The past week has been a mess of emotions. I started off on campus with the mindset that everything would be okay; that the largest, most destructive hurricane that has formed in the past hundred years would dodge my hometown, dodge my campus, and dodge my state. As it got progressively closer to us, the news got more frightening.
"About 20 dead in the Carribbean."
"It could hit Florida between a Category 4 and 5 strength winds."
"There could be anywhere between 5 to 12 feet of water that the storm surge floods your house with."
Any one of these could have been the circumstance that my family and I would have to overcome, and the thought scared me shitless. A natural disaster that couldn't be controlled, and it was on the path to destroy Florida, to destroy Tampa.
So I evacuated the residence hall with everyone else in school, headed home to my family, where we packed up the most important stuff, threw it all into one of four cars, and headed to a hotel with my aunt, grandmother, and four cats.
After all is said and done, Tampa somehow managed to come out with a lot less damage than the news had us all convinced it would. Looking back, I am so thankful for everything that I have, for everything that I didn't lose in the storm, because many others lost their electricity, lost their homes, lost their loved ones or their own lives.
It's crazy to think that a natural disaster could be the cause of so many deaths, 22 from Irma, and 70 from Harvey. It's crazy that even though this is happening in our country, there are also those individuals taking advantage of the weaker by stealing money under the pretense of a donation fund or charity. Community is something that we need right now, building each other up, helping out your neighbors, even if it's just having a conversation with them or listening to them.
My point is, I am so thankful that my family made it out okay, but I know that many others did not. It's important for people to come together in a time like this, strengthen connections, rebuild what was broken, and brace for the future.