An Open Letter to My Love

I bet you were not expecting this from me because we just discussed a few hours ago how I’m not the romantic type. I don’t think about sending flowers or buying chocolates, mostly because I never really cared for them myself. I actually think chocolate tastes like medicine and flowers don’t smell good, they just smell like outside, lol. But you like that kind of stuff so maybe I’ll jump out of my skin and surprise us both one of these days.

I really hope you remember this because it was literally last week.. I will clown you so just pretend you do if you don’t (: But you wanted to play a game soooo bad so we played one of those “how well do you know your partner” games via FaceTime and we both got every question right except maybe 2, and those were things we didn’t discuss so naturally we didn’t know the answer. The little grading scale at the bottom said we probably had a very intense relationship. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult but I cannot deny that “intense” is a pretty accurate word to describe how we are. We are two very passionate people.. What could our union possibly be other than intense???

I want you to know that despite the baggage we both brought into this, unbeknownst to either of us before we were in too deep, this is probably one of the most right and most natural things I have ever done. Getting to know you was and still is so organic… As much as you try to hide your personal life from the world, you were comfortable enough with me to share the good and the bad and I don’t think I will ever be able to express to you how much it means to me that someone as amazing and kind as you instinctively wanted to be close to me. Like wow, I must be a pretty dope person, right? Well, you are too.

We’re young and absolutely anything could happen between now and the end of time but I will never stop saying you were meant for me. We’re so different, yet so alike. All of my favorites are your favorites. We’re both picky eaters.. We’re both goofy.. We both feel so many things intensely… We both like Dr. Pimple Popper (LOL).. We both have dreams of giving back and helping advance humanity in one way or another.. I could go on forever. You’re my twin flame, despite us coming from very different walks of life.

I know sometimes you doubt yourself but I wish you could see you the way I see you. You’re capable of so many things… You’re going to move mountains. Our first interaction ever in life was about the whole poem thing and I was telling you how proud I was of you, and to keep your head up (who knew months later we’d meet again under different circumstances and I would get to call you mine).. I’ve been proud of you since before I knew you personally, because you have a genuine spirit and you have a voice. You have no problem making everyone else around you uncomfortable when it comes to speaking the truth and I’ll always love that fire in you… that drive to grow as an individual while pushing your entire community to grow with you. They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, so always take care of you first… but somehow you manage to put the world before yourself and continue to be as upbeat and loving as ever.

I saw a tweet earlier today that said “relationships aren’t always 50/50.. Sometimes they’re gonna go through something and you gotta pick up that 80/20”. Forgive me if I have placed you in a position where you’re putting in 80 more often than you’re putting in 50. My already shaken up world started to fall apart shortly after we decided to give this a try but I pray that I have gotten to a place where you’re as confident as I am that I can put in 80 more often, too. It’s a team effort and if I haven’t made myself clear over the course of these months, there is nothing you aren’t worthy of.

I am going to wrap this up because I have a feeling you’re going to wake up and ask me why I haven’t called you yet but in summary, my love for you goes beyond this relationship. We are best friends and if ever we decided that we aren’t meant for a romantic partnership, that would be ok. We both have grown so much mentally and spiritually… and I’m not sure it would have happened if we didn’t take this step. Pretty sure it was all divine alignment ❤

Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for teaching me that it is ok to be vulnerable more than I’m angry. Thank you for not walking away when it would’ve been easier to do that instead of stick it out. We have about a million more days to conquer but together it’s more than doable.

Advertisements

In Absolute Loving Memory…

My institution has lost two beautiful souls within the past seven days… Seven. Days.

One who I did not know personally, and the other who I did. However, that is not what’s important here. What is important is that those of us who were graced with the opportunity to share a space with one or both of them remembers them at their best, takes the lesson that can be found through their passing, and honors their legacy every day from now until it is our turn to transition to the other side.

Those of us who met neither of them but attend the institution, or even are completely removed from the situation, please send your love and prayers to the families and close friends of our fallen angels.

