Monday, December 19, 2016

The Place That Built Me

***I wrote this post in August and never published it.
I'm not sure why, but that changes today.***

At the beginning of this month, the kids and I traveled to Louisiana to visit with family and friends. All of the stressful problems that I was keeping quiet about on my last post just became too much, and I needed an escape. So on August 3rd at three o'clock in the morning, we took off for my Aunt's house in the Covington area. The trip was smooth and the kids were perfect, and we arrived around 1:30PM. We stayed in this area for the night and visited with my Aunt, Nanny, and a handful of cousins, and then made our way to the Lafayette area. Over the next 10 days we split our time between my mom's house in New Iberia and my Maw Maw's house in Kaplan.

While there, I felt all the stress and anger that had been crippling me in South Carolina vanish. The hardening stomach, the twitching eye, and the body aches were gone, and I was at peace. Spending time with people that love me for who I am is something that I do not take for granted. While life is Charleston is mostly enjoyable, I've never felt truly at home here. Of course, it's a beautiful place to explore and our location on the East Coast puts us near many desirable travel locations (I'm looking at you, Lake Lure ;)), but I still feel like few really know me. I don't think I'm great with people, and I often feel misunderstood. 

Because of this, I seem to be stuck in limbo. 

The place that I call home is the place where my forever friends and family live. It's a place bursting with culture and community and hospitality. Louisiana.

But the place that my husband and children call home is a place 800 miles away. A place where cobblestone stones streets and Spanish moss transport you to another time, and oysters are eaten instead of crawfish. South Carolina.

While driving down the streets of Lafayette, memories of my youth came rushing back. Meeting friends at local restaurants, shopping at the mall, nights out with my girlfriends, walks in the's like the 30-year-old me traveled through time to 20-year-old me's life.

But that wasn't truly the case.

In reality, while reminiscing over the past, I was shocked and impressed at how much Lafayette has grown since I left. Entire sections of the city that used to be empty fields now contained new roads and routes to get in and out of the city. Grocery stores, restaurants, and businesses that I'd never seen appeared before my eyes and looked like they'd existed for a while.

It felt very surreal to drive the same routes I'd driven down hundreds of times, and yet feel like I was someplace foreign.

Very quickly after arriving, I threw myself a pity party. I don't belong anywhere was my theme, and I began to reevaluate myself and my current predicament in South Carolina. If I don't belong there, and I don't feel like I belong here...then where the heck do I belong?

Luckily, I snapped out of that pretty quickly, but the question remained -- Where do I belong?

I began to pray for peace and direction, and ultimately had a slight wake-up call that didn't happen once I returned to South Carolina. It was one of those Mufasa-in-the-clouds-remember-who-you-are moments. So who am I?

I am the King's Daughter.

I am a Cajun.

I am strong.

I am compassionate.

I have overcome adversity.

I am armed with passion and determination.

I am a wife and mother. 

I am me.

The next time I want to have a pity party because I'm homesick, feel rejected, or am having one of those days, I'll read this list and remind myself of all the things I am, instead of all the things I am not.

I'd be lying if I said it was all rainbows and sunshine during my visit to Louisiana, because being 7 months pregnant and a single parent to two kids under age 5 was freaking hard, and I missed that sweet husband of mine. I also didn't get to see many friends and family that I adore, AND the rain started, didn't stop, and flooded everything. BUT...I loved this visit, I needed this visit, and I've come to a rather obvious conclusion -- Life and death is in the power of the tongue.

So am I speaking life or death

Which one are you speaking?

When Keith and I met, I was so closed off and had built so many walls in an effort to protect my heart that I almost missed out on the love of a lifetime. I won't do that again. I won't let my scars and insecurities hinder me from actually living life. I am determined to change my outlook of Charleston and to try to build relationships here. To bloom where I am planted.

And while I don't know if I'll ever live in Louisiana again (I personally hope this isn't the case), I do find comfort in the fact that I can always go back home...and that is one lovely (and delicious) place to be. 

**I am happy to report that since August I've worked on becoming more content in who I am and have begun to grow more in my walk with Christ, as well as in my community. I may be moving at a glacial pace in regards to the latter, but progress is progress...right?**

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