That Time I Didn’t Bloom

I didn’t love Texas. At least not compared to the last couple of assignments the Army has thrown our way. As one who has shouted the merits of blooming wherever you happen to be planted, I found it quite frustrating to feel so disconnected from myself and others in a city as vibrant as San Antonio, Texas. Not only did I not feel like the best version of myself, I felt guilty for feeling that way because so many other people love the area. I felt like a fraud. Because no matter how hard I tried, I simply could not bloom.

view from our back deck

Military families are no strangers to being plopped into landscapes that we otherwise would never find ourselves living. “Bloom where you’re planted!” is a mantra said by many, including myself. In Texas, I did everything I was supposed to do in order to bloom – I became involved with both of the kids’ schools, I got to know the other parents on their soccer teams, I joined a gym, we became active members in a church, we explored our new city at every given chance, we ate local cuisine, and we called San Antonio home. But no matter what I did, I always felt like an imposter. A fake. Someone who didn’t belong.

That’s not to say that there weren’t aspects of San Antonio I didn’t enjoy. I always had a blast at the Tejas Rodeo in Bulverde on Saturday nights. We loved Oaks Crossing, a restaurant attached to our neighborhood HEB where we could drink craft beer and listen to live music while the kids danced and ran around the outside turf. I found my favorite steak street tacos, pizza, and pho. We thoroughly enjoyed our church. I loved the non-touristy part of the Riverwalk near The Pearl, and Hill Country really is beautiful. But all of that wasn’t enough for me to bloom.

Now that we’ve been happily settling back into the national capital region for the past couple of months, I’ve been reflecting on why I wasn’t my best self in Texas. All I can come up with is that maybe we’re not meant to be at our best at all times. And it doesn’t matter how great a city, town, community may be – sometimes it just doesn’t work. And perhaps we should be okay with that. I do believe that I made the best of my time in San Antonio. I do have to remind myself that I am failing to bloom doesn’t mean that I didn’t try hard enough nor does it mean that I did anything wrong. It simply means that Texas Karen isn’t the best Karen. And that is okay.




10 thoughts on “That Time I Didn’t Bloom

  1. I can relate to this in so many ways. While we loved our time in Louisiana, I never felt like I was the best version of myself and that was hard. I always felt like something was missing and that’s okay. Like you said maybe we aren’t meant to be our best at all times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jen – that is a great way of putting it…I always felt like something was missing. I could never pin point it. And as soon as we left, the feeling went away. I think it is important to say that it is okay not to be okay.


  2. I also lived in San Antonio while my husband was stationed there, and also fully believe in the “bloom where you’re planted” mantra, but San Antonio and I just never jived. I tried hard and got involved in the community, but San Antonio and I just didn’t fit together. The great thing about that is now I am so much more aware of how great it feels to live somewhere where I truly feel comfortable and at ease! Hopefully San Antonio gave you the same takeway!


  3. I totally get it. I was born and raised in Texas. Went to college in Texas. Left at 25, and never looked back. I have no desire to ever live in Texas again and am thankful there are no Marine Corps bases there. And I understand this is so odd for a true, born-bled Texan to say, so I often don’t. But, this all makes perfect sense to me.


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