I’m honestly not sure what to say other than life has been weird. A sad weird, a good weird, a happy weird, just generally weird. And different, extremely different. On February 20th of 2021, my life changed forever.
It may sound dramatic to say that, but long story short I got out of an extremely unhealthy, toxic relationship. The first few days after leaving are a blur. They were filled with tears, anger, sadness, frustration, a deep depression, confusion, and wondering “why me?”. To be honest, I thought my life was over. I couldn’t see my life getting better. I was in such a deep, dark place that I truly couldn’t do anything. I didn’t think I would make it through what I was going through. I took some time off of work and spent my days in a lot of individual therapy, group therapy, journaling, reading, leaning on others, taking it one day at a time, and trying my best to pick up the pieces again and heal. My mom and her partner dropped everything and took me in. They literally did everything for me: made sure I ate, listened to me cry, pushed me to get outside, showed me unconditional love, and so much more. My only job was to get out of bed every day and move forward. There’s a lot more to my story that I’ll share when I’m ready, but I just wanted to say that working through severe trauma is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’m still working through it every day, but I can say that I’ve come a long way from where I was in late February-early March.
At some point, I knew I had to move out of my mom’s house. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go. My mental health was so severe that I could hardly leave the house without breaking down. I remember going to Trader Joe’s with my mom, where I’ve been tons of times, to pick out food to try to eat. I walked through the store dazed, anxious, and eyes filled with tears. I can’t even put into words how much I was hurting. I had to leave while she was checking out because I couldn’t keep it together. The smallest things in Annapolis triggered me and it made me feel like I was living in hell. I knew I had to get out, but where to go?
A week after everything went down, my mom and I went to visit my sister in Florida. The warm air and bright sun were so healing and in those few days I started to feel like my old self. I felt like I was making progress. While visiting her, I decided that I would move to Florida. I wasn’t sure when or how, but my parents rallied behind me and helped me get everything in order so that I could go when I was ready. Everything happened relatively quickly for good reason, but on March 16th, 2021, my mom, Captain, and I hopped on a flight down to Florida.
To say I was terrified was an understatement, but I knew that this is what I needed to do. I’m not a very religious person, but what got me through those first few weeks was reminding myself that a higher power had a plan for me. Everything happens for a reason, right? I told myself that the pain I went through, the things I witnessed, my past struggles were all part of a plan. There was a reason it happened and there was a reason I ended up in Florida. I’m still trying to pin-point exactly what that reason is, but until then I’ll keep trusting a higher power.
I was in a new town where I didn’t know anyone. I was terrified to live by myself because I never truly had before. I took a huge step that felt so incredibly scary to me. I’m still not sure how I did it, and it still feels crazy today, but I’m here to say that I’ve come so far in a few short months. This isn’t to brag, this isn’t to say my life is great, but this is to help anyone who is going through a tough time to remind you (and show you) that life gets better. Of course it’s easy to say that and hard to believe that when you’re in that place, but believe me and trust me that it does. I truly thought my life was over, but I’ve just started to live.
I know I want to remember this crazy time in my life, so I’ve decided to post on the blog so that I can always look back and continue to see the progress that I’ve made. Disclaimer: I’m fully vaccinated and I still continue to take calculated risks with what I am choosing to do.
Here’s what I’ve been up to the last month living in Florida:
- Very first Florida photo on my very first day. This one will always mean a lot to me.
- Began to explore the city with Captain on walks. I’ve made it a point to ‘get Captain dressed’ everyday in a bandana. I always try to snap a picture of him in front of any new murals that we come across. I’m finding happiness in little moments every day.
- Started to also explore Florida’s beautiful beaches. It truly feels like I’m on vacation every day. I’m also very happy that I found the best hole in the wall beach bar with $4 rum punches.
- Finally got back into working out again & feeling good about myself! Humble brag: I’ve lost about 40 pounds in the last year. (Thank God for Peloton). I’m ready for my #HotGirlSummer this year & I even surprised myself when I looked in the mirror and started to see my abs getting toned! (And I’ve taken way too many mirror selfies but who cares anyways)
- Accomplished a bucket list activity: seeing manatees in the wild! I had a wonderful visit with my cousins & we went on a kayaking adventure in a spring and came across so many pairs of mom & baby manatees. It was such an amazing experience.
