This blog, among many other things, has served as the most interesting “scrapbook” I have ever put together. It’s the only one I’ve ever successfully kept working on for a long period of time and it’ll probably be the only one to accurately capture such a unique perspective of my life and the world around me. I feel blessed to have these snapshot glimpses into this period of life, as it serves as a reminder of just how far we’ve all come.

When I started this blog, I was on a high of good fortune: a recent college graduate, a blossoming first year teacher who nailed her first interview, an overly ambitious blogger. (Well, maybe the latter hasn’t quite changed . . .) Sometimes, if I have the courage to look back and read those early blog posts, I wonder who that girl is and how so much could have changed.

It seems like so many people have struggled since graduating almost two years ago–a product of early twenty-somethings, job insecurity, broken relationships, and that whole life thing–and I have not been an exception by any means. I hit my world’s most massive roadblock back in August and nothing has ever been the same since, not even a little.

I tried. I really did. I wanted to make a life for myself in central PA, one that I could be proud of and one that was filled with positive memories and life-changing experiences, contributing to a future that was really going somewhere. I left Pittsburgh after graduation with these nervous hopes and an ambitious spirit, bittersweet that I would be leaving a home I loved, but anxious for the opportunity that lied ahead. Now when I read back through old posts, journal entries, and tweets, I cringe. I was gut-wrenchingly lonely and unbearably unhappy during that first year  just waiting for that moment when it all clicked and I had crossed over the peak. I finally reached a point of happiness late in the school year and felt great about the friendships I made and the decisions I made as an educator. Even when I made the ridiculously hard decision to break up with a long-term boyfriend, I had great people to lift me up and remind me that life continues to go on. I am so blessed to have had that respite because nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

It has been a painstakingly long six months, but the amount of growth I have experienced during this time has been nothing short of miraculous. This blog has been my savior in more ways than I can even express. YOU have been my saviors–you, my friends, my family, my readers. Whether you know what happened to me six months ago or not, you’ve been there for me and I cannot thank you enough. You’ve given me the confidence to make decisions–terrifying, risky ones–and given me hope to believe that I’m doing the right thing and that it WILL all be okay.

One of those risky decisions has been weighing heavily on my heart for several months now and I have finally gone through with it. Coming to this conclusion was not at all easy, but I did it and there’s no turning back now. I have officially moved back home to my loving hometown, Pittsburgh, in hopes of opening up many more opportunities and surrounding myself with positive energy and comfort. Naturally, I am bittersweet and scared because I leave behind the world’s most incredible friend and roommate and a group of insanely supportive friends and former colleagues. They have been my rock when I couldn’t stand on my own and I am indebted to them. At the same time, I was drowning, stagnant, unhappy and as much as I tried to make that place my home (and believe me, I tried tirelessly!), my loyalty always remained elsewhere and my heart was already spoken for.  I come back without any guarantees for what’s to come and I haven’t a clue how long it will take to lock in a solid opportunity, BUT having been home for under 72 hours already, I know I made the right choice.

Of course, I never imagined that at 23 and having lived on my own for almost two years that I would be back in my parents’ house, jobless, and walking towards a totally different profession (SAY WHAT?!), but I’m choosing to forget my slightly bruised pride and fully enjoy and appreciate every privilege and blessing that is made available to me. God has been teaching me so many lessons I never wanted to learn but were so necessary. God gives me everything I have and it’s all His to take away; in either case, it is good. For in the end, it’s not up to me. And for this always-want-to-be-in-control lady, that’s totally terrifying to sacrifice. But I’m learning that He’s a much better author than I ever will be and I’d rather He write my story.

There truly is no place like home.

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Hi! I'm Marissa. I'm a twenty-something dedicated to living life positively, sharing inspiration, developing my best self, and dressing the part. You can find me diving into a good book, looking for the ideal swing dancing partner, swooning over fabulous typography, or doing something ridiculous for blog's sake.