Now, I want to take a moment to highlight something important here for anyone who maybe isn’t taking this as deeply to heart as the rest of us or has that “I didn’t know them so I don’t feel a thing” type of attitude… A loss for anyone is a loss for everyone, especially when we are apart of a community. Communities share everything, including pain and hardships. We go through it together or we won’t get through it at all.

I don’t have much else to say because to be quite honest, I’m just heartbroken right now. I can’t wrap my head around what is going on in this world but what I do know is that we need to get right… Mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s very easy for us to pass everything off as a joke and pretend like it won’t ever be us… But one day it will be. When it is, what do you want to be remembered by?

To my sisters,

You are loved, you are appreciated, and you will be missed dearly. I ask that you cover our beloved institution, watch over and guide your loved ones. Your spirit is flying high, and forever more no one and no thing can bring you down.

“The Hood is rooting for you..”

When people ask me to introduce myself, it’s a little hard for me because I don’t know where I’m from. I mean, I know where I was born and I know all of the places I’ve lived but I don’t have that typical “born and raised in ___” experience. I’ve lived in 4 different states, on two different sides of the country, and attended 8 or 9 different schools from Kindergarten through my senior year.

However, through it all there’s one small town in Georgia that I always seem to end up back in, where I attended 4 of those 8 or 9 schools… I probably know this place better than any other place I’ve ever been. The issue is, I feel like a stranger here.

Have you ever gone somewhere that you’ve been time and time again but there’s that one time you go, and something is different… Someone, something, some entity or energy is missing… That’s how I feel here.

I’ve spent my entire summer in a town where everyone knows me and I have some recollection of them and yet I could not feel more out of place than I do.

People recognize me at work almost every day… old classmates, someone’s mom or sister, a random person that I’ve never met before but they’re someone’s uncle’s brother’s friend.. I legitimately had a man stand at the register and ask me who my people are, just to find out that he’s my distant cousin.

How could being surrounded by such familiarity make me feel this way? Isn’t coming back to your “roots” supposed to make people feel better?

Well, for me it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me uncomfortable enough to grow and take the necessary steps to ensure that the next time I come back here for an extended period of time, I’m coming back to make it better instead of simply noticing everything that is wrong. You don’t always realize how limited of an experience you have had or are having until you’re given the opportunity to venture out at an age and time where exploring other places and meeting people from different walks of life truly impacts you.

On the other hand, it has also made me realize that no matter how alone I feel, there is going to be someone in a small town who is wishing the absolute best for me.

A woman came in one day and I recognized her but I didn’t know her name. She told me who she was, asked me how school had went, told me to tell my mother she said hello, and before walking out stated “the hood is rooting for you”.

That was such an important moment for me for a few reasons… one because I have been saying since before I even set foot on campus that the hood loves my school (said it in class one day and the professor laughed but everybody else knew exactly what I meant). Secondly, because that means that despite me being one of the only black people out of this area doing what I’m doing, people are paying attention and taking pride in my achievements. And finally, because when I told my mom what happened she said “you being your father’s child carries a lot of weight around here. People wish you well just for being his kid”.

Anybody who knows me would know that my father meant and still means the world to me. Honoring his memory and making him proud are two things that I think about nearly on a daily basis. The work is for me, but it’s for him too. All him and my mom ever wanted was to see me where I am now and it feels good to be here and to know that I’m going even further than my wildest dreams and theirs.

To the hood within this small town, and every other hood I’ve set foot in,

Keep rooting for me, I’ll keep making you proud.

When Growth Reaches Max Discomfort

Since my post before this was about my new job, I figured I’d keep it going and share the experience I had at work yesterday. It was a major milestone for me in my emotional development and although the average person would not be proud of what happened, I am because I know that if I wasn’t being intentional with my presence in the moment, it wouldn’t have happened. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have even had a nightmare about this happening because it simply wasn’t possible.

I cried at work.

 

It wasn’t like crocodile tears either… It was an audible cry. It was an “I am so overwhelmed, there is a significant amount of negative energy being thrown at me, and this is the only thing I have the strength to do right now” type of cry.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am not a crier by any stretch of the imagination. I can probably count on both hands the amount of times I have allowed myself to cry over losing someone very important to me so if that tells you anything… I just don’t cry. I used to think that crying was a sign of weakness and I never ever wanted anyone to see me shed a tear, let alone just sit there and sob.

