On December 12th, 2015, I moved from Phoenix to Boston. I moved to be with the love of my life, the wonderful, handsome Dylan Ortega who I had been dating long-distance for 9 months. I went from a city that reaches 120 degrees in the summer and doesn’t dip below around 50 degrees in the winter to a city that goes up to 100 degrees in the summer and dips well below 30 degrees in the winter. I went from a city with cactuses and dirt and mountains to a city with cracked sidewalks and man-made parks and green. I went from a state where education is poor to the education capital of the world. I went from living next to a party school to living next to Harvard. I moved from a place where it would be so easy to get a job, I take it for granted to a place where people won’t even look at my resume because I didn’t graduate from an Ivy League school.
Not only was moving from Phoenix to Boston a climate shock, it was a culture shock. Living in the city is like living life with the fast forward button held down.
People all over the world dream of living in San Francisco, New York, and Boston. They dream of the city and the opportunity and the liveliness of it. I never dreamed to live in any of those places. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying about leaving Arizona. Arizona is hot. It’s hot and it’s full of memories and it was time to move, and I knew that. But Arizona itself is not what I miss. Just some parts about it.
Anyway. I shall continue.
I strictly moved to Boston to be with my Dylan, to close the 2,500 mile gap that was between us for 9 months. When I decided to move, I was unsure about Boston. I had visited three times: once in April, once in July, and once in October. I had seen three of the seasons, and wasn’t totally in love with the city, but I knew it was going to be exciting and different and fun, just like my visits. And some parts were (and are) fun and exciting. Unfortunately though, many parts were extremely difficult.
This is what caused my depression and anxiety living in Boston:
Holy crap, does it get cold in Boston. When people hear I am a transplant from Phoenix, they all ask how I’m handling the cold. If I’m being honest, it’s not the cold that is a problem. You can wear a coat, leggings, a beanie, snow boots, scarves… but you can’t convince the sun to stay out longer. Arizona doesn’t have daylight savings because there’s no daylight to save. There’s enough to go around in Phoenix. Not in Boston… the days in the winter were literally less than 6 hours long. What. The. Heck. Where is the sun? After spending a winter in Boston, I understand why Edgar Allen Poe was so freakin depressing (I am a major fan of his writing, so no disrespect). Jeez, though. The sun is gone, it’s freezing outside, and the sidewalks are covered in deadly ice. I don’t think I left the house for weeks at a time. When I did, I was always mumbling curse words to myself about how stupid the ice was and how much I hated winter. Not to mention, an entire 4 months without sunlight caused me to be white as a ghost. Like a freshly born baby after the redness dies down, I became pale. The paleness of my skin matched my soul, which was barren (please excuse my dramatics, I’m sort of joking, but there’s a little truth in it).
2. Horrible Roommates
When I chose to move to Boston, originally we (Dylan and I) decided it would be best for me to get my own place. As we grew in our relationship and after I visited for 3 weeks in the summer, we realized that living together was the best option as we got along really well and didn’t foresee any issues living together right away. We were 100% correct about that. It was so smooth moving in with him, no issues whatsoever between the two of us. Just excitement for us to finally be together. Anyhow, upon making that decision, instead of Dylan moving out of his perfectly good room during the winter, we figured it was worth a shot to ask his roommates if it was cool for me to move in. In exchange, we agreed to pay extra bills so they’d save some money, instead of talking to the landlord and paying him more. The agreement benefited everyone. They all agreed, so Dylan and I were paying between $200 and $300 extra per month, while the roommates were each saving about $50-$60 a month, with the slight inconvenience of an extra person using the bathroom.
Unfortunately, they turned out to be dirty, abusive, and money-hungry. A few months in, they all ganged up on me and asked me to pay more money to live there, even though we were already paying bills FOR THEM instead of paying the landlord more. The girls were disgusting, leaving wads of hair in the shower drain and blood on the bathroom floor and NEVER cleaning up their dishes. They were incredibly disrespectful, making me feel unwelcome every chance they got, and even though the before deal was agreed upon with the promise of open, comfortable communication, they decided they would try to get me evicted from the apartment.
Now, this all sounds really dramatic. Truthfully, if we are going to break it down into cause and effect, I politely asked the girls/boy to clean up their messes (and I only asked them to clean up the really nasty ones, I actually took on the responsibility of always doing dishes, taking down trash, doing general cleaning here and there) and they got offended. They chose to, instead of talking to me and trying to figure it out, attack me and tattle like toddlers who had a disagreement on the playground. That tattling came along with their hopes that I would be kicked out, which would mean homelessness, seeing as I have NO FRIENDS, NO FAMILY, and NOT ENOUGH MONEY to live in Cambridge. As a person who takes things, well, personally, it’s safe to say I hope I never see those people again. If I do, I will really have to control myself or they will get an earful of crazy white girl mania. When someone hurts me that deeply, I feel O.K. cutting them out of my life, because why would I want to keep a person around who added to my depression, causing me to go on medication and begin to hate myself? Yeah, exactly. Bye-bye, horrible people.
