Where.

Have you ever been in a place that is so far away, so unfamiliar, but when you breathe in and you look around, you’ve never felt anything that close to home? There is a certain confidence that adds to your mind and body when you feel so comfortable in a place you’ve never been. You can walk down the street, grab a stool at a local bar, smile at the person passing you on the sidewalk, and it appears as though you’ve done it a thousand times. You pull up to that place and your heart is all of the sudden overflowing, all of your pain, and stress, and struggles are suddenly just gone. You feel lighter, looser, and free. You get the feeling that in all of the other places you’ve been, you were never really yourself because in this place, and in this moment, you are exactly the person you were meant to be. You are at your full capacity.

My place is St. John.

The first time I went to St. John, I was probably around 12. I don’t remember everything about that trip, and when I look back on it I think I considered it to be just another vacation and I didn’t really connect to it. Last summer, 2014, my family booked a trip to the island, but I was working full time and I was in a serious relationship and I didn’t want to leave home. When my mom started planning for St. John 2015, I didn’t doubt that I was going for a second. I was still in that serious relationship, I had a full-time job, but for some reason there was no hesitation this time around.

The day of travel to St. John was definitely exhausting. Our flight was out of Dulles at 6am, and the car picked us up around 3:30am. I was in summer classes at the time, so of course I waited until about 1am to start my midterm exam. I think I got about a solid 20 minutes of sleep? We flew from Dulles to Miami, and then when we boarded the plane from Miami to St. Thomas, I couldn’t tell you what was wrong with the plane but I can tell you that we sat on the runway for an hour and a half, with no air (in Miami in July), and THEN they told us we needed to switch planes. I was sooooo cool, calm, and collected and definitely not homicidal at all. Once we landed, we had about 15 minutes to get our bags from baggage claim, get on a taxi to the ferry dock, and make the very last Westin ferry. When we got to the dock the ferry wasn’t there yet, because…island time…so my mom and I grabbed a corona and finally had a minute to breathe. When we got on the ferry, I was warned I’d get splashed if I sat on the top but I didn’t care. I took my seat on the side and peered over the railing as we set off towards St. John. The sun was starting to go down, and as soon as I was starting to feel like I caught my breath from the long day of travel, I lost it again. You can look at the pictures, you can hear the stories, but nothing compares to being on that ferry and coasting into St. John.

The week that I spent there with my family was nothing short of amazing. We did it all, we took a private boat to the BVI’s, where we did incredible snorkeling and of course stopped at Foxy’s and Soggy Dollar. We took our rental car to Hawksnest, Cinnamon, Maho, and Caneel. We had dinner at Asolare, we did happy hour at Woody’s and Beach Bar. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs at our villa, and we picked up BBQ from Candi’s. I fell in love with every one of those places.

I can’t really describe the feeling I had the day we left the island. It honestly felt like my heart was broken. I felt sick to my stomach, and anxious, and all I knew was that I 100% did not want to get on that plane. While we were on the ferry I was talking to my parents about if it would be realistic at all to come back by myself in a few weeks, because the family I was a nanny for were going on vacation and I already had the week off. I knew it would be expensive, but the only thing that held me together was looking at flights and hotel rooms and trying to figure out if I could swing it. The day after I got home, I booked a flight and I booked a one-bedroom apartment and it was a plan. It was the first time I’d done something that spontaneous and something that big on my own. I was definitely nervous, but I just wanted to be there. I woke up around 4am the morning of my trip, called an uber, walked outside with just myself and my suitcase, and went off to the airport. Once I got to Red Hook ferry dock in St. Thomas, I was still pretty unsure of what the hell I was doing. Finally, when it was time to board the ferry I climbed up to the top deck and that’s when it hit me. Everyone I’ve talked to in the past few months that is moving down to the island that have never been there before, I always tell them to just wait until they’re on the ferry and hold onto that feeling forever. There’s no more room for anything to go wrong, there are no more steps between you and St. John…you made it. You made it to the bright blue skies and the clearest ocean you’ve ever seen. The wind whips across your face and the water splashes all around you and you’re speeding across the ocean but you’ve never felt so still. I was sitting there alone, smiling like a damn fool but I just couldn’t help it. I was going to my place.

