Chapter Twenty: If It Makes You Happy

Let me just start by saying that two weeks ago I was empty and today my mind is blown by the things have taken place since then. So please, let that serve as a great testament that it truly does get better!

I never doubted it would.

Two weeks have brought upon transformation with my personal and work life. Maybe it was the full moon and the wonderful full moon ritual I was blessed to take part in. And maybe the Universe saw fit to shine down on me a little more than usual.

I can breathe.

These last couple of months have been full of bouts of being stuck and figuring out just what I’m made of. I’ve been a supervisor before, but I’m in a different setting now that pushes me beyond my limits. I’ve been tried and tried again. I have remained constant, direct, and immovable on things that have caused great push back. Y’all I’m stronger (in my Christina Aguilera voice).

In my personal life I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do. What makes me happy. What I can make time for. And that is why this picture is important. While I’m still taking donations for a new camera set (via cash app using $plberry), I was able to purchase some lightly used cameras. I’ve discovered just how happy photography makes me. Playing with lighting and shadows. Catching nature in moments where it’s vulnerable and most beautiful. Man! Y’all I’m hyped. Yeah it’s not the best camera, but it’s definitely a start.

You gotta start something to be able to finish it.

I also purchased two film cameras that I’m going to learn to work with. They’re classic and I’m ready to take on the world!

These things make me happy. In the next couple of months I will be diving deep into guitar now that I’ve found a couple of people, and even a friend, who are willing to teach me.

Do things that make you happy! The happiness you create for yourself can’t be taken away. Do things for yourself, not for others. Make sure you’re okay before you make sure someone else is okay. Love yourself. All of you. Every crevice. Every flaw. Discover your passions.

Be unapologetically you.

Two weeks ago I was empty and now I’m so full I just may burst. Because so much is happening. I didn’t allow life to kick my ass. I acknowledged what was going on with me. I addressed it. I allowed myself to feel. And then I didn’t give up.

It wasn’t easy by any means. And it definitely takes practice. I’ve had to realign some chakras and meditate. Do some yoga and take time to myself to be by myself and acknowledge my issues. I had to rebuild the confidence that was slipping away and create some new tactics to deal.

If it makes you happy

It can’t be that bad

If it makes you happy

Then why the hell are you so sad?

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Dear No One,

I’m none of the things you thought I would be. You can say it’s because of you or you can admit it’s because I was never yours.

You planted a lot of hateful seeds. Like you tried to set me up for failure. But I spent my childhood building up a fortress against your attacks.

So thank you for being everything I didn’t need. For being everything I didn’t want. And for being the darkness so that I could find everlasting light.

Dear No One,

I remember wanting to be just like you. You were (hashtag) goals! I never really had anyone to look up to and it seemed that you entered my life at just the right time.

You were the best at everything and required nothing but that.

And then I came along lol.

I’ve never wanted to be the best. I’ve never cared to be the best. I never will be the best.

But that’s okay. I’m okay with being who I am. And that took a long time.

I love and respect you for all that you’ve done.

Maybe one day I will love and respect you for letting go.

Dear No One,

I remember hating you. I remember thinking you would mess everything up. Or maybe I would mess everything up. I had never had anyone like you in my life so I didn’t know how to adjust.

But you’ve remained warm and caring and always remind me that you’re there.

Thank you.

Dear No One,

I used to bargain with God. I used to pray for your safety. I used to ask Him to bring you back so things could go back to how they were.

Then I had to pray to stop hating you.

I get it now and I choose to believe that you did this out of love. Knowing what you could and couldn’t do, you chose the best option for me.

So now I don’t pray for you at all, I just wish you well.

Dear No One,

It’s been too long. Every year I search for you. Every year my heart gets heavy wondering if you’re searching for me as well. And every year that goes by are filled with tucked away memories I hope to share with you one day.

I’m sorry I didn’t fight for you. It took me too long to realize that children are anything but weak. That children can change the world. That children change people. That children are more than capable of making a difference.

I’m sorry and I will never stop looking for you and loving you.

Dear No One,

You’ve always been supportive and I’ve never had to question our relationship. Maybe we were really meant to be related. I’ve always admired you because you’re one of the sweetest and most outspoken people I know. You loved that part of you early on and it’s made you my sheroe.

Dear No One,

We were close. But the longer I stayed away the more we drifted apart. I needed your love, but I needed me more. So now when I see you, I recognize our history and that we may never have a future.

Dear No One,

I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment we formally met. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you smile and heard you laugh. I’ve loved you from the beginning and I fought it because I didn’t want it.

You have helped me explore parts of myself I was afraid to even acknowledge. You have helped me stay grounded. You have taught me more things than I can count.

You are the breath of fresh air that I needed and free spirit I needed to help me explore.

If I have to lose you now at least I know what it means to love, be loved, and be free.