Thankfully, to end this spiel, the depression caused by seven months living with assholes is finally relieved, because Dylan and I moved out of that apartment and into a beautiful six-bedroom house walking distance from my work. And the house is full of dudes. Messy, but not crazy B-words. Just sayin’.
I’ll keep this one short because I just wrote four paragraphs about my arch nemeses. Basically, Boston is so fast-paced, so innovative, so educated, so full of money… that I am completely and utterly intimidated. I am intimidated. The strong, confident, fighter in me is slowly dying. I spent a few months not working during the winter so I could finish school and adjust to the transition, and then I started searching for jobs. The job search, and I mean office jobs, not hourly, bottom-of-the-barrel jobs, caused me to hysterically cry for hours on end while Dylan held me and told me I would find something. After I gave up on the big companies, (and some really strange interviews that I can write about later) I went for some hourly jobs. I worked at Whole Foods. Someone there looked identical to a person who emotionally abused me and took advantage of me, and guess what? They had the same name. How’s that for bad luck? I worked at a hair salon. The owner was terrifying. I spent the entire week sweating like a chubby kid who just ran a mile. Like, literal pools of sweat soaking my entire shirt. Gross. I worked at a comic book store for 3 months, with someone who caused me major anxiety attacks and sent me home crying multiple times. I am now working at a stationery shop, where I sell fountain pens and notebooks and cards. Each job has had its’ perks, but hourly jobs…. ugh. I want Monday-Friday, only working mornings, and vacation time. I want to build friendships with the people I work with and for, just like I did at Whole Foods in Chandler, without working nights and weekends. I need that time with my Dylan. It keeps me sane.
I have gotten four jobs (which is great, but I just wanted to be happy with one job) in a city that is so competitive, you basically have to have a college degree to get a job selling T-shirts and comics. Ridiculous. I need something that fulfills me, not something that just sends me home with a paycheck. Not to mention I tried to follow my dream of becoming an interpreter and applied for an interpreter program in Boston, only to be rejected by the program. I’m a summa cum laude graduate, who is 20 years old, who made the Dean’s list almost every semester, who did extra curriculars and worked full time to pay rent. And a stupid school in Boston wouldn’t accept me. Sucks. The competition is ridiculous, and after moving across the country and spending a winter depressed and being abused by roommates, I couldn’t handle it. That was it. Dylan and I talked about moving back to San Diego.
Also, sorry, cause I said that would be short and it was totally not. I’ve just been bottling all these emotions for too long, guys. Too long.
Last, but certainly not least family. In fact, this should probably be listed first, but my brain is so full of things to write I couldn’t organize it all.
I did NOT realize how difficult it is to live life thousands of miles from the people who have supported me forever. Not just my mom, dad, and siblings, but my extended family, my best friends, my friends, my old teachers, the people I vaguely know but would recognize at the grocery store… everyone familiar, comforting, and friendly. Even just my regular customers at Whole Foods made my days better while I was waiting to be with my love. Seriously, if you are prone to depression, forget about winter, forget about negative influences, forget about competition or feeling like you’re not good enough, because being away from family trumps ALL of that. When the winter is cold and the days are short, and you have no family to go visit and drink hot cocoa with and play board games or watch movies with, it’ll feel colder and the days will feel shorter. When people around you are terrible and you just want to slap them all in the face and your family isn’t around for you to cry to or complain to or even to protect you from the evil people, your shoulders will sag even lower and your heart will be heavier. And when the competition is fierce, and you don’t have family to encourage you and tell you you’re way better than the rest of the losers out looking for jobs, it’ll seem even more impossible to find work. Having the love of your life by your side is not enough. Dylan has adored me, taken care of me, wiped my tears, fed me, and done everything in his power to make me happy. And he has. But I can never be the same me without my support system, my family, my friends around, in reaching distance.
You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone, right?
Well, those are the things that are causing/caused my situational depression while here in Boston. It’s not Boston, it’s not the weather or the people. It’s the distance. It’s the difference between here and home. It’s the seclusion. It’s hard. It has been an insanely eye-opening, earth-shattering experience, which I am thankful for. But I’m tired. I feel like I’ve aged five years in 8 months. I’m. Just. Tired. And it’s time to rest.
Big news coming soon!
****EDIT- I never wrote about how I have dealt with this depression. Here’s the short version:
- Travel to see family in AZ, NJ, CA, TX, etc.
- Buy clothes, and shoes.
- Eat. Lots of food. I’ve gained like 15 pounds living here.
- Snuggle Dylan and cry in his arms
And you know what, I’m not ashamed. I’m not ashamed or guilty over extra money spend or weight gained or needing to spend time in other states, and I’m not ashamed to admit I spent some time crying over all of the listed problems I have with living in Boston. Dylan has taken excellent care of me and he continues to do so every single day (he’s the best!).