I spent the next week just living, breathing, relaxing, exploring, drinking, swimming, tanning, talking, meeting new people and making friends. I woke up every morning, packed up all of my stuff for the day and went down to Cruz Bay Landing to have breakfast and coffee. I was in no rush, I had no where to be, so I just sat and looked at the people coming in off the ferry, the people coming to have breakfast, and the people loading into taxis to take off to their adventure of the day. When I finished, I would walk down to the line of taxis, decided which beach I wanted to go to, and went off to spend the day in the sun. One of the days I was there I went to Trunk Bay, and I was about waist deep in the ocean when I just started to cry. It wasn’t like a few tears welled up in my eyes; it was like full on sob, but also laughing hysterically because I had no idea why I was crying. That is just what St. John does to me…it’s so overwhelming that I’m standing in the ocean laughing and crying hysterically…alone…like a lunatic…but for some reason, it’s actually a good thing.

After every beach trip, I would go back to my apartment and shower and get ready for the evening. I would go down to Beach Bar to catch the end of happy hour and watch the sun set. I think that was my favorite part from my trip. I would grab a painkiller, walk down the stairs and into the sand, pull a plastic chair into a good spot, watch the sky change colors and try to hold onto the moment for as long as I could. Some nights I would stay at Beach Bar well into the night and do patron shots with the bartender, or walk over to Cruz Bay Landing and have a drink and listen to the live music, or go to Longboard to have my all time favorite STJ drink- a frozen painkiller.

It didn’t really matter which place I ended up, or what I ordered, because in every place there were relaxed, happy people who wanted to ask me about how my day was going, there were sunburned faces smiling when you sat down, there were overjoyed newlyweds, and there were tiny toddlers exhausted from the sun. In the nighttime, when the darkness fell onto the gorgeous beaches and breathtaking scenery, St. John was just as beautiful because the people that were there all share the same sparkle in their eyes. We all came from so many different places all around the world, but St. John brought us all there into that little open-air oceanfront bar to share stories of our different pasts, while making memories that we will all bring with us into the future, no matter which paths we take from there.

At the end of my trip, I had a different feeling on the ferry leaving St. John. The trip did exactly what it was supposed to. I was either going to leave thinking “Ok- I’m good, I don’t need to move down here” or, “There is no doubt in my mind that I’m coming back.” Spoiler alert: I’m going back.

The day after I got home I booked another trip, but this one is with one of my best friends. We will be in St. John from November 19th to December 1st, and I can’t wait for her to see and understand how I feel about that place. Mostly, I can’t wait to be back on St. John because that is when I will feel whole again. I leave a lot behind when I get on the plane but there are sacrifices that come along with following your heart and finding your passions. I know what love is, and I know what I’m passionate about, but being in St. John this past summer made that all much more clear to me. If there is anywhere in this world that will help me figure out who I am, what my purpose is, and what I have to offer this world, I wholeheartedly believe that my place is St. John. If my expectations are too high and I leave after a year just as clueless as I am now, the island is still a pretty decent place to fail miserably at finding myself.

I’m aware that a lot of people may not understand the depth or meaning of this post because maybe you haven’t found your “where”. If you haven’t, I pray that you find it soon because it will fill a place in your heart that you didn’t know you had. If you’ve never been to St. John, I can’t recreate the feeling that it brings, but I will do my best to give you a glimpse. But just remember, St. John is so much more than white sand and clear water, it is who you are and who you can become when you are there. Now I will make a cheesy attempt at showing you my place from my eyes, so click on this link and look at some of my favorite pictures of my where.

Old Blue Chair- Ocean Mix

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This is my all-time favorite photo I’ve taken from St. John. This is my petroglyph bracelet, which is a symbol that was found in caves many, many years ago and is now used as kind of an unofficial symbol for STJ. This is from my solo trip, and my bracelet is hooked onto a rock at Hawksnest Beach.

