Hello everyone !!! It’s me. Here to complain and expel emotions on my personal blog.
Also, it’s my belated birthday post so… happy 24th to me.
It’s Saturday afternoon here in humid and rainy Houston, Texas.
Since you’ve last heard from me… I deployed from working a FEMA Vaccine site in Loveland, CO to working disaster housing relief in Houston, TX. I was asked today which natural disaster the team is responding to… and well, it’s a bit of everything. But, the big two are Hurricane Harvey and Winter Storm Uri.
I’ll be working in the Houston area until June… from there, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ll be working with AmeriCorps until mid-July when my service contract is up. After that, I’m going to turn my focus to prepping to move back to Scotland and sleeping. Lots of sleeping.
The team completed their construction training and then started work on a variety of housing sites throughout the city. We’ve been mucking and gutting, cutting and hanging drywall, taping and floating, painting, and texturing. I’ve also fulfilling my duties as a Team Leader to ensure team safety and wellness.
And, this last week has been… a lot. I’ve been wearing many a hat this week operating as a Field Team Leader. It’s been exhausting and rewarding all at the same time, but we are surviving and, hell, we might actually be thriving by the end of next week. Who knows?!
But, anyway. My birthday! I turned 24 on Wednesday, 28 April.
In my 24 years of consistent suffering on this planet, I think I might have actually managed to retain some practical knowledge and life skills. It’s amazing, I know.
Just from my last birthday I:
- Made 16 stained glass projects over quarantine
- Finished drafting a 102,000 word manuscript
- Was accepted into one of 31 spots a professional writing mentorship program that recieved near 500 submissions in my category and 1700 to the overall program.
- Completed 56,000 words of revisions on my manuscript
- Built 9.2 miles of fireline and managed a prescribed burn in the Missouri Ozarks
- Worked in the AmeriCorps Southwest Region office in Aurora, CO
- Worked with FEMA to administer 8000 vaccines at a mega-site in Loveland, CO
- Currently working in Houston, TX to rebuild 7 homes damaged by natural disasters
And yes, that’s a lot. But, as I reflect on it I see a person who behind it all is really just trying her best to keep moving. This last year has been incredibly hard and I don’t think for a second that it is a weakness to admit that.
Sometimes, all we can do it keep moving and that is okay.
I know that for me, continuing to move is what is keeping me afloat throughout everything. It’s given me a purpose, an outlet, a way of making direct, positive change while I wait to get back to my life in Scotland this September. Throughout all of it, I’ve been holding onto a lot of memories and ~big emotions.~
And that is okay.
I’d like to close out this birthday post with a lil snippet of something that I wrote when I turned 21… back when my biggest worry was making sure that I didn’t get a sunburn while laying in the Meadows or hoping there would be an empty table at the Argyle.
And so, my birthday came and went and I am so glad I spent it here and with those people.
I know it’s a broken record, but as a kid I wanted what I have now so, so, so badly.
I still remember the first day of High School, my English teacher had us read a poem by Walt Whitman. He said it probably encapsulated what we were probably thinking:
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
And I think it still does in many aspects.
But, at least in this point in my life I don’t feel detached or in a ‘measureless oceans of space.’
I’m connected to this city and to my friends and I life I built here for myself. Truly, built for myself and by myself in a brand new city and brand new country. So now, as I move forward with the next chapters of my life I’m excited.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am today and I have had a lot of help as well. So, thanks everyone. I hope I won’t disappoint you.
But today, as I finish writing this in the sunny shade of the Meadows I am thankful. Thankful for what I have seen, the places I have been, and the people I have met along the way.
And I don’t know what it will be, but I am sure I will be thankful for whatever comes next.
So. Happy late birthday to me! And Happy Beltane today.
To whatever end and to whatever comes next. I guess, this will all make a fantastic story one day when I find the time to write it.
With love and tolerance, Kennedy