Headed Home

As soon as I publicly voiced my plans on moving back home I had quite a number of people reach out to me questioning why.

“Why would you ever come back here? Why leave Florida to come back to this?”

It’s a natural question especially coming from those who have never left home. For someone like me who has been away from home for 12 years now, the question is a bit silly. My answer is simple. I’m ready to head back home.

I first left NJ when I was 20 years old. I had just gone through a very painful breakup. I was tired of my town and all of the surrounding areas. I had been born and raised in the same area and although I knew quite a few people from all sorts of different backgrounds, I was bored of it all. There was an entire world to see. I would be damned if I where to just stay in one spot my whole life.

I took off to Florida in February of 2008 and I have pretty much lived in every major area of South Florida except for Miami. I also moved within that time to California and lived there for exactly one year before heading back to the East Coast with my tail between my legs (you may have won the battle but not yet the war CA! *shakes fist dramatically in the air*).

I have experienced so many different kinds of adventures, and been on so many journeys, some bad, most good. I’ve gone through many lessons and although life lessons will never cease to exist, every single one I’ve been through up until now has helped me discover who I am. I believe that without discovering and learning about who we really are, not just as people, but also as individual souls, without knowing that you can’t possibly enjoy life for what it really is. How can you enjoy it if you are always questioning yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your boundaries, your desires? How can you create your reality when you barely know your dreams? Not society’s, not your family’s, but your own. Moments of introspection and self-discovery are key to experiencing and living life in the best way we can for ourselves.

I once left home because I was tired of being around the same old, to learn more about myself, and to see what I was capable of. Now I go home because I’m ready to be around all those that know me and love me for me and always have even before I truly knew myself. I am ready to be around familiar surroundings. I can take what I’ve learned about myself and apply it to my everyday life and do something special with with it alongside of the support and love of my family and friends.

I am running towards what I once ran away from. Although I will never lose my itch to discover, that is what traveling is made for. I will always be nomadic. It is in my blood. My move back home may not even be forever, who knows!? I, however, do know that home is where the heart is and I’m headed on back.

Pictured Infidelity

Have you ever caught someone cheating on you red handed??

Maybe not in the exact act of betrayal but you discovered evidence that could prove nothing else other than their total infidelity? My friend is going through something of this nature and it inspired me to take a look back into a deep past that I buried long ago.

This story takes place about 8 years ago and at this time I had freshly moved to FL and was dating who had been my HS sweet heart at the time. In the seven years that him and I had dated, never did I ever think that such betrayal between us was possible but with time I soon realized how possible anything in life could be.

He had left in the morning to go to the bank to deposit some of his money from his serving shift the night before. I was killing time waiting for him to get back to start on breakfast when I decided to get on the computer and switch up some pictures on my Myspace (remember Myspace?). I log onto the computer and begin to search some files looking for my new profile picture when I see a file that was left untitled. I found this interesting. What pictures could be in there? Not thinking anything negative, I excitedly clicked on the file folder thinking that I would find pictures he and I had long ago forgotten. When the file opened, my world which seemed so perfect at the time, shattered like fragile glass dropped from a tall building. Picture after picture, I find this strange girl partially naked with her legs spread open, her fingers teasingly in her mouth. Freshly shaved vagina and huge, black, Oreo looking nipples stared me in the face, almost mocking me and my broken heart. She was lying on his bed. There was no denying the bed sheets that I had bought him for Christmas just a month prior to this picture. The date was stamped just a few days after his birthday last year. My mind immediately sailed back to that time and I was bombarded by the memories. That year I had made reservations at a popular Cuban restaurant that had just opened. I made sure that the table had been set up with flowers, balloons, chocolates, and that his favorite drink  sat at the table, awaiting his arrival. That night we had made love in that same bed where just days later he had fucked her. Instantly I was fueled by anger and rage. How was it possible that I hadn’t suspected anything back then? How had I not smelled her on his sheets or had not felt her presence linger in the air? I had been totally blindsided. My best friend had betrayed me in the ugliest way possible.