SunsetMaho

Here I am during the trip with my family- sunset over Maho Bay.

BigSunMaho

Sunset over Maho.

FamilyMahoSunset

One more Maho sunset, with my amazing family.

VicCinnamon

This is me being sassy in Cinnamon Bay.

Selfie Cinnamon Bay

Another from Cinnamon Bay.

HannahVicCruzBay

My girl Hannah & I outside of Beach Bar as the sun set on Cruz Bay.

AsolareCruzBay

Lemondrops at Asolare, looking over Cruz Bay.

beachbar

THE Beach Bar.

MomVicTrunkOverlook

My mom & I at the incredible Trunk Bay overlook.

LastSunsetCruzBay

On the last night of my solo trip, my last nightly sunset outside of Beach Bar on Cruz Bay.

LeavingFromFerry

And lastly, the view of leaving St. John from the ferry. It’s a hard place to leave.

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When.

There’s no time like the present!

Blog post over.

Just kidding- I have thought about this for a while, and when I talk about moving to St. John, “when?” is one of the first questions I get. When I started thinking about making this move, the date that popped into my head was December 29th. December 29th allows me to be home for Christmas, but in the islands for New Years. I haven’t bought my ticket yet, simply because I haven’t decided if I am shipping my car down. If I do ship my car, I will have to drive it down to Florida and then fly out from there. If I don’t ship my car, I will fly out of Dulles. I am definitely ready to buy my ticket because I want it to feel more official, but if you can imagine, there are just a few decisions you have to make before you uproot your life and relocate 2,000 miles away.

When I was in St. John with my family over the summer, we met a family on the beach that owns a fabulous business on the island. Of course I was drawn to their adorable little girl and started chatting with her about her favorite Frozen characters, and quickly informed her mom that I have been in childcare for 10 years, because sometimes I forget that it isn’t completely normal to have conversations with two year olds before introducing yourself to their parents. As I begun talking to her mom, I told her that I wanted to move and she told me all about the options to nanny on the island. She told me that she would answer any questions I have, and she would be willing to do anything she could to help me make the move. She was kind enough to give me her contact information, and when I decided to go back to St. John two weeks later for a solo trip, I let her know that I would be down there and hoped we could get together for a cup of coffee, but of course she went above and beyond and told me she’d pick me up and we’d spend the day at Maho Bay. We loaded up her Jeep, and her, her girls and me went off to one of the most beautiful beaches on St. John. I met several other people while we were there, because she knows just about everyone on the island. That seems to be the case for most people, when you live on a rock in the middle of the ocean, it seems you run into some familiar faces. After Maho, she took me to out lunch at her restaurant. Her husband came by our table to say hi, and we were talking with him about how I was debating on making the move. He said, “How old are you?” and I said, “22.” He said, “Perfect. Do it.” That simple exchange has stuck with me through the past few months of making plans to move. When I hear the question “when”, I always just think of that number. 22. If not now, then when?

I’m 22, at the time of my move I will be a college graduate, I have no husband, no kids, nothing holding me to Virginia. I have an amazing family and fantastic friends of course, but they don’t hold me back. They encourage me and support me to go further and pursue my dreams and passions. I haven’t started a career, and I haven’t decided on graduate school. If I didn’t move to St. John in December, what would I do? Apply to a million entry-level jobs, pay off my student loans while living in my parent’s basement, go to the same bars with the same people every Friday night? Start off the biggest transition of my life while going back to the same place that I have spent the last 22 years? How do I transition to a new life by going back to my old one?

