All Who Wander are Not Lost – Back to the Bay

Despite what the title may be saying I am lost and wandering. The Silver Lining, is that I managed to wander back to California. Without the Golden State, I would undoubtedly feel the harshest sting of disillusion. When I got the job out of college that people said I should be happy about, that a people would kill for, even just to say that art school did lead to the door of an art career. I was not accepting this position because I wanted to leave California, design for the brand, even like the brand and the culture it stood for. To all the side eyes, to all the slow smiles and knowing head nods, when I confessed I was studying fashion and that I would design clothes for a living; accepting this job erased them all. Without clarifying where Ohio was located in proximity to home, I accepted. The game plan in place was strict. I didn’t come to make friends, I didn’t come to have a good time, I came to work.
This may not be the best way to meet new people, fortunately for me I have always believed that friend applicants will weed themselves out when the crazy is let out in the first conversation. Armed with a few like-minded comrades the two years ahead appeared brighter and for once I could see outside California for a place to call home (or at the very least think upon fondly once safe and warm in LA). That feeling when the fantasy expires returning to the dive from last night to retrieve a forgotten credit card. The truth finds all of us eventually and a bar’s secrets are exposed in daylight reminding you to get your yearly vaccinations.

When setting out on this adventure it is my transactional mindset that left me forgetting to hustle and be humble. After a year had gone by, it was becoming nearly impossible to hide my ever growing disdain for the workplace environment and Columbus itself. Once I became completely consumed with work, I lost myself. I started wishing away every moment between visiting California and being (in my over dramatic mind) forced to return to Ohio.

It was becoming painfully obvious that the constant fear of wearing the wrong thing, speaking the wrong opinion, or not appearing to be drowning in the Kool-Aid was too much for me. At my worst, I could barely take notes on the important delivery dates in meetings because I felt so out of place even after many purposeful attempts to fit in. You know when you feel someone trying to hard and missing the mark, and I could feel myself living this truth day in and day out.

I lost my job, lost my apartment, lost my autonomy. I was the job I held, there wasn’t a distinction and when my job ended in Ohio, a small piece of me did too. 

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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