Oh, Florida, babe. I forgot how beautiful you are. I forgot how peaceful you are and how beautiful that peace is.
It was hard for me to see the beauty of you and feel grateful for what was in front of me when there was an ocean of fire roaring inside me. I did not feel at home anywhere I went. There were moments of home in different places, but overall I was not at home. So when I moved to a new home the ocean of fire just got louder. It grew and scorched every fiber of my being. I was exhausted, restless, angry, lonely, anxious, and down right depressed. Home did not exist.
Then I went to California. I thought, this is it! Here I come new life, and adventure and a place I had dreamed about since I was 11 years old. Then slowly, like an avalanche, life as the world knew it began to cave in and my world altered too. Each week, each day felt like trudging through molasses.
The walls and property I was living in often seemed to turn black and close in on me. With each restriction coming from the outer world, and from my co-workers, my ability to breathe was cut more each day. Eventually, I began to crumble. Food lost its flavor. Movement felt like pulling myself through quicksand. In and out, up and down. Scrape. Claw. I’d catch my breathe, then fall, scrape, claw and repeat.
My past unresolved battle with myself followed me. It collided brutally with the current pressures and squeezed like a vice grip. Personal and job related growth appeared through the madness like a whisper, but the ocean of fire was only getting stronger as time moved on.
Friends seemed to disappear or become non-existent. Those that did help were mostly virtual. The world outside seemed to erupt, and beg for love. I understood its hardship. I knew that everyone was going through a hard time. So it was okay that I had to draw every weapon in my arsenal in an attempt to fight this personal war on my own. A war that had been going on for so long and seemed to get harder to fight with each passing day. Some days were better than others, but the heart always felt bruised, the body always felt singed and depleted, and the mind…oh, the mind…the mind desperately needed a hug. The mind needed to recharge, but never could. It was constantly working overtime to help the body, and the heart maintain a sense of decorum, and to continuously repair itself at the same time. The mind always stitched itself back together, it would always throw a Band-Aid on that cut, or bandage that wound, while it remained on duty 24/7.
The work day was long. Sometimes fun, but always long. The day would start in the dark. 5:30am felt like a sucker punch to the gut each day. Somehow I’d roll out of bed and carved out a quick morning routine for myself to get ready for work. Then by 6:00 or 7:00am the day seemed to take off like a high-speed train. By 2:30 in the afternoon the train would come to a screeching halt. After a day that felt like speeding down a pitch-black tunnel slide, I would be spit out into the water. SLAP! I’d drag my aching heart and body back to my room. The mind gasping for air would pant, “We did it…another day over. Just a couple feet more and I can finally collapse!”
The child in me was desperate to see California, the one she had dreamed about, but she quickly had to grow up. Her survival depended on it. In a short amount of time the child became an adult (on the outside). She got up, she went to work, she did her job as diligently as possible, and maintained a poker face so that no one could see that inside she felt like a fake.
Though I looked like I was functioning I maintained a big secret. This big secret was that as the walls were closing in on me, I was the host of a colossal ocean of fire that burned inside me. No one knew how deeply it burned. No one knew that 5:30am felt like a sucker punch to the gut each morning. No one knew that 2:30 in the afternoon I would collapse on my bed. No one knew that the weekends were pajama days full of tears. No knew anything. The cat is out of the bag now.
Right up until the end, my personal war raged on. California, I’m sorry. I don’t know if I gave you “the old college try” as they. I wanted to, but the world didn’t let me. I’m sorry it wasn’t right for us this time. Maybe, someday…we’ll try again.
Florida, babe. You are sight for sore eyes. I forgot how green your pastures are. I forgot how quiet and serene you are, even when there is a symphony of farm animals in the middle of their entr’acte. I forgot how breathe-taking your sunsets are and how good it feels to drive down your long roads. Oh, Florida, babe, I didn’t think I’d actually miss you, but I did. Now it feels so much better to see you. I learned a thing or two in California that helped me survive. I’ve been incorporating those things into my life. While there is still some remnants of the war I faced I’m beginning to find home in myself. Florida, dear, you are the perfect resting place while I decompress from my head spinning trip in California.
I’m grateful for all the information gained while I was on the west coast. I’m grateful that even through hell growth is inevitable. I’m grateful that I am beginning to overthrow the ocean of fire, that the mind is regaining its strength, the body is starting to feel comfortable taking up space in itself, the heart is starting to fall in love with itself, and that this reprieve has given me the kiss of Life. I’m grateful that I’m alive!