It’s been a year since I’ve written on here about my life. I did a special #timesup post before but that was to show my solidarity to my sisters everywhere. So first, why so long? Well, it’s been one hell of a year. There’s been loss, gain and everything in-between. Some things are the same and some things, most things are completely different.
Let’s start with the early part of last year. I was going through a lot. A lot of what I didn’t even write here because it was painful. It was a personal loss. It’s strange to think that you might not want something until you lose it. I guess that’s what makes life interesting? The tests it gives you. I am still not ready to talk about that loss but I was in a dark place at the beginning of last year and I focused on some fake relationship that should never have meant what it did to me. Now that’s over too and that’s about all I have to say about that.
We’re just going to skip ahead to August 2017. I met someone named Harvey, Hurricane Harvey that is. For the sake of time I’ll speed up what occurred. I was being pestered by people to leave Houston, at least for the weekend. So I did. I left and went to stay with my brother in Austin. I didn’t even ask my boss. I told him I was leaving that Thursday night and with just a few items I traveled to spend time with my niece.
The first day or two were fun. We hung out with friends and did stuff as a “family”. But then the storm hit and everything changed. I was being inundated with messages asking if I was ok. How was my home? I felt the blessings of what old friends who I hadn’t spoken to in years gave freely. I was in awe of peoples kindness but I had no idea what my home looked like aside from a few scary images from neighbors.
That Sunday I had heard my ex and his wife were rescued from their home by the National Guard. A few hours later my boss went to pickup him mother who also lived in the same apartment complex that I did. He waded through neck high water bumping into cars in the dark with a canoe not knowing what was in the water or what was in it’s shadowed darkness.
Then, pictures kept rolling in of the damage, destruction and pure wrath of what Mother Nature is capable of. I started to realize that not only did I not have a home but I became fully aware that, in my mind, I had nothing to go back to as well. I’d been in that apartment for over 15 years. I’d been at my job for almost 20 years. I’d been doing what I always did for as long as I could remember. It changed everything. I changed everything.
There were two instances that I broke down. One was on the phone and it was the first time I’d cried about the storm. Still not knowing what had happened to my home, I spoke the words, “I have nothing to come home to” for the first time out loud. It was a self inflicted verbal stabbing.
Finally after a couple weeks I was able to return with four other people. We pulled in to the city and it was hard not to fight back tears because everything still seemed dark, dirty and ruined along highways, in homes that had stood for decades and businesses that I’d frequented through the years. With each block, each intersection and each stoplight I was reminded what had just happened weeks before. Even my empty stomach felt full. My eyes were tired and my mind was racing on what to do next?
We finally pulled up to my apartment complex after circling around roads that were closed or guarded by FBI and there was a distinct smell in the air. It was of stagnant water and hopelessness for people that had lost things, homes and any sort of self assurance that helped them feel ok.
The door was hard to open. It had swollen to the point that I’d thought they’d changed the locks already. After one of the boys with me had pushed it open it swung and banged into the entertainment center with such a force that brought me back to the current project. “Grab what I can and leave the rest.” The smell inside was a smell I’ve never smelt. Flood water had washed in and sat for over two weeks. First glance it didn’t look as bad until you start to see the water line which reached 2 feet. The mold was coming through the vents and even if things seemed safe it was always a “safe that sorry” mentality when collecting items.
My boxes of notes, trinkets and memories was destroyed. Piles of clothes, shoes and every piece of furniture was destroyed. There were parts of the apartment that had been safe from the flood waters but the rain waters had caused a leak upstairs and other issues. The five of us split up, wearing face masks, gloves and rain boots to tackle our given assignments. One had the kitchen. One had the living room. One had a panic attack and sat outside while my sister-in-law and I were tackling the bedroom to find any clothes that weren’t touched, shoes and odds and ends.
People were calling and texting asking if they could come help and over and over again all I could say is, “There’s not much more to do because there wasn’t much to do. I’m sure I could have saved more if I didn’t feel rushed but there was no need for it because I didn’t have a home or anywhere to put anything else anyway.
We’d left that morning to drive to Houston around 4 am. We were back in Austin around noon. Within a day or two my sister-in-law had washed everything she could and laid out outside everything else. Then it was all packed away until I had a plan. Every thing that I owed fit into a small closet in a guest room that I was staying in. Imagine moving your entire world into some else’s guest room. It was surreal.
I’d discussed just moving to Austin, finding a new job and starting over. But then things got awkward with my family. They had this idea of what they wanted me to be and I felt bombarded and like I was being pushed into a life that I didn’t want at a time that I was at my lowest. I wanted my old life. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I decided on a weekend that I’d settle for a new life, on my terms and in my city but things HAD to change. Everything had to change.
I moved back in October, started working remotely and started on a “new me” plan. I changed the way I did everything. After all I’d been blessed with family being able to start me off with new furniture, in a new home with a new realization of a different kind of job even if it was for the same company. Also, after I’d spoken to Dan one night he’d convinced me that “It’s just stuff”. Which seemed like the simplest idea but he also reminded me of other things in my life that I needed to change.
I did an inventory of the things, people and actions that I had/did. Over and over again I had realizations that EVERYTHING needed to change. I was miserable for two months after the storm. I had already been depressed about my life and during those two months I felt like a child that couldn’t do anything for herself.
So, I made a promise to myself if things weren’t changing in any area of my life then I’d change it. Work changed for the better and I even picked up some extra clients along the way. My home was different and my new home had all new energy in it. The first thing I did was burn sage everywhere and add crystals. Then it was on to my relationships. The destructive ones that were obviously not changing had to go. I knew they were making me miserable. No more. That has left time to nurture the great ones because that’s what they deserve. The real, true and unconditional friends that have never let me down no longer deserved a depressed, sad girl who blamed herself because her life wasn’t changing.
The last thing I’ll say about everything is this. After going through every thing that I’ve gone through within a year (or just over) which goes above and beyond just the storm itself I might have been buried under a blanket and unwilling to get out of bed. Believe me there were days there that that WAS my life but now I’m happy. Let me say that again. I’m HAPPY. I have a whole new outlook on life. I’m up for change for betterment and am no longer resistance to leaving or losing things. I’ve learned that things are just things. My dreams are of things that I want are great things. There’s not any new boyfriend or relationship. This is just me working on myself and realizing that that Harvey that I met might have been the best thing to ever happen to me. I am blessed in life and my job is to keep my good karma strong. My job is to take care of myself first for a while. My job is to be happy in the place that I am right now.
I might not write on here as much as I used to but it’s because I don’t focus on shitty things anymore. During those two months I’d gone back to some posts written on here and it brought back all those negative feelings and how I was holding on to anger, sadness and grief and I finally let the storm wash away everything. I did come out of this storm a completely different person and I am better for it. I’ve struggled lately too but in a different way. I stopped struggling and falling deeper into a hole. I realized why I was falling or failing and changed something/ someone or somewhere that wasn’t helping.
I’m glad to be here and be a different me than before. I hope this blog becomes what it was always supposed to be and that was something that was uplifting and helpful and motivating. But that’s me in a nutshell now. Better me. Blessed me. Beautiful me.
Sweet dreams my fellow bloggers. I’m dedicating to Keanu Reeves tonight because I find his wisdom lately exactly what I need to hear. I hope to inspire by sharing some great quotes in the future as well.