Miami Anniversary

© 2019 Derick Whitson

© 2019 Derick Whitson

One day at a time.

Yesterday was my one-year in Miami, I celebrated by house sitting for a close friend who happens to be my coworker; her two nuggets gave me all the love I needed to truly feel welcomed in a city I never planned on calling home.

For years, I envisioned a west-coast lifestyle for myself but trying to make it work in California was beyond draining. It wasn't right and it didn't feel right to me. Too many times I'd encounter people who didn't align with my views which was jarring at the time but looking back now I think it was because my presence was wanted elsewhere; because as soon as an opportunity arose for the east-coast, without hesitation, I said yes. I knew one person, barely, and drove over three thousand miles to a new life that has given more light, more love and more growth in a year than I had expected.


Taking care of my mental health

I've struggled with depression since my pre-teens and was advised to use art making as a creative outlet to overcome internal breakdowns. Making art is not only my passion, but it also helps supply income and connects me with countless people around the world. Believe it or not, there are times when drawing just won't cut it - that's where the beach comes in. I live in a resort city that takes my breath away every day, just walking into my apartment rejuvenates me beyond belief. I've never enjoyed the feeling of "going home" as much as I do here.

Controlling my expectations

Forever a work in progress, but I do believe I've learned to expect the worst from people. I still find myself investing more time into people that won't ever return it, but I find solace in knowing that time spent had a positive impact if anything else. Plus, reminiscing on old times tears me down too much; I loath just wondering about "what-ifs" because they're always scenarios that turn out better than reality. I'm sick of fucking myself over like that.

To just live

This is important. I've had this epiphany twice. First, after my upstairs neighbors invited me to their housewarming and again after my downstairs neighbors invited me to dinner. Both times I was sitting on the couch, just watching everyone smile around me, welcoming me into their lives, letting me into their inside jokes, and just appreciating new friendships. I sat there enjoying myself and was elated to just live in those moments because it takes a lot to get me out of my own head.

Re-evaluating my self-worth

In my past, I've belittled myself a lot, especially for people who sparked my interest to try to keep them in my life. I hate that. I hate thinking, "Okay, let me show less love, I'm giving too much of myself to someone so let me not care so much." I hate that feeling. That has been my mentality, that people don't appreciate such qualities - Miami called me out. People do appreciate such qualities, such as my roommate. But since I've classified him as my roommate / not the person I 'wanted', I've deemed myself to be worthless and have shut him out plenty of times, in fear of letting our friendship blossom too fast too soon to only crash. However, He and Miami are teaching me that my worth isn't linear and doesn't have to be spared for certain moments or saved for a specific person to value or appreciate. My worth is ever circulating for those to enjoy - and most importantly for myself.

Embracing Polyamory

What I’ve learned, well I’ve always known but Miami kind of solidified for me is the fact that you don’t belong to someone forever. I’m still embracing it but certain aspects of polyamory are really holding a lot of the community here together. I’ve met so many individuals who are so keen on stimulating each other platonically, sexually, creatively, spiritually, and mentally. And it’s been absolutely so freeing not limiting myself to expecting so much from one person.

Work & Play can flirt

I didn't know a workplace existed that embraced sexuality this heavily and that I would be a part of it. Coming from a background where sex-ed was a looked-down-upon topic to now informing others and advocating safe sex has brought out the best in me. Combine that with my love of illustrating sexual content and being able to openly express my desires in a safe environment, I've never felt more belonged and my heart overflows every time I think about it. I love it here and I am loved.

My roomy got me this shirt.

My roomy got me this shirt.