Growing up is no joke, y’all. It’s actually pretty terrifying, and I’m pretty certain that deciding to take this next year to live abroad and work a couple of part-time jobs is an attempt to put off the inevitable. I don’t want to grow up right now! I am not ready to start my career, or go to graduate school. I have been in school for the past 16 ½ years. The past 16 ½ years have been spent preparing for this very time in my life, and I don’t feel ready. Uh yeah- that’s kind of scary. I know that I will be ready, and I know that I will do great things in my field and I will be passionate about my work when I start my career. But does that have to start now? At 22? Sure, I will have a bachelor’s degree as a babysitter or a bartender. But who gets to decide that’s not ok? Yep, I will have a gap in my resume when I start applying for jobs. What I have decided about that is that I am not my resume. My resume is one piece of paper; I am 22 years of life. My life is so much more important than what is on my resume, especially since the point of concern is one year without a job in my field after graduation. I have spent the past 16 ½ years doing what I am supposed to do, what society tells you is the right thing to do to be successful and get the most out of life that you can. I am so blessed and so grateful that I have been able to attend school, and receive higher education with full support from my parents. With that being said, I did it! Right? I went to school, passed (most of) my classes, and in 6 weeks I’ll have a degree! No big deal, it only took 16 ½ years, so can I please give myself one year to go out of what society has determined I’m supposed to do?

So, what happens if I decide that now is not the time, and I don’t move to St. John in December? I see myself either staying in Norfolk and finding a temporary job until my lease is up in July, and then moving home. Then I’d look for a job, or apply for graduate school. If I get a job, then I am in my field and for the rest of my career I will be overworked and underpaid as a social worker, I will pursue my dream of being a crisis pregnancy counselor, and I will dedicate my time and my life to helping others and serving others, which is what I feel like I have been placed on this earth to do. Next scenario, I move home and decide on graduate school. I spend 2 more years in school, rounding off at 18 ½ years total, and then I become a therapist and spend the rest of my career helping, and serving others. Those options both sound reasonable, I can see myself being happy doing either one of those things, and here’s the plot twist- one of those things is going to happen if I move to St. John or not! My degree is one thing that will never be taken away from me. My passion for being a helping professional will never be taken away from me. Moving to St. John does not take away my education, it doesn’t take away my drive to succeed and work to obtain all life has to offer me. Moving to St. John simply pushes back making that next decision for one year.

The one thing that would change, is the regret that I would carry for the rest of my life. If I don’t go to St. John now, I don’t think I ever will. I’ll get comfortable in my career, I’ll be stuck paying off debt from graduate school, I’ll meet someone that I won’t want to move away from, or one of the million things that could hold me back- will hold me back. Right now, I don’t have any of those things. I’m scared to wait. Realistically, I should at least wait a few months after graduation and work my ass off to save as much money as I can, but I’m scared I will change my mind and then get stuck into a routine that I will be in for the rest of my life, and I’ll wake up 10, or 20 years from now thinking, “What if?” Life will always be full of what-if’s, but this is one that I can prevent. I don’t have to worry about the what-if of moving to St. John, because I can do it. I have the resources (I think), I have the support, I have friends there, I have a place to live. The only thing I don’t have is a reason not to.

I don’t want my story to include “Yeah, I spent a few months planning a move to the islands but it just never happened.” Uh, that’s not really a cool story to tell my future kids. I want my story to say, “I found a place I loved, I worked my ass off to make it happen, and I did it.” I don’t care if I end up hating living on St. John. If I hate it, what did I lose? A few months, a year? A few thousand dollars? In the grand scheme of things, in the overall meaning of my whole life, what is a few months or a few thousand dollars? Time and money are relative. If they are wasted, they are wasted because I followed my heart and took a crazy leap of faith. How could I regret that?

There will be a time in my life that building my savings account will be one of the most important things that I do. There will be a time that I will be responsible for tiny humans, and my whole life will be transformed and dedicated to another person. There will be a time where I will be on a schedule, I will make important payments every month, I will pack lunches every morning. But the thing is, I don’t have to do any of those things right now. I get to be selfish, because I am at a point in my life where I have very little to be responsible for. That will change. I will welcome that change when it comes and I know I will be fulfilled when I have a family of my own, but for now I want to live to my full extent because when I do have my own family, I can’t see a relocation like this being super easy. I have so much respect for parents, especially parents of young children, and I am around parents so much that I so deeply understand how going to the grocery store is HARD. You have 3 kids under 3, your husband is deployed, and you went to Target?! Are you freakin’ superwoman?! Seriously, that shit is hard. I was babysitting one time over the summer, for two little girls, 4 & 2, and I thought it would be a great idea to go to Chipotle in Reston Town Center. After parallel parking a quarter mile away, getting out the double stroller, piling them in and then not realizing how damn big a double stroller is when you put it in a tiny restaurant, I look around as I’m dripping sweat and think- oh my god, will this ever be easy? They’re not even my kids, I didn’t birth them or raise them and I’m literally just trying to buy them a quesadilla and it’s probably the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done in my life.

