Monday, December 2, 2013

Welp, I don’t live in New Orleans anymore

What a dramatic headline!!

And not entirely true. I am still living in New Orleans. For 19 more days.

And then I’m moving back to South Carolina, where life made sense.

Even more dramatic!!

But, yes, in all seriousness, after three years of living in New Orleans where I grew up, I am moving back to the only other place I’ve ever lived, near the beach.

It’s not just the beach that’s drawing me back. It’s my twin sister, Joy, whom I’ve missed living with terribly; it’s a new job that I accepted up there, and the job that kicked me to the curb here.

And while everyone always posts on Facebook how wonderful New Orleans is – and I don’t disagree, New Orleans is wonderful, especially between the months of October and May with football season, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest – for me, living here has been a struggle.

Not a struggle everyday, but pretty consistently.

It’s been a struggle to find a satisfying job, a struggle to find a satisfying relationship. A struggle to be happy.
A struggle to stay sober.


I’ll go into it more in future blog posts, because living in New Orleans has certainly shaped me, but I just needed this stream of consciousness because leaving is all that’s on my mind.

I am going to miss the city and all of the wonderful characters and celebrations, how everything and everyone is so full of life. How there's always something to do and how it’s impossible to embarrass yourself in public.

I even walked with my friend down Bourbon Street yesterday (the crappy part even!!) and found it incredibly beautiful.

I’m especially going to miss my parents, the wonderful friends I’ve made and the old friends I’ve reconnected with. The friends who lifted me up when I was truly down, the friends who taught me how to live, the friends who taught me about true friendship (cue music).

New Orleans is an incredibly small city, no matter how many new people move to town.  There’s no place like it in the world. I know this. I’m lucky to have been raised here, lucky to have lived here for the past few years. 

I used to write in this blog about how much I missed it, and now I’m packing up and leaving.  

I’ll be back, of course: She is a New Orleans girl, and New Orleans girls never live anywhere else and even if they do, they always come back. That's just the way it is. This is where she belongs. End of discussion.” – Chris Rose.

But right now is not the right time for me and this city. I've been a curmudgeon; I've blamed New Orleans for all my setbacks and that's not fair.  

And as they say here, be nice or leave.

I’ve accepted a job in South Carolina as an associate editor of a magazine (ahhh!!!) and I start at the beginning of 2014.

A new leaf, ya’ll!!!

Even the universe is on my side.

In early October, right around the time I said for real I was moving back to South Carolina, I got my tarot cards read in the French Quarter for my roommate’s birthday.

The reader guy said to pick a deck of cards that most appealed to me and shuffle them until I felt “good” about it. Then I was told to close my eyes and think about a question in which I was seeking an answer.

I didn’t say the question out loud, but I asked over and over in my head, “Is moving back to South Carolina a good decision? Is moving back to South Carolina a good decision?”

The cards were flipped one by one, and immediately the first card announced a big move in my life. Not “change” but “move.” My eyebrows raised.

And it was a good move! The universe’s blessing!

The man said I’d grow both spiritually and personally with this move but I had to tie up loose ends in my current state (haha inadvertent pun) and let go of the past in order to move forward.

It was incredibly inspiring.

And I'm listening to the cards. I’m letting go of the hard times in New Orleans, moving past feeling like a failure and looking at the city through a new lens (uh...a lens where Bourbon Street is beautiful, evidently. Haha).
I know I’ll be welcomed back with open arms by my parents, who will never leave the city, my wonderful NOLA friends and even the city itself, with its colorful artwork, year-long Mardi Gras bead-decorated trees, the food, the bars, the second lines, the music... my God, the music.

But I am looking forward to New Year’s Day at the beach where people gather at the ocean and jump in for a “Polar Bear Plunge”– a shock of cold ocean water that envelopes your entire body.

For me, it will be a purge of the last three years, letting go of the past and all my Big Easy heartaches, starting a new chapter, emerging anew.

And I take solace in the fact that I’ll be back. And not just to visit.

We always come back. 

That’s just the way it is.
End of discussion.


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