The past week, give or take a few days, has been rough to say the least. It feels like virtually every aspect of my life that I thought was completely stable is being shaken to the core. I am trying to remind myself that things must be broken down before they can be rebuilt on a better foundation, that this is a test of my strength/perseverance/faith, that this is the darkness before the dawn. It’s just a lot easier said than done.

BUT, there is something to be said about how far I have come for recognizing that I should be proud of that moment. I am proud of that moment. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to sit in your unpleasant feelings when it is often times so much easier to sweep them under the rug. I have had a great deal of practice suppressing my emotions throughout the years, so much so to the point that it was almost a subconscious reaction to cut off all feeling outside of happiness and anger.

I didn’t recognize myself in that break room and maybe that’s the best thing I could’ve felt this summer.

Timing + Circumstance = Absolutely Everything

Today marks the beginning of the eighth week since I’ve been home from school. For five of the previous seven weeks, I was doing a whole lot of nothing from the outside looking in. Most days I felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing too. The average day consisted of scrolling through my instagram feed, playing games on my phone, watching Netflix, talking to my love, and thinking about all of the things I knew I needed to do but wasn’t doing.

I was/am doing a good amount of work on myself during impromptu me time which actually takes a lot out of you, but obviously you’d have to interact with me a lot to notice the subtle changes.

I came home with the intent to be working all summer long. I ended up spending 1/3 of the summer not even being able to find a job let alone going to work. This might be the point where you’re saying “What? Businesses love hiring college students for seasonal jobs. So many places were hiring, you just weren’t looking..” and to an extent you’d be right. There WERE many places hiring that I never even applied to but I had guidelines that needed to be met based on the dynamic of this household. So I waited.

First I wanted to work through the local temp agency. For those of you that don’t know, a temp agency basically finds full-time jobs for you (typically warehouse jobs) and sends you to work for a company that they have a contract with. They pay more than retailers or fast food so it’s decent if you’re physically able to do the job. I did it over winter break and although it was tiring, the money came through and that’s the only reason I was there.

Then I decided I could either work retail again or go back into food service because there are quite a few local one stop shop type stores around here and plenty of fast food, so that’d be easier on all parties involved. I applied to both.

I did get hired at a pizza place before I started working where I’m working now but I lasted all of 2 days. I’m not typically a quitter, I’ve actually never walked off of a job like I did that one before. However, the timing was wrong and the environment was not something I was willing to deal with. Rude customers? Medium-sized problem. Unprofessional bosses & unsanitary work space? Big problem. In that moment I was not equipped to handle what that position was throwing at me off bat without being taken far out of my zone. Frankly, nothing is more important than my sanity/mental health.

So now I have a different job and my coworkers are 1000x more tolerable and I feel like I can actually talk to them. They don’t know anything about me other than I’m a college student (the store manager knows my dad passed) BUT the point is that the vibe in the store is much more welcoming among the people that work there and I feel like I can do my job and move on without hating every moment of it. I am also in a much better place mentally than I was 3-4 weeks ago so even though customers come in acting a fool much more than I can appreciate, it doesn’t bother me too much after they exit the store. Timing matters.

I was originally going to title this “You Don’t Always Have to See it Through” because when it looks like someone has quit something they chose to start, they’re labeled a quitter. “Quitting” has an extremely negative connotation and is frowned upon pretty much everywhere. Nobody wants someone on their team who isn’t going to see it through… But, it’s so important to see the other side of that. A lot of times, people have no idea what a place or situation is actually like until they’re waist deep. We’re all different people battling things within ourselves that maybe no one else knows. Everybody has a different breaking point and everybody is willing to withstand different things in order to reach their end goal. I was not willing to compromise the progress I was making for a paycheck. I didn’t have to see it through. You don’t either. Have faith that things will fall into place as they should, and they will. It may not be within the time frame that you originally mapped out but part of the fun in life is the repeated surprised of how the puzzle seems to complete itself even when at first glance there’s a giant gaping hole in the center.