I've been finding it very difficult to write honestly and candidly for some time now. Since I can remember, journaling has always been my way of releasing pent up thoughts and emotions. At times I've wondered if there is something wrong with me, the way I feel things to such extremes. The way I'm so shaken by all of the chaos in this big crazy world. I feel much more at peace when I'm in the habit of letting all of my questions, confusion, and excitement flood the weathered pages of a well worn diary. I spend so many moments letting my fingers and eyes trace the memories of my past, trying to remember not to forget each heartache and happiness. For me, it's a means to heal and grow. I feel like things have changed so rapidly and so completely, I've been playing catch up and have felt a bit lost amidst it all, and it frightens me; the absence of feeling. I feel frightened that I will lose those gentle things within myself. The things that once made me feel so separate from most people are now the parts of myself that I realize are the most genuine and rare. My sensitivity and intuition, and the love I feel for the people in my life that is so strong and overwhelming it leaves my heart feeling raw. I wake in the night teary eyed, yearning for the people and places that feel so far away. But then I fold into the warmth of Brandon at my side and I'm reminded of just how lucky I am. our love has grown and transformed just as we have. He is home and familiarity, and his embrace quiets my restless mind. He holds me close when I have a bad dream and I tuck my face into the nape of his neck listening to his heartbeat, and it fills me with the reassurance and love I once felt as a child when my parents would sing me to sleep. We both struggle to find our bearings and feel rooted in our new home. We have so many plans and ideas, we've just been too distracted to see them through to fruition. The way of life here is so different than what I'm used to, I get frustrated and a lot of the time, very upset. I do find solace in the slower pace, how people seem to live without the anxious urgency of los angeles. But at times, it also seems as if people are in a mass state of apathy; and the lack of creativity, diversity, and open-mindedness has been extremely prevalent and extremely depressing. That's not to say I haven't met some really amazing, down to earth people here; I've made a few life long friends and my boyfriend's family members have all been so kind and open with me, I've really been blessed and I try to remind myself of that whenever I'm feeling the urge to disconnect. When it all seems like too much and I feel the familiar tug that comes from the inside out to retreat within myself, I go for long drives down the highway that weaves in and out of cornfields and forest. I breathe deeply and try to be present, taking in all the beauty and trying to mirror it back out to the earth in thanks. The mornings are cold and dark, and it's hard to force myself out of the soft safe place between Brandon and our sweet bed hog of a dog Monroe. I sit and draw and sip coffee while I daydream of all the places Brandon and I will travel to, all we will feel and experience. I remind myself of what's important, I try to learn from every challenging situation, I try to be kind, loving, and patient with everyone. Most of all, I remind myself that love and family comes first and foremost, and as Brandon and I learn to love each other more openly and generously- it makes our life together shine like gold and all the ugliness is forgotten.