The girl before the storm
I’ve been writing this blog for weeks, okay maybe months. Lecture me later. So, back in November I moved into my own place. It gave me a chance to really sit and evaluate who I am as a person. It’s crazy how the smallest things make up all of who we are.
If you didn’t know, I’m from New Orleans, which means Hurricane Katrina is apart of my life story. To date, it’s still the biggest heartbreak of my 32 years. No, I take that back, losing my Aunt definitely has taken its place. I thought that woman was immortal and would live forever. My mom said she lives through me. That makes me happy.
I stay getting off topic. Let’s talk about home and identity. Okay? Okay.
I was 19, in college, working full-time as a dispatcher, had amazing friends. And had a new love. A gorgeous femme-Taurus that I would call just to sing on her voicemail. We’d sit up on the phone all night laughing and sharing secrets just being two young girls falling in love. She was my one. She was the one. In a minute, you see my problem.
There was this other girl that I was “talking to” but I didn’t have the feelings that I had for my one.
Long story short: at the happiest time in my teen/ almost adult life, a natural disaster came and ripped it all away. All of it. If you know anything about me at all then you know this is the worst thing that could happen. It competed shredded everything about me that made me feel secure.
Said New Lover was displaced to Georgia and I was in Alabama. Doesn’t seem so far away now, but at nineteen it was like traveling to another country. I told her that I would move to be with her because well, I had no real home anymore. I figured and and I could maneuver this disaster together. I’m a romantic like that and shit. I always want my person with me through everything.
This was my problem.
Starting right there I began making a home out of people instead of defining it within myself.
Thank you Said Lover for telling me no. That’s all I thank her for. She only told me no because some new stud was in her ear. She continued to send me messages for years about the mistake she’d made in not letting l our story play out fully. I’d move on and there she was on every social media page she could find me on to tell me that she always thought about me and what we could have been.
There was this one time where we ran into each other in a club and forgot we were with our girlfriends as we paused to stare at one another.
See. There I go off on a tangent again.
So yeah, after the storm, I stayed in Birmingham where me and my cousin shared an apartment for few months. It was okay, but it wasn’t home. I missed my city and the new new love I thought I’d found, who lived in Baton Rouge, but was in school at Nichols. My dad still resided on the Westbank of New Orleans so I packed up and moved back until that didn’t work out anymore.
I then bounced back and forth between Georgia and Alabama until I was back at my Mom’s in Birmingham. I didn’t like her husband and he didn’t like me so that lasted for a short minute. Finally, I was able to go back to New Orleans and live in my grandmothers vacant house because she had was in a home thanks to a stroke she had after a storm. A place she asked my dad not to keep her, but he’s a selfish fucktard—blog for another day.
So finally, there I was a place that wasn’t home but was familiar enough for me to find my happy again. It was a bit of a rough start having to find a job and all that but thanks to an old homie, lover, friend I managed.
For a good year or two life was cool. I was in a dramatic ass relationship—two blogs ago—but I was happy. I had a routine and money. Yes, I’m that simple.
I would have stayed in that rugged, old shotgun but the landlord was addicted to drugs. He spent all money on his habit when I constant complained about all that needed to be repaired.
Another storm came and the roof in the living room fell in and I was forced out. This next place would be my first place on my own own, like, in my name and all that good stuff. Me and my dramatic Aries had broken up. I rebounded with a submissive Aries that invited herself to live with me one clothing article at a time.
I didn’t complain. My sister came to live with me and she noticed that there were no curtains. After she brought it up I thought about everywhere I had been since the storm.
I would never hang curtains.
It was the last thing that I did before the storm hit. I’d finally gotten my cute little room just the way I wanted it. This was a big deal because for years I shared a room with my sister and had never been able to express my individuality. I still remember exactly what my room looked like before and after. Typing about it makes me want to cry. My headboard was against the left wall when you walked in. My bed sat on the center of the room. On the other side of it was my y’all dresser. My radio sat on top of it right next to all of CD’s. I’d sit on my computer for hours downloading music from limewire just to play on that thing. My desk was kind of at the foot of my bed and next to it was a movie rack. My window seal was lined with all the trophy’s I’d won in my life playing volleyball (MVP, baby) and being in money pageants—don’t ask. I didn’t have a tv because I would just watch movies on my laptop in bed. I had a double-sided closet that was organized by color first then style and it held all of my high school memories: my varsity jacket, graduation dress and robe, my prom dress, etc. I love to collect memorabilia. The last thing to go up were my sheer, black curtains.
Life was good.
My trauma was attached to those curtains. I refused to hang any in my new place because it was an indication of my comfort and my happiness. I was to get to that level of happy again. What if something happened to take it all away? Again.
It took me eight long years and three different addresses to hang curtains again.
Now I’ll fast forward to marriage. The year was 2014. I’m not going to say much, because you can just wait for the book. I will say it was the place where I lost all of what took me years to find in myself again. I was so busy trying to make a home as a wife that I forgot what made a home for Christiana as an individual. I’m a pleaser. Something I’m currently working on reversing unless the energy is matched.
After my failed marriage, I got into a new relationship and still found myself trying to make a home for two. It just made sense in my mind. Don’t couples decorate together?
I seriously have watched way too many romantic comedies.
Anyway, I live alone again. After months of feeling ignored and out of place in a space that was supposed to be my home I was over it. She didn’t understand and there is nothing more exhausting than explaining yourself to someone when they have their own views and perception.
I wasn’t going to move on my own. I had several plans. One was to move with my roommate, but a damn near two hour commute to work did not sound appealing. The second was to move back home to the south with my mom or sister and start over. Again. And finally, the last plan was to do the thing I was afraid of, be alone. I had not lived alone since 2012. Seven years of company, of noise, even if those sounds were toxic at least they were there. That was the mindset I had adopted. What would I do in silence?
You know what I did? I redefined myself for myself. I found my magic, the things that make me powerful and unstoppable. The things that make me happy. What started out as fear turned into excitement and I spent thousands on my new place. I duplicated what that girl at nineteen was so ready to do—be in my own space. That girl was fearless, she saw the possibility in all things. She was fun. She woke up early. She loved to go for runs. She never knew where she was going and she didn’t mind because walking blindly was where her strength lied. She never gave up on love because it was the one thing she wanted-her fairytale love. No heartbreak could slow her down. She hit the ground hard, but got up stronger every time. She was define feminine and masculine and new exactly when to hone in on those energies. She was chaos, while still disciplined. She, was incredible.
It dawned on my that was getting back to that girl before the storm and I put my bed together. It was the metal headboard that took me there because it reminded me of that same bed in 2005. I sat in the middle of my floor crying happy tears as I looked around at all of the things that made me, me. I still have to get a desk because it is my thrown, but at the end of the day, I can say I feel at home. There is no person that can give me that. I am home within myself. My own heart is home and I’m sad that I’d forgotten that.
It is me that makes the people around me feel at home. It is me that has lovers trying to come back because after years my love has effected them all for a lifetime. Because it was genuine. I am a walking feeling.
I hope I never forget me again. You don’t have to build with anyone other than yourself. If someone chooses to be an addition that’s cool too, but your empire is essentially more than the possessions you leave behind. It’s an essence.