I left the pictures up on the computer and made my way into the kitchen. If my timing was right, he would be back home shortly and so I had begun making breakfast, for just myself. I was still fuming when he had gotten back home.

“MMMMmmmm babe, it smells sooooooo good!” He said as he walked in through the door, though there was nothing cooking.

“Does it?” I asked as he walked by me, giving me a kiss on the cheek before walking into the bed room. I slightly smiled like a psychopath. I was anxiously waiting for his reaction because once that reaction from him came, that would be the signal to finally let the rage out, full throttle.

I heard him setting his keys on the nightstand. He opened the closet door, probably to hang up his jacket, and then shut it again. Then silence. There was no movement, not a peep coming from the room. I stopped chopping up the green peppers I was to add to my omelet. My hands were shaking so bad there were bits of the vegetable flying onto the floor. I stared at the door frame willing for his image to appear and when it finally did, he looked as if he’d seen a ghost. I said nothing. He said nothing. It felt like an eternity before I irritatingly asked, “So?”

“That was way before me and you got back together!” He tried to defend. The time stamp proved otherwise and so his words had pierced me like hot steel. Luckily I had set down the knife at that point because I felt like throwing it at his face.

“Be a fucking man and tell the truth!! That picture was taken just a COUPLE days after your birthday!!!! We were 100% together!!! How could you do that to me??!! How could you stare me in the face, tell me you love me, after being with her? FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!” I was fuming and it took all I had to not walk over to him and wrap my fingers around his neck and apply pressure. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to make him hurt just as bad as he made me hurt, if not worse. But I couldn’t. The energy I initially had to inflict such damage had drained from my body. He had shattered my heart and at the same time robbed me of my strength. I stormed passed him on wobbly knees and into what had been, up until then, our bedroom. I slammed the door and locked myself in there for fear of what I was capable of doing next.

To make a very long story short, this incident had sent our relationship spinning to a point of no return.  I had lost every bit of faith I had in him. He of course tried his hardest to make things better. It was weeks later when I finally decided to not throw away 7 years together over a one time mistake, when I caught him sending text messages to a stripper he met on a night out with his friends. Destroying now even the want I had to try to work things out and move on, I sent him packing. He moved out, leaving behind nothing but my heart full of pain. Even though this wouldn’t be the end of our story (oh yes, there was more drama to shortly follow), it had been the end of that chapter.

It took me a long time to allow myself to even want fall in love again. He had been my high school sweet heart, my best friend, my entire everything. The only man I thought I could ever marry. No one can ever compare to your first love. It was the first time you really came to see what it was to feel so much for someone that wasn’t apart of your family. That first outsider that you care for unconditionally, and without fear. Pure love placed in your heart and then again into that of another… to later be broken and tossed away by the very same person you wholeheartedly handed it over to.  You never do love the same after that. Of course you love, but it is not as innocent as it once was. You don’t love without questioning, wondering, doubting.

It wasn’t until a few years later that him and I ended up speaking again. I remember one of the things he said to me was how important we were for one another. We had made up so much of each other’s past it was hard to forget. He reminded me of the strong friendship we had had and how even that was something unforgettable. He reminisced as his stare went off into a moment of bliss, enjoying what he was remembering. For me, those moments were what they were, the past, and soon they’d be nothing more than just an old dusty chapter buried in a book, left on a shelf, and long ago forgotten.  Those moments he thought of as beautiful, held no light to those dark memories of betrayal.

To be honest, I couldn’t imagine my life with him. There is more to this story of heartbreak, but it will be left untold for now.  What I will add is the fact that Karma is magnificent and the Universe never goes without issuing out that which is deserved. Going through what I did wasn’t deserved but it was necessary  because I grew and learned from it. I became a little smarter and tougher. I grew independent and this is when I discovered that happiness is a choice and that it shouldn’t be something placed in the hands of another, your happiness being too precious, your destiny too valuable.

I give my friend that cliche advice that if it isn’t working out then it is because it is not meant to be, and that this is all for a reason. I tell her that she’s got something amazing coming her way. I tell her that the Universe is always conspiring in her favor and to trust in it. It all sounds like lines out of a cheesy movie, but it is the truth. I have lived it. I have been there and I have come out on top because with a good perspective and a positive attitude, that’s really all that is needed to rise above.

