Because of my job, I got a three day weekend (with Memorial Day), followed by a three day work week, and now another three day weekend with our compressed Friday schedule. A girl could get used to this!
Boyfriend and I leave tomorrow for a weekend in Phoenix. I love Phoenix and I would love to someday live there... sooner rather than later. Because both of our families live here, we are constantly trying to schedule fair timing with our mothers. Every Sunday is pretty much shot because we spend a few hours with his family and a few hours with mine. Then we both get guilt trips about seeing our grandparents more often. It's exhausting. If we lived somewhere else, the pressure would really be lifted.
I know this because my sister came home last weekend for my dad's birthday and while it was great to see her, I couldn't help but notice how happy everyone was to see her. Nobody told her she needs to see her grandparents more often or gave her a kicked puppy face when she left. My parents might have been a little kicked-puppy-ish, because they miss her, but because she lives in Albuquerque, if she misses a Sunday dinner or a bbq or a holiday, people understand. With me living in town, it's a bigger deal. The only real stresses I have with Boyfriend is money (sometimes, but I make a pretty decent salary for a journalism major!lol) and mostly... family.
Someday, I want to move away from my hometown, but not because I "hate this place" like so many of my peers say. I don't hate my hometown; I love the heat and the weather and the school. I love the college and I love my family and friends. I just want some space. Living here (and writing a column with as uncommon a last name as Candelaria) and with my parents knowing like, everyone, and it being a small town... I just feel like I constantly have to be aware of how I come across to everyone. Ever since the newpaper put my photo next to my byline (which is awesome, of course), people can actually recognize me, especially if they see my last name. And since I look a lot like my mom and with my uncommon last name, people stop me and say either, "are you Jenna Candelaria? Is your mom___/is your dad___/do you write for the paper?"
As soon as that happens, I feel like a politician or something... like I stop being just Jenna and then become either a vice principal's daughter or my dad's daughter (like an ambassador for my family!) or a columnist. I have to smile and be happy and friendly and appreciative when people read my column. I love this town and all the support I've gotten after baring my soul through the newspaper and my column (which follows my life in the real world, including personal details about my life with Shadow and Boyfriend), but I just feel like there's pressure, sometimes.
I know I probably sound pretty whiny! I'm so lucky to have found a position at a newspaper, doing what I love to do. I've always loved writing and after starting as an "under 18" contributer at 14 for the Sun-News, they've kept me writing for them for almost exactly 9 years now. I've found that while I would love to write novels (like most bloggers, I think, or people drawn to writing!), I think being a syndicated columnist would be my absolute dream job. I'm so lucky that I get to do it and get paid for it, and I'm lucky to have such a support system in this town.
I guess all of this leads up to a need to get away for a few years. I just want to be able to be with Boyfriend and go to concerts or comedy shows or sports games. I want to be young before I grown up too fast, you know?
Speaking of columns, though, I have to share one of my biggest pet peeves that I don't talk about often. What I HATE is when people approach me and say, "I read your column."
What do I say to that? "I didn't know you could read! Good job!" or "Oh... thank you?" or "Yeah? Good."
Mostly I just say "thank you!" but it's awkward because they didn't actually say they liked my column, they just said they read it. Most of the time, I don't want to know what people thought of it because since I started writing so young, people would always offer advice on how to be a better writer (which is fine, except when it comes from people who aren't great writers or who offer horrible suggestions like, "I just think it's too long. You should have them add a photo or something"... it's a column. About my life. I'm not adding photos. And it's only 500-600 words!) or I get emails about how I'm a "terrible writer because I only write for the younger generation"... um, my column is called Real World 101. That means that it's about recent college graduates, soon-to-be college graduates, or college students. I'm not writing just for the 60+ community here!
If you read my column and you'd like to mention it to me, please feel free to tell me! I like hearing that people other than my mom actually reads the column (or this blog, for that matter). Just please say something like, "Hey, I read your column, I liked it!" or "I didn't understand this week's column". Don't just say "I read it" and then wait for a response.
Thank you. Sorry this post is so whiny. I promise I'll get off my soap box now :o)