ohdeardrea hurricane irma
Hurricane Irma is coming.

I have an ache in my stomach. I’m telling myself it’s from indigestion, but If I’m completely honest with myself:  it’s from fear.

My thought process has changed a lot over the last few days. I’ve gone back and forth to write out my thoughts, and I’ve held back multiple times, mostly (completely) because I don’t want to worry my own mother. I was okay (enough) with one hurricane coming our way. It’s after one hurricane destroys a city that I get antsy. And it’s when ‘one hurricane out at sea’ turns to ‘three hurricanes out at sea’ where one of the three is absolutely, undeniably heading to my home and another is allowing shortly behind– that I start to enter panic mode. And then, when it’s waking up to discover an earthquake hit the place I was planning to be in three weeks time and possible tsunami’s in neighboring areas where I really start to lose my own shit. It’s not the idea of me being affected by all of it, but rather, us, as a collective group being hit by so much destruction all at once.

The whole “the hurricane will slow after is passes through the Bahamas” statement does not make me feel better. It does not make me feel more secure to know that other people and their homes are the slowing buffer between a ‘catastrophic’ hurricane and my home and family.

I look around and I see the things that will be damaged in our neighborhood. And I try not to think about the worst case scenario. I try to focus on the very minimal details that could happen. Trees uprooted, fences knocked down, roof shingles blown. And I try not to complain because I know no matter how bad it gets, there are going to be people who get hit worse and have gotten hit much worse. But I can’t help but have that creeping thought come into my head about our future plans. We were supposed to leave. Our house was not just our home, but our livelihood to our future. I’m trying not to break down and cry right now because Marlowe keeps running in and out of this space, but its hard.

I don’t want my home destroyed. This was my way out. My means to Guatemala. And maybe its a weird kind of selfish to want your house intact just so you can leave and spend your life donating your time to other people elsewhere, but I don’t know. This was a plan. My goal. Gosh, I know I just need to keep telling myself that everything will be fine. Part of me is harboring anger. At myself and Alex. I should have booked flights out. I should have left. We waited too long.

And now we’re stuck. “Riding it out.” But what happens later? How will this place be affected by the storms. And how will our future hold up after this earth quake? Will there be more earth quakes? Stronger earthquakes? No one knows yet. I lost my shit this morning after hearing about the earthquake. It’s too much. It feels like not only is my surrounding life is in danger, but my dreams are too.

I mentioned it, but the damage of Hurricane Harvey shook Floridians hard. It’s been a scene from a movie out here. Gas stations are sometimes 50+ car waits to fill up. And others are empty, not a person in sight, because their gas has run out. Whole shelves at the stores are empty. No water. Hardware stores are out of wood, flashlights, batteries, and more. And the hurricane hasn’t even hit yet. This is what I imagined post storm, not prior.

It’s so weird to have a sunshine flowing in through your windows while you sit and wait for disaster. We’re waiting. Sitting ducks waiting. I always joked to “be more like the flamingo.” Theres a flock of flamingos living in the Andes. And every night they fall asleep standing in a lake. And every morning, they wake up frozen in that same lake. And as the lake defrosts they make their way out. And everyday it’s the same process, a show of them stumbling, falling, and face planting right into the ice. I used to think, “how nice to be like the flamingo” to care so little about the inevitable pain that will occur from falling asleep in a lake that inevitably turns to ice night after night. I once thought being ‘like the flamingo’ sounded like a dream, such ignorant bliss. But today, I truly feel like the flamingo and it doesn’t feel like a blissful dream. I feel like a dumb sitting bird that should have known better. I don’t want to be like the flamingo anymore. I don’t.

For two and a half years I’ve woken up every single day with the same thought in mind: I want to feel better so I can live all my dreams and life through. Every day I’ve worked endlessly hard to heal, to improve, to feel good, hell, just to feel okay. Selfish maybe, but I can’t escape those thoughts– I just want to keep moving forward. I want to see all my dreams through. I don’t want to be held back anymore. By myself or by anything.

I’m starting to break down. The tears aren’t really being held back now. I don’t want pity. I truly don’t. I’m not updating this space for that. I’m updating to document. I started blogging 17 years ago for this. To document my story. For release.

Don’t pray for me. Please pray for all of us. For everyone. And especially those who need it most. It’s not me.

 

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If you’re local, it seems that most of the Whole Foods have completely restocked on water and coconut water. If you have a gas stove, buy things like beans, rice, potatoes, plantains, and long lasting gourds to boil later. And don’t forget to fill up on water now. We’re filling up water bottles with our filter now and later. And don’t let the madness get to you. I’ve heard more firetrucks this week than ever before. I know it’s a shit show outside but we don’t want to create more disaster than needed. And I have to be reminded of this time after time, but it’s important o stay away from water where theres power lines. A lot of deaths post hurricanes are due to this. It’s a simple thing to forget. Be cautious. Charge your phones and computers to use later. And stay safe friends.