Not Friendships. Acquaintances.

Friendships. Some people live for their friendships. I know people who have died for their friendships, and lack there of. It is one of the many things in life that gives a person purpose, comfort, motivation, and even inspiration. Personally, (and I’ve learned this at a very young age) I think that friendships now-a-days are a crock of shit. I feel as though that the word “friend” is thrown around way too often, stripping the title from any real meaning. We can thank FB for this. You meet someone at a party, at the airport waiting for your coffee, washing your hands in the restroom, if you connect with someone, the first thing you do that night or the next day is hunt that individual down on FB and you quickly become “friends” with them. Need I mention that this is NOT a friendship. This person you know absolutely nothing about, nor they know anything about you, is not your friend. For me, friendship goes beyond meeting someone and getting along with them. Friendship takes more work and dedication than that. It runs deeper than a single click on a social media site.

Friends aren’t those who you only see when you go out drinking. Those are your drinking buddies. Those coworkers you get along with so well throughout your work day? You know, the ones that make your work shift fly by? Nope. They aren’t your friends either. Not if you only see and speak to them during work hours. Your friends are the ones that will call you throughout the night when you didn’t make it to the bar. They’ll annoyingly bug you and tease you for not showing up, and will make sure that you don’t miss a moment.. Friends are those coworkers that even if you are no longer working alongside of them, they are still reaching out, making your work days at your new job a bit more bearable. Friends are those individuals that when they find themselves in your neck of the woods, will call you to meet up with them even if it’s for just a quick cup of coffee. Your friends make you feel better when you are sick, even if their remedy is just humor. Friends are selfless. All they want for you is happiness and will support you in your en devours, even if it means that they won’t get to see you as often. Friends are those who maybe you haven’t spoken to in a while simply because life just got in the way, but once you do get a hold of one another it is like not a single day passed by since the last time you spoke.

True friendship isn’t easy. Like anything else that is worth anything, it takes time and effort. A friendship is a two way street. Friends will at times deplete each other but will also replenish the well. You may make an incredibly stupid mistake but a true friend will get you through that moment, while seizing the chance to make fun of you for it. There will be moments where your opinions will collide, but even then, not even your own personal ideologies and way of life will come between you and that friend. Within a true friendship you find unconditional acceptance. You’ll find trust and loyalty throughout even the most uncomfortable situation. You never really have to explain yourself because a true friend will understand you with few words spoken. True friendship doesn’t survive on the materialistic. It survives on the intangibilities of life.

Many people believe that they have a million “friends” simply because their FB status “proves” it to be true.  Many of those people find themselves the most alone when facing challenges. They’re the ones who freak out when someone they considered a friend does something distasteful towards them. In an age where everything is so instant, when it comes to friendship or even love, any relationship really that you want to hold dear to your heart, give it time to unfold and prove itself before you go labeling it to be something more than what it truly is. Remind yourself that just because you may think of something one way, it may not be that way for someone else.

Hold yourself in high regard because you deserve better than whoring around your friendship to those who could care less, because if you couldn’t care less to quickly label them a friend, than they will careless about treating you like a mere acquaintance.

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Photo taken by: Natal Galvan, Location: Downtown Fort Myers, FL

The Three Month Mark

In life I believe that everything has a bit of a probationary period. Some range longer than others. If you start a new job for instance, it’s usually three months before you are able to obtain any kind of benefits from that set job. You take your car to a mechanic, it’s usually a few days before you can tell whether or not they’ve really done a good job repairing your car. You maybe order some Chinese food from a new spot that just opened and within a few hours you can tell if you’ll ever be ordering from that place again.

The same holds true for relationships.

