Just took the trip of a lifetime…

Went to New Orleans this past weekend and I’m sort of speechless about the whole thing. Like I don’t feel like me anymore after such a profound experience and I don’t quite know what to do with myself anymore.

There was a lot of nostalgia for me and also a bit of mourning, but overall it was a fantastic experience with some wonderful people that I’ll never forget.

I should rewind a bit.

I don’t know what it was, or where it came from but while most pre-teens and teens my age had posters of their teenage heartthrob crushes on their walls at home? I had a map of the French Quarter. It was some kitschy thing that was mass-produced and looked like it had been drawn and colored with colored pencils. I found it in the map section of a Barnes & Noble and it honestly looked like it was quintessentially nineties, but oh how I loved that damn map.

I studied it for hours, stuck star stickers on it for places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see and had to layer the stars on each other to make enough to map out everything. I even made my own key with those stars off to the side and the stories and tales I made up in my head…

Yeah, it’s embarrassing and cringey as I write this almost as much as if I were talking about whatever boy toy crush movie poster or whatever any other girl would have up, but that wasn’t me.

No, it was that stupid map and Alchemy Gothic posters and yeah, I was that weirdo.

Truth be told, I’ve been through a lot and I was going through a lot as a teen when I first became obsessed with New Orleans… so much so, that I honestly never thought I would honestly live to see it. I didn’t think I would ever make it to 21 let alone to 41 where I am now. I never thought more than a day, maybe two, in front of me… because yay, trauma.

I thought I would be murdered by now, or that I would have committed suicide… so much so that when I first crossed into Louisiana I had to pull over into the visitor center there on the interstate and have a big cathartic cry. Don’t believe me?  That’s okay. I had at least two people in the car with me that I probably thoroughly freaked out.

It may have been the first time I cried on that trip, but it wouldn’t be the last. Some were happy tears, some weren’t. Some came out of nowhere, some I expected.  The thing about it all is that I was very lucky to be around some very understanding people.

Did I get to see everything I wanted to see? No, not by half. Hell, not by even a quarter… but that’s okay. I made it, which was the important part, and knowing that I made it once means that I can make it again… and I will. I have to. I found a family in New Orleans. I found love, and acceptance, and celebration and I need more of that in my life, so I’m going to go back for seconds and maybe even thirds if the city will have me. I just need to figure out how…

And someday, maybe someday, hurricanes be damned… I may even finally go home.

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