To bring that tangent on how much I respect superheroes, I mean parents, back to the point- if I can’t even take kids out to lunch when it’s 90 degrees without wanting to cry, how could I ever make a move like this one if I’m not on my own? I’m 22; the average age for marriage in the United States is 27. Whoa, buddy! Hypothetically speaking, if I find a man crazy enough to want to deal with me for the rest of my life, it would be totally normal and average to have that all completed in 5 years? Seems like a lot to take on, y’all. Like I have said over, and over again in the past few months, if not now- then when? The answer to that is…probably never. When I think about my life, I don’t see myself being able to do this any farther than a couple of years down the road. This is a really crucial time in my life. There are so many changes, so many decisions, and soon enough, all of those decisions and changes will revolve around other people, but for now, they don’t. So much happens in your twenties. In a lot of cases, your twenties are when you find out who you are and who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. I am so scared of giving up on a dream, not figuring out who I’m supposed to be, and spend my life wondering what would be different if I went. So, that’s the reason behind the “when”. Because I’m single, selfish, supported, and 22.

What.

I have an idea of what the content of this blog will be like, but like I said- I am all over the place all of the time so who knows where it will end up. But let’s go with the idea that I can stay on task, and talk about the “what”. Graduating from college and figuring out what the next stage of my life will be, going through a messy breakup from a long relationship, and the decision to move far from home and the process of making that happen.

Graduating from college is really starting to freak me out. I’ve never been in love with my school or extremely passionate about my college experience, so I’ve been ready to graduate for a long time. I have so many friends that freak out about graduating because they loved their time in college so much and aren’t ready to let it go. For me, I definitely don’t feel that way about leaving, but I am starting to feel differently about it. Being in college sometimes feels like kind of an excuse to not grow up and have my parents still take care of me from a couple hundred miles away. Now, I know that I’ve still gone and gotten myself a degree and my parents didn’t TOTALLY hold my hand through it- but let’s face it. I haven’t been roughing it for the past 4 ½ years, I don’t know real struggle, and I do know this isn’t “the real world”. Finishing college means that I don’t have a reason to rely on parents and I am at the point where in the next year or so, the norm would be for me to start my career with a full-time job, work on finding my own place and moving out, and start a new life on my own. Like, I’m pausing to take a deep breath because holy shit that’s scary. It’s normal, its part of life, but it happened very quickly and I don’t feel prepared- at all. I don’t budget my money, I don’t have a real savings account of just money that I have earned and saved on my own. I don’t even have a credit card because don’t you have to be an adult to have one of those?! Wait. Ugh. Okay, I can probably handle a credit card, as long as my dad comes with me to set it up.

