In May of 2016, I was getting ready to leave my hometown of Houston, Texas to move to Australia in order to work for a year. I wanted something to remind myself of my beloved city while I was away, so I tattooed the state of Texas on my ribs with the word "Houston" on the southeast border. But it wasn't until a few days ago that I really understood what a privilege and honor it was to be able to wear this tattoo on my body, and I began to comprehend what it really meant to be a Houstonian- and not only that, but a Texan. I have lived in a few different states and countries throughout my 25 years of life, but I always end up coming back home.
I am currently in North Carolina for work, and watching the devastation from six states away has been absolutely heartbreaking. I have never felt so helpless in my entire life, and not being there to fight through the storm with my friends and family has been the toughest part. When Hurricane Harvey hit, I don't think anyone could have anticipated just how devastating and catastrophic this natural disaster was going to be. At least 37 deaths have been confirmed as of today, and officials say the body count is going to rise significantly as the flood waters begin to clear away- which could take weeks, if not months. People have lost everything they own, been displaced from their homes, been left stranded and over 32,000 Houstonians are taking refuge in shelters.