My current destination landed me somewhere closer to home, somewhere familiar.
After years of country hopping, I was ready to plant my roots somewhere.
To sprout a foundation for myself.
Throughout the years, traveling has been amazing and I will never stop enriching myself in culture but, there came a point where it was beginning to feel like I was floating. Floating from place to place.
My grandmother told me at breakfast one morning, about a year or so ago,
“Whatever you are searching for, I hope you find it.”
That stuck with me.
Am I searching for something?
So I made the move to a place that has always made me happy,
a place surrounded by salinity, that always smelled of ocean breeze and low tide.
A place where others viewed as a vacation spot but a place I could call home,
far enough from Miami but close enough to still visit for Sunday breakfast with my grandmother.
That was when I found myself packing my things and heading to the Florida Keys.
The rollercoaster of a ride I would take in the following months surprised me but nonetheless, I learned many lessons about loyalty, betrayal, patience and the power of words.
Making a home somewhere after years of being unrooted, is uncomfortable.
Buying a car instead of a plane ticket means normality.
Sticking out a job for six months means there is a good chance I will be here longer.
Being here longer means potentially meeting someone.
Meeting someone means a loss of freedom.
For someone who has been running for years, this means vulnerability.
Just the word could make someone like me head off again but I will say it again.
What does being vulnerable even mean?
By definition it means “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.”
What does it really mean?
It means learning about yourself while being emotionally involved with someone else. It means opening your heart regardless of the outcome. Letting down your walls and risking it.
That is what life is all about, right?
I fell in love with a man.
A wonderful man. Kind and playful. Strong and Free-spirited. Sweet and driven. He motivated me to do the things I loved. We laughed and laughed endlessly.
But I also fell in love with a man who couldn’t let go of his past. Even if I was “everything he ever wanted in a woman.”
His heart was with someone else. Another woman who he described as toxic, a type of poison that seems to take over your entire mind and body. The type of woman who cheats and blames it on you. The kind that manipulates and belittles you until you are left so hollow you cannot breathe. The kind you keep going back to no matter how painful, because once it is introduced into your life, it becomes an addiction.
I fell in love with what felt like a ghost. Someone who was terrified to be vulnerable again with someone after the pain he went through with her.
Can you blame him though?
The only time he was ever human, was when we left town. When he could completely let go of her and all the baggage dragging him down in this small town. I was given a taste of that far away man, and it was all I envisioned.
Maybe with time he will get there.
“Time” was always his reasoning, “It is just going to take time.”
I gave my all. I thought all of our ups and downs was because of me. Always apologizing for being who I am. Too emotional, too sensitive, too hormonal.
Crying at night when the lights turn off because he sleeps with his back turned to me instead of talking to me.
Rejected and unworthy of my own mans touch.
When really, the battle in his mind was driving his walls higher and higher. Pushing me out, yet he stayed with me in hopes that what he was feeling would all just go away. His thoughts drowned him and I was only a distraction.
Suppressing thoughts only creates a rebounding effect.
He tried for 8 months to free his mind but in the end, it was something he had to do on his own. I could only remove so much poison from his heart to replace it with sweet nectar, until my own flowers began to wilt. I hope the lesson he learns from is that love is meant to be kind and patient. It is understanding. It is not yelling or bitter words. It is not drinking and smoke cigarettes to hide emotions. It is nurturing, empathetic, and it is compromise.
When he finally opened up and spoke from his heart, we both knew that it was time we go our separate ways. Spending one last night together, we cried and held each other. In the morning, I woke early to gather my things and before walking out the door I gently kissed his forehead. Though I felt the brush of his hand trying to grab me as I walked away, I didn’t look back.
I almost forgot what heartbreak felt like.
Then I found myself lying on the floor of the office at my work gasping for air through my drowned out eyes.
No matter how strong you tell yourself you are, a heartbreak shows you just how human you really are.
It feels clichè when you always hear about it but when it hits you, it hits.
My best friend told me something later that night that really stuck with me.
I had thought this relationship taught me what truly loving someone again feels like.
And what if feels like to have your heart broken.
But she told me,
“You learned what being in a relationship means. Communication and not running away. When you find the right guy, it just comes easy. He wasn’t the right guy but he was a good relationship to have because you’ll grow.”
So here I am,
watering these roots every day like I always have only when these flowers bloom again, the fruit will be even sweeter.
The universe is funny sometimes.
In the midst of my breakdown, when I picked myself up off the floor to then wipe my eyes, my phone rings.
A text message.
Guess who moved back to Florida?