Hi there! This post is the third story from an undetermined number of pieces to make up the book that is “running my own little kingdom of StudiOne”. A friend and reader asked me to talk about what it’s like to run our Studio and I decided to take several posts to show the evolution of this dream come true. It’s been an interesting road to get here and I wanted to be able to portray that
even if you’re not doing in the immediate moment what you believe is your passion and your end game, you can still be well on your road to getting there.
If you missed either of the first two stories you can read about the race that changed my life, and the gym that made me a personal trainer. Now I’m going to talk about how I went from being so heartset on returning to Memphis and ended up in Tulsa.
When I left the story last, I had just pulled away from Memphis for a summer at home taking summer school classes that were pre-requisites to my graduate studies at the University of Texas. Yep, 24 years old and living with my (gracious) parents. It was a mostly uneventful summer as I prepared for a move to Texas. I can’t remember what sparked this thought but as I was mapping out my route from Indy to Austin I thought, I should swing through Oklahoma and say hi to my friend Katie. (I really didn’t want to go to Austin and honestly think I was just postponing my arrival there).
Katie and I grew up as best friends and basically sisters in our small town WASPish childhood home. We played basketball together, dated the same boys and I think she spent the night at my house more than her own. We went our separate ways for college, she to Wheaton in Chicago and me to Rhodes in Memphis. For a taste of how different our experiences were : when she called me to tell me she was engaged, I was buying tequila for the jello shots at my 21st birthday party. I went to her wedding in January of 2010 to watch my beautiful friend marry this jockey football player I’d met only once and just remember thinking why would they quit college early?
Flash forward to 2012. I planned a quick two night stay in Tulsa on my way southwest. Katie and Justin were living with his folks while they did the buildout for their cafe. We went to Fat Guys and Andolini’s, Old School Bagel and Brookside. I got a tour of the under construction Foolish Things which was just the greatest and most inspiring thing that could probably have happened on this trip. We had a great time catching up and I promised I would come back to see the finished cafe before I graduated.
Soul sisters still!
Twinning (unplanned), we’re that connected
I don’t write much about Austin because it just wasn’t a place I connected with. This surprised me as much as it surprised anyone. A warm, active city with beautiful parks, live music and plenty of options for running trails? Sounds like my heaven. I might have needed a massive attitude adjustment my first semester (I was on academic probation for bad grades and didn’t even know it until they told me I was removed from the list…..). I think it was a combination of feeling like I left something great in Memphis, being massively disappointed in this “high ranking graduate program” I had chosen and generally annoyed at the ever present traffic. I survived, I made some great friends, some poor decisions and adopted a sweet little puppy. Now that I’m on the other side of the period of life that is 24-26 I would like to say to those approaching it, watch out! There will be times of massive self-doubt, depression, confusion and carelessness. Obviously this will not be the case for everyone but I certainly (and I have friends who agree) would have appreciated a little warning that this hurricane of a two years was even a possibility.
The best thing to come out of Austin
I made good on my promise and returned to Tulsa, Katie and Justin in November of 2015 to run the Route 66 Half Marathon. I drove up on a Saturday, stayed that night, ran Sunday and left Monday morning. They had moved into their own house and opened the cafe, all while I was floundering about in my Austin hurricane. I don’t know if it was the nice toll booth lady who paid for my toll when I had absolutely no change coming into OK, or the majestic deco-inspired Tulsa skyline but as I drove into downtown Tulsa that night, coming north on 75 across the river, I just thought, I could move here. As soon as I uttered those words to my hosts it was over. If the coffee and floral business don’t work out for these two, they can be professional Tulsa recruiters.
We didn’t have much time that weekend to keep exploring Tulsa but I’m pretty sure we went back to Andolini’s and went over all the great things about Tulsa over and over on their couch. Katie had started her own business since I was gone and the cafe was so cool to see finally open. Another inspiring moment and I just thought, I want to be where people are living out their dreams. And I drove off, making no promises this time but also kind of knowing what was going to happen.
I had devised a plan that in March or April of my second year, I would visit Memphis and visit Tulsa while maybe still considering the possibility of staying in Austin, to really pick where I wanted to go next. But first, I had a trip to New Orleans with Sharon (my friend and fellow blogger who inspired this series), and Erin my then-roommate. We were running a race but the part of New Orleans that is relevant to this story is: I decided to have my fortune read in Jackson Square. The lady I picked was a card reader and after talking for a while she said she would place three cards in front of me and then interpret their meaning to my life. She laid three cards face down on her table. In my head I assigned a city to each card: Austin, Tulsa and Memphis. Here is how she talked about the cards and the cities they matched in my head. Austin: this card is chaos. It represents an unsettled and difficult time. Tulsa: this card is all rainbows and unicorns and new beginnings. Memphis: this card represents being inside out and upside down. It’s really good and it’s really bad. You’ll have a good ride but you better hang on.
Spot on. But also kind of tossed aside, because come on.
I returned to Tulsa mid-spring of my graduating year. It followed a trip to Memphis and my intention was to really think about each place and what my life would look like with each as a backdrop. In my mind I really just had two choices: Memphis (familiar and home sweet home), Tulsa (fun and full of new opportunities). The details of each trip are a little hazy but I remember sitting at Foolish Things with Justin and Katie, helping to host an event (sitting where I am this second actually) and I just decided. It was a peaceful and exhilarating feeling. I still had a few months until I would make my move but I just knew this would be it. I told Katie and Justin that night and the next day Katie took me out to look at houses. We looked at one over by TU, and two in Owen Park. The third one we looked at in Owen Park is now my home!
Love at first sight
I called my parents to tell them I was thinking about moving to Tulsa and that it was probably a good time to buy a house. They agreed. But I think also thought I jumped the gun a little bit on picking a house. My mom joined me on yet another trip to T-town to see the house, and I think try to (unsuccessfully) talk me out of it. But I know me. And I know that when I find something I like, I’m not going to keep looking for something that could maybe be better. I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people from the outside that the third house I ever considered buying was the one but it doesn’t surprise me at all 😉
And that is how I got to Tulsa. A deeply rooted friendship, the lure of a fun and growing city and a chance to try something I’ve never tried before. I still love and will always miss Memphis, my first home away from home but I also knew what life looked like there. I was ready for a new adventure and creating a life on my terms. Stay tuned for the next installment which will be the story of the two years spent in Tulsa working while I dreamt of the studio.