28 thoughts on “Home”

  1. Reading this entry (along with some of your others during this journey) reminds me so much of myself at that same time. I taught for two years before deciding to leaving teaching and move back home with my parents and I remember the struggles and doubts like it was yesterday. The best thing you can do in all of this is trust your gut and listen, both of which it sounds like you are doing fabulously, and remember that if you ever need to talk there are a bunch of us here to listen. Best of luck with all of your new adventures!

    1. Mary Beth, this comment meant so much to me. It really helps to know someone else who went through a similar experience and is doing well now! Thank you so much for reaching out and supporting me. Things are tough, especially financially, but I’m doing SO much that I just know it will all pay off down the road!

  2. Props to you for making that decision and following through. It’s definitely a difficult one (aren’t all big life choices?) but you did it–that in itself shows a lot. Leaving such good friends is so sad–I’m feeling sad for you!–but sometimes life happens. And God knows what He’s doing! Plus you’re now closer to me, so we should get together and catch up in person soon. :)

  3. Life throws the craziest curves at you. My low point happened in my mid-twenties, after I got married right out of college in a hurry, had my marriage collapse (in part due to extreme long distance issues), and walked away from the first job I had out of college.

    I spent a year in counseling (a Godsend!) just to prepare myself for big change, rebooted my career and moved to another state, ended up in the best relationship of my life, and I’m only 4.5 hours from the family I’ve spent a decade away from due to college/work. It’s so nice to have that fresh start, and kudos to you for seizing the opportunity and realizing it at such a young age!

    P.S. My boyfriend is from Pittsburgh and I love it! We’re headed back in the spring for his niece’s graduation and I’m hoping we make it to the Warhol.

    1. Aubrey, I am so encouraged to see how you’ve emerged from such a difficult situation yourself. I imagine that you faced some really hard days–days when you just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so happy for you that you’ve found happiness professionally and personally! Thank you for sharing this comment with me and for your support.

      P.S. If you do come to Pittsburgh, please let me know if you’d like to meet up! I’ve, surprisingly, still never been to the Warhol!

  4. Thank you for being so honest, Marissa! It’s tough to tell the word about your wounded pride and that the world handed you a bad hand, but I’m glad you’re letting us in! I sometimes feel like a failure because I’m 24 and have yet to get my own place, and I finished grad school, but don’t have a full-time job yet (granted I just finished in December). I just want things to be perfect and go my way, but they’re not and it’s hard. I’m hoping that my part-time job can turn into a full-time one. Sometimes life doesn’t exactly go the way we want or planned, but in the end I think it all works out and I hope it works out for you! Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for this, Sara. It is really difficult to know how much to share and how to say everything appropriately, but I hope I’ve struck the right balance with this one. I can completely relate to how you’re feeling and even though I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and I am sorry you’re facing this, I am happy to know that I’m not alone and we can support one another! I wish you the very best of luck because I know you deserve it! We bloggers have to stick together :)

  5. What profession are you heading towards? I don’t have many connections in pgh anymore, but I would love to help. I hope that living with your parents again doesn’t sour too quickly. I know when I stay at my rents’ house, I die a slow death far too quickly. Glad to hear that you’re back in the bubble! Miss that place like something fierce.

    1. Hey Griff, I’m heading into the marketing/digital media/communications realm (at least, that’s what I’m thinking anyway. I need experience to know for sure!). I really appreciate your support, even from so far away! I don’t mind living with my parents at all–I love spending time with them. I’m sure down the road it will be difficult, but I hope it all works out well. The next time you are back in the bubble, PLEASE call me! I would LOVE to see you. Wishing you all the best.

  6. What a beautifully written, open and honest post. That’s what I love about your blog… you’re real. I can relate to a lot of what you shared… about struggling to find your place in your early twenties. It’s an interesting time in our lives, isn’t it? Very confusing, yet exciting at the same time. I wish you the best and look forward to reading more about this new chapter. It’s good to know things are in HIS hands and not ours, right? :)

    xo Always, Abby

    1. Abby, this comment meant the world to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how rewarding it feels to be told that I am REAL. It really is a struggle to convey my experiences as of late on the blog because of so many reasons, but I hope I’ve been somewhat successful in this post specifically. I’m glad to know I’m not alone, though I really hope you are able to find some more stability. It IS exciting to know that so many opportunities lie ahead, but it is terrifying figuring out how to navigate through it all. In the end, you’re right–it’s truly good to know that He’s got this. :) Thanks, girl.