The dating scene has always been quite a challenge for me. Long ago it took me absolutely no time to fall “in love” with someone. I quickly learned that by always jumping in head first that it could be truly painful for the heart. Though the heart is strong and resilient, there is no need to place it in a constant state of unnecessary vulnerability. Slowly I began adapting what I call The Three Month Mark. It was a three month period in which I noticed I would “dip out” of a relationship for one reason or another, the underlying reason being that I knew it simply would not work out. It wasn’t something that I purposely set myself up for. It was more like I slowly noticed what it was that I was doing. I had found my own way of protecting my heart by purely building up a wall. It wasn’t a wall made of pure cement. It was more like dry wall, where it seemed thick and impenetrable, but if given the proper tools one could knock it down in no time. There were a few that came close to getting through that three month mark, but in the end it was intuition that led me to know that to enter a true relationship with that individual would just later lead to heartbreak whether it be them or me who was left broken. The three month mark was a way of me getting to know someone, who they were, their intentions, before getting attached. I started noticing that within three months one could discover so much about a person before it was tragically too late. Before the heart became truly involved that is.

That is until I met the love of my life. My soul mate…

He walked into the dark and empty nightclub, alone and radiating an energy that just seemed to pour out of his soul. His eyes locked me in and I knew that very second that I had met someone truly special. I just hadn’t known how special they would become until later.

The night we met we spent the entire time talking. Just two strangers surrounded by good music, watered down cocktails, and shitty disco lights. We spoke about all good things in life never once spending time on a negative sentence. From that night on our friendship developed past the point of something typical. It was as though we had picked up right where we had one day long ago left off.

Quickly things escalated. We spoke every single day and spent every free moment together. We became exclusive within days, unnaturally quicker than with any other person I had met before.

It wasn’t until recent that I noticed that we had hit our three month mark. We had taken a trip up north to meet each other’s parents. It was when sitting with his mother in their cozy little living room, warmed by a fireplace, and surrounded by the sounds of Jazz music coming from his father’s room that it hit me. The thought had never crossed my mind before that moment. We had overcome that self imposed probationary period without even the slightest hiccup. I had met his friends. I had met his family. I had been thrown into his Georgian culture, engulfed by food, drink, music, language, and tradition, and had not only survived but actually came to love. The same went for him. I knew the very second the realization of our three month mark hit that this was true. I had finally found what I had so terribly wanted for so long and this time I hadn’t even looked for it. He had arrived unexpectedly yet at the perfect time.

I’ve come to truly fall in love with him, quickly and without fear. I had no preconceived attitudes towards him. I felt no reason for a wall to be taken down for one hadn’t even been built. I’ve given my heart completely to this person without conditions or concern and I thank The Three Month Mark for this. It has kept my heart protected for all this time. For when the moment truly came it would be healthy and happily willing, without fear, to love again.

People have asked me, “Well how do you know that this is it?” and all I can answer back is all I’ve ever heard, you just know. It’s a feeling of certainty that no one can confirm other than the true inner self. It is a moment that arrives and it whispers in your heart. A feeling no person can describe. That’s how you know. You’ll know when you realize that from the moment that you met, there was never a three month mark.

img_20161018_103935-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

4am Train Love

Nothing normal ever happens during 4 am train rides, especially when you’re pissed drunk.

I had been visiting old friends of mine in Jersey and during this visit we decided to head to Philly for a night of fun. We didn’t wait to get to the city to start the festivities. No. We pre-gamed  at the house, then of course we took some adult beverages hidden within water bottles with us for the train ride.

The night was going to a wild one. There were about 8 of us all together and just by the train ride to the city alone I knew there was to be debauchery in abundance.

We got to Las Vegas Lounge, a dingy, dark and smelly hole in the wall (just my kind of place) and immediately assigned ourselves roles for the night. A few of us crowded the jukebox. They were to be the Djs for the night, there was no way anybody but us were going to be regulating the music for the night. The guys went over and quickly put tables and chairs together, making sure we had plenty of room for all of us to hang together. My home girl and I went straight to the bar. It was time to open a proper tab, Irish car bombs for everyone!

The rest of the night was a hectic haze of bad singing, inappropriate dancing and socially inappropriate jokes. We were raunchy and wild and as we closed the bar down that night we made memories that by the morning we’d forget. We tumbled out of that bar drunkenly disoriented, not caring that most of the world around us had been asleep now for hours. We made our way back to the train station. We may have even gotten a little lost at one point, I don’t know.