Prior to a few months ago, I planned on staying in Norfolk until May of 2016, when my ex-boyfriend graduates, and then we planned on moving back home and getting jobs, then saving up and moving into our own place. We wanted to stay in the area so that was always my idea of what would happen when I graduated, and that wasn’t scary to me at all. But as we know, sometimes life doesn’t like to be planned out and then shit hits the fan and you’ve gotta roll with it and make a new plan. When I was in St. John with my family this summer, I met with a friend who moved to the island alone and on a whim, and I was sort of stunned thinking about how much courage that must take and what a cool idea that was. After I started thinking about how that was actually a possibility for me, I asked every single person I talked to on the island about their story and what brought them there. The overwhelming response was- “I was a twenty-something with nothing holding me back, so I bought a one-way ticket and here I am.” When I asked for advice, another overwhelming response from my surveying was, “All you have to do is buy your ticket. That’s the hardest part. After that, it will all fall into place.” At first, the idea of going to St. John was a fantasy, something to think about to escape my present life. The more research I did, the more people I talked to, the more real it became. It wasn’t just a thought anymore, it was a plan. I was actually planning a move to the islands. I convinced my best friend to come down with me for one last trip before I move, and when we got our tickets I was thinking this would probably end up being what I would do instead of going. I had a feeling I would get to a point where moving sounded too hard and too expensive and that I didn’t want to do it anymore, so I would settle for 12 days over thanksgiving and then I would have my fix for a while. Well, that still hasn’t happened. Instead, I have an interview while we’re there and I’ll hopefully be able to bring stuff down to move into an apartment to make my one-way trip down a little easier. I found my heart in this, I found passion, and it hasn’t dulled so I am just going to keep on keepin’ on.

Just within the last few weeks I have started to have actual fear and anxiety about moving. Prior to this, I had no doubt at all and I was counting down the days until I can go. I think having some doubt is normal when you’re taking a huge leap of faith, and when you start to realize what you’re leaving behind. My plan for my move is a one-year plan. I don’t plan on staying longer, but I think any shorter period of time wouldn’t be enough to get out of it what I want to get out of it. I’m sure in that year I will make at least one trip back home, and if that is how it ends up, that means I will only see my family once for an entire year. (Another deep breath.)

Aside from the feelings about moving to St. John, there are a couple other hard parts. The big one is that people who live in St. John aren’t really going to take you seriously about moving until you’re there. Which means, good luck getting a job or an apartment from the states. So, that leaves you sitting there thinking, “I am supposed to buy a one-way ticket without a place to live or an income?” and to that they say…”Exactly.” No, they really just tell you that everything will be ok, and they give you 9 different places to go and people to talk to, they offer their advice and phone number for whenever you need help, and they tell you to take a leap of faith and everything will fall into place. They tell it to you straight, like how hard it is going to be, how much money you need to have, how your POS car won’t be getting you anywhere so you really just need to listen and buy a damn Jeep. But the amount of people I’ve connected with and have plans with and already call my friends is pretty remarkable. There are a lot of people that moved to the island without knowing a single person, and I am very lucky that isn’t the case for me. I have people. I have support, and at the very least I have someone to meet me for happy hour. That is more than enough for me, y’all.

The past couple of months have been long hours on Craigslist, insurance quotes, car shipping quotes, looking at prices of apartments per month that are more than I’ve made in the past year. It has been spent wondering things like, if I need to go to the dentist, or the doctor, or have one of my piercings looked at, is that something I can do without using the ocean as a method of transportation? When you think about running errands, making appointments, or just getting something basic that you need, it’s a little abnormal to think that you might have to get on a boat to do so. But that just becomes something you have to start thinking about. For something that people tell me will fall into place on its own, I seem to be doing a hell of a lot of planning. Someone told me, “You just have to give in to the way of the island.” I will, but I am just not there yet. I’m confident that it will come to me in time, but for now I am going to keep sending emails and making phone calls even if I’ve been told 87 times there is nothing I can do until I get there.

The graduating, the breakup, and the move, is obviously pretty intertwined. In the middle of a nasty argument, someone told me “…says the girl that’s moving to St. John to run away from a breakup.” And obviously at first I’m going to push that away and say, of course not, it has nothing to do with him! But let’s be real. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m like ok, if I am running away from a breakup, is there really anything wrong with that? I’m in an endless cycle of highs and very, very, low lows and I am pretty positive it is going to stay like that for as long as we’re in the same damn zip code. So if I am running away, if that’s what is going to fix it and make me better in the long run…then hell yeah I’m lacing up my hot pink Nikes and sprinting as fast as I can. Running from a breakup to the Virgin Islands just doesn’t sound bad to me. I’m still going to deal with it, and face my feelings and grieve and do whatever bullshit I’m “supposed” to do, but I can just do it all from the most beautiful place on earth, right? Sounds fine to me. Don’t kill my vibe.

