A hidden gem in Black Rock/Bridgeport, Connecticut, St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea offers gorgeous views of Long Island Sound and Black Rock Harbor. One of my closest Connecticut friends who lives in the area introduced me to this magical place early last year. It became a regular occurrence in our friendship to meet up on Saturday or Sunday mornings, weather permitting, and take morning walks along the water.
This year, I really want to make sure I appreciate everything and everyone in my life. Never again do I want to take a single part of my existence for granted. There are people who complain that this part of the country and Connecticut are expensive (my parents included, but they have their biased opinions that include hoping someday I’ll return to the South, a place I love to visit but can’t see myself ever truly being happy in). But, as I like to point out (to my parents especially), isn’t it true that you get what you pay for?
Two years ago, I never thought I’d utter words in defense of Connecticut. If my ex is reading this post, he might faint from shock. But the truth is, Connecticut is my favorite place I’ve ever lived so far. One of my happiest pastimes is getting “lost” here, wandering around in my car, exploring new areas I’ve never seen before. There are parts of this state that look like they’re straight out of a fairytale, honestly.
What’s nice about Connecticut is that you’re right in the middle of New York City and Boston. You’re also within short driving distance to many states in New England. Of course, ask someone who has lived here their whole life, and they might beg to differ on my opinion of “short driving distance.” I was born in Texas and raised in Alabama, though, where it can take the same amount of time to drive across those states as it can to drive across five in New England.
2020 was a dark time in my life, for obvious reasons (a pandemic and political unrest) but also because I got divorced and had to learn how to live with myself and how to love myself. I’m still learning, but I think I’m almost at the finish line.
Today I met up with my friend at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea, and as we were saying goodbye outside Harborview Market where we ate breakfast, she said she could tell I seemed happier and that she was glad. This rang true because during our first ever meetup at the harbor, I was secretly dealing with nightly arguments and marriage counseling with a therapist who privately told me I was in a verbally abusive relationship. A few walks later, I had kicked my ex out of the apartment and had become enamored with a man in his early thirties who had unkind intentions. A few walks after that, I was devastated at the reality that I was completely alone romantically for the first time since high school. Then, I found myself on a self-destructive path at the end of 2020, and the walks ceased as I switched personal therapists and refocused myself on a new, better path to internal healing.
Sometimes you need a reminder that friends care for you, even if you are learning to care for yourself. And sometimes all you need is a hug from a friend, a morning walk, and a coffee talk.