My knee is throbbing. As I write this, I am currently propped up on my fluffy queen-sized mattresses with my right leg elevated — a makeshift ice pack from some juice cleanse I did in the past two years rests on my knee. The offending knee is wrapped in the ace bandaged I got that time I almost broke my toe. The Golden Girls is playing on my TV in the background. I’m in pain, but I’m happy. Like really really happy. Like almost fuckin’ tickled pink.
I’m 27. I’m damn near 30 which is both odd and slightly thrilling because I feel like I’ve done a half way decent job of keeping myself alive a thriving without my mother for almost a whole ass decade. Who would have thought? I’m a bit hungry at the moment because I’m on Weight Watchers. According to my Fitbit I gained 20lbs from April 2015 -Oct 2015 and I’ve been carrying them around with me for almost two years and I’M OVER IT!! I’ve actually started cooking again, and I don’t hate it (sometimes) because that’s the only way you can ever really know what you’re eating. The last six months of my life has been another one of those exhausting roller coaster rides that make me one to vomit scream, laugh and cry all at once. Even my therapist was alarmed about the swift changes that seem to come rushing in at me. I’ve gotten used to it now I think…. I’ve at least gotten used to managing things better.
So I’m laying here with a f*cked up knee because, “No Aramide, running 4 miles randomly when you’ve barely been running two because you want the weight to fall off faster even though your body is telling you to sit your ass down is not a good idea!” This is only the third thing I’ve written in like two weeks, and it feels glorious AF. On Monday I start a new job that has literally NO OFFICE. I’m headed to Jamaica, Tennessee, Atlanta, (possibly NOLA), and Greece in the next three months, and I’m finally sleeping soundly (except when I get up to pee because I drink more water than should be humanly possible) without my trusty melatonin gummies.
So how did I get here? With a busted knee, a smile and two weeks of almost no writing? I won’t get into it all now. I’m sure I have a series of vignettes in me that will spill about the page at one point or another so instead I’ll just give you a glimpse at the tornado that has been my life since Feb…. and it hasn’t been all bad. I try not to complain, so I def see and acknowledge the good bits, but sometimes, I wonder how I’m still standing. (I’m mean right now I’m not so….)
In February, a couple of weeks after I’d returned from my first trip to the Motherland (South Africa is lit FYI!), I was unceremoniously laid off from my job. It was the longest I’ve ever been at one job. A year and a half of my life (legit all of 2016) where I was underpaid and did too much, but I loved the people and the flexibility, and I was determined to ride it until the wheels fell off. I knew the layoff was coming, and I was even offered a job at a huge name online publication within a couple of weeks, but I was over the shitz, and the grind and office life so turned it down. (You only live once right?!) Oh btw in the midst of this my doctor found a lump in my boob (which if I’m being honest wasn’t all that surprising because of my family history) and they also thought there was a leaky valve in my heart. This is the best news to hear when you are newly unemployed and without health insurance and just trying to squeeze in your annual physical before the folks at the doctor’s office realize your insurance card is actually now garbage. (Luckily both of those things turned out not to be anything, and I rarely think about them. Kind of.)
Then I was offered another job. A dream job —one that I never ever wished I could get that got my name in print. I interviewed a ton more celebs, got to go to events and make connections, my name was on a gazillion VIP email lists, and it was all great for the ‘gram, but I was anxious and exhausted and overworked and hating it. There was good shit in the midst of that obviously like this man person that I adore, and recognition and finally making decent money (by NYC standards). But I spent a lot of time crying at my desk, or lying awake at 2 a.m. or hiding in the bathroom, or venting to my sister. My mom’s oldest sister also died in the while all of this was happening, and I felt too numb to even grieve for my Auntie. This was the same woman I’d just seen a few months before, who’d taken me to Disney World for the first time and who ALWAYS sent me birthday cards. I got one this year too even after she was gone.
I’ve done this before. I’ve been trapped in circumstances that didn’t elevate me I was 22 and 23, and 24. It was terrible, and trash and I learned then that FOR ME, my professional life has to be in sync with my personal life for me to thrive. We spend so many hours at work that if you aren’t happy, or thriving, it will seep into other aspects of your life. For no reason, you’ll be lying in bed on blissfully gorgeous summer Saturday thinking only of how much you don’t want Monday to come, or cussing out your thoughtful and caring man person over dinner choices. I’ve been in NYC for nearly a decade, and I KNOW that this city is too hard to do when you’re depressed. Hell life is too hard to sit in that sort of dark cloud when you can do something about it. (I recognize that sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.)
So…I did what I had to do, something that used to take me a lot longer to do in my early twenties. But at 27, I chose myself. It was my only option. I know now that dreams change, shift and evolve and that’s what makes life… well the thing that it is. Sometimes you get everything you thought you wanted and it’s really nothing at all.
I’ve been euphoric —except for those 24 hours last weekend that were actual hell (and as long as I avoid the news) ever since.
xoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxo
** cue SZA’s “20 Something” ***