There weren’t many of us that were waiting for the train that night. Not including our group there were maybe another 10-15 people? Most looked drunk, the rest had seemed to be either getting out of or going into work. I’m not sure how long we had waited but it hadn’t seemed long.

The train soon arrived and while we all tripped over one another to pile in I caught sight of a cutie already sitting… all.. by.. himself. Well HELLO there!! I thought to myself.  I pushed my way through my friends and made my way to where he was sitting. Once I got close I slowed down as to not give away my hurry.

“Hey, anyone sitting here?” I grin. It may have been a creepy drunk grin. That’s what it felt like so I was surprised when he said, “No, it’s all yours.” BINGO! That’s RIGHT! It is. I sat down next to him and immediately it began,

“OOOOOOOoooooOOOOO Nati…. MeeeeeOOOWWW!” My pals all chimed in in uproar.

“Don’t listen to them. They’re drunk.” I slurred and then smiled.

“…and you’re not?” He asked, jokingly.

“I was. But now I see things crystal clear.” I hiccuped, “We were meant to meet tonight. The universe brought us here on this train to meet..” What the eff was I saying? I was laughing. I was drunk and this was stupid drunk talk. He knew it too because he was laughing. Was it with me or at me? I didn’t know.

We eventually got to our stop, which also so happened to be his. He walked with us until we got to the car where I then scribbled down my number without him even having to ask. “I normally don’t do this but here!! Call me!!” and I folded up the paper and stuffed it in his pocket. We gave each other a hug, an “it was nice meeting you” kiss on the cheek, and off we were.

038-2 Photo Credit: Angie M, Muse: Natal Galvan, Ry Bread, Santi C.

He messaged me that very night asking if we got home OK. From that point on we kept the conversation going until one of us passed out and then restarted it the very next day. It went like this for months. We spoke on the phone almost every night and spent the entire day texting each other. At the time that we met, I was living here in FL and had only been visiting. Still that didn’t deter us from building a good friendship. Then one day he calls me and says how he would love to take a vacation down to where I was for just a couple days. I loved the idea. I never had friends come and visit me really so I was all for it. Plus, I had found him super cute from what I could remember and decipher from the picture texts he sent me here and there. Who knows what this could lead to right?A romance story out of a movie! I was so excited. That was until, he called me to tell me he had booked his trip…and it was for five days.

Was I freaking out? Of course I was! Like seriously? FIVE DAYS? What were we supposed to do for five days? The trip was to be taken in 2 months so I had 60 days to mentally prepare. When the time came, it was only then that I realized, 60 days had still not been enough.

He arrived on Monday and left Friday. These were the longest five days of my life, and most likely of his as well. Monday hadn’t been too bad. The excitement of seeing one another for the second time since we met was still there. He arrived late in the day so after our initial greet at the airport we headed to a bar to have some food and drinks. The plan was to head to Orlando the next day and have a day of fun at the amusement parks. So we spent some time at the bar and once we saw it was getting late we headed back to my place to rest up for the following day.

I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing sister. For if she hadn’t accepted the invitation to be the third wheel on our trip to Orlando (actually through out the entire 5 days), this day of fun at the amusement park would have been instead the most awkward day at the park. She helped fill in moments of awkward silence. She made me laugh when all I wanted to do was rip my eyeballs out and stuff them down my own throat for allowing this to happen.

He was not only not much of a talker, but also didn’t have much opinion on, well, ANYTHING. He was plainer than vanilla ice cream for even vanilla ice cream had it’s own bit of flare. I would say he was like a piece of grilled chicken with absolutely no seasoning on it, as if just boiled in water. Every answer to any of my questions was either “I don’t know” or “up to you.” Whether it was “what ride do you feel like riding next?” or “what do you want to eat?” or….. fucking ANYTHING, those were his only two answers. It was only day two and I was ready to shoot myself. When would he be leaving on Friday? Early?? Please lord, I hope it’s early…. This was my inner dialogue the entire day at the park.

