HBD, Good Millennial: Reflections On Year One

Mackie
02/21/2016

Hello, GM team! Can you believe it’s been a year since we started this crazy adventure? I have been out on the road with a traveling show since January, so please excuse my tardiness in celebrating Good Millennial’s first year of existence. I’m hoping to have more original posts up soon, but please check the FB and Twitter for reposts of great articles, photos, and more from other awesome lady-driven blogs and papers.

After renewing my website hosting and domain for another year, I began to notice the changes in my life since I started keeping a blog. I decided to start a blog in the first place, I think, because I was bored. I was living with my boyfriend in a brand new city and I was stalled. I hadn’t given my career a chance to take off. I was supposed to be saving all my money, but even working three jobs wasn’t enough. I was away from friends and family, and I was bored. Bored with my life.

And just when I thought this was how my life was going to be forever, my boyfriend got laid off from his dream job, and in three week’s time, he was getting on a bus to start a new job in New York City. I still had a few responsibilities that kept me in New England, so he left and I stayed.

It’s never a good sign when the person you love most in the world gets some crushing news and the first thing you think is “We can move!” I was sort of appalled at myself – Kody loses his job and the first thing I feel is a weight being lifted off my shoulders?

As bad as I felt for him, I kept having this creeping feeling that I could be free. Free from what? Nothing was actually keeping me in New England. Kody loved me and supported me (emotionally and monetarily at that point), and he never once forced me to stay there. I found some work that worked for me, but really, why was I there? What was there for me?

So when Kody told me he was taking a job in New York, I got scared. I had to finish out a teaching position and an acting job on the coast, but then what?

I guess we were moving to New York.

For years, New York City had been the end game. Or at least, that’s what I told people. When you grow up in Iowa, New York City is the exception, but when you want to do musical theater, New York City is the rule. My parents always supported me, but I had never seen what being an adult artist looked like outside of my hometown. Life to me was family, job, grocery store runs, singing, summer swimming pools, volunteering, school plays, visits with Grandma. Even in college I lived in a little neighborhood with all my friends in a two-block radius. What did I know about making a life for myself in New York City? I thought it was selfish and expensive and almost impossible. But actually, I was afraid.

So instead of giving it a go in New York, I moved to Rhode Island. Kody had a job there, and he had a goal, an end game. I had no goals, a messed up family situation back in Iowa, and a non-paid education internship at a well-regarded theater in Boston. So, off we went to New England: Kody running toward the first step in a long and successful career, and me, running away from any chance at mine.

I spent that year after college asking myself a million questions. If I moved to New York, what will I do for money? Will anyone want to hire me? Am I really any good? What if it’s too hard? Will I get lost? Will Kody and I break up? Will I have any friends? What if I can’t find anywhere to live? Do they have Target there? Oh my god, what will I do without Target?

Basically I kept wondering: What’s more important, my life or my work? At the time, I thought they were exclusive. And apparently I also thought I had a life. While I met some wonderful people and did have some wonderful opportunities, I was unhappy in Rhode Island. I was dealing with crippling self-doubt stemming from anxiety and depression that I tried to ignore, which of course only made it worse. Not only was this holding me back from my work, but it was affecting my relationship, too. (Kody calls it my Poptart Depression: the days when I stayed in bed with the lights off eating Poptarts instead of, you know, being a part of the human race.)

I was convinced I would never make it in New York. I was too fat, too broke, not good enough, not smart enough, not funny or savvy enough. I used every excuse in the book, including convincing myself that this was really what I wanted, that I was being practical and rational. To me, not trying was better than failing at something I was supposed to be good at.

So when Kody got laid off, my whole world turned upside down. My biggest fear had been realized: I had no money, no power, and no pursuits of my own, and almost worst of all, I had moved across the country for a guy who was leaving to start a new job, and I was making minimum wage and relying on him for everything.

Who am I? I thought. What have I done?

The night before Kody left for New York, we went to our favorite pizza place. (If I miss one thing about living in Rhode Island – besides the people – it is the food.) We smiled and talked and tried to have fun. I called in sick the next day and took him out to run some errands before dropping him off at the bus station. He left February 12th, and by February 13th, I had created a blog.

I had been ruminating on it for some time, experimenting with names and styles, but once Kody left, I knew it was time. When I walked back into our quiet apartment, I was faced with a reality I hadn’t felt in a long time: I was alone.

I sat on the couch and tried to watch TV. I ordered some pizza, called my mom, reorganized the coffee table. But I kept being bombarded by the silence, the thoughts in my head I had to face now that it was just them and me.

So I started writing.

Once I started down the blogosphere rabbit hole, I didn’t look back. I found my niche, and I also found my voice. I started reading more, listening to the ideas of others, and I found myself getting excited to work. I hadn’t felt that in a long time. I would head home from my babysitting job or my teaching job, and instead of dreading an empty house, I was excited to get home and write. The more women and issues I read about, the more empowered I became. The more I discovered, the more conversations I started with women near and far.

I wanted people to read my articles, to learn something, and to be inspired. But sometimes I found myself not caring if anyone read my stuff or not. I was just happy to be working, to be sharing a part of myself and being unafraid to do so.

In the time since I started Good Millennial, my life has changed exponentially. Kody and I left Rhode Island and moved to New York City. I got an agent, got a few part-time jobs, met a million people from a million places, took classes, and started working with a therapist who has changed my life. I’m currently in a van driving all over the country getting paid to sing and dance and Kody is busy getting promoted and taking on more responsibilities at a job he loves. We both found a place to be ourselves and be together. Life still isn’t easy, but it’s better. We are better. I am better.

Good Millennial gave me a place of my own, a place I could work on myself. It gave me courage and knowledge and few enemies on the Internet. Before I started blogging, I just didn’t care about anything. But writing, along with a strong support system and some good therapy, has given me a reason to care, a reason to be interested in the world around me. It reminded me that what we say and do matters, and learning and being engaged and starting a conversation that matters helps make the world a better place.

The first page I created for the blog was my About section. I listed all the things a Good Millennial should be. That list was less of a proclamation and more of a promise – to others and to myself. At the time, I didn’t have an opinion or a belief that our generation could change the world. I couldn’t even change my own life. But I listed those attributes because I thought if I created a small space for growth in my life, I could become those things. (Click here if you want a refresher.)

Thanks for sticking by me, Good Millennials. I hope you have enjoyed the journey. I know I have loved learning from you, and I will continue trying to make you proud.

Here’s to another year of education, action, compassion, and forging our own paths. We cannot be defined. We cannot be stifled. We are complex, driven, beautiful, passionate, fascinating, wonderful vessels for greatness. There’s a lot to be done, but we can do it together.

The world is at our feet. Let’s go.

xo,

Mackie

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