Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Year Can Change Everything



When I turned eighteen, I broke every chain that held me down. I had spent my entire life trying to be the perfect child and a good student. I struggled between what I wanted and what was expected. I admit I didn't know much about what I wanted, what would make me happy, or what I needed. I had to figure it out.

 At the time, I thought I needed to take time off as I transitioned from high school to college. I was about to embark on a new journey. My first semester of college would start in Spring. I was happy with this decision. I needed to learn about myself. I needed to explore my new found freedom. Lets just say I didn't do as much learning as I thought. At the time, I thought staying out all night into the early mornings was a way of expressing my freedom. I had a lot to learn.

After taking the semester off, I started college. I spent three semesters in school, then decided to leave. This time was different. I was having doubts. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be in college. I decided to truly figure myself out. I couldn't half-ass it. I had to really apply myself. So, I skipped registering for more classes.

When I was a kid, I would worry about my future. I would become anxious at any thought of it. The decision to leave college brought the kid in me back. I was taking a huge risk. At this point  everything was coming to a halt. This was a crucial time. My concern for my degree seize to exist.  My main concern was me. It was time I focused on who I am and who I want to be.

 As far as I could remember, I always had people talking in my ear. I always had someone telling me what to do, what to say, and what to think. After I broke those ties, I didn't quite find my footing. My biggest supporters became my worst critics. I no longer had the support of a lot of people I thought I had support from and I seemed to be stumbling a lot.

Lets just say taking a year to see things clearly changed everything.

Taking action:

I admit that I procrastinated a lot in the beginning, but I finally decided to get down to it. First, I sought guidance. I needed to talk to someone about my life. I began telling my story every week  to a therapist and got advice every time I opened up. I learned a lot. I learned that I needed to fall back. I don't need to control everything and that's something I've been working on. I also learned that I needed to listen and to pay attention.

With this new found information, I began to watch my surroundings and started to see people for who they really are. A lot of my "friends" walked out of my life. Only a few stuck around. It wasn't a bad thing either. It was a relief for me. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I realized that some people came into my life for a reason. When or if they decided to leave, I would respect it. I could only wish them the best in life.

Second, I began keeping a journal. I started this journal my last semester in school.  This journal has been a crucial part of this process. My journal allowed me space to express what I wasn't sure how to say out loud. Again, the past year has been about finding my truths and making a huge decision when the year was up. I started asking myself questions.
  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I want?
  3. What do I need?
  4. What do I love about life?
  5. What are my life goals?
  6. What am I passionate about?
  7. What do I stand for?
  8. Am I willing to do what it takes to be where I want to be?
  9. Am I willing to face my fears?
  10. When do I stop saying "no" and start saying "yes"?
I realized, in time, all of those questions would be answered. I even questioned my About page. How could I write an "about me" and not know who I am? I rewrote it a few months back. I was able to answer a few questions. I admit I like it better now.

Next, it was time I start learning to love myself. I made a checklist and began to practice what I wrote. I knew it was working when I smiled at myself in the mirror and genuinely meant it. I fell in love with smiling to the point my dimples popped. Sometimes I would look at myself through a full body mirror and choose my favorite features. I learned that I love the shape of my eyes and when I smile, they crinkle. Things began looking up. I began feeling better about who I am. I see myself differently. For that I am proud.

The confidence I gained in the past year is amazing. Becoming a blogger helped. I've never been a fan of taking pictures of myself or getting my picture taken, but I still put myself out there. Blogging has given me courage. I like letting people into my world. I even added a lifestyle section because I want to be more open with readers. I've been an admirer of bloggers for awhile. Whether blogging is a career or just for fun, it is still a dream come true.

  My Health:

I began eating healthy and taking care of myself. I became a Flexitarian over night. I'm not joking. I woke up and decided I was going to cut down on eating meat. I began eating meat only on Sunday's because dinner at gran's house is tradition and she's not giving up soul food just because I changed my diet.

My diet had become fruit and plant based. Though I did eat rice almost daily. I could drink a gallon of water by myself in half a day. (I'm not sure if that's a good thing.) I began buying organic foods. My fruits and vegetables have to be fresh. My health improved. Over the course of a few months, I had become the healthiest I'd ever been. My doctor is still impressed.

I became somewhat fit. I started to "Train Like An Angel". Lets just say that walking felt nearly impossible for awhile. I almost had a six pack. Almost.

Apart from training, I'd stay active by walking. I have always been a walker. So, I cut out transportation. I would only use the MTA when I had somewhere to be. I know it's a bit extreme, but I don't care. I began walking from Upper Manhattan to the Financial District almost daily. This is not a joke either. I would even bring my friends along (sorry not sorry).  I now have a geographic memory of different neighborhoods in Manhattan and can be used as Google Maps. I'm actually proud of that too. 