Everyone becomes a counselor, an expert, and a critic when you are in an unhealthy relationship. I love my friends and I love my family and I so deeply appreciate everything that everyone has done to help me get through it and be there for me and support me. But if I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you just have to stop talking to him”, then I would have enough money to afford first and last months rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cruz Bay. I just have to stop talking to him? Oh, that’s the key? Funny, I’ve never thought of that before! Groundbreaking advice my dear friend! Okay, I’m being an asshole, but seriously y’all- if it were that easy then this blog would have a lot less content.

So, full circle back to the content of this blog. This is the “what”. If you chose to keep reading, this is what you can expect to learn about, plus whatever else happens to be going on in my life which I can guarantee will be stupid, crazy, unreal, and everything else that makes for good entertainment when it’s not happening to you. Because that is just where I’m at. So, we’ll talk about all of the crazy shit I’m going through that I am going to overcompensate for by moving to paradise. It sounds risky, but if I’m going to do this I’m going to go all in and I’m going to be honest about it. I’m not going to be the girl that’s traveling because my life is so together that I can just bounce from country to country and my stellar life will be waiting for my back home. I will not be leaving in confidence that I will be putting my degree to good use for the time I’m gone, or even that I know what I am going to do with my degree when I get back. I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t even know all of the questions, but it is what it is. This is just the “what” of your every day twenty-something.

Who.

Welcome to blog post number one! Let’s start with a disclaimer: I am not a professional writer. I love to write, I love to share what goes on in my head, but unfortunately sometimes those thoughts come out going 90mph in 6 different directions. I also really overuse commas but just go with it. So, if you’re looking for clear, organized, professional style reading material- this might not be the place for you. If you’re generally interested in taking time out of your day to read about my crazy life and can get past my scatterbrain, God bless you and I am happy you’re here.

When coming up with a little tagline for this page, I thought about the reason for wanting to start a blog in the first place and one of my intentions is for others to understand where I am in my life, where I plan on going, and why. Most importantly, it is so that I can figure it out, too. For myself and for anyone else that is interested, this is the “who, what, when, where, and why” of a twenty-something, going through a breakup, fleeing the mainland and off to St. John, USVI. The breakup and the move are unrelated. Or are they…more to come on that (as I figure it out).

So for post number one, I’m going to start with “the who”. No one has ever told me I don’t talk about myself enough, so this may be one of the easier posts. I am a 22-year-old female, and I am an upcoming graduate of Old Dominion University. I will be graduating with a bachelors of science in human services and counseling. When it comes time to use my degree to start a career, I plan on pursuing one of my passions and becoming a crisis pregnancy counselor. Hopefully getting my masters degree is somewhere in the plans for my life and I will become a therapist, but until then, I want to work with women who are in a crisis pregnancy situation, and not only need to know all of their options but need someone to process these options, the feelings about them, the feelings about their individual situation as a whole. This is where there is a gap in the human services field, and I plan on filling it.

I grew up in Northern, Virginia and I come from a blended family. My dad, and my mom had my sister in 1991, and I arrived shortly after in 1993. After their divorce, my mom remarried to my step-dad Rodney, and his daughter became my stepsister. Rodney had cancer and was in remission, but it came back much, much worse and he passed away in 1999. My mom remarried to my now stepdad, and just after that my dad remarried to my stepmom. They both had baby boys within a few months of each other in 2002, and my stepmom and my dad had another baby, a girl, in 2008. So if you followed along with all of those parents and babies, it equals 5 parents and 5 brothers and sisters.