Chapter Sixteen: Keep Choosing Yourself

I've never really fit in with anyone or anywhere.  Today I'm totally okay with that.  However, when I was younger I clung to people and things that seemed to fit and accept me.  I refused to let go because it always felt great when I felt chosen.

Years went by with me feeling this way.  My adolescent years were crazy plus more crazy with a little crazy on top.  The internal struggle I went through, just to accept myself, was beyond tiresome.

We won't go to the dark places today.

Over the last seven or so years I've learned to be okay with who I am.  I've learned to make decisions for myself.  I've learned that it's okay to be weird (or as I used to say, creatively different).  Y'all I was weird before it was cool.  All this "in" stuff now used to be territory you did not discuss with others because you'd be labeled crazy real quick.

The more I began to choose me, the more people and things I realized served me no purpose.  I've lost a ton.  I've lost people who I thought would be there for the rest of my life.

The last two years have been especially hard.  I've gone back and forth with who I used to be and who I needed to be.  I was trying to hold on to -ships I knew weren't healthy.  I was holding in feelings and making myself crazy.

I lost more people.

It's a weird feeling to lose so many people and to initially panic but then realize you still have yourself so it's all good.  I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror.  I have to be proud of myself.  I have to be my biggest cheerleader.  I have to have my back at all times.  Yeah, it's cool if someone finds their way into my life, but I know that doesn't mean they're staying.  I have to be okay with that.

No more, people are here for a reason and a season.  That's a given.  What we need to learn is how to let go.  Let go of others without losing ourselves.

So we have to keep choosing ourselves.  It will make others angry.  It will make them leave.  It will make them give you ultimatums.  It will hurt.  It will hurt like hell.  But we choose ourselves today so that we don't regret it tomorrow.

Chapter Thirteen: Which Side Do You Want to See?

When I started this blog I had no intention of ever showing my face. I wasn’t ready for that type of connection. I wanted to be seen and understood for my words instead of other parts that make up who I am. 

It was difficult not to reveal my preferred pronouns. I felt that to make a better connection I needed to reveal ethnicity and sexual orientation (see tags). But my face? Nope. Never. 

But there I was, in a moment if pure bliss, love, and abundance. I had no choice. 

I aim to be transparent. I aim to encourage. I aim to be all that I am, unapologetically. I won’t be the same person I was yesterday. I won’t react to the same things today the way I reacted four years ago. But as long as I remain true I know that I’ll never doubt or regret what I’m doing. 

The title of this is not to ask you which side you want me to show. It’s to tell all who read this that I won’t refrain from showing each side. You have the luxury of treating me and this blog like trail mix. You can take and leave what you want, when you want. I, on the other hand, have to live with every shade of my being. 

I’m eternally grateful for the journey of understanding and accepting myself and being able to share it. 

My advice to you is to do the same. Don’t fight or hide parts of you that you may not accept (yet), and that others may disagree with. You are uniquely you and those who are meant to experience you, because you are an experience, will appreciate every part. 

Chapter Twelve: Find Your Root

Why do you do the things you do? Why are you the way you are? Learned behaviors play a key role in figuring out the answers to those questions. 

About a week and a half ago two important things happened. The first was my twenty-seventh birthday. The second was my friend graduating from her master’s program. Well two months ago we decided to celebrate them both simultaneously. I wanted to go to Miami, but was open to other locations. A month later nothing solid had been put into place. I had basically given up on going anywhere or doing anything. She started to really look into locations and prices. She chose New Orleans and I was upset. I wanted to go but how could I when this was so last minute?

After some back and forth I agreed and purchased my plan tickets. I still had some reservations because I felt like I wasn’t prepared. And I was still a little angry because people know that I am a planner. 

The day before my birthday I spent time on the lake front. I did some yoga and laid out. I felt so much gratitude. I saw twenty-six as the year of reflection. Twenty-seven had to be the year of manifestation. 

After I left the lake front I went to see my mom at her job. We talked about my plans to go out of town and what I had done that day. I invited her to come do yoga with me. I said we could plan be night before and she said, “You know I plan my life in advance.”

That’s when it dawned on me. I said, “Yes I know. And you’re my root. My friend wakes up and goes places while I wake up and plan to go places months from the day.”

Guise, we gotta live life. 

A learned behavior. I learned that planning is essential, so much so that I was unable to budge without a plan. That day I thought about all the learned behaviors that make me who I am. While I wouldn’t change who I’ve become, not every behavior is good or positive or beneficial. I realized that in order to really tackle an internal problem like this, I had to figure out when it started. Why it started. I had to evaluate how it could be holding me back from achieving greatness. 

We went to New Orleans. While I may not have found my great great great great great great grandmother, I found a feeling of excitement, opportunity, growth, and belonging. The tours we went on. The people we met. The history we learned. Every aspect screamed, “find your root.” 

