Friday, May 30, 2014

Native Floridian

A long weekend spent in Orlando is just what the doctor ordered for this frustrated twenty three year old. Friends, family, and time to relax by not doing anything, something Floridians are pretty good at. While I grew up in the DC area, I was born in Miami and have spent a fair amount of time in Florida whether it's been living there or vacationing. I'm learning to embrace my roots there and have taken upon myself the role of Flori-educator. No, we're not all crazy like the Florida Man Twitter feed would lead you to believe, but we are a bit off our rockers. I blame the weather.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Van and I

I have spent more time than I ever dreamed in a Dodge Sprinter this past week. It’s pretty much a large delivery van that I bring people their groceries in. Among other things it's good for looming over cars and SUVs, exploring the city, and parking illegally while making deliveries.  Seriously, I can’t tell you how much joy it gives me to double park, block alleys, hang out in fire lanes, and park in front of hydrants, all in the name of groceries FOOD.

Side effects of this job include having lots of time to ponder things, which is excellent since I like to live in my head. Recently, I accepted and began to honor the side of me that is bold and speaks. Doing so has opened the door for me to be successful at city driving in the big ol’ van, if we want to be obvious about things, but I’ve noticed internal shifts that go along with it. For starters, I am not afraid to speak up and put limits on my time spent at work, as I’m a lady of leisure and highly value having space and time. I can say enough, delineate the semi-permeable membrane of my boundaries, and respectfully stand up for myself while understanding and responding to business needs.

More importantly though, I no longer feel shame when men holler at me or are rude about my appearance. Instead, I find myself responding to the objectification. I have a voice and, when I feel physically safe, will use it to speak against a culture I often encounter that places excessive value on my appearance and ignores my voice as a woman. I read a spot-on blog post here and am appreciative of the woman who wrote words to the thoughts that have bounced inside of me. I have a desire to be respected and appreciated as a woman, as a human being.

While I put my foot in my mouth often enough and don't really play well by the "rules," this boldness is empowering and feels more “me.". It’s a continuation of the process that began last fall of reconnecting with and reintegrating my feisty inner five year old, and the result now is that I am less reactive and more conscious and precise with my voice. It feels good to honor and cherish an integral part of myself while constantly learning how and when to speak.

Oh, the things you'll think while doing home deliveries.

Parallel parked the SketchMobile. The one I've been driving has logos on it, thankfully.

I'm a sucker for brick, trees, and quaint architecture. I'm loving where I live, I just wish it were further out from DC.

I've gotten into the practice of beautifying with fresh flowers.

Naturally, I'm reading things that involve food and drink
and writing this all from a bangin' coffee shop near my house
while thinking about where I'll go to eat because I'm hungry.

 Speaking of food, thank you Yelp for guiding me to dinner while I was out doing deliveries near Baltimore.
It was exactly as described, a large shack in a strip club's parking lot.