I have been home in Atlanta a little less than 2 weeks now. I guess it can be quite surprising that someone like me, a person who’s life thrives off of traveling and exploring comes from a really small town. Each and everytime I come home, I am more and more baffled by how I ever escaped the small town life. How am I actually from here? But on days like today, I have just come from being woken up from my sunday afternoon nap at my younger brothers house by his two wet children screaming about a rainbow. They were outside playing in the abnormally warm weather for Georgia in December and it started raining and a rainbow appeared. They screamed to have me come outside and play in the rain with them, and while at 30 years old I was hesitant- I thought to myself when will I have the chance to do this again? So I took my socks off and I went outside barefoot and danced in the rain with them…

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When I come home for the holidays, I always experience feeling like an alien a bit. The southern accents (which I inherently luckily never really picked up), seeing the people I love stay in the same place their whole lives, and look at me as though I have done something courageous and brave. Have I though? This life has become normal to me. My younger middle brother has 2 children, a house and is married. While I am so very proud of him, at 28 he has accomplished a part of life that I someday- (keyword SOMEDAY) would very much like to have on my own terms. What does my own terms mean? Marrying my best friend who just might be a european foreigner- Starting and running my own business first? Maybe having one child instead of two, maybe having a smaller home or condo in Europe rather than a big piece of land in the middle of the countryside in Georgia. The truth is I just don’t know. At this stage I only know what I don’t want. I know what isn’t me and what is. Life has twisted and turned so much for me the past few years that I cannot plan for these things. I do know that.

The holidays have been a bit difficult for me like I mentioned before in past posts. My family is not the most conventional. Everyone is spread out and far away from eachother physically and emotionally. We often have so many unfortunate things going on that we don’t really get to enjoy eachother and spread love to one another during the holidays, but one thing I have learned is with family you never give up, you never stop trying and you never stop believing in better days. When I come home I feel selfish for going out in the world and living my life, but I am not sure how I would feel if I remained here. I feel sad for leaving, but I feel proud also. I guess I only feel sad because I see the regret in some of my elders faces when I talk about my travels. Can you imagine staying somewhere your whole life?

I have spent two years in europe now, and I can say it really feels like home. The mentality, the less is more attitude, and the spirit overall. I have learned that experiences make me happy. Meeting people different than me and connecting with them over the ways we are alike. These experiences have come to define who I am and help me find myself as a Woman.

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Where I am from is quite simple. You have to drive to get everywhere. There is not much to do. I have luckily been able to spend quality time with my niece and nephew and one of my brothers and my sister in law during some very hard times and trials with my family. On Christmas I was able to spend time with my sick grandfather and see my mom’s sisters and my cousins. This time of the year is always a time for self reflection for me, to think about what I can be doing better and my goals for the new year. Also a time to be really proud of where I am from and what has come out of that. Coming home is a time to remember why it is I am the way I am.

When things are hard and breaking my heart, I try to find joy and peace in the small things. The good relationships I have, children laughing, making jokes with my family members, my health, the future and things that bring me joy like writing, reading, helping others and overall just doing my personal best. I think of things to come like developing my faith more on my own terms, meeting my soulmate, starting a family, uplifting my career through starting my own business identity, being successful enough to take care of the people I love- to me this is my dream. I think a lot of people out there are silently like me. We feel everything and that can be hard, but there’s times I am reminded I wouldn’t trade being like this for the world.

Keep going.

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coat: @missguided
joggers: @fshnbnkr
top: @nike
sneakers: @nike

photo: Vertie Photography
muah: Hannah Nathalie
styling/creative direction: aurielle sayeh