An Ode To The Girl Cave…

First let me start by saying that I was a bit overzealous when I decided to challenge myself to a post a day for the month of November. Rather than beat myself up about essentially failing my challenge to myself in the first week I’ve decided to tweak it and challenge myself to 30 posts in the month of November. Get excited, there’s some 2-4-1 Tuesdays in your Shoveling Sunshine future!

Over the weekend I closed one chapter of my life and started another. Tomorrow I will bid my final farewell to the Girl Cave and officially begin a new chapter in my new apartment! Whoo hoo!

The Girl Cave will go down in history as my favorite apartment. And that’s really saying something because I’ve moved 13 times in 10 years. Yes, you read that correctly (8 of them were to Key West (college included)). The Girl Cave was so much more than an apartment. It was my haven. My sanctuary. My 250 square feet of comfort in what was the most trying time in my life.

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I’ve said this a million times, everyone should live alone one time in his or her life!  It’s seriously the most amazing experience. I went from living with my parents, to college roommates, to being a live-in nanny one summer, to live-in boyfriends, and back to roommates. For 29 years I had lived with other people and I decided when I moved back to Key West it was time for a change.

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The Girl Cave was the perfect landing spot for me to get on my feet in my first year back in The Keys. If those walls could talk they’d have quite a story to tell and not just of my drunken adventures. So many people had lived in the apartment before me that by the time I moved in I didn’t even have to put any nails in the walls to hang my pictures. When I would get food delivered, there was a 50/50 chance the delivery driver had lived there at some point as well.

The thing makes the Girl Cave so special for me is that I both lost and found myself in that little apartment. I had just moved back to Key West and into the apartment when my sister passed away and although on the outside I looked like I was coping with my loss ok, inside, I was completely drowning in my grief.

Then, it was like someone gave me a lifeline. Something inspired me to change my tune and that I did. I took the black out panels off the windows and doors (symbolism at it’s finest) and I began the search for myself.

Needless to say, nowhere in my 5-year plan did I think I would end up “finding myself” in a small little termite-ridden studio on Frances Street.  It was on that quest that I finally started to take time to smell the roses. Okay, maybe not roses, but definitely the Night Blooming Jasmine! I started to reconnect with nature, it was proof and a reminder that life goes on and that we are all connected.

I think anyone who suffers a tremendous loss is looking for a connection, and like I said, I found my connection in nature. When I hear and feel the wind blow through the pocket park on my morning walk with Skyy or when the rays of sun cast a perfect glow on the ocean; that is when I feel the most present and connected. It’s in the moments when I am present that I notice the lingering butterfly or hear the chirping birds outside; and it’s in those moments that I feel my sisters spirit with me.   That serves as the perfect motivation to stay here, in the Now. It is in the Now that I feel both my and her spirit the strongest and that is where I have chosen to reside.

So thank you lovely little Frances Street hideaway for keeping my secrets, helping me grow and connect, for providing comfort and warmth when I needed it most, and for teaching me how awesome it is to start your day with an outdoor shower.

Cheers!

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