When I first landed Lake Norman’s predictable traffic, I knew you were bound to be a handsome headache.
Move-in day was nothing close to glamorous; HECK, I nearly crashed while merging towards Trade St. You were right, these roads are NOT for the faint at heart. I was munching my twenty-piece nuggets in agony, wondering which lane i’m supposed to be in (stress eater is my middle name).
Even worse… your infamous bumpy roads made this little amateur driver mentally sick. As if I was in some sort of a dysfunctional sketchy roller coaster.
You were scary at first -not knowing a single soul in the city. I left my parent’s place, fresh out of college, with $100 on my pocket and one apartment application i’m not even sure i’ll get. Talk about spontaneity lol.
The whole situation was dicey, you and me. Like two lovebirds suddenly on the brink of divorce.
With a little bit of faith (and a whole lot of Jesus), my risky application went through. It was such a blessing finding a beautiful apartment in Plaza Midwood. Did I mention I was only a mile away from your mecca? Unbelievable.
Like any normal relationship, we also had our fair share of fights. Like that time when I drove to IKEA, bought furniture, and hauled the entire thing to and from my apartment alone. (Keep in mind how bad the rain was that day.) It took approximately 12 daunting trips before I finally plopped down on the floor, staring at the white ceiling, catching my breath.
Or that time when I realized corporate America was not for me and decided to hit every single menswear boutique after work, asking for a minimum-wage job as a store associate. You bet I was desperate. Screw the current high-paying job I have.
I will never forget that moment when tears fell uncontrollably at some random street, trying to figure out how to ditch my current job and make ends meet.
Even worse? I hate wearing suits. What can I say….i’m a 24/7 jean guy lol.
I was vulnerable and hopeful, in a city crowded with disgruntled young professionals who banter about work stress, outward success, sex, drugs, and social status. Those busy blurry bodies crossing those skyscraper streets on a weekday morning, donning the latest suit from Tom James.
You somehow managed to drag me into THAT social scene with zero warning, and tousled me quite aggressively like a freshly made salad bowl.
This naive, romantic, quiet little boy, socially blooming as an adult. I went to various social bars, tipsy concerts, weekend dates, house parties, church small groups, and the list goes on.
Those memories paved way towards breakups, abandonment, depression, comparison, but most of all, true friendships that will last a lifetime.
It was that moment, that one random day at some random street (once again) when I realized half of these people didn’t care about me. You put me into that aspirational world, only to have me see how wicked and superficial people can be. Thanks to you, I tweaked my friendship with courage and wisdom.
We had a lot of fun, you and me.
I’ll never forget our lighthearted dates at local trendy coffee shops. All of them boast incredibly top-notch artsy aesthetics (probably not as good as NYC and Portland coffee shops, but hey, you’re still growing -physically speaking).
When downer days reside, your iced lattes came to my rescue. Sitting alone at a table for two, writing and reflecting.
Oh Charlotte, i’ll miss your lackluster smile.
Ever since move-in day, you immediately swallowed me whole, chewed every part of my soul, and spit me out into the gutter.
But through it all, you brought out the strength in me. I’m pretty sure my skin is made of stainless steel now: stunning, unbreakable, and only made from the good stuff.
You’re a beautiful city, filled with beautiful people, but like any big metropolis, you also acquire a cocky unattractive personality. You’re easily irritated, never not stressed, and constantly coating your insecurities by getting drunk/boasting your wealth.
I need to give myself a little love for now (perhaps get to know myself a little bit more). In the meantime, i’ll be in a much smaller town, recuperating my soul and simply enjoying what matters most -my JOY.