Community Connections

Moving away from home has its ups as well as it downs. New setting, fresh faces, newly discovered routines are all reasons for excitement, but what happens once the dust settles? Your sense of newness has now been accustomed to what is now your daily life. What do you miss? At times, it’s the very thing you wanted to move away from, your community.

When I decided to move back home this last time around, one of the things I was most excited for was once again having that sense of familiarity around me. Not only did I yearn to be around familiar relationships, but I was excited to get involved. As a kid I had always seen myself giving to the community that raised me, so once I got back, I made sure that it had been on the top of my list of goals. I wanted to make sure that I got involved in a way that was through some sort of passion of mine. Whether it would be through the arts, working with children or the elderly, handing out food the homeless, or cleaning up our streets. My mind was set to find a way to volunteer my time and services to making the city a little bit better than it was yesterday. Had anyone told me that a pandemic was going to hit and that it would take that to spark the change that was needed in order to begin, I would have laughed in your face and told you that maybe you’d been watching one too many sci-fi thrillers.

COVID came by and with one swoop, pulled the cloth out from under us. Some of us were tipped over by it, crashing to the floor, left confused and unable to pick up the pieces, while others remained relatively unscathed, still standing in the same spot as if nothing ever happened. Yet, every single one of us walked away with change in one form of it or another. Being locked away for months all we had was time. Time to do all the things we had been craving to do, the time to think, the time to reevaluate life. It’s of no surprise that once we were let back out into the world, I didn’t last very long working the job I had prior to everything happening. I had spent so long enjoying my days and being constantly reminded about how short life was and how unexpected death could come, that I was no longer satisfied doing what I was doing. I was miserable. I felt over worked due to the shortages in staffing and supplies, and underappreciated. After a long and crazy shift, I walked away and never went back, vowing to myself to find a way to produce enough income to sustain myself and that would make me happy.

Quitting that job opened up a whole new set of opportunities. I once again had the time to do what I wanted to do, and what I wanted was to make time work for me. I took the last little bit of cash I had left and invested it into an idea I thought would work. I created a product to sell and to my surprise, it took off fairly quickly. I wasn’t too shocked that it was doing well, I was more shocked at the fact that it had been relatively easy. All I had to do was let go of what no longer was working for me to make room for what I wanted. The Universe works is magical ways, and I say this because it was through this newly founded business of mine that I ended up meeting someone who would later end up being key to my integration into the community.

It was my very first showing as a vendor and after a few hours, and many successful exchanges, I began taking apart my area in order to get ready to leave. It was then that I met this wonderful human being and after a bit of interaction I decided to gift her one of my products and told her that if she ever needed where that came from, she knew where to call. And she did. Not only had she become one of my regular clients, but it was through an invitation of hers that I discovered my love for yoga. It was through her that I was asked to volunteer at a local art exhibition in the city, and it was again, through her, that I was invited to be on the committee in regard to our city clean-up as well as to help feed the homeless.

Connecting with my community has been something that I have been striving to do for years. I feel that since moving back, the pieces to many of my life’s adventurous puzzle pieces have been falling right into place. I am at the start of this new journey and the excitement is high. I can’t help but imagine all the treasurable moments that are going to come from this new direction I have taken in. I can’t wait to meet people that are riding that wave that I’m on right now, those that are on my life frequency, who little by little will help change our community with me.

Only Two

I’ve only truly been in love twice. Although I’ve dated A LOT, no one quite captured my heart and forever changed my soul, no matter how small a change, like my only two loves.

Both, needless to say, ended pretty tragically.

The first one, my high school sweetheart. A romeo, a lady’s man. That would always be our demise. I spent the better half of my teenage years and half of my twenties on and off again with him. The man had broken my heart in every way possible and still I would go back for more. It wasn’t until the ultimate betrayal on his part that I decided no relationship between the two could ever be. The true sadness rested in the fact that being as though we had known each other for so many years we had truly become great friends. In the end I had lost not only my boyfriend but also my best friend.

The second love of mine came at a time where life for me had hit an all time low. This was when I lived in California. I met him at the local library where I would go to take out a shit load of books for me to read and movies for my sister and I to watch. He was a couple years younger than me but he could have fooled anyone as to him being older. He was well educated and mature. Well mannered and treated his mother like a queen. Not only her but he treated me like a queen. He was an amazing person to be around. His friends would tell you so. He was the one who made me realize how important a close circle of friends are. The value of true friendship. Like I said before, we met at a time in my life where I was broken. He made me feel amazing no matter how broken I had become, but no amount of love given could have saved our relationship. I was moving back to New Jersey and our love was so much that they only way we saw it was to have to let each other go. A love truly parted by life but never fully extinguished.

Both loves were vastly different. One lasted almost an entire lifetime while the other was more like a lifetime happened in just a few months. One was so tainted and damaged that no amount of time could ever heal and make it beautiful again, while the other had a freshness and energy, a bright light that shined from it that time could never dim. Both loves felt different. One felt more strangulating and slightly exuded obsession, making anxiety the most common emotion felt. The other love was so liberating. We were so bound by our love, so enthralled with one another, yet it was a breath of fresh air. It was easy.

My loves were different yet in other ways similar. I learned so much from each relationship. I learned things that would serve me well for the next one. Like I mentioned before I have dated a lot and one thing I do know, each and every new person that makes it into  my life has been of value to me. Whether today we are in each other’s lives or not, I have learned something to help me out later on down the road and if for only that reason alone, I cherish the time spent together, no matter how good or bad it was.

I look forward to meeting my next love. I feel like it’s definitely going to be IT. I’ve been through all the preparation. I have weeded out the confusion that plagues the minds of people when they become seriously committed to someone early on in life. I have not only had my fun but I have learned many valuable lessons while doing so. I understand life and the real meaning behind it. I can appreciate and love, while also being more aware and mindful, more vulnerable and open, because that’s how you connect with people, by being vulnerable.

Looking back on everything that I have gone through with past relationships I am grateful because although I won’t be going into it with the heart of innocence I’ll be able to see and feel love for what it truly is, with out the games, just its purity.

I sometimes think about my two loves and wonder how it is that they’re doing. You must be thinking that I am probably wishing one luck while I wish for the other misery and unhappiness but that is not me. I wouldn’t ever wish difficulty on another. The way I look at it, him who had broken my spirit to love I wish the treasures of the world for is he not just as broken as I was, or maybe yet even more so? Only hurt people hurt people and I know enough about him to understand his hurt even if he did bury it years ago.

In a world in which the ultimate goal is to find true love and happiness, I can look back on my life and say that Yes I have truly loved. If it weren’t to happen again, which would be a tragedy in my book, at least I have had the opportunity to feel what it was to love someone other than myself, than my family, than even my pets. I have loved a stranger before and it speaks volumes as to the capacity my heart can hold. I wish to discover love again, this time it hanging around longer. This time it being both reciprocated and permanent. Yet I cannot help but wonder, how permanent could love ever be if there is no such thing as forever??