I was not quite sure what to expect when moving here. It is a smaller city than anywhere I have ever lived, so I imagined a much slower pace. My very short commute to and from work would mean more time for me to explore interests and get involved in things. I would also have plenty of time to spend with the man who brought me here, a Champaign-native who is very settled into the area and cannot leave anytime soon.
A third of a year has passed by since I arrived. Most days, I am pretty miserable.
It isn't because of the town itself; the lack of traffic is nice, and I enjoy seeing movies downtown at the old cinema, visiting the public library, or trying to find new favorite things to eat. The people are pretty friendly, and there are many ways to be involved in things around here. I will say that I am not really cut out for the cold, wind, or reduced sunlight that comes along with being here, though, but I guess that will be remedied in a matter of months.
It isn't because of my relationship, either. Sure, we have our problems here and there, but for the most of it, things are going pretty well. We do things together when we can, make plans for the future, talk about things that bother us, help each other out... pretty standard relationship stuff. He is more or less my only friend here, but he is a good friend to have.
My misery here stems from my job. A lot of people don't like their jobs. It happens all the time, and maybe they are better able to cope with it. I tend to wrap up a lot of my identity in what it is I do for my career. I worked very hard to get to a point where I was doing what I wanted to be doing, and how I wanted to be doing it. When I moved here, all of that disappeared. I am working in the school that everyone knows is the bad school, and despite working fewer hours each day than the job I left behind in Georgia, the days are very long and stressful. The weeks are filled with violence, chaos, and needless to stay, stress. I am exhausted and usually physically sick by the time the weekend rolls around, so even though there are things to do around here, I don't have the energy or ability to get out and do them.
The unhappiness that my job brings carries over at home. It makes my boyfriend pretty miserable. He feels bad that he's the reason I ended up here, and even though he wants to help, I don't know how he can. He gets upset, and then I become more upset at myself for choosing all this in the first place. I knowingly signed on to work at a "rough school" under the assumption that it couldn't be any worse than schools I had worked in before, but I was wrong, and now I am reminded of how wrong I was at least five days a week (and sometimes, in really bad moments, my partner will remind me of how I chose this).
I have tried to find other opportunities here, but since it is a smaller city, there aren't many things available (and I am even looking at things 50 miles away in Bloomington-Normal, too). I was offered a position making half what I currently make, and I would lose a lot of my time off. I interviewed for a position that would at least be a slightly better fit for my education and experience, but even if I do get an offer for it, I imagine the pay will still be low, and again, I will lose a lot of my time off. I religiously search the internet for anything around here that could work, but I am finding nothing, and it adds to the overwhelming sense of frustration and anger that already exists.
Right now, I plan to leave my job after the holidays. The hope was that I would find something here to transition into, but I don't know if that will be possible. In the event that I cannot find something else here (that isn't a massive step backwards), I have to come to terms with the fact that I am probably going to leave and go back to Atlanta. I cannot return to the job I had there and my apartment is gone, so really, I will have to start all over. It will be expensive and frustrating, especially after just paying a sizable chunk of cash and working out all the details to move here in August. All of this makes me sad, it makes me anxious, and it makes me angry. Leaving means I will have failed at this venture. I will have failed my boyfriend. I will have failed myself.
So, when you ask me, "How are you doing?" or "What's going on?", well, now you know.