3 Things I have learned upon my return to Miami

miami-beach-florida11I want to start this blog by saying that I am truly grateful. I was brought back to Miami to celebrate the love of two of my most favorite people. There were so many happy and bittersweet tears, that I feel my heart has been healed in countless ways. When the festivities were over, I spent a lot of time reflecting on what it’s like for me to back in the place that I called ‘home’ for so long. This is what I’ve learned:

  1.  I have grown. Perhaps it’s because I made a radical decision to up and leave my “home”, the place where I grew up, with no job, no money, no sense of security…Hard shit makes you grow, right? Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a year with people that are really intending on working on themselves. Whatever it is, being back in Miami has held up a giant mirror, showing me how different I am now. I am more embracing of my “faults” and feel more secure in who I am. Being around this adult playground, Never Never Land, I feel like I kind of, sort of, actually do have my life together, something that I never felt before.
  2.  I don’t fit here. I have gotten so accustomed to relating on a certain level of honesty and openness, that I just cannot. fit. in. I don’t fit with the superficial lifestyle of partying and brand names. I don’t fit with this facade of being friendly to your face, but cruel behind your back. I don’t fit with the aggression, the default of treating a person that you don’t know like they’ve already fucked you over. Since I’ve been back, I’ve had more conversations with the ladies in the checkout aisles and waiters than I ever did living here, and the fact that they are so shocked by friendliness doesn’t stop rattling my brain. It’s just. not. right.
  3. It hurts. When I finally got on 95 past, say, Palm Beach, I started to feel really excited, anticipating that I would feel that sense of ‘home’ that I’ve been longing for. Realizing that the place you’ve called ‘home’ for so long just doesn’t feel like home anymore, is a painful experience. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways it’s still awesome to be here. My friends are wonderful, the beach is beautiful. But in moments of silence to myself, it just doesn’t feel good. I am so physically affected by the way people are harsh and closed, that after two days of being here, I caught a horrible flu. My eyes have teared up out of nowhere, many times, because I am just too damned sensitive for this lifestyle now.

I fully recognize that this blog could come across seeming negative or self-indulged. However, I want to clarify that I think this trip has been incredibly important for me. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life in Asheville, a place where I feel genuinely supported and nurtured and “being myself” isn’t forced or difficult. I feel so damn grateful that I decided to go with the terrifying decision of leaving my home town, for reasons I wasn’t even sure of at the time. I feel more clear than ever about what works for me and what doesn’t. I know what I am looking for when it comes to friendships, relationships, social life, adventure, intimacy, and family. I know what my goals are (for now), how I want to achieve them, and what I am willing and not willing, to sacrifice. Making genuine connections with people and my community is SO important, and I really think it’s why we are here. To connect. To love. To be able to look into the eyes of another person, animal, being, and just say I see you.

If I could offer any advice based on what I’ve learned in the last year, it is this– you need to do what terrifies you. I can’t stress this enough. Fine, if you want to be “comfortable” or “secure” maybe it’s wise to keep doing to the same thing, working the same job, and staying in the same circle of friends. But SHIT. If you want to grow, you need to change it up. You have to be willing to throw it all to the wind and dive into the abyss. Cliché? Absolutely. True? Fuck yeah. I truly believe that it’s not what we’ve done that we will regret, but what we didn’t do. Now, I know that not everyones lifestyle permits them to just up and leave their lives, move, change jobs, or whatever. So what can we do switch it up without being so radical? Change the way you relate to others. Start conversations with strangers when you notice that you’re avoiding eye contact. Focus on less chit-chat and have more discussions that tickle your brain and make you think. Be willing to let go of people that aren’t ready for this kind of relating and be brave enough to meet the ones who are. And when the time comes to settle? Find someone who thinks you’re so damn brilliant that they can’t wait to see you be the best version of yourself. Settle for someone who wants growth themselves, and who wants to be better. You should need each other because you’re better people with each others support. Find people that want to do big things with you, and if they can’t do it with you, they stay by your side telling you that you can. Be supportive. Be genuine. And above all else, love. Love hard. And don’t give up.

Self Acceptance and Putting the Pieces Together

tumblr_n57k10jNN41qlwx41o1_500I think about words a lot. And linguistics. If I didn’t know language or how to articulate emotions, would I still feel them? I recall that Depeche Mode song Enjoy the Silence. I remember the first time I heard it, I was thirteen, and I looked up the lyrics. It was the truest lyrical weaving of words that I had ever heard.

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand
Oh my little girl

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Dramatic much? I’ve spent quite a few years of my life trying to shut out this dramatic, dark, and twisted side of myself. But I’ve always come back to the idea that if I didn’t know language, maybe I wouldn’t get so stuck. I use words to try to put the pieces together, to try to understand and rationalize life. The only time when it has ever made sense for me is when I feel bonded to the people in my life, when I have a partner that pulls me out of my head space.

Is it because these bonds mimic our true nature of experiencing union? Whole, divine unity with all that is but only experienced through another human? or two, three.. four.

Again, using words to try to put the pieces together.

Self acceptance has been my practice lately. Accepting that my mind is the way it is, that this body is my vehicle for this lifetime, that this is just the way it is. There is mental illness in my family, there is disease, there is darkness, pain, and turmoil in the world. And in huge block letters, across my mind reads “DON’T IDENTIFY WITH YOUR STORY, JULIA”… accept, accept, accept…. except, except, except…..

I recognize that there is choice in the world, but I also believe in the divine nature of life. I choose to let it all roll because I believe in the beauty of the world. Even if it seems so far away, I remember that there were moments where I felt that life made sense. And maybe it doesn’t right now because it’s the only way I’ll be able to tell when it does… Maybe all we’re trying to do is connect the dots, add and subtract, to find the answers. Maybe the answer is that there is no answer. And maybe the only way I will know this is to keep letting it roll.

Keep putting the pieces together. Keep loving anyway.