just me, in my element

by Kaylah Stroup

Have you ever seen a photo of someone and thought “dang! I wish that was a picture of me!”? Not in the sense that you’d like to look like them but that you’d like to be in their location, doing what they’re doing. That they look like they’re enjoying themselves or that they look confident. That’s how I feel about this photo of myself… which is probably a pretty strange thing to admit. Let me try to explain though.

I’ve been living in Cleveland for just under three years now. It was actually around this time three years ago that I was mentally preparing to start a new life. I know I’ve mentioned it quite a few times, how excited I am to be in this city, and how different my life is but I’ve never really gotten into the details. I even got a weird passive aggressive email once about how I’m “really vague” when I talk about it and that I should just stop mentioning it if I wasn’t going to give the whole story. I guess I never really felt like I was being vague. In my mind some things don’t need explaining, they’re just obvious. I was in a crappy relationship where I felt stuck, and had severe social anxiety. Maybe things weren’t that obvious though, maybe I was good at hiding it.

In life before Cleveland I was so shy that it was painful to do just about everything. I hated talking to basically anyone I didn’t know. I barely left my house. I was even afraid to ride my bike around the block. But I was in a relationship, I owned a home at young age, and I was “happy” so what else did I need? It’s so weird to even type that stuff. It almost feels like I’m like I have to be talking about someone else’s life because it’s so far from where I’m at right now. Had I not written it then I probably would have pushed it out of my memory. In that post about riding my bike around the block I even wrote about how I couldn’t wait to look back and realize how stupid it was. At the time I hoped I could overcome but I didn’t know just how different life could really be.

I’ll never forget when I moved into my first apartment alone and someone anonymously (OF COURSE) left a snarky comment about what a “downgrade” it was moving to this small apartment. It hurt my feelings at the time because it was a really brave thing for me to go out on my own like that. Less than a year before, prior to getting my license, I hadn’t even been anywhere by myself! Didn’t they understand that it didn’t matter where I was living, the fact was that my life was about to be majorly upgraded? (I also stand by the fact that, huge life changing stuff aside, that was a super cute apartment.)

I’m trying to write more personal posts for the blog. Ya know, share more of whats going on under this green hair of mine. Maybe they’ll inspire you, or maybe they’ll just give you a better idea of who I am, and where I’m at. They’ll definitely be a little discombobulated and ramble-y. Talking about life BC* is uncomfortable for me. I mean, who wants to dig around in their past like that, especially for a bunch of strangers to read but that photo of me on my bike sparked something. I remember looking at photos of other bloggers posed in front of brick walls and wishing I could have photos of myself like that but how could I when simply going in my own fenced in backyard to take outfit photos made me anxious. This photo of me, to me, is a visual representation of how far I’ve come these last few years. I look so confident, like I’m really in my element. I’m super proud of me. I’ve come a long long way.

Here’s to continuing to grow, pushing myself out of my comfort zone as often as possible, and kicking ass!

*BC – before Cleveland, obviously! 😉

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