My insecurities. My truth. My story.
10/22/2018 0 Comments
For those of you who kept up with me on social media, you know that I spent the last two and a half months in Uganda (East Africa), conducting summer research. I could go on a banter here about the incredible things I learned in global health along the way…or how my ten weeks made me question my “black” identity….or how I became a goat mommy in the matter of four weeks. I won’t. Instead, I want to share a few things…well 22 things…that I meant to share on my birthday. But, hey…better late than never. The 22 BIG things I learned the hard way before I turned 22. I can imagine this isn’t everything….But, I tried to recap from as long as I can remember…which goes back to about five or six years old. So, listen to me….These are lessons. Hard lessons derived from strife, derived from grief, happiness, joy…and pain. Enjoy.
Well, I did it. I walked out of this conference that I should be more than grateful to be at. But, amongst all the faces that seemed so enthusiastic about social work…and medical care…and making sure women breastfeed…There I sat, just thinking….”I’m really just one step away from ‘Magic City'” The truth? It is so easy for everyone to look at my life and say, “She’s so gifted”, “She’s talented”, “She’s so beautiful”, “She’s so confident”….or the kicker-“She makes it look so easy.” In actuality, it is SO hard for me to be ALL of these things. Sometimes, I’m not beautiful. I’m big…and I’m average. Sometimes, I’m not gifted…I’m simply going through the motion of things.
I started graduate school at Emory, really excited about a lot of things-a new degree, a new city, a new start. But, Emory…in the midst of my 20s has yielded nothing but confusion and turmoil.
Purpose. What do you do when you have no clue what it is? What do you do when you have no clue where to go? What do you do when you’re up against battling so many…identities? Moreover, what do you do when you don’t know whether to stop…or keep chasing a childhood dream?
“THE RACE IS NOT AWARDED TO THE SWIFT NOR THE STRONG…BUT TO THEM THAT ENDURE TO THE END”~ ECCLESIASTES 9:11
My grandmother is a firm believer in my journey being…different. A believer that in order to get to MY destination-a stop where I’ll change the world-I’ll fall more…I’ll struggle more….I’ll be hurt more than anyone else. But, I’ll end in victory…I’ll end in an inspiring…and amazing story. Now, my grandmother (Nana) is a wise woman. I believe every bit of this. I do…I just don’t know how to stomach a life like this. I tell her all the time…ya know…anybody can read Dialosophy…or like my pictures on IG…but what about when my mind is literally driving me crazy? And the only thing that helps…is writing? To that, my grandmother would say…”No one is supposed to know. It’s YOUR struggle.”
So, I was in this conference facing a common struggle-feeling purposeless. I find myself asking a very familiar question-What am I doing? This year has been complete…obscurity. Struggling to find what I want to do-Is it writing? Is it medical school? Struggling to come to grips with dating, my sexuality-can I be free? Should I "wait" to get married? Struggling…to understand me-why am I feeling what I am feeling?
But, nonetheless…I can’t help but to hold on to optimism…hold on to…happy. Hold on to hope…that I’ll be found in my wilderness. Hold on to truth that there is purpose…for the purposeless.
Purpose for the Black Girl: Queen, your only purpose is to know that you are capable of amazing things. The world will never understand the things you must face internally. Your drive to win is not just for you…it’s for a whole community…for the people who never made it past middle school…the lives lost as victims to the streets. You feel like your purpose, black girl, is to be everything. But, you’re not. You are not everything. You are…a human being. And you deserve someone that’ll take “wins” for you, too. Black girl, I see you going through all that highlight…but underneath, you’re still and already beautiful. Black girl, you’re so smart….I don’t believe you’re meant to do just ONE thing. So, black girl, go to medical school, pursue photography, become that nurse, write those books, own that business on the side…Live your dreams, black girl…Baby, live your dreams.
Purpose for the "Big Girl": Big girl, your purpose is to love your body…right here and RIGHT now for what it is…not for what you think it should be. Big girl, you are to move your hips in your body-con or one piece…not caring about the wide eyes or whispers you get. It is your body…it’s NOT everyBODIES. Big girl, look at your smile. That’s the best curve you’ll EVER have. So, don’t stress how much you’ve gained…or the body you think you should have. Appreciate exactly where you are, reflect where you want to be…and make a plan if you don’t like what you see. Work for whatever results you want, big girl, and know they’ll come slowly…but surely. In the mean time, wear what you want, big girl….do what makes you happy. Big girl, you were made to make a manifest for big girls everywhere. Delight in your OWN glory.