Growing up in a blended family has always had ups and downs, just like any other family. Some key things I have learned from my childhood that may have to do with part of who I am today are as follows: 1. Don’t get too comfortable, because something is about to change. 2. It is hard to adjust to having a stepparent, especially ones that step up to normal parenting responsibilities and challenges, but I think it is safe to assume that it is way harder to actually be a stepparent. They know how much I love them, but they’ll never know how much I appreciate them, especially since they still like me after my insane teenage years. 3. You can’t always be Switzerland. This was a tough one for me, because the older I became, the more I saw the problems that existed in one side of my extended family. I was either naïve or in denial about a lot of that, so I had a lot of pride in basically remaining the only neutral party throughout years of different fights between different people. If we weren’t going to one family thanksgiving dinner as a family, you bet your ass I drove myself 45 minutes away to stop in for 15 minutes between the 4 other dinners I committed to going to in the same 3-hour time frame. Being neutral is definitely not a bad thing, but there comes a point where even though nobody was really mean to you, if they acted a certain type of way to someone you care about…its ok to put your foot down and decide that you don’t want to be Switzerland anymore. 4. I am so utterly blessed. When I take a minute to think about the life I have been chosen to lead, I am really in awe of the blessings I have received and the people who have worked so hard to support me and guide me into becoming a (semi) independent adult. As much as I like to complain about this and that, at the end of the day I go to sleep knowing I have 4 parents on this earth to back me up, bring me down to earth, listen to me, give me advice, teach me, and guide me, and I have 1 parent in Heaven who is my guardian angel, and I know his light and his love surrounds me in everything I do. So that is just to name a few of the many things I have learned growing up in a blended family, but in short, I am very blessed.

My every day life is a bit simpler. I am completing a 400-hour internship, I babysit when I can and I work at a church daycare once a week. I am a hedgehog mom to a little girl named Koko. I like to be clean and organized, but my cleaning efforts become easily pushed aside when more important things come up, like bringing 9 Dunkin Donuts coffee cups into my room every other day, or trying on 7 different shirts every morning and being way too late to the office to hang them back up. And that leads me to another one of my standout characteristics. I am late. When I was younger, my stepdad and I would always roll our eyes at the bottom of the stairs and tap our feet while waiting for my mother to be ready for something we were supposed to be at 30 minutes ago. I praised myself for battling the late gene and being the on-time spawn of my perpetually late mother. But then…it hit me and it hit me hard. I tried to get through it, but at this point I’ve just started to accept it. I’m late. I’m late because of who I am as a person.

If you’ve ever had someone say to you, “tell me about yourself”, you probably know how uncomfortable that can be while trying to think of something other than “uhhh I like to watch Netflix and hang out with my friends.” I’ve gotten it down to a couple key points that I feel like describe me, not by my background or my daily activities, but as really who I am in my core, who I am as a person. I am caring. I know this because overall, I genuinely want people to be happy, safe, and healthy, all people, and I want to do anything I can to help. I am a bleeding heart. It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds of a YouTube video of a sad stray animal to get me to grab my keys and my wallet and try to run to the nearest shelter. I am easily convinced that the world needs saving, and also that I can save it. No problem Vic, add “save every sad person or animal in the world” onto the only spot you have open to write in your Lilly Pulitzer planner. It’s fine, I can handle it- the kitties need me. I literally almost started typing out a Marilyn Monroe quote without realizing the reason the words sounded so good together was because they’re an over popular cliché saying- but in truth, I am selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I am definitely those things. Sometimes I drink too much, I always think too much, and I am very stubborn. I decide very quickly how I feel about something, and I hold on to that opinion like it’s the last thing I’m going to do. If I’m wrong, God bless the person that led me to see that because I’m sure I fought you hard on the way. But luckily, another thing I am is accepting and apologetic. It may take me a while to accept my faults, but I like to think that I am pretty good at owning it and sincerely asking for forgiveness. I am open-minded, which I believe makes me kind. I believe in equality, and it is very hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that a lot of people do not. I am a lot of things, and I’m generally 10 different places on the spectrum of emotions on any given day.

I’m a twenty-something, trying to figure my shit out. I’m here and there, and back again all before I’ve had a second cup of coffee. Overall, I am blessed, I am passionate, I am kind, but I am human.

Thank you for reading, and I hope I have convinced you to follow my journey!