So you know how it feels when your entire life basically goes tits up? That's pretty much where I am. Quite frankly, things are still a bit too raw to discuss in depth, especially on the internet, so you'll have to excuse my vagueness for the time being. But I will say that, at the end of this month, I'm moving back up to Louisville.
Columbia has been ... trying for me, which is putting it mildly, and while I don't have the same vibrant hatred of Tennessee for South Carolina, it's pretty damn close. In some ways, SC is actually worse than Tennessee, something I never thought I'd say.
- Not a single person can drive. I have seen so many near-accidents that would have occurred due to sheer stupidity and/or lack of patience that I would be wealthy if I got 1/2 a penny for each. And then there's the actual accidents (or as Maria from my Alive at 25 class would say, THE CAR CRASHES) that leave me speechless. How did you drive your car into that building? Why did you just cut across four lanes of traffic to get off at an exit then realize that OH NO IT'S THE NEXT ONE and then slam into another car back on the interstate? And it's not like there is the population volume that would warrant for the high levels of traffic and/or wrecks.
- Oh, my God, the racism. Like, there is enough here for its own post, but there are plenty of other articles out there by people who are affected by it that do the subject justice. So I'll make this point brief: they truly believe the South will rise again, even if they have to make it miserable for everyone in order to do it. And don't even get me started on the state museum, which essentially serves as a giant monument to the Civil War era.
- There is a certain lack of empathy here, which actually ties into what I just said above, and a passive-aggression that is infuriating. I know, it's the South, and people are sweet to your face and absolute assholes when you're not around. I've lived below the Mason-Dixon line pretty much my entire life, so I'm familiar with the culture, but that doesn't mean that I handle it well.
- Now, this point is very Columbia-specific because Charleston and Greenville are fun places to visit, but there is nothing to do here. Even people who have lived here for years and kind of like it have admitted to me that they are often bored. It's pretty much just chain restaurants and shopping centers, but they're all fairly run-down and badly managed.
Now, SC does have beaches, and they're only about two hours away, so it has that in its pro column. But that's kinda it. Oh, and it's really beautiful here with rolling hills, big hardwood trees, and plenty of wildlife. It's just that I need more than just gorgeous scenery and an occasional trip to the ocean.
A big part of my displeasure is that I don't really fit in here. I've started to become somewhat comfortable with the confused glances and judgmental glares, but it doesn't help that much. I've tried connecting with fellow nerds at comic shops, involving myself with writers' groups, talking to people with whom I work, etc., and it really seems like I'm just wasting my time. It's not outright rejection - this is the South, after all - but the subtle clues dropped are sufficient. Three has had an easier time* adjusting and actually has a decent sized group of friends now, which is great for him. I am thrilled to see how much he's improved over the past several months.
But I'm still not happy.
I'm not naive enough to believe that a change of location is going to solve all of my problems. Louisville isn't perfect - no place is - but it has a lot of the things I need: an environment conducive to my creativity, great friends, family**, opportunity, etc. When I lived there back in 2014, I was gradually coming back out of my depression: branching out, making new friends, painting and writing. I haven't been doing a lot of that lately, and I wonder if I'm still suffering from an extended depression. I just don't find joy in doing anything that I know I love, even when I have a paintbrush in my hand or I'm staring at Scrivener on my computer screen. It's sad that I'm back to this place because I feel like I am play-acting, just floating around and hoping that I'll stick somewhere.
Again, this is only touching the surface of what's going on in my life, and I will be doing a follow-up post about that at some point. Just not right now. I can't right now. So if you wouldn't mind sending prayers, happy thoughts, positive energy, whatever in my direction, I really would greatly appreciate it.
* Okay, this sounds completely dismissive - callous, even - given his psychiatric problems back in October, but it is true.
** Well, they're three hours away, but that's a hell of a lot closer than nearly seven.