My Complicated Relationship With Miami

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Dear Miami,

It hasn’t always been rainbows and puppies with us.

I’ve trudged through some of my deepest and darkest valleys with you.

Our first encounter was early 2004 during a spring semester at FIU. I was 17, fresh out of high school, plagued by an addiction.

That first stretch with you was the worst of my life. I was involved with someone who was just as miserable as me. He broke up with me when he broke up with you, a stop on the way out of town, between filling up for gas and a bathroom break.

I hated two of my dorm’s suite-mates. The third abandoned me after my break up, her boyfriend having befriended mine. Without my ex, I didn’t have a place in her life anymore.

In the aftermath, I suffered through the worst of my anorexia. With my drug connection gone, I turned to food. I restricted my caloric intake as a way of punishing myself and controlling the world around me.

Depression, heartache, addiction and self-imposed starvation marked my time with you. If that wasn’t a toxic relationship, I don’t know what is. I couldn’t wait to leave you and the bad memories I had created. As soon as that spring semester was over, I headed back home, vowing to never look back.

* * *

It took me years and distance to heal. Aside from the occasional layover at MIA, I didn’t give you a second thought for over a decade.

In 2016, our paths crossed again. I was no longer a broken 17-year-old girl, but a 30-year-old woman. It was here that we found a community of people that filled the gaping hole left by years without friends. We made the decision to move almost instantly.

I started to love you. The feeling wasn’t mutual. You weren’t willing to accept me back into your fold without a fight.

You nearly ate me alive that first year. We were broke. No room for extras. No room for anything. One only needs to walk through your streets to see that many others meet this same fate.

I started to feel like we had made a mistake. Surely we weren’t meant to suffer like this. Those last couple of months before we turned the corner were the hardest. Misery was my constant companion once again. I cried daily, praying that it would all end, wishing for it to be different.

Our friends kept us sane during that time. We held on, and it paid off. With money, we were finally able to get to know you. We could finally breathe again.

As this chapter with you comes to an end, I love you more than I ever have. Is it because you played hard to get? Because your affection was so hard won?

***

Every day I’m here, I’m grateful for you. Your beautiful shores. How something new and scene-y is always popping up. So many neighborhoods to explore, places to visit, food to eat. Experiences to be had. Friends to make. Memories to share.

The sight of your skyline as I drive back into the city comforts me like a long hug from a loved one. Driving through the streets of downtown, skyscrapers rising over me like sequoias, makes me feel like I could conquer the world.

There are so many layers to you. So many sides to you that I haven’t seen. Everyone has a unique relationship with you that’s different than everyone else’s. You are so many things to so many people.

We’ve had some great times together. The beach parties. The long nights with friends, eating, drinking and being merry. The people I’ve seen grow and the growth I’ve undergone.

We’ve been together over two years now. I haven’t been with any other city as long as this since my early 20s. You are the perfect one for me. I know I’ll come back to you for the rest of my days.

But it is time for me to go now. This isn’t a breakup. This is an amicable separation. This is a comma, not a period.

The road is calling and I must go.

Until we meet again.

Jasmine

***

Music by Knowmadic

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