 

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edited to add:

it’s now almost two o’clock on Friday afternoon. Right now Irma is scheduled to hit us sometime Sunday night. My town is under a flash flood warning for the weekend and next week. Irma has gone down to a category four but seems like it might strengthen back to a 5. They’ve evacuated everyone on the coast. We’re just a few miles from that. I’m hoping that I can come back on here on a few days time and tell you guys that everything is okay. That the damage was minimal. There is a good chance that we’ll lose power for a while (days/weeks). In which case, I obviously won’t be on here. But we’ll see. No one really knows. I’ll be back when I can. And I say it all the time, but one more time doesn’t hurt– thank you for being here. This blog and you guys have given me so much more to life than you will know. Take care friends.

14 Comments

  1. JuliAnne

    Praying for you! Is there no way you guys can drive someplace safe for the next few days? I’d just hate for you to have to sit and wait and not know. I think everything will work out the way it’s supposed to with time. Maybe right now isn’t the right time to move. Who knows? But I do know that somehow things will work out. Wishing the best for you and your family.

  2. Meghan Campbell

    I’m reading your words, Drea and it’s sort of unbelievable what is happening. Following your path these past years, and knowing the enormous effort you’ve put into regaining your life and moving on from the trials you’ve endured… the timing of this too with your dreams right in front of you, like dangling. I’m just a reader in Canada, feeling it with you as far as I can be, and just wishing and hoping for your peace. My 7-year-old daughter wishes we could stop the storm. Facing this kind of fear is the stuff we all wish to avoid in life and I’m so with you. So with you. May this pass quickly for you and for all the communities being affected.. that rebuilding, in whatever form, and healing and dreaming can resume. Just want you all to know this little family is hugging you all tight. Much love. Meg, Dan, Ruby and Ezra

  3. I grew up in South Florida, and have been through maybe 5-10 hurricanes, anywhere from category 1-4. I was in high school when Katrina hit us before heading up to New Orleans. We didn’t even realize how bad they got hit for a few days because the power was out for so long. Piles of debris in the roads for days. Nowhere to get gas for miles. And we were lucky compared to Louisiana. Crazy times…

    I think 5-7/10 times these hurricanes end up not being as bad as they are predicted, or not hitting us at all. And 3/10 times they’re bad- like Harvey this year or Andrew in the 1990s. I’ll be praying that the forecasts are wrong. I can’t imagine how scary it must be to face losing your home like that. All you can do is prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Good luck down there <3

  4. Oh man I was thinking of you guys yesterday while we had a power cut at home all day due to windy weather (to be honest it seems like even a sparrows fart makes the power go out around here!). I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you guys to just be sitting there waiting. Sending out lots of good thoughts and protective vibes!! xx

  5. Can you still go to an evacuation safe shelter? I’ll be praying for you & all of Florida! Stay safe! (My sister was in Harvey & miraculously her home wasn’t affected. Same wishes for you.)

  6. Oh Drea, I can only imagine how maddening and scary this all is. I’m so so sorry. I’m watching the coverage right now and praying for the whole region. And you’re right, there have been so many already effected by this. 🙁 It feels so inadequate in face of a disaster like this, but know you are being lifted up in my thoughts right now. Love love love to you all xoxo

  7. This is so devastating. Mother Earth is so beautiful yet so terrifying. Her power is astounding. I’m keeping you and everyone else in my thoughts as this passes over. I know words can not do much currently but stay safe!

  8. Oh what a scary situation this is! I will keep you in my thoughts and hope for the best. Alles Gute from Berlin <3

  9. You are amazing and strong. I’m praying for peace, safety, and minimal (or no!) damage for you and everyone there. You often thank your readers for being here, but also we need to THANK YOU for your hard work, creativity, and everything you are! After I discovered your blog about a year ago, I was fascinated by your journey and went back to literally the first post, slowly reading through the entire thing chronologically. I’m now current and have been for a bit, but I find your whole story beautiful and inspiring. You’ve made the most out of every situation in which you’ve found yourself. I have faith that you will get through this tough chapter of the story as well. I’m thankful for you and happy to be here cheering you on from behind the screen. <3 from Boston

  10. I know you are being wise and making good decisions. Praying for your safety and for protection for those all over Florida and the Caribbean. I’m sorry how this is affecting your dreams. I hope everything still falls into place <3