Wednesday we got up and headed to the grocery store. I planned a beach day but after much debate on whether or not he wanted to deal with the sand or not, we decided to make it a pool day instead. We were going to need food and cocktails (for me mainly cocktails). After what seemed like forever at the store (it takes longer to make grocery store decisions alone for three people than it is for one), we arrived back home with sandwiches, chips and other snacks, and of course beer. It only took about two hours and half a case of beer for things to slowly lighten up a bit. But even then it was like pulling teeth to get this guy to loosen up and have a good time. He spent the majority of his time complaining about life even though he was in FL and supposedly on vacation. He was tired. He hated the sun. He couldn’t get good signal so that he could listen to his sports podcast. So I did what I do best and that is that I just kept drinking. Fuck it right?

I keep drinking, I begin to tune out his presence. It’s not like he was saying much so it wasn’t his conversation I was tuning out, it was him in general. I fell asleep for a bit and when I came to, my gaze had fallen onto his foot. There on his big toe he had a band aid wrapped around the nail. “What happened to your toe?” I had assumed that maybe it had happened while I was asleep. I hadn’t noticed it before.

“Nothing. I stubbed my toe a few months ago and I’m still suffering from it. That’s why I have been so iffy about getting in the water.” It made sense. We had been there for hours and he hadn’t taken a dip yet. His normal pale Irish skin was blotchy and red. He was sweating like a whore in church.

He eventually did get in the water. I did a cannon ball on him. We wrestled for a second. That was the extent of the excitement for that day. I don’t know if it was the beer that got him feeling ballsy but he ended up kissing me right before we got out the water. It was like I expected. Bland. Yes, he had taken the step to kiss me but that was all he did. Have you ever tried to kiss a person who doesn’t know how to kiss back?? It’s awkward. You feel like saying,”Don’t just sit there. Do something.” I pull away and he goes, “I’ve been waiting for that.” with a smile. I don’t know why but that turned me off more than the kiss.

We got back to the house and to be honest the rest of the evening is a little foggy. I know we ended up going to bed, together. As in, in my bed we both slept in. I remember him trying to make out with me, but uh uh. I was not having it. I had had enough bad kissing for the day, so I stayed as far left on my bed as I possibly could until the sun came up, alleviating me from this awkward situation.

Thursday. One more day. It was my mantra for the day. Could he tell how I felt? If he did, he hadn’t let on. Anything that I had to do on this day I tried to do as slow as possible in order for it to take up as much time as possible. I wanted tomorrow to get here and quick. I made us some breakfast. I did laundry. I cleaned my apartment that looked like a tornado had just hit. All the while this guy just sat on my couch just watching t.v not once even asking to see if he could help with anything. Not that I would have let him, but still the gesture would have been nice. I mean most of the mess around my apartment was mess HE made, but whatever. I spent the day running between my sisters room and down to the living room, her room being like a “time-out” from his nothingness. “I just don’t know what to do. This is terribly awkward. I just hate this. I can’t wait for him to leave..” I would tell her.

The three of us headed out to dinner that night. He had spent the last four days hating any of the food we had cooked or ordered. He was a super picky eater. He hated veggies and fruits. He couldn’t handle any sort of seasoning (go figure) because either he didn’t like the taste or it upset his stomach. I of course hadn’t known any of this and therefore had spent the entire week making bad choices due to this lack of knowledge. It hadn’t been until the night before when he was drunk by the pool that he let me in on his eating habits. I found his lack of communication extremely frustrating but had agreed that the next night we would go somewhere to eat more his style. We all decided on going to a little Irish bar not far from my house.

We had quite a bit to drink before ordering our food. The time between ordering and waiting for the food to arrive, my sister and I spent goofing around. He would laugh but not really participate much in the conversation. Our food came and we dined.

As we paid the bill he began to speak of how much fun he had while visiting. He described how awesome it was to have met me that night on the train and that he could really see this working out. That’s when things got a bit more awkward. It was obvious that I didn’t feel the same and once he realized the feeling wasn’t mutual he shut down completely. He barely spoke two words to me for the rest of the night (which I was already used to) and as soon as we arrived back to the apartment he began packing up his things and set up for his getting ready in the morning. There was a slight inner relief I felt once I saw him packing up his things. It was almost a reminder that this “situation” wasn’t permanent.

