I’ve been waking up early lately, an hour or so before my alarm normally soothes me awake. I’m a very light sleeper, I only need a gentle nudging to lift me out of my forgotten dreams. Some days I’m inspired to hit the pavement and run, more often than not, I roll on my side burrowing further into the mattress that a boy once called too soft. There are mornings when I curl up in the silence, content with my thoughts, or other days when I grab my Kindle which is always nearby eager to pick up where I left off the night before. Grabbing my glasses, I begin racing against time, trying to take in as much of the story as I can before I absolutely have to arise. I’ve always enjoyed mornings, (mostly for that for that first sip of coffee), my feet eager to hit my cool hardwood floors, warming quickly as I step under the scalding shower. I like my routines ,and the solace that I find in my new normal. It’s amazing how different life can be in 365 days.
This time last year, I was in a rut, still bogged down in that 20-something turmoil of what life should be and what it was. I was mostly wildly unhappy, but I didn’t want to complain. (At least I don’t think I didn’t.) Chatting with people who have a few years on me, I was told to just push through, that things would inevitably get better, but other voices (two to be exact) told me to do what felt right to me, and that’s exactly what I did. In April, I left a dead-end job and a stable paycheck to freelance full time as an entertainment writer. I was done, fed up with people telling me to wait. If I’ve learned anything in my quarter century of life it’s that waiting is bullshit. Admittedly, I do need to work on my patience, but time waits for no one, especially not a young Black woman. Visualizing your dreams slipping though your fingertips is gut-wrenching, and I was determined not to let that happen to me. Unhappiness for any measure of time is too long, and aside from doing the big chop four years ago, stepping out on fate was of the best decisions of my life. I spent the late spring and summer writing in a little cafe around the corner from my apartment 30 hours a week. With that freedom, I got to breathe and reflect on the last five tumultuous years of my life. I visited Paris for the first time. I got to live.
However, four months of freedom got to be be rather burdensome on my wallet, so towards the end of the summer, I set out to find a full time position writing, and pretty much snagged one up right away. It’s funny how life works because, as soon as I grabbed a full-time gig, y freelance work also began to pick up. I was being sent to places like Curaçao, Aruba, and Memphis. These were beautiful places that I’d never seen, meeting people I’d never dreamed of meeting. It seems that when you open yourself up to new experiences things just seem to flow in. And yet, the thing about opening up certain aspects of yourself is that, you’ll also discover other parts that you want to close.
As beautiful and eye-opening as 2015 was for me personally, I watched people I love and adore experience life-shattering loss. Though I’ve been through similar things, it’s so sobering to be on the other side, to know that no words or hugs will provide the comfort that they are desperately seeking. Instead, I just tried to make myself present, though I’m not sure I succeeded at that successfully.
& then there are relationships. Romances and friendships; those have shifted too. I’m learning perhaps that that’s because I’ve changed so drastically. For many years, I felt the burden of being an sympathizer, the buffer, the one desperate for everyone else to get along. It became too burdensome a title for me to continue wearing, so I sought distance and solitude which gave me peace. I find being around other people all the time rather exhausting, I’ve found that it interferes with my ability to think clearly. Romance was a another learning curve. I think I’ve discovered that for me, love isn’t always enough. I need plans and actions and a bit of aggressiveness. Perhaps that’s unfair, maybe there will be things I regret in the future, but for now I’m more than enough.
From Dubai to Paris to Jamaica to San Antonio, I went places in 2015 and experienced things I never thought I would, I swam in what feels like a zillion oceans, I’ve laughed more than I’ve cried and I loved and let go. What I’ve learned most is to trust myself. People often have the best intentions but that doesn’t mean their suggestions should be the blueprint to your life. You’re the one who has to get up everyday and face this harsh world, so do what feels right for YOU.
Chocolate Girl in the City.