read more books

I love the city I live in. I’m pretty sure I’ve made that abundantly clear by now. Sometimes I just want to shout it from the rooftops though. Maybe it’s not so much the city itself but what it represents to me. Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland is awesome. We’re definitely a lot more cool than anyone gives us credit for. But a lot of the things I really enjoy are simply because they’re so different than what my life used to be like.

Before living here I was in my early twenties, in a long term relationship where I was unhappy, thinking “well, this is my life. This is what it’s going to be like. Too late to do anything about it, I’m already so invested.” It’s not that anything was critically wrong but I certainly wasn’t fulfilled. There wasn’t any excitement or adventure. Then it was like one day I woke up and realized “Woaaah, nooooo! Girl, you gotta do you!” …Except it wasn’t a huge dramatic realization at all. It happened slowly over a long period of time but as soon as those whispers in my mind got louder they were impossible to ignore. Something had to happen.

If you’ve been reading The Dainty Squid for a while now you’d probably agree that things started to change when I got my license at the ripe old age of twenty-three. It opened my eyes that there was a lot more out there in the world than the life I had built in Geneva. I wanted – no, HAD – to see more, do more, be more! Things changed pretty rapidly after that.

On the way home from purchasing my first car back in 2013,Β  I spotted an abandoned building off the highway. On the side of the building it read “READ MORE BOOKS”. I lost it! It was the coolest graffiti I had ever seen (There is zero graffiti where I come from, okay?) I couldn’t imagine who would paint that? Why? Or even how they got up there! It blew my little country girl mind. I just loved it so much. I wanted so badly to pull over and photograph that building but couldn’t imagine getting off the freeway to try and find this building. And getting out of the car near it? No waaaay.

I met Jeff a mere month after moving up here and not long at all after that he took me inside that building not knowing just how special that was to me. Since that first time, I’ve been in just about every inch of that building. I’ve watched the sunset from the roof, and I’ve even been up the water tower.

Three years after seeing that building for the very first time from the side of the highway, I live within walking distance. Up until early last week I actually had never considered juuust how close I was to it. I wanted to take a photo of it with a new camera and figured I’d just walk. I planned for it taking a lot longer but in less than ten minutes Klaus and I there. Being there, in front of this building, with my puppy dog, my camera and not a care in the world got me feeling some sort of way and I just had to type it all out.

I drive by this building on the way home from the grocery store, and it’s visible when I get to the end of my street. I see it nearly every single day. I just can’t believe it’s my turf now. This world that was previously unimaginable to me is mine for the taking. It’s so silly for this building to mean so much to me but it’s really cool to see things come full circle like that.

Life is really rad, and honestly, it is NEVER too late to start again. Being happy is worth so much more than anything. Also, you should probably go ahead and read more books! πŸ˜‰

This building is actually in the process of being renovated. It’ll soon, well maybe not “soon”, be a school. It’s awesome to hear that it won’t be demolished and so fitting that a building with the words “read more books” will be a place kids will do just that!

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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