Who am I? Who will I become? What will I achieve? The answer is limitless. I am limitless. I will be limitless. And I will achieve unimaginable levels of greatness. 

But first, I have to find my root(s).


📷: jywilson

Chapter Two: A Force To Be Reckoned With

  • What affect have you had on the world?
  • What affect do you want to have?
  • Why are you a force to be reckoned with?

Whoa, don’t think I’m some type of self help, lifestyle guru.  I’m just a simple person doing simple things and trying to get others to see the many beauties of the world… including themselves. 

Lately I’ve been asking myself these questions.  Originally I thought I hadn’t made any type of affect on the world.  But think about the many interactions we have with others.  Those are things that make up our affect on the world.  I think about the work I’ve done through volunteering with kids.  I think about the work I do on a daily basis.  Most of us are out here just trying to be happy with ourselves and situations.  Some of us are out here trying to improve the quality of life for ourselves and others.

I try to keep those things in mind.  So when I’m frustrated or having a bad day, I think about how that will affect the people I will interact with that day.

I want to give light.

A month or so ago I was at work and wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  I had, what I deemed, a regular interaction with a customer.  But at the end of the interaction he said, “I like your energy.”

Whoa.

I’ve never had someone say that to me so directly.  Normally people say, “Oh you’re so nice and patient.” or, “You just make things look so easy and it’s easy to talk to you.”  But this direct language made me think, our actions are far more complex than physical.  We interact with so many people-so many energies-every day.  Not all of them are good.  We need to find ways to heighten our awareness so that when our energies interact, they can truly recognize each other with a, “namaste.”

I’m a force to be reckoned with because I’m learning how to make life better for myself and others and actually putting action behind it.  It doesn’t have to be a grand display.  It’s as simple as complimenting someone.  Smiling when they walk by.  Exchanging morning pleasantries.  More often than not, when this happens to me, it feeds the good in me.  It makes me want to pass that good feeling along to the next person who may need it.

I’m a force to be reckoned with because I’m doing something that I would not have done five or ten years ago.  I see how far I’ve come and my future capabilities are limitless.  My affect on the world will be spreading joy and peace and love whenever I can.  My affect on the world will be helping those positive energies to shine bright and fill my fellow earth dwellers with hope and positive vibes to get through their situations.

So what about you?

Chapter One: Uprooted

Sometimes you have to be yanked out of your current situation and placed into another.  Sometimes this different place can be familiar, other times not.

The goal is to learn.  Take what you learned in your previous position and apply it to the new one.  You cannot keep growing if you do not keep learning.  Ask questions.  Think!  Don’t be afraid to sound crazy or weird.

Most of my life was lived inside a bubble.  After I graduated college I gave in to the unwavering urge to get out and live.  I left behind everything and went a journey.  For two years I forsake everything I thought I knew for things that I was open to learn.  There were a lot of ups and downs.  There were a lot of times I wondered what the next step was, or even if there was a next step.  

When I finally came home, everything was familiar and strange all at the same time.  I was lost in a city I once knew like the back of my hand.  I was literally lost.  I got off the train and didn’t know which direction was which.  Nothing looked the same.  The air smelled differently.  

But I kept going.

I figured out where I was headed and things started to look more and more familiar.  

The lesson is that there is mystery even in the parts of life you think you know most.  There are other dimensions.  Other passions.  Other paths to pursue.  You’re going to freak out every once in a while.  You may ask yourself how you got here and where to go next.  But adventures are funny.  When you allow yourself to experience and learn, you allow yourself to be open to endless possibilities.  When you allow yourself to freak out and continuously cling to what once was, you put yourself in a box, limiting what you can do and where you can go.

I’m not saying its all perfect.  It’s almost been a year and sometimes I think I’ve made more mistakes than progress.  But I’ve finally learned to accept the journey for what is instead of making it something it should never be.

Have you ever been on a roller coaster?  That initial fear when you finally get strapped into the seat before take off is insane.  You’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.  You’re contemplating jumping off before the ride starts.  

But then it zooms off.

You’re scared.  As you reach the first twist you grab on for dear life.  When you approach the first drop your heart seems like it will jump out of your chest.  The anticipation is almost crippling.  You’re staring ahead of you wondering if you should look.  If you should keep your eyes open.  Even wondering if this is the end.

But then you drop and you’re essentially weightless.  You’re headed toward the ground and just before you hit the ground, the ride swoops back up, taking you to another loop.

That’s life.  Choose to live it with your eyes open.  Choose to acknowledge the drops when they come, but hold on to the security of knowing that it won’t be the end.  Make those twists and turns something of a sport.  Let’s see just how flexible you are-mentally and emotionally.  How much did you learn from the last twist that applies to this current turn?

Yet always, always remember…

Be gentle with yourself along the way.  You will mess up.  You will fall.  But you will get back up stronger than you were before.