“…in a world where there are October’s…”

It has become super cliche over the past few years, but I love October. Yes, I’m just another woman obsessed with boots, sweaters and pumpkin flavored everything. It’s also more than that. For me, it’s always been the beginnings that I see in this month. Maybe its because I was proposed to in October. Maybe it was because the very next year, I stood in front of family and friends and said always to my husband in October. Cliche or not, this is my luckiest and favorite month.

When I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains, October turned the mountains into an entirely different place. Sunrises hit the colorful trees and set the mountains on fire. Early morning hikes where you could see your breath in front of you, but by the time you finished you were warm and breathless were my favorite.

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer. But I am always ready for it to end long before it does. There is a limit to how many cook outs and beach days my heart can handle. Apple picking is always better then a barbecue. I’d prefer a corn maze over the pool any day, but maybe I’m biased. That’s where my husband proposed.

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The older I get, the less time I get to enjoy this month and this season. Part of it is because I no longer live in the mountains. It is the 15th today and there is a high of 81. This is definitely not sweater weather! It’s hard to get into the Fall frame of mind when you’re still wearing shorts. But it’s not just that, it’s the limited time I have of late. October is always my busiest month. Instead of spending yesterday apple picking, we pressure washed our house. Necessary, but not nearly as much fun. I tend to live my life by to-do lists, but this season I want to focus on a different type of list. Below is my bucket list for the month and I want to cross off as much as possible in the next 16 days. Here’s to enjoying life and not just completing a to-do list!

  • Apple picking
  • Watch Football
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Watch a scary movie
  • Corn maze
  • Go through a haunted house
  • Make chocolate chip pumpkin bread
  • Travel to Savannah
  • Celebrate my 3rd anniversary with my husband
  • Drink a caramel apple spice or a pumpkin spice latte
  • Give out Halloween candy
  • Decorate for Halloween and Thanksgiving
  • Make chili
  • Play fantasy football
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Fishers Farm Lane, Apt D2

What causes you to remember your past?

For me, it’s usually songs. I relate and live through the lyrics so intensely that it anchors me to certain moments in my life. Sometimes its big moments: the song that made me start learning guitar, Kevin and I’s first big fight after I moved to Charlotte, my college graduation. But often times its seemingly irrelevant moments like studying for zoology in college or getting ready for work in the morning. The music imprints itself on my brain and creates my own version of home movies whenever I hear them.

This week, A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope played on my phone at work, and immediately, I was back in my first adult apartment. It was a brisk fall day and my windows and back patio door were open, and the breeze smelled the way perfect October days smell: crisp and clean and earthy. There were pumpkin and cinnamon candles burning in every room.  I had a caramel apple spice in my hand and was dancing through the apartment while haphazardly attempting to clean. My husband (then boyfriend) was probably either in the shower or back at his own place for the morning. Ron Pope was on repeat.

It was 11 AM on a Monday but I swear I could smell those candles and feel the breeze on my face. It’s been 5 years since I’ve set foot in, or really even thought about, that apartment but I realized I was incredibly home sick for my old home.

Looking back now, I find it funny I can have such longing for a place I spent one year of my life in. Especially because I spent every day living in that apartment counting down the days until I moved out. I knew at the end of both our leases, Kevin and I would find our own place. We had spent two years dating long distance and the idea of finally living with him had been something I thought impossible only months before. It was all I wanted. Instead, we rotated between our apartments and I grew frustrated and impatient. One of us always seemed to forget something important at the apartment we just left, which resulted in a constant back and forth. Truthfully, our apartment complexes weren’t even a mile apart but at that point in my life it was just another reason we should have already been living together. I began to have a love-hate relationship with my apartment and what it represented: a contract that kept me from living with Kevin.

In retrospect, it was a good thing we didn’t live together right away. After 2 years of being together once a month, it was borderline overwhelming to see him everyday. It changed everything about our relationship and felt as if we were getting to know each other all over again. Being the introvert that I am, I regularly need “me time” and it would have been almost impossible to get in my apartment. I think we both needed our own safe haven; a place we could each escape to when we needed some space or some quiet. Ultimately, that’s what my apartment became: my safe haven.

It was a tiny thing, but that apartment on Fishers Farm Lane was 625 square feet of all mine. For the first time in my life, I was completely independent. I had a job, my own apartment, and responsibilities. If I wanted to, I could completely screw up my life and my credit score. Thankfully, I did neither! But I thrived in my freedom, financial and otherwise. Being my first job and living alone, the above mentioned financial freedom didn’t include a cable bill, so I spent hours pouring over Netflix shows, both awful and entertaining, which is how I found the Ron Pope song.

That song brought up so many memories that I’d forgotten. I decorated for the holidays. I had family and friends come to visit. I laughed so hard I cried. I also cried so hard I eventually laughed at how dramatic I was being. I cooked and entertained people. I studied for licenses I needed for work. I celebrated Kevin’s 25th birthday there. I built a “fort” in the living room. I loved there. I lived there.

It may have been a cramped apartment, but there was so much love and happiness squeezed in between those walls. It was home.

 

The only pictures I have of my apartment
Rearranging the furniture to build a fort
Packing up to move out

A Little More Love

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King Jr

My parents raised me to love, to treat people equally and with respect. It’s difficult to understand a world in which others didn’t learn that lesson, but that is the reality we face. 

Every day I read another example of an injustice, of others being treated like less than human for the so called rights of others. Every time I turn around, I see hate. Hatred of peoples color, religion, gender or sexual orientation. 

For the past few years there has been a persistent ache in my chest. My heart hurts. More often than not, the hate I witness overwhelms me and drowns me in my anger. It’s sometimes so strong I struggle to even breathe and I’m left with nothing but questions. How can fear and hate appear to constantly win against love and human decency? How could I possibly even consider raising a child in this world one day? How can we change the endless cycle of hate? How can I do more?

Thanks to the internet, we have 24/7 access to people who aren’t afraid to share their hate filled opinions. They can bully and blame all they want without having to show their face. This week, I read plenty of venomous comments and I needed to step back and remember that just because the hateful people are loud and conspicuous, it doesnt mean we all feel this way. 

I keep quiet sometimes because I don’t know what to say. I hold onto my words because I want them to matter and am afraid that anything else will do an injustice. But saying what I believe is more important than how I say it. 

I believe in equality. I believe extending rights to other groups of people don’t diminish the rights I already have. I believe  being different makes us stronger. I believe in the right to self expression. I believe a good person is a good person regardless of the God they pray to. I believe in the beauty of all skin colors. I believe that love is love in any form. 

And I believe if we all love a little bit more, we can leave this world a better place than we found it.