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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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 Eight: Breathe

I’ve always been obsessed with the sky. When I was younger I lived in Las Vegas and we used to sit on the roof at night and stare at the stars. When I moved back to Chicago those stars weren’t visible. Thankfuly the sun has always done some crazy beautiful things to make up for it. 

No matter what the sky looks like, I’m always able to look up and breathe. I breathe when I’m nervous. When things aren’t going well. When I’m overwhelmed. When I’m happy. I breathe just being able to appreciate the beauty of the day. 

Find your thing that makes you breathe. That makes you slow down. That makes you appreciate life. Find your thing that keeps you grounded, even if it’s something above you like the sky. 

Sometimes we meditate with the moments we take. However, if you’re like me, you don’t get a lot of quiet moments throughout the day. Find your thing and breathe. Deeply. Fully. Happily. 

Chapter Eight: You’re Strong Until You Don’t Have to Be

Striving for independence is something most of us do. We get into situations where we think we can handle things ourselves. We start to think we don’t need help. Some of us start to believe we don’t want help. Like I’ve been going strong all my life, why do I need others?

You do. 

We are all strong. We have all overcome something. Lived through something that should have killed us in some way.

This past week I realized we are strong until we don’t have to be. What does that mean? Does that mean we eventually become week? What happens when we no longer have to have to be strong. 

Slow down. We’re getting there. 

We depend on others until we either no longer have to or until they prove that we shouldn’t. A crazy thing happens at some point, at several points, in our lives. We find someone we can depend on. We find someone we can lean on. And when we find that person, we begin to break down. They begin to let us know they are there for support and, with a little fight, we begin to allow them to be. 

I like to handle things by myself. That’s how I’ve always done it. Every now and again I allow someone in and they allow me to lean on them and vice versa.

Don’t lean too much. Don’t lean too long. Don’t allow others to lean too much or too long. 

I had somewhat of a difficult week. But there was only one person who I felt would make it better. Only one person who I felt I needed to talk to. Only one person who could even begin to catch me before I fell. 

Again, slow down. 

We can’t be fully emotionally available to everyone. We have to find those who are worthy. 

Is this person worthy? Honestly, it’s pending. Do I want them to be? Yes. Does that mean I force them into the position to eventually prove themselves? No. 

Baby steps. Take some baby steps. 

So when we find that person who we feel is worthy. Who can handle us in those weak moments. We let our guards down and we allow them to be strong for us. We allow ourselves to breathe and acknowledge the fact that we are only strong when we have to be. We better understand the weight we carry, daily, due to being strong for ourselves and others. We understand what it means to allow someone to be strong for us when we can’t be. 

It’s scary. But, change is inevitable and you have to find ways to be vulnerable when needed. You have to accept your feelings and find ways to express them. 

Emotions are tricky. They can make you think or feel something that is only true for the moment. But we are working toward those lifetime goals. So each day, find a way to be vulnerable with someone who matters. Find a way for relax and unload with someone who can be strong for you. 

Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others.