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Hurricane Ian : I Made It

To be where I am right now

Still feels quite crazy

I can't move through town without seeing anything the way it was. A force of nature ripped through my home town; it wasn't anything anyone could control; it was just nature.

And so we will rebuild.

I'm finally returning to work tomorrow and I'm

Grateful, but I'm a little overwhelmed with how much there is to jump into after a couple of weeks of being closed...

There hasn't been anything more trying than this hurricane. Every other time, I knew things were going to be okay; it wasn't my place to make calls as a child. And it's

Somewhat horrifying in a way that here you are, a halfway-grown adult, in an uncontrollable storm keeping your disabled family safe. Sealing every window leak, rushing things from the lanai to the front of the house as barricades, scrambling for more buckets to catch water from the ceiling

All the while, all noise has been cut off. Everything was silent but the storm. Wind, ramming against, in through, and between all structures, taking, moving, and ripping everything in its path.

They said wind speeds reached 140 mph

Everything that had been said

Every piece of information you could have accessed


Everything cut off in an instant.

And now you're on your own. You have your mind. You have your body. You have your life. And you need to use it and move it to protect everyone in your family.

It's hard explaining to your grandpa with dementia what is going on; the feeling of being powerless is commanding you to do something, anything, to make sure something is done. In his shoes, he couldn't handle or understand that his house was being ripped apart shingle by shingle, there is no thought of prayer to help, only to scream for what to be done, what you think can be done.

And in my shoes having to say, "Grandpa, I can't run outside right now. It's dangerous and I might get hurt."

The hours the storm moved on felt impossible. By evening the storm wore down, but there wasn't a point where you could simply clock out of the stress and go home. This is home.

The next day was more treacherous than the storm itself- though the day was arguably the most beautiful I'd ever felt in all my life in Florida. It was crisp, and cool, it made you feel like you wanted to be outside.

We cleaned up shingles and teamed up with the neighbors, creating a fire pit to cook on and sharing a generator, and splitting resources.

The next few days felt like a nonstop of finding resources, food, water to drink, clean water to wipe down with, water for dishes, etc... all around making sure grandpa eats.

With paramedics unable to get to you those first days and the county sending alerts for it, the idea of grandpa suffering a sugar low and not being able to call for help, all the while having the struggle to get him food that he was able to eat was stress in itself.

My mom had a strange black and blue underneath her eye- she's nearly blind in both eyes and the only reason she can somewhat see is from countless surgeries.

It was easier when my dad was around to help take care of her. When he did take care of her. I was free, free to be at the college of my choice, free to make my own mistakes,... I didn't ever anticipate when I made miscalculations and had to move back home that my time actually being with both of my parents was limited. I only had some idea of what I needed to know; suddenly I felt I had to know it all because there was no one else around me anymore that did, or at least seemed to.

When my sister was able to work again and I was still home, I didn't feel free. I felt perpetually watched by my neighbors, perpetually ordered to take care of x/y/z chores, and expected to come home after them. Coming back home where I couldn't think because of all the arguments.

All the lines I waited in to make sure we had resources. When there was no power, the amount of time it would take to complete a trip was incredible compared to before. Everyone was struggling. But everyone was really there for each other.

Some folks lost their whole homes. I don't care about what's damaged; I'm grateful for having walls and windows and a bed. Some people lost family, lost pets.

I felt guilty that I couldn't mentally keep carrying on, I was working in these states where I couldn't speak, couldn't think, just do the task I was set on doing. I was falling asleep as I was doing tasks. Disassociating; almost like it was too much stress for my mind to comprehend at some point. Too many questions, too many existentials.

All I could do was scramble away, pop open my tent and close my eyes.

But in all truthfulness, the most normal I felt was today...

Being with my coworkers. Seeing everyone. If it wasn't for them, I don't think they truly understand; my spirit wouldn't have gotten through without them. I lost my light for a minute there. I stopped seeing not hope for the situation, but I stopped feeling hope for myself.

I had done all I can. Everyone's words, everyone who checked up on me in that time from the outside world of my street, thank you. Thank you so much.

I think we can all feel who the real ones were after that.

It hurt me to still feel that the person I used to call one of my best friends didn't even text me. Once again, I texted her first. And for the conversation I got, I was left on read. The way you can be tight as hell with someone; and then suddenly, not

That boggles my mind. It hurts; I don't know where I went wrong. I can't do anything besides express how I feel and it's crazy to me that having explained at least three times why I feel the way I do.. but we know who the real ones are.

I'm comfortable in a place where I know tomorrow and through the week at work, I won't feel overwhelmed hearing the stories I know I'm going to hear. The community needs healing after this, and I'm grateful to have had the time to heal myself after this all. Things will be okay. There are a lot more questions than there are answers right now but I do feel, after all of this, that I have at least one answer, and that's this. Finding sanctity somewhere.

This is my slice of the internet, and I'm going to allow it to be

Not some curated version of myself; the things I want to depict to make others like me..

Fuck that.

I'm going to allow it to be me. I'm giving myself mental permission to use my own space for myself; give me the mental foundations and structures I need to keep moving myself along through this mess. If you can't get out, or find it insanely morally despicable to get out, get through. There's no deeper ill will you can do than to do harm to your own family, especially when coming to time. I have my times, but each time I get frustrated, it echoes in me that I need to be careful about my words. Each thing I say carries a karmic weight in a way..because in a way, that was instilled in me.

I'll end it there on that note tonight with some hurricane pictures in tote.

I did manage to start an oil painting, and for that, I feel proud. I feel peaceful. It feels good.

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