He slept on the couch that night and the next day we both were up early both ready for this to be over. To be honest, I don’t know what time his flight was that day. I hadn’t really asked. All I know is that once we were both ready, I drove him to the airport. I didn’t do my usual “parking in the garage and walking the person to security” deal that I normally do when people visit. I just drove up the curb and dropped him off with a hug good-bye and a “I’ll text ya later.”

The most horrible part of his entire stay at my place didn’t even happen while he was visiting. Or shall I be clear and say that it did happen while he visited but I was unaware of it until days after his departure.

I had smelled a funny odor coming from my bed sheets and although I had just washed them right before my guest’s arrival,  I decided to wash them again. When I pulled off the sheets to my bed the smell was horrid. Had something died in there? I began peeling apart all the sheets and blankets, the smell becoming more and more pungent.  That’s when I saw it. The band aid.

I swear I almost threw up. He had lost his dirty band aid in my sheets, leaving his exposed big toe out and obviously marinated my bed sheets with the funk. With my sister as my witness, I had to wash the bedding twice and even then the smell still lingered, leaving me with no other option than to toss them.

He and I never spoke again. I did try to reach out once. Honestly, I had just wanted him to return a few books I let him borrow. It was no surprise though when he didn’t respond. Sometimes, when something or someone triggers me to think of this memory, I laugh. I’m not sorry that it happened. I do wonder what he’s up to and if life is going good for him. I mean I don’t hate the guy one bit. I would have liked to have been friends but life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you just meet people for a small period of time. As if they’re tiny extras in your book of life but that hold enough punch to actually teach you something. This situation was a good lesson to be learned. Actually, I learned quite a few. Like, you don’t need five days to figure out whether or not two people click. I say three is good. The one, though, that I preach the most?  Nothing good ever happens after 4 am.

002-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Rich. R

Finding in the Land of Lost

When I first moved away from home, I didn’t just choose to move out of town, or even just a state away. No. I moved 1,300 miles away from everything and anyone I had ever known. Back then I was really tired of the same old life I had lived for 20 years. I was ready to start fresh and I did. I moved from Jersey to Florida and built myself quite an amazing little life. In between then and now I did managed to slip away to California for exactly a year in search of something I still seem to be trying to find. After a major fail I headed back to my home town and not too long after that did I land right back here. Today I live on the beach. It’s a dream I always wanted and it’s one that I accidentally (not accidentally because I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason) made real.

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a melt down. I literally woke up one day and was sick of living here. It was as if my soul was trying to find “it” again, whatever that was. I woke up feeling as though I was tired of this area and its lack of things to do as well as its age group. With its 45 and up year old crowds bombarding every square inch of this town, most of them a shade of leathery red, with pickled organs, and too much time on their hands. Any time I had tried to go out to meet people my age I was sadly disappointed. I was having people come out and visit me in a couple weeks and thank god for that, but the let downs had been so often here that I had sworn after my guests left, I would be done with the going out and trying to mingle. I would focus on saving my money and by next year head the hell out. Where to? My plan hadn’t gone that far but I had a few ideas in mind. Pennsylvania? Texas? Possibly back to California?

In the week before everyone was to arrive, I of course, ran around this town buying everything I could to prepare. I bought things that were needed, food, water, an inflatable mattress…. and I got things that maybe we’d just want, a deck of cards, Simon, beach toys. The entire time I was out and about I was consumed with thoughts about why this place didn’t suit me. I had tons of reasons to want to leave and all my mind kept doing was juggling each one of those reasons around in my mind over and over again. I had been racking my brain with the millions of possibilities and the weighing of all of my options that the night before my guests got here, I made sure to make it a point to not think about any of that while they were here.

