It was 6 days before I left for Europe on my own. I was leaving for a continent that I had never visited and I was going at it alone. Was I scared? Hell yes. I thought I should call everyone I know and tell them how much I love them because there could be a chance I wasn’t going to make it back.
Late 2013 to mid-2014 represented to me some of the greatest challenges I had ever faced. I was coming to face-to-face with the monster. The one that had been living way deep down inside and was now breaking it’s way to the surface. I would characterize my monster as the constant welp in my throat, the tears at the brim of my eyelids, the ghostly pale look on my face, the quiet (and not so quiet sobs) that were happening more and more frequently.
My monster was shaking me back and forth on the inside and forcing me to deal with the demons. The demon was my childhood. And my relationships were a constant reminder of what I hadn’t dealt with and forgiven.
My childhood, which taught me that love will always hurt, that people who take roles as protectors and lovers will always take what they can from you. That they’ll always tell you that you’re not good enough and show you all of the different ways you don’t measure up. In this instance it was my boss telling me I wasn’t a good writer, that I should do things like other people, that I was a squirrel frantically gathering nuts, who made me work long hours and e-mailed and called at any time of the day. Or my girlfriend who told me that she hated the way I chewed, that my breathing was terrible, that my friends thought there was something wrong with me, that I was too friendly to everyone, that everyone I looked up was someone I wanted to sleep with, screaming and calling me a bitch and other horrible things, and so and so forth.
Well I left the physical representation of those demons in my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. and I moved to a sunnier place — south Florida. Once I removed myself from the situation physically, I was able to focus on the mental and emotional. This meant prayer, reading, meditation, writing, listening to music, watching films, getting a job.
It’s been an incredible and at times trying eight months but it has been so worth it. I never thought that my life would ever be this drastically changed. I never thought in a million years that when I left my hometown so broken, I would end up traveling thousands of miles by myself to a foreign land with just a backpack.
I left on December 21, 2014 and returned January 3, 2015. What happened there was life changing and reinstilled in me who I have been all along. A forward thinking, courageous, strong, independent woman.