We spent Thanksgiving in Destin this year. I got a lot of thinking done. I caught almost every sunrise and sunset during our 4-day trip, each sunset taking with it the worries of the day, each sunrise ushering in a new day of hope. I watched the first sunrise with my daughters, thinking that each day is a blessing, and that tomorrow is not promised. And that I must remember to leave my "one and only grain of spiritual sand...".
On Black Friday, I took advantage of the sales and went shopping for a photo shoot that I'll be participating in soon. This was interesting because, I don't like shopping... in public. I don't like crowds. They make me nervous. And I hate trying things on because things never fit. So here we were, on Black Friday in the outlet mall in Destin, with about 8 BaJillion people. I made a concious decision, before getting out of the car, that I was going to get the photo shoot shopping done; I nearly gave up several times though. Finding something that fits a person my size, in stores that sell clothes for adult people, is challenging. (Has anyone else noticed how the pants sizes jump from 00 to size 8? HELLO!!! There's people in-between out here!!) With the help of my husband and kids, I made it through the shopping adventure without totally freaking out, and got everything I needed. And most importantly, without panic! I was very proud of myself.
Saturday was Bayou Classic. For those of you that don't know, that's the SWAC football game between Southern University & A&M College and Grambling State University. (Grambling may have won that football game, but the Jukebox is undefeated, and that is all I'm going to say about that.) Unfortunately, there was a shoot out after the game that night, and several people were shot. One person died. The next morning I learned that the person that was slain was a young man that I had just met last month. The same thing that lead me to him, lead me to the beach...
In August, there was a 500 year flood in Louisiana. Apparently there's a river not far from my house, and at 2 am on August 14th, it decided to come inside my house, and just about everyone else's house in and around Baton Rouge. I've been through a lot of things, but this was by far the most recent traumatic event. And with everything else I had going on at the time, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the reason I took a leave of absence from the DNP Program. It was the event that made me re-evaluate some life decisions. It was the turning point in my quest to discover the root cause of my anxiety/depression/disordered eating.
In October, I wrote "inhale exhale" on a piece of paper, with the NEDA symbol in between the two words. A couple weeks later, I met a young man in a tattoo shop, quiet but full of energy. A beautiful spirit. I asked him how long he had been tattooing, and he said not long, he was an apprentice. He said, "but I know what I'm doing." He smiled and I smiled back. I told him I love people who are learning, that I was a teacher. We had a nice talk while he worked. And when he was done, I had a beautiful tattoo, in my own handwriting. It made it that much more special. I promised to come back so that he could freshen up my 20 year old Nefertiti tattoo, he was so excited to be able to work on her, his joy was contagious.
Living in a construction zone becomes unbearable at times, and the Holidays were coming up. My husband suggested we take a trip to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday to get away from the house for awhile; we would just go to our happy place. We drove to Destin on Thanksgiving morning, and that night, I remember washing my hands and reading "inhale exhale", and thinking that I was so glad to be on vacation... I ate well those 4 days. I slept in a real bed. I put my clothes in the drawers. I used the closet. I put my toothbrush on the bathroom counter. I was thankful for those small things that we usually take for granted, those things I could no longer do at home. I was hopeful that we would be able to put our lives back together soon...
Sunday morning I read the sad news. Ten people were shot in New Orleans after the Classic, and one had died. The man that owned the tattoo shop I just visited said that it was someone within the "shop family". I thought, "please don't let it be him." But it was. The newspaper chose a picture of the young man smiling, at the beach, during what looked like a sunset... We packed to go home that morning. Before we left, we said goodbye to the beach like we always do before we head home. This time I said goodbye to the young artist too. Thanked him for sharing his talent with me. I only met him once, but he left a positive vibe that I'll never forget. I thought about how fleeting life is. Tomorrow is not promised. Each sunset takes with it the burdens of the day. Each sunrise ushers in a day of hope. I left the beach Definitely Hopeful... that I may leave positive vibes... that I may leave my one grain of spiritual sand, forever. - ND
"Forever is what I leave
My I-self contribution
Damn, what I'm gon' leave?
I leave my one and only grain of spiritual sand
To universal scales of humanity
- Common's Dad, Finding Forever