckeye State, bubbling with excitement for the mystery that is starting my dance career. In reality, that means I’ve moved back home to Chicago.
Oh, and back in with my parents.
Almost every single visit back home during undergrad felt a little off-putting. With each short-term visit, I would feel increasingly out of touch with the place I used to call home. Those friends from the city felt more like strangers as I cultivated friendships away from home. The older I got, the less I knew about exploring the city as a young adult. I can admit that when I left for Ohio State in 2013, I was most excited about being somewhere I wouldn’t bare the scarlet lettering of a person I honestly wasn’t proud to be. Every time I came home after that, I felt as if I was trying to fit myself into my 18-year-old shell which became increasingly difficult as time went on. So, the older I got, the more time I spent in Ohio.
You can imagine the unsettling feelings I had when I moved back into my childhood home.
With that said, here are my three biggest fears and what I’m doing to address them. Post-grad is a demon in itself, but I hope you find solace in these evolving rationalizations and maybe realize that you are not alone (I am here with you).
1. So … what about those friendships you abandoned?
Abandoned is a bit of a stretch, but I will definitely say the dynamics of my friendships from high school changed. One of my biggest fears moving back home, especially with those friends of mine that stayed in Chicago and continued growing together, was trying to fit myself into an eco-system that I no longer felt necessary in. If you are in this scenario, don’t assume your friends have been “getting on just fine without you” and they don’t want you around. Speaking up and reaching out to my tribe has been the foundation of re-strengthening these relationships. It isn’t always easy, but it’s so important to know where you stand and not just imagine it.
2. What about THE PARENTS!?
I am so grateful to have such loving, supportive parents that always have my back. It is especially important to me that as a broke creative, fresh out of the education system for the first time, my parents are giving me the space to find my footing and save money. I am an adult now, yes - meaning boundaries and rules need to be explicitly laid out on both of our ends. It’s just another conversation that needs to be had about respecting who I am now as a 22-year-old and not just “their baby girl.”
3. What about back-peddling to that teenage self you weren’t proud of?
It’s simply not possible. In four years, I’ve done so much learning and growing as an individual that I couldn’t possibly do myself the disservice of not honoring who I am in this moment. The same way that you don’t want your friends or family to treat you like an outdated version, don’t you dare do it to yourself. It may be easy to shrink and let people assume they know me, but I’ve worked hard to be who I am today! Everybody gets reacquainted. Period.
I want to leave you with this: the uncomfortable period is only temporary. Trust yourself, trust your growth and trust the process of figuring it out.