A huge part of my heart belongs to you.
When I first moved to Chicago I was a wide-eyed, nineteen year old dreamer who had never lived anywhere other than a small town in Ohio. If I’m being completely honest, I was naïve. I didn’t know much about myself at all. I listened to what everyone else said about me and I measured my worth by how many friends I had and how many times my phone buzzed from notifications. Pretty sad, I know. I didn’t know how strong I was. I didn’t know what I was capable of. I would sell myself short any chance I got and I missed a lot of the amazing things about life because of this.
Chicago changed me in so many ways. I was a little worried that the city would make me jaded. I was worried I would turn into a cynic. What I didn’t realize was that I was already a cynic. Chicago opened up my eyes to opportunity. For the first time in my life I was living somewhere where there were endless opportunities within reach. Surrounded by people with just as much ambition as I had.
I learned my worth in Chicago. I learned that I am more than what people think I am and I am so much more than what society believes is “good” about me.
I fell in love in Chicago. Not in the way you think. I fell in love with my life and with myself. I know that sounds vain but I don’t mean it in a narcissistic way. I mean I finally fell in love with every aspect of who I am, the good and the bad.
This city has taught me more in just a few years than I had learned in the nineteen years prior. I have a tattoo on my wrist that says “brave”. Chicago taught me how to be brave.
This city will always have a piece of my heart because it’s where I became the person I always wanted to be. I’m independent and I believe in myself.
I’m thankful for these city streets, for the people who live here, and for every opportunity I’ve had.
I’m forever thankful for you, Chicago.
The girl who dreams even bigger now