Purpose for the graduate student: Here it is again…another day you may not know what you’re doing. Grad student, I know you may question what the hell you’re gonna do with this degree. But, your purpose is not to stress…your purpose is just to…wait and see. I know that can be hard..because I see you…worrying about jobs…worrying about money. But, there’s so much more than that, grad student. There’s so much more to fulfill you within other people and in a community. Grad student, they’re people that look up to you. If you make it, so do they. So, make it. YOU WILL MAKE IT. Grad student…your only purpose is to keep going.
Purpose for the 20-something: So, you just turned 20-something again? And I’m sure you thought this year would be way better than the last. But, it turned to be shit…again….and you’re just as lost as before. 20-something, you’re not ever gonna have it together, so why are you worried? 20-something, I understand…you want everything to go your way- when you want to get married, when you want to have kids, what career you will have…but 20-something, you don’t have control. Let’s face it….life does. 20-something, I see you…working by day, rolling a couple blunts by night…trying to escape your own fears…trying to make life a little less lonely….Be careful 20-something…don’t find yourself constantly running. But by all means, do what you gotta do to ease your heart break, 20-something. Take those shots. Go on that date. You’ll find your way, surely. But, 20-something, don’t rush…just wait and see.
Purpose for the singles: Singles, do you ever find yourself using the word “alone” instead of single? Stop it. Because your purpose is not to weep in the midst of being “lonely”….Your purpose is to use this time to HAVE FUN, and be the best that you can be. I’m sure it’s not promising, looking at your peers having kids and getting married. But, that’s THEIR happy…it’s not your happy (yet). You’ll get Mrs. Right. You’ll get Prince Charming. And it’ll be amazing. So, be single…figure out what you like…what you don’t like…and just do you. Be you. And it’ll be fine. Just hold on.
Purpose for college grad: Congratulations. You made it…and you’re about to enter a world full of opportunities. For some of you, it may be exciting. For some of you, it could be scary. Whatever you’re feeling, decide today…that no matter what…you’re gonna keep trying. Because you will be tested. And some nights…you will spend crying. You will have to call home….and you will find ways to finesse extra money. Rent will be due…and you will wish for a time machine for a blast to the past…maybe for just one night…to be in the safe haven of a free dorm with the people who made it safe for four years…to be drunkenly leaving a party, praying everyone survives the ride back to campus WITHOUT throwing up….to be mixing illegal drinks for the freshmen who’s NOWHERE near 21. At times, you’ll miss it all. But, don’t give up. Don’t live too much in it. Because fun still exists. Memories still happen with everything. College grad, promise to keep trying.
Purpose for the high school grad: This is simple, high school grad. And I know you may be nervous about what major to choose…CHOOSE WHAT YOU LOVE. A job will come. Choose what you love to do. Go to class…and have fun. That’s your purpose, high school grad. Ravioli, ravioli…here is your formuoli. This is it. Choose what you love. No matter what, go to class. And have fun. You’re in for a wild ride, high school grad. You’ll meet people and make memories you’ll NEVER forget. You’ll pass a class when you were for sure failing. You’ll fall down…but luckily for you, high school grad, there will be a bunch of people around to pick you up. So, you made it across one stage, high school grad. Don’t rush the time it takes to walk across another. Enjoy the wave…and ride it every late night and early morning. Make it last forever!!!
Purposeless. Are any of us ever “purposeless”? Nah. There’s a purpose in a storm…purpose in the wilderness. Purpose in…not being together. Even the best artists can turn a mess into a masterpiece. Purpose. You have it. I have it, too.
REMEMBER…EVERY MOUNTAIN NEEDS SOMEONE TO CLIMB IT. EVERY OCEAN NEEDS SOMEONE TO DIVE IN. EVERY DREAM NEEDS SOMEONE TO WISH IT. EVERY ADVENTURE NEEDS SOMEONE TO LIVE IT. SO, WHAT’CHU WAITING ON? WHO YOU WAITING FOR? IF YOU DON’T TAKE A CHANCE, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHAT’S IN STORE.