  7. It’s lovely to read such an open, honest post. It is a struggle when you graduate and it is hard to find your place in this world, but it sounds like you are doing well and have your head screwed on right. It’s nice you have moved back to your hometown – grounding is a wonderful thing! Good luck with it all!

  8. Your posts always hit me right when I’m going through or feeling the same things. It is tough….Life outside of the WC Bubble has been so tough. But we have made it. And I’m so proud of how much you’ve grown and for not becoming bitter about the obstacles in your road. I am happy to know you and read your posts. You’ve helped me through rough times, and you don’t even know haha You have an amazing thing here; your voice is a force to be reckoned with – don’t give it up! (Which was my terrifying thought upon opening this) I’m glad you’re back in Pittsburgh! I hope I get to see you soon <3 AOT

    1. Ashley, I am FLOORED. Thank you. Wow. I am so glad that I’ve unconsciously been able to help you out (please tell me in the future! It means so much!). It has been inspirational to follow your journey, too! You’ve overcome so much and are really putting yourself out there. I really do believe that we will achieve so much in the future and we just gotta keep pushing forward. I am really proud of you, too, Ash, and I’m glad that I’m back in the ‘Burgh. Don’t worry–I’m not giving up on blogging (though there are days when it’s too much!) and even though the struggle is rough on certain days, I’m not giving up on me either. Keep fighting the good fight, girl. AOT <3

  9. Isn’t it great to have a place to call home? I’ve always like the quote by Robert Frost, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
    I’m sure this wasn’t the easiest decision, but I wish you the best of luck as you move forward. :)

  10. You. Are. Brave. And. Wise. Beyond. Your. Years.

    It takes a big person to step out of their bubble and try something new. It takes an even bigger person to look at those choices and say, “That’s not for me. I need to start over.” You will find who you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do. Trust that fate will lead your way and everything will work out. And hey – I’m still at home. I’ll be (gulp) 28 in 2 months. It’s OK. When you’re 28, you’ll look at year 23 and say, “Wow I’ve grown.” I know I have.

    1. Thank you so much, Lindsay! It really was a difficult realization to come to, but I’ll be better for it. I think that my path, though confusing and dark, is leading me to something greater and better. I wish the very best for you, too! You’re 28 years YOUNG! I’m so glad you’ve been able to look back and recognize your growth. You should be so proud, dear :)

  11. i am so, so happy for you that you have moved back home, marissa! i know we have been talking about this a lot and i regret being so behind on sending you an email that i couldn’t support your plans before they occurred! i have gone through so many of the same emotions you expressed in this post and have made many of the same life changes (withdrawing from my college after freshman year where i knew no one, had a terrible roommate, was far from family and my sister and was so unhappy to move back home, live with my parents, and go to the local community college) and i can say with no hesitation that you soon forget about letting yourself down and giving up on something because you realize that the choice you were strong enough to make to try something different ends up being the right one. i hope you find your experience to be the same!

    1. Thank you, Heidi! I really appreciate our conversations and don’t worry about being behind! I have so much going on anyway :) So much of what you’ve written has resonated with me, but I especially hold tight to “You soon forget about letting yourself down and giving up on something because you realize that the choice you were strong enough to make to try something different ends up being the right one.” I, too, hope this is my experience! Thanks so much for your support and words of wisdom. You’re a great friend!

    1. Thank you SO much, Alissa. I always feel so much better when I know I’m not alone. You’re not alone, my dear. It’s scary to share those moments where you feel like you’ve “failed,” but in reality, you’ve chosen something even better for yourself. If you EVER want to talk about it, please feel free to message me. Also, please forgive me in how belated my response is!

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