I always pictured myself living in Texas for the rest of my life. I thought I'd go to college in Texas, get a job in Texas, get married in Texas, raise my kids in Texas, retire to Texas. I never imagined myself ending up in Oklahoma for any amount of time. You know how people talk about Arkansas like it's this incestuous, hillbilly, crazy-filled state? Texans kinda feel that way about Oklahoma, also, if they haven't lived there; haven't met the people there. And then I did both of those things. And it has changed me.
Oklahoma is where I learned to appreciate life. It's where I decided to live zealously and pursue happiness in all things. Oklahomans became my family. I relied on them when I was sad, happy, broken, homesick, needed to share my life with someone. Oklahoma was my home for the past 4 years of my life. This state and its people have forever ingrained itself into me; it's a part of who I am.
A part of who I am was torn apart yesterday. It is leveled. It is littered. It is dead. I know there are people who are grieving, feeling like there can be no reason to continue pursuing life. It would be easy to give up on trying to find joy in all of the destruction.
But, part of my thoughts on being zealous includes the pursuit to feel fully. It can be terrible, and it can be destructive if there is a lack of a support system, but fully feeling this grief and this hurt is what is going to make me remember to fully feel and experience the joy that life has to offer. I will remember the lives lost, and honor that by living my life as hard as I can; by being passionate and zealous to continue experiencing all that this beautiful life have to offer.
A part of who I am was brought together yesterday, as it has had to do far too many times in the past. This state knows pain, but it also knows support, love, and faith. If there was ever a state who could handle trauma, it's Oklahoma. It is strong. It is healing. It is alive.
All my love, prayers, and support go to my home away from home. Thanks for letting me be one of you for the past four years. I wouldn't have it any other way.