I’ve been battling with this post in my mind for a while because I didn’t want to publish it, have my family read it and then worry everyone. But I think it’s time for me to open up about how I’ve been feeling since moving to Florida.
Spoiler alert: it’s actually all positive stuff.
So in case you are one of my new followers (hello to my new followers!!), let me backtrack a little:
I graduated with my bachelor’s in May. Struggled to find a job, finally got an offer for one at the beginning of September. This required moving from Massachusetts to Florida – which is something I had no problem doing. I knew I was going to have to move away to work and I was fortunate that I had two places I could stay at until I have enough money to go out on my own.
Here’s more background on me: I’m introverted. Like, extremely. I could probably not talk to anyone for a full day and I’d be okay with it. I’m perfectly happy being alone and staying home.
I’m also incredibly socially awkward – I have a tough time talking to new people right off the bat and will end up just being quiet for fear of being judged. I’d say I have a severe case of social anxiety, along with a whopping dose of diagnosed depression and general anxiety. I’m not very adventurous and stay inside my comfort zone for fear of judgment and failure of my own stupid standards.
Which is why I’m surprised as hell at myself for how I’ve been feeling about myself since moving. It’s taught me a lot about myself and uncovered a side of me I didn’t even know existed. (Family and friends reading this might not believe me but I swear its true – you all know my awkwardness with emotion!)
I’ve been here for three weeks – almost one month at this point. Though I haven’t ventured out into the downtown Fort Lauderdale nightlife yet (my coworkers plan on changing that) or seen the arts district of Miami (again, coworker wants to change that), I feel like I have seen amazing things since I’ve been down here: my own courage and bravery.
It didn’t take a lot for me to convince myself to move – as previously mentioned, I knew I would have to at some point. It took a lot for me to literally leave everything behind. All my family is in Massachusetts, all my friends are in the northeast (sans the one I am living with), my boyfriend is still in New England (with full intentions of moving down here hopefully soon), and the most painful to my heart – my sweet dogs and cats.
I know that sounds stupid, but I’m an animal lover and there IS a point to me mentioning them. My animals are my babies and I treat them as such – I talk to them in a stupid baby voice, constantly give them attention and would take a bullet for them.
The week before I left, my dog Angel was not doing so hot. My mom told me that if she wasn’t better by the Tuesday before we left to move me down, we would make the decision to help her pass over so she wouldn’t be suffering while my mom was gone. I prayed that wouldn’t have to happen so that my mom and I wouldn’t be extra sad, and as bad as it sounds I had done mental preparation for that to happen while I was already gone.
Fortunately, she made massive improvements so we left according to plan. The following Saturday (the day after I got to Florida) my mom and I were out shopping for a few things I needed when my brother told her that Angel was refusing to eat anything. This put us both in a panic and my grandmother took the dog, my brother, and my dad to the emergency vet. We immediately went into a worst-case-scenario mode: putting her to sleep that night.
Once more, I prayed and prayed and prayed to God (which is something I don’t admit to often, but I did) and to my Pepere in heaven (who adored my dog) that they let her be okay for just two more days. Two more days until my mom flew home to be with her. We cried and cried all night and finally my grandmother told my mom that they were going to bring her home with a new diet and some new medication. We were able to relax for the night knowing that our Angel baby was home with the people she loved.
The next morning my Dad told my mom that Angel was refusing her pill again. My dad has never owned a dog in his life nor had a pet until my cat when I was 4 (who passed away on her own last year) – so we thought maybe he’s just not hiding the pill enough. Eventually, she took it but in the meantime, my mom decided to change her flight home to that afternoon so she could go home and be with the dog.
And I was relieved. So much of my anxiety that weekend was just my poor dog not doing good and my mom being with me. My mom was Angel’s favorite person on the planet. My mom got up, she got up. My mom went to bed, she went to bed. So it was killing me that my mom was with me and not the dog. (Believe me, I was told countless times “Don’t even say that I should be with her instead because this is more important!”)
Fast forward three days later, mom flew home, everything was okay. Wednesday hits and my mom says they’re taking her to the vet again to see if there was anything else left they could do, and if not they were going to help her pass. I facetimed her during my lunch break so I could talk to her one last time, then later when I got home I called my mom and she told me that they did have to help her pass. And I cried all. night. long. And then I cried again when I facetimed my mom again later in the week and found out my mom had picked up her ashes. Safe to say my entire house is a wreck because we lost the first dog that we had for 12 years.
What does this have to do with discovering myself?
It helped me prove to myself that I am a strong person. I know it sounds silly, but being states and states away from my family during a hard time has actually helped me become a better person. I’m not there to sit around and weep all day – I have work to do and the mindset of ‘There isn’t anything I can about it from Florida’. It’s made me a stronger person and shown myself that I can be brave despite bad things happening.
Do I still miss her every day? Of course. In the three weeks that I’ve been here after she’s been gone, my little Angel has been in my dreams EVERY night. I know it seems like that may be a weird thing to remember, but it gives me a sense of comfort that she’s still with me. I’ve been doing a good job at hiding how hurt I’ve been since she’s been gone for the sake of my mom not worrying about me being sad. Even though she sees through my bullshit and knows anyone, fake it till you make it.
And when I get home in November for my vacation, I’ll be a wreck again. Because I’ll be walking into the house to only one wagging tail instead of two (which will definitely help ease some of the pain). She won’t be there to snuggle with me and it will be extremely weird walking into a house of one dog for the first time since high school. Our baby won’t be there anymore.
But after all this, I know I will be okay. I survived this pain which is arguably one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced in my adult life. It’s been hard, but its helped me show myself that I am stronger than I think.
I uprooted myself and moved away from everything I’ve ever known then had one of the worst things possible happen to my family while I was away (well, not the worst but pretty fucking bad). I’ve experienced depressive episodes and panic attacks all in the span of three weeks and got through them all without anything that I usually use to comfort me.
At this point, I know that I can survive almost anything that comes my way.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wipe my tears and clean my glasses.