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Blooming In the Spring

Blooming in the Spring 

When I decided to make the official move from my hometown (San Jose, CA) to a new city, it wasn’t easy. It was my home, my stomping grounds, the only place I knew and was familiar with and knew like the back of my hand. As much as I didn’t want to move, I had these uncomfortable feelings in a place that I’ve known my whole life. The place I grew up, the place I thought I would achieve all my goals in.. I knew I needed a change, and I was so scared, but I just had no idea where to start. I didn’t have the slightest clue what my first move was, or what I was even planning for that matter.

My patience was running thin, and I was constantly losing my temper at the simplest things. The feeling of being unforgettable, and something missing in my life was starting to nag at me. It felt like someone was constantly pushing me to finish a race that I didn't even realize I was in. I was starting to feel less and less at home in a place I always thought I would strive in. I was starting to believe that I didn’t belong anymore. It felt like something was pushing me away, but I just didn’t know where or what this feeling was.

A lot changed in my life before I decided to make my big move. I was learning to control my emotions. As impatient as I was, I worked hard not to get angry. Knowing if I lost my cool at work, or anywhere important for that matter, I would get fired, and I couldn’t lose my job, not as a new mother. There were tons of lessons I was working to teach myself. I would practice taking deep breaths, or go for walks whenever I was feeling overwhelmed. This feeling I had was more than just a yearning to change—I needed to change.

No Looking Back 

Before the move, while things were changing, learning to control my emotions was coming in handy. I realized all the bad that I was cooping up in my head wasn’t true. I was not the center of attention, and everyone was not looking at me every time I walked into a new room. Those were just insecure thoughts I wanted so badly to get rid of. Even the way I was thinking needed to change. I didn’t want to be the first person to put myself down anymore.

I was moving differently and feeling different, everything inside and out was changing. In the morning when I got dressed it felt good to put on my make-up, and not so much as feeling as if it was a chore. I was feeling good inside and out. I also realized that I didn’t like being around certain environments anymore either, which was weird at first.

Thinking things like, “Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with my friends, we grew up together?” Not noticing then, that was part of the change that was happening within myself. I didn’t want to surround myself with people who were not progressing in life, as harsh as that may sound to some. I was going through an indescribable change that I had no way of explaining, especially to my old friends.

There was an old Disney movie I watched when I was younger named “Tuck Everlasting” (also written as a short novel). It's a movie about a family that can’t grow old. A husband and wife, and two sons, are stuck in the same place for what is forever. One day, one of the sons, who was stuck at age seventeen, met a girl around seventeen, Winnie. They fall in love quickly, but his family is against it, not knowing if they can trust her with their secret. Later in the movie, Winnie learns the Tuck family secret from the father. What he tells her is, “Look around you: the stream, flowers, and trees. It's all part of the way of life. It's always changing. It's always growing. Like you Winnie, your life is never the same. You were once a child but now you are about to become a woman.” He goes on to say, “What we Tucks have, you can't call it livin’. We just are. We're like rocks stuck at the side of the stream.” Those lines stuck with me, and still stick with me.

I didn’t want to be stuck. This feeling I had inside of me was growing stronger by the day, and every time I hung out with those old friends, I felt stuck. As wild of a thought as it was, I wanted to see if I could help my old friends the way I was helping myself. I would tell them to get a job or go to school. I would even ask them what they planned to do with their life. I always got the same answer. The answer was always in the terms of “I’m living my best life right now,” and what was harsh about that answer was I knew my friends and their parents. Nothing was changing and nothing was going to change. Because of how protective my parents were I had to get to know the parents of my friends. The parents wouldn’t really bother if their kids skipped school. Some parents I knew would buy beer for us when we were younger while we skipped school. All these reasons and more, is why I couldn’t be in this environment anymore.

Making life-changing decisions is always challenging, especially when it comes to the people you want to have in your life. Where I grew up, there were a lot of gang affiliates and “hoods,” and I didn’t want that for myself or my new little family. Realization hit me: I couldn't be friends with some of these people anymore, as they didn't have the same mentality of leaving home for something better. Or just making something better of themselves and the little lives we were bringing into the world.

That hurt me the most. No one talks about the grief you go through when outgrowing friends and people in your life. It sucks, and it hurts. Some friends got mad at me, some were hurt and it made me feel terrible. I would cry, still missing my old friends, but I had to do what was best for me and my family. I didn't want to smoke with them every weekend, I didn't want the party lifestyle, and I definitely didn’t want my child to grow up around the places I had to walk around and always look over my shoulder.

Grief & Healing

Grief wasn’t a stranger in my life. I lost all of my grandparents by the time I was fifteen years old, so I knew what it was like to lose someone you love. I just never knew you could grieve someone that was still living. After the sad loss of some close friends, I was hurting badly. I wanted to reach out to certain people and try to reconnect with them, but how could I? I was the one who left. 

It wasn’t taught to me by my parents or school that even losing a friend, good or bad, grief comes with it. You'll miss the relationship, the person, and the bond you had. But one thing I was taught: life is going to move on, with or without you.

