Publisher - October 2017
"There are two basic motivating forces:
Fear and love. When we are afraid,
we pull back from life. When we are in love,
we open to all that life has to offer
with passion, excitement, and acceptance."
It’s been a rough year…for everybody. Even if you were lucky enough to have minimal or no damage in Hurricane Matthew, we all had front row seats to the destruction of our beautiful coastal towns. Then, not even a year later, we see Harvey horrify Houston and hold our breathe for two weeks of weather reports telling us to prepare for the worst storm Planet Earth has ever seen.
We’re exhausted. We’re scared. We’re down. I have had numerous women write, call, or stop me in stores to tell me how down they feel. One lady wrote, “This feels completely different. It feels like I cannot breathe, like I am being suffocated with the heaviness of the situation. I feel like crying all the time.” And this was almost 10 days after Irma had passed. What we have experienced is real and has definitely taken a toll on our spirits.
I totally understand and believe we have a two-fold situation:
1. After Matthew, the devastation of what even a “small” hurricane can do to our area became a frightening reality. I’ll never forget walking through the grocery store, stopping to speak to a lady who had tears streaming down her face as she pushed her buggy down the aisle. I asked if her home had been hurt in the storm. She replied, “No. I’m just so sad seeing all the devastation.”
2. That leads me to the second part of why I believe many people are still feeling the weight of the world right now. Almost everyone who lives in the Lowcountry has moved here because they absolutely love it. There are very few places where citizens constantly tout they live in paradise. I grew up in Columbia, SC, and I never heard that one time. We coastal people really have a love for the land and a sense of pride of our place. It’s difficult to see something you love go through so much. Plus, it puts our futures in an unstable tailspin, thinking about the possibility of devastation every June through November.
I don’t know the answer for getting past the heaviness, or when it will lift. However, I do know one solution is to not live in fear. I am so excited to move back into my home after a full year. I’m not going to dwell on what may come, but only on the blessings I have experienced over the past 12 months, and there have been many.
It’s fall y’all! Not usually my favorite time of the year, but I’ve decided to make every time of the year my favorite. So what can we collectively do this fall to ditch depression and start to heal?
Buy Something New: You may think this is shallow but the implications are incredible. Buying yourself something new brings joy. Whether it’s a new piece of clothing, or something to spruce up your home—like beautiful fall mums—buying something new is exciting! On the flip side, buying something new also helps our local retailers (if you shop local, and I hope you do, as there would be no Pink Magazine without local businesses). We all went through it and supporting our local shops and restaurants is an important part of healing.
Go Outside: You can’t totally embrace the majesty of the Lowcountry without getting outside, where all your senses can be stimulated. Smell the salt air; hear the symphony of birdsong; see the vast marsh, strong, century-old oaks draped in Spanish moss, egret-covered rookeries and the beauty all around. It’s easy to remember how lucky we are to live where we do when we consciously take in all the loveliness that surrounds us.
Connect with People: There is nothing more healing than connecting with people, sharing your stories and hearing others’. That’s why support groups exist; they are an effective way to process what’s troubling you. However, it can also be effective with a group of friends who have had similar experiences over a nice dinner or cocktail without the formality. Dining outside in the crispness of fall is an added bonus that offers a mood boost—and a sense of romance, too.
Trust: The fact is we all have been on a hell of a ride. Our sense of safety has been compromised. However, as I sit here today, writing this, we are alright. The world ebbs and flows. There are good times and bad. People evoke fear. We get scared. But we always return back to some kind of normalcy, no matter what. We are humans; we’re made to adjust and change. Trust the universe. It’s been here a very long time ,and guess what? We’re still here.
Bring on the mums, the scarecrows, the pumpkins, the pumpkin lattes, the pumpkin pies, the pumpkin doughnuts, the pumpkin everything (I really love pumpkin!) and all the icons of fall. I’m ready to fall in love with my life again. Won’t you join me?
Elizabeth Skenes Millen