Anyways, something amazing I've learned from this past year is that the more I've settled into myself, the less I've needed my external surroundings (city, state, friend group, items owned, etc.) to help me define myself. Moving around and driving cross-country has shown me the beauty of this country and its people, and it has opened my eyes to the reality that I could live anywhere and be okay. I do want to find a place where I want to be and where I feel like I can spread my wings and plant my feet, but I don't need a place like I used to. It's freeing, grounding, and gives me agency to make my own choices. I can select my path and pursue it accordingly.
All this being said, I am thoroughly convinced that the DMV (DC area, since when have we called ourselves this??) is not for me. Not in the slightest. As I've become more authentically me, I've moved internally and no longer desire the busyness of a massive city, the competition of a driven culture, the aggression and energy output of carving out a space for myself, and the need to constantly be entertained by external things. To use my first-day-of-kindergarten phrase, "This is not for me."
There is no judgment against this area, but rather an acknowledgment that I desire to be somewhere where I feel more comfortable. I encountered many difficulties while growing up here and can't discount how worn down I am from constantly reorienting myself out of panic-response neural pathways, which is something unique to me that many people here would not be experiencing. Needless to say, I'm grateful for the opportunity to heal and reintegrate in the place where it all started, but the work is arduous, unseen, and rather lonely, and I look forward to leaving the pressure cooker behind.
My current plan is to return to Orlando to rest and go back to school for massage therapy. I don't know for how long, I don't know where massage therapy will lead, but I really hold to the quote from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, "Not all who wander are lost," and I trust the process and journey enough (having done my own literal one) to take steps now without being able to anticipate or know where I'm heading.
I may not know where I'm headed, but I'm going.
Street art near Union Market
Behold, Union Market, home of a lovely (expensive) home goods store and amazing ice cream
Perfect spring evening on the Potomac
I was in Japan... in Epcot
Reading time by the pool (I recommend both magazines)
My amazing sister and best friend, Tova, in one of my favorite pictures from my trip
Tea and a scone
My family and I at the British tea house in Mt. Dora