The decision was finally made. After each struggle I was facing in my hometown, it was finally easy to make the decision that used to feel impossible. I left my home, my childhood, my old life. I was devastated and excited at the same time. Little me was heartbroken, but the me that is growing up was so excited to see what life could bring me and my little family.

Now, when I tell you I thought I made the wrong decision, I really thought I had. Two months after I left my hometown, my step-brother, Isaac, passed away. We were only two months apart, and I was shattered. I remember the morning I got the news. My second oldest brother called me at five in the morning. I thought it was just him calling me on his way to work, but when I answered the phone I instantly knew something was wrong. I fell to my knees crying uncontrollably. 

Here I was, fresh in a new state and city, hours and hours away from my home, from my family, from my life. I felt so alone. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just go back home, I spent all my money coming to this new place. What was I going to do?

So, not only was I grieving my old life, missing my family and old friends; I lost Isaac. Forever. I thought I had made the worst decision of my life, and if I did, this had to be the cruelest sign in the history of “give me a sign.”

As time passed, I didn’t regret my decision. Time moved on for everyone, I just had a harder time moving forward, being alone, and away from my family. After the passing of my family member, I knew I had to work harder. I thought, “We were the same age.” There's no way I'm going to quit, I have to go even harder. Being a newbie in the city I had to learn everything slowly and on my own.

After a year of being in this new city, I enrolled myself in college. After many failed attempts, I knew I had to put my all in one last time. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t going to look back. 

Being in this new place, not knowing too many people, and having no friends; I had tons of time to myself. More time than I would have liked, but it was necessary. With the time I had, I was feeling things I didn’t know I could feel anymore. I had buried old traumas that I wanted to erase from my memory forever. The more time I had to myself the more I would cry and talk to God, asking him, “Why?” Why did I go through what I did when I was younger, why was I in certain situations, why was I hurt?

In these thoughts, I would stop and pray. Pray for strength and wisdom, pray for healing of the mind. I was raised in a Christian household, and my mom used to tell me the relationship I have with God is my own. So, I made it my own. I don’t think I pray like everyone else does, I talk and have a conversation with God. I also have very vivid dreams that I take as answers, at least something relatively close. It doesn’t happen often, but my dreams have become reality on a couple of occasions. As insane as that sounds, it has happened. To this day, I sometimes think it's just deja vu, but who can really explain what's going on in someone else's head?

Unknowingly, I was healing. At the time, I thought I was suffering. I learned on my own that to heal, there are occasions when revisiting old memories and acceptance is necessary to move forward. I had to forgive and move on to progress in my own life. I had no idea that things in my past were part of what was holding me back. And after every crying session, I always felt a little better, knowing that I was actively working for a better life for a better me.

This is what I wanted, this is what I had been feeling. This was that unexplainable feeling. I wanted relief. I cannot stress this enough, the weight that I had felt lifted off my shoulders, time and time again, forgiving and moving on. This is what I was feeling the years before my move. I wanted to heal. I wanted to move on. Then I had one more question: why did I have to move for all of these changes to take place? Can it be a place that holds someone back? Yes. 

Living To Feel Alive 

All the healing I’ve worked so hard on was paying off in ways I always knew was possible. I was happier, more loving, and giving. 

I was enjoying being back outside and going to the park, or for a hike in this new city, exploring. There was this energy inside me that felt like it was waiting for me to let it all out. There were instances where I wasn’t scared to do something. For example, when I was younger, I used to love dancing. I was in ballet for seven years and hip hop for one. So, now even when I’m at the grocery store, at home, or in the car, I will start singing and dancing without a shame in the world because it's what’s making me happy.

I love to be silly and have a great time. I love to feel alive. Something else I learned from that movie, “Tuck Everlasting,” live to feel alive. You can live a thousand lives, but are you alive, or just living?

I’ve hit my five-year mark in this new city and I can honestly say that I am so glad I decided to move. There were so many whirlwinds of emotions constantly hitting me in the year before and after the move. Still healing in my own ways, I accept the life I have. It's far from perfect and has its ups and downs at times, but I wouldn't change this for the world. 

Reading was therapeutic to me in my teenage years, now it's a hobby, and so much fun. I love the feeling of reading a book that can transfer me into a whole new world. I used to think of books as an escape from reality. Now I see them as adventures of the imagination. 

These days I’m enjoying life at every breath, every second, and every season. I enjoy the sun glistening on my skin and the gravel beneath every step I take. I enjoy my family being by my side through thick and thin, till the wheels fall off. Forever and after, we live to feel alive. We live to explore. We live to love.

About the Author:

Raquel Chavarria is a blog/newsletter writer/editor intern with the Love Yourself Foundation. Raquel enjoys helping spread the word and information about the LYF mission at events and on a daily basis with word of mouth. She loves to go on hikes and take her little family to the park. Raquel loves to find new restaurants to eat and try new flavors. She also loves to read, for fun and for business. Her goal is to work for a book publishing company to be part of the process of helping people escape reality for a few moments and get lost in the words between the pages of a book.


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