Sam arrived on a Thursday and my sister the very next day. The entire time of their stay I had such an amazing time, almost as if I were the one on vacation. I had gotten to see more of my town while they were here than I had done the entire three months of me living here. Not a day of their visit went by that it wasn’t mentioned how lucky I was to have been able to find this place and I mean, it was perfect.  I had everything I needed within the couple miles radius of where I lived. Bars, restaurants, grocery stores, the library, the bank, everything was down the road from me. Even the beach lay a few steps away from my front door. Each day of their stay had been a beautiful day full of cloudless skies and warm calm waters, drinking nights followed by blissful mornings and then blessed beach days. Even though I had promised myself that I wasn’t going to be thinking about why I didn’t want to live here anymore, I couldn’t help it because now instead of thinking why I shouldn’t stay here.. I began to think why I should stay here.

Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to really make you realize something that should be otherwise blatantly obvious. Where I live, it’s pretty much paradise. I live on a nice little island not too far from town. The sun shines here 95% of the time. This is an area where you don’t need to worry much about your neighbors, a town where everyone greets each other without a second guess. I am fortunate enough to have a job where I can work just a couple days a week and afford to pay my bills and still have a little cash left over to spend on some fun or maybe just save. I am blessed with having enough free time at the moment that I can work on the things I love to do instead of constantly having to dedicate time to the things I have to do. That in itself is a big deal. Why had I woken up one day fed up and ready to move from this place? I had been given a great opportunity, a way of life so many others would die to live, why want to give that all up? I found my answer the moment I said bye to my friend and my sister at the airport today.

After having almost an entire week of company, surrounded by people who knew and loved me, I came to realize what it really meant when people say, “Home is where your heart is.” I have everything here except one of the most important key elements to a happy life. What I am missing are my loved ones. Whether it be family or friends, everyone needs to be surrounded by loved ones. It’s truly what makes the difference in life. You can have almost everything in the world, but if you don’t have who to share any of that with, what good is it? Yet, you may have hardly a thing, but if you’re surrounded by loved ones, you’re truly a rich individual. I had everything I had always wished for, except that right now I didn’t have a close circle of loved ones to share any of this with. Since moving here I’ve had no one to really go out and make memories with. These last few days allowed me to see why it was I had been so fed up. It was because I was bored of making memories alone.

With the countless times I was told how lucky I was to be living where I am, it made me see that I need to not only count my blessings and show the universe how grateful I am for all that it has conspired to give to me, but I need to also learn to be patient for all the things that I want that are still on their way. Yes, at the moment I may not have a circle of friends here, nor do I have a significant other to distract me from what it is I’m missing…but I’ve only been here (this time around) for only about 2 years, I need to give it time for it won’t be like this forever. Nothing in life is permanent and that includes life stages. Just as that can be a really ominous thought, it can also be a very freeing and comforting thought as well. I guess what I’m saying is, in time, I will make friends. I will meet people whom I’ll come to love dearly and I can then make this feel more like my home. In time I will be able to call, if not this place, then someplace, home. Until then, I must not look at the negatives, the draw backs, the ‘what is lacking’ of the current state, but instead appreciate all the wonderful things that has already been given, the beauty of life that is all around you.  It is easy to get lost in the negatives of life. It’s easy to let your mind get carried away in everything that you may not be happy with. What isn’t easy is taking control of your state of mind and embracing the happiness that is already staring at you dead in the eyes. Happiness is a state of mind and if you can take control of your thoughts, you can take control of your happiness. Once I started to realize that it wasn’t so much the environment I was unhappy with and that it was more the lack of bonding with others, that I began to think about life here on the island just a little differently.

Will I live here forever? Who knows! If an opportunity came knocking, of course I’m taking it, but am I looking to move away tomorrow? No. What I do know is that in order to see change, change must happen. So it seems I’ve got a a little bit of changing in my routine to do, that’s if I want to start to really try to socialize in hopes of making friends. For now though, I’m taking time to stop and actually smell the flowers along the way. I’m enjoying the gifts that life has all around me for me to enjoy. Slowly I feel like I’m beginning to  find “it”, whatever that is, in this land I for now call Lost.

10431899_251373765051234_1481222331_n Photo Credit: Natal Galvan