- I’m also proud that I finally got motivation back and was able to dive back head-first into my job. I swear this Florida weather is so healing. I’ve felt so much more creative here and already created more canvases than I ever did in a month in Maryland. Inspiration is everywhere. I’m also so grateful to have a job where I can work anywhere & that I have a lot of flexibility. I’m grateful for my sister (& employee lol) who really stepped up to the plate and held everything down while I took some time off. I’ve also had wonderful customers (who feel like friends) who have all rallied behind me. The outpouring love that the needlepoint community has brought me has filled my heart with so much joy.
- Rang in my 24th birthday in a Barbie pink latex dress. Had the best night celebrating with new friends & toasting to new beginnings. I’m sure this year will be the best of my life!
- I was so lucky enough to run into some new people on my first night out with Captain at a dog bar. They quickly welcomed me in & they have since become my best friends. I don’t know who was looking out for me that night but I really got so lucky finding them.
- In one of the more crazier decisions I’ve made since being down here, I decided to go camping with someone I had known for less than 3 weeks…uh insane I know (thanks Blake for not killing me lol)….but I felt like I had nothing to lose & everything to gain. I also think that the most growth happens when you’re outside of your comfort zone and this weekend ended up being one for the books! We had the best weekend camping at Ginnie Springs, bonding by the fire, floating down the river, swimming in the springs, riding in the bed of a pick-up truck singing and laughing our heads off, eating hotdogs & finding a smoker to make amazing ribs, drinking too much bourbon (Redemption Bourbon is my fav), and setting up an adult sized version of a slip-n-slide (which we didn’t even make it down, lol), turning off our phones, and waking up drinking mimosas made from cheap prosecco & Walmart orange juice (they were the best mimosas I’ve ever had, no lie). I only have 2 photos from the whole weekend but it was entirely amazing.
- Began to make my apartment feel like a home! It truly didn’t take long. I was terrified of living alone, but now I love it. It’s so funny how that happens. I’ve had so much fun decorating, picking out furniture, re-purposing old pieces, and getting to make my own rules. This is definitely the most favorite place I’ve ever lived.
- Remember my friend group I mentioned? I participated in my first beer Olympics with vaccinated friends at a local brewery. Started the day off with a 1-hour mega Jenga game where Josh & I happily defeated our opponents: Coast Guard Men. Had the best day drinking, laughing, s***-talking our competitors (in good fun), and kicking a** at every challenge. If you couldn’t guess by now: we won!!! (I truly never thought I would find myself playing lawn games in the middle of a parking lot at a brewery & winning my first beer olympics, but here we are & I don’t hate it).
- And to end it off, I wanted to show you the difference a few short months can make. The first photo was taken on January of this year. My mental health which was already struggling was quickly deteriorating and it got worse. I had weekly panic attacks where I couldn’t get out of bed. I took a picture during one (which sounds weird, I know) but because I knew it had to get better. When you hit rock bottom, there’s no where to go but up. I knew I would want to document my lowest point so I could remember what I went through & celebrate my growth.
- The bottom picture was taken just a few days ago – about 3 months to the day since the January photo. If you would’ve told January Morgan that life would be this much better in a few short months, I would’ve laughed and said you’re lying. I still have a ways to go, and I always will, but I feel like this is the first time in my life where I’m glowing.
It’s safe to say that my first month in Florida has been out-of-this-world. I’ve grown so much as a person, became a lot more independent, had a lot of therapy, developed a healthy, supportive & loving friend group, pushed myself far beyond my comfort zone, and truly started living my life. It’s weird to be grateful that such horrible things happened to be but I am because it brought me here. I wake up each day with a full, grateful heart and happy to be alive. Sure, some days are hard, but those days are becoming less and less. For the first time in my life, I’m living for me (well, & Captain).
If you’re struggling right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I leaned on so many people who supported me without judgement, and I’m always here to do the same, even if we’ve never spoken before. I also wanted to share a few affirmations/quotes that I’ve been repeating to myself when things get tough:
- “I’m grateful this happened for me, not to me”. This helps me re-frame my trauma from a victim mindset to a more empowering one.
- “I’ve made it through 100% of my hard days/moments. I will make it through this”
- “I get to heal from this and I will be stronger because of it”
- “I am brave, I am strong, I am worthy”
- “Sometimes the only closure you need is knowing you deserve better”
- “Everything happens for a reason”
- “One Day at a Time”
- “You don’t have to make any decisions right now. It’s okay to not know.”
Remember, it does get better, even if it’s hard to see it now. If you need immediate help and are struggling, please know that help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
Your life is worth living.