When a hurricane the size of Texas is on a path of destruction, careening directly toward your home, you have two choices: grab what you can and go, or stay. For me, the choice was simple.
As someone who grew up in South Florida, I am no stranger to the fury of natural disasters. I was 6 years old when Hurricane Andrew devastated my city, school, and the homes of many people I knew. In the aftermath, I gathered supplies to donate to those who lost everything, and walked up and down the rows and rows of tents set up in South Dade, a place we called “Tent City,” a makeshift refuge for those whose lives had been violently upended by winds gusting at over 165 mph. National Guard soldiers marched by me, guns slung over their shoulders. I remember the hum of helicopters flying above, and finding discarded appliances and relics on the ground as I navigated through debris; photos of families, the collar from a lost dog, all scattered across the streets of the only place I had ever known as home.
Once you’ve seen the widespread devastation of a hurricane, the notion of staying when others go may seem ridiculous, and in all honesty, it might be. But understanding the compulsion to hunker down and stay in your home requires a deep look inside yourself to answer the question: What matters most to me?