Everything Else:

A topic I've constantly gone back to this year is talking about leaving the city and going somewhere new for a bit. I have always loved this city. Sometimes I feel like New York is the ex boyfriend that just always seems to be around. It's sort of like we share all the same friends and can't seem to get away from each other. I feel like I broke up with this city, but this city isn't done with me. Does that make sense?

Though I've not packed my things and winged it, I do plan on leaving someday. When I spoke of this out loud, people thought I was crazy. Maybe I am, but life's too short to wonder "what if..." Shouldn't I be able to think of me and what I want? Selfish, isn't it? Being selfish isn't always bad.

This year I allowed myself to be a bit selfish. In the beginning I would feel guilty. I was used to doing what I was told. Then I learned being selfish doesn't make me a bad person. I stopped worrying all the time. I began speaking of my journey. I spoke it into existence. The people who stayed in my life through this process understood. They took a step back and allowed me to wander about. For that I am appreciative.

While I was busy being selfish, I began learning different subjects outside of myself. I'm always interested in learning new things. I'm also a bit curious. I went back to my old notes and began studying European history in depth. My favorite reign is King Louis VIII. I'm not really sure why. It just is. I even watched Tudors because of it. Right now I'm learning French. I'm only on a beginners level, but it's a lot of fun.
A: Est-ce que tu es content?
B: Je suis content.

I've also been reading lots of books lately. I finally finished the Crossfire series. Gideon, you are the man. I've become obsessed with French films and English television. My fave show is Skins. I also like the Torchwood series. Thank you BBC for such incredible shows. As for the French films, I've seen Blue Is The Warmest Color, LOL, LOVE, Breathe, Young & Beautiful, and a few more. I somehow fell in love with foreign things. So, if you have any suggestions, please let me know. 

Another thing I've done is enjoy myself. Last week was my friend's birthday. We went dancing twice. I had never been dancing before then. I danced the night away each time. My arms, legs, and feet were sore. I had so much fun. The only time I would have fun is if I was at a concert. Now, I was having fun in real life.

While my world revolves around those moments where I feel the music, I've learned I want more than that. I don't want to be so dependent on my tunes. I'm not saying that I want to live without them. That may be impossible for me. I'm just saying that I'm learning to live. I always told people to live life to the fullest and live without regrets. I am one of those people who don't belive in regrets. You live and learn. That's what I always say.

 I also found other things that changed. Everything that was important to me before didn't matter anymore. My priorities are different.
  1. I am number one. I am loving myself. I am taking care of myself. My health and happiness comes first and that's okay. Being a little selfish is okay.
  2. YOLO. Seriously. I am learning to live my life and I'm happier because I am doing so. I'm stuck between Drake's "Everybody dies, but not everybody lives" and Shia's "Just do it!" *Inserts cheesy Shia LeBouf meme.*
  3. I don't care about being liked or being talked about. I swear I'm nice to people. It's just that I used to be so concerned about the wrong people liking me. A lot of the time they weren't genuine. I also learned that people will talk and I just have to let them. It's no big deal to me. It never has been. I just dirt off my shoulders.
  4. A bachelor's in Business. I AM GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. I'm excited. I start in the fall. I even started studying a bit. I'm so ready!
From questions to lessons:

I'm still not sure who I am, but I do agree with John Mayer. "I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for." As for everything else, I'm just taking things day by day. I aspire to be really happy. That's what I really want.  What I need is to feel free. I need to "float on by like a piece of driftwood." The feeling of being trapped makes me feel anxious. I'm learning to let go.

One of the things I love about life is when I somehow manage to get lost in the moment. A few months ago I sat in Central Park with a friend. All I did was slowly spin in circles with my arms in the air and sway slowly to the music playing through her portable speaker. That made me extremely happy.

Besides the things I love about life, there are things I want to achieve in life. I questioned my life goals. What I've come up with is just to be a happy, bad ass business woman. I also want to free myself. Yes, there's more, but happy, successful, and free is all I could ever aspire to be.

I also continuously asked myself about the things I stand for. What I stand for is being an individual. I stand for falling in love with who you are. I stand for love and peace. I stand for being kind. I stand for charity and friendship. I stand for being one.

As important as it is to stand for something, it is also just as important to take action. Am I willing to do what it takes and face my fears? The answer is yes. I am doing that now my being a blogger and being so open. Welcome to the inside of my world. It's nice to meet ya. To answer the final question, I stopped saying 'no" the moment I asked it. I feel like Jim Carey in Yes Man. It's all about going for it and taking chances. You only live once.

 The end:

 When I started this journey, I was lost. I had no idea about anything. Adult life was a foreign concept me. I was a foreign concept to me. I'm still walking down this path. Occasionally I stumble. Sometimes I trip and fall, but I always get back up. In the end, a year can change everything.
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