That’s great it starts with an earthquake…It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine.

During my Sunday spin class these words from the REM song start blaring through the speakers 60 minutes into our 90 minute class. And it practically knocked me out. My emotions have been out of control lately, mostly because I’m finally digging through the events that happened five years ago, that earthquake that changed everything about who I am. I’ve been facing it head on, trying to track down when exactly I stopped being the woman I THOUGHT I was, and became an entirely different woman, one I’m still trying to shake out of my system today.

In the middle of such strength and determination and fight in my class, I felt the opposite of how I felt that day, that Tuesday, eating grapefruit around a rectangle table at 4:52pm, when everything started to collapse. That was day full of fear, questions, insecurity. I had an acute feeling on that day, and the days and weeks that followed, that everything in my world had just shifted. That I was off kilter now, that I wouldn’t ever be the same.

As we’re climbing the 6 minute hill after that song, my heartbeat still racing, tears flowing down my face, my throat threatening to close from crying and panting, I realized, for the first time, that tomorrow is January 12th. Tomorrow is the five year anniversary.

Today. This morning, five years ago, everyone set out to start their day. Haitians have already drank their coffee and ate their bread. They’ve already grabbed their tools or backpacks and set out. The women have served their spouses and children food, are now sweeping and folding the blankets they set out each night to sleep on. On this day, five years ago, no one knew the day wouldn’t end the same way it always does.

I cannot claim the earthquake did nearly as much to me as it did everyone else. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives that day. A city was “flat,” bodies trapped underneath cement for miles and miles and miles. My tragedy was the simple act of getting lost. From that day on my passions changed, my focus changed, my drive changed. I slowly slipped away.

And I’m just now finding the strength that was already deep within every Haitian I know, every Haitian I came across. They are survivors. And not only that, they are thrivers. Grief and sorrow does not define them, their strength does. I crumbled. They soared.

Now, five years later, I’m finding my footing. You certainly don’t have a choice when you have an almost two year old, being a mess is not an option. So I’m drawing from within all the lessons I learned during my years in Haiti. I’m forgiving. I’m allowing myself to feel it all, to remember. And finally, I’m not only surviving, but I’m thriving. It’s about damn time.

Time to let it go.

To the little country that so often goes unnoticed, I see you. I remember you. I’m praying for you. And, thank you.

That’s great it starts with an earthquake…and I feel fine.


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