Let’s Talk About Social Justice

I learned about social justice during my senior year at NYU.

Before then, I knew about racism, sexism, and homophobia. These things were bad and I was against them completely. I knew that white supremacy and white privilege existed, and white folks historically enjoyed benefits in nearly all aspects of their lives solely based on their skin color. This was unfair and infuriating at times. And I knew that because of white supremacy, sexism, and homophobia, other people got the shit-end of the stick because of their skin color or gender or sexual orientation or religious affiliation. Yes, I knew these things, but I did not understand them or how to contextualize them.

But during my senior year at NYU, I was able to connect all of those things together and name them as social justice issues. I took a class called Lyrics on Lockdown, where we discussed how the systems of power and oppression work in the U.S. as they relate to the prison industrial complex. We learned about how race, gender, and class often intersect, and that you really can’t address one without placing it within the context of the others. We had difficult conversations where we reflected on our own privilege, experiences, and identities. And then we designed arts-based workshops based on what we learned and discussed for the incarcerated youth at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility. We facilitated four workshops with about 30 young men at Riker’s Island. We made sure we our workshops upheld their whole identities and stories, without reducing them to the stigma of being “criminals.” To this day, Lyrics on Lockdown is one of the best, most rewarding, and most difficult experiences I’ve ever had. 

It was a catalyst.

Since then, I have held social justice close to my heart. Social justice has provided the principles for how to live my life in ways that make sense. Social justice asks the hard questions that I often don’t have the answers to, but it makes me mindful of my own thoughts, actions, and behaviors. It has taught me to be more patient. It has taught me to be more compassionate and open-minded. It has taught me to be deliberate with my language and intentions, as best as I can. It has taught me that we all come up short. It has taught me that the world is complex—and so are people who live in it—and everything is interconnected. It has taught me that learning and liberation are interdependent, life-long processes, and I’m an asshole if I ever believe any different. And more than anything, it has taught me that I have a lot to be grateful for… but I also have a lot to be angry about.

It is easy for us believers in social justice to never move beyond the point of our anger. We are content to talk, because open dialogue is important when it comes to addressing issues of oppression. We are content to call out people who are not being their social justice-y best, even though we know damn well we all perpetuate oppression in some way or another. And we are content to be mad and stay mad and let everyone else know we’re mad. Yes, I believe anger is natural and deserves to be expressed. I also believe anger is an important part of the healing process. (And so much of social justice is about healing and rectifying what has harmed us.) But also, anger is an emotion. Anger is not an action, and it is not a plan. Being angry is not a way to be of service to the world. 

These days, I have a hard time calling myself a “social justice activist,” because that seems disingenuous. For me to say that I am an activist would imply that I am in the regular practice of doing something concrete with this knowledge and anger I have. But most days, I am just angry… and comfortable. I am angry, because I know the world is an unfair place—made unfair by systems of power that only work if they dehumanize and make invisible real people and their experiences. But I am comfortable, because I know that I will never experience most forms of this dehumanization. I know this because I am an upper-middle class, educated, U.S.-born citizen who grew up in one of the wealthiest states. I do not encounter most forms of oppression in my day-to-day life. Because I am perceived as heterosexual, I am fine. Because I am assumed to be Christian, I am fine. Because I am cisgendered and able-bodied, I am fine. Yes, I am Black. Yes, I am Woman. Yes, I am fat. But the way my privilege is set up and intersects, it acts as a buffer to any real hostility or violence I would encounter otherwise. For me, oppression is experienced as a few moments of annoyance throughout my day. It is the white girl who crosses the street when she sees me walking behind her. It is the stares I get because my hair is big and curly and in its natural state. It is when strangers make assumptions about me, because my body is large and I take up a lot of space.

But I know my home is never going to be bombed and my entire family killed. I will never be persecuted for my religious beliefs. I will never have to keep my love locked away, hidden in shame. I will never have to worry about how I will keep my lights on or the water running or where my next meal will come from. I know my body may be an inconvenience to some, or an object to others—but it will never be seen as criminal, dangerous, worthy of eradication. This knowledge, this safety is something my privilege affords me. And so, I get to be comfortable. I get to be angry from a distance. I get to post my Facebook updates and make my witty remarks, and feel good about myself. 

That is not activism. That is not action. That is not social justice.

When I was leading youth development programs, it was easier to call myself an activist. For so many, education is a means to liberation. I know that my education is why I’m seen as one specific type of Black, and not another. So, when I was teaching youth about reproductive health through a social justice framework, it was easy to call myself an activist. It was easy to feel good about what I did, what contributions I was making to the world. Now that I am not currently working with youth, it is much harder to feel like I’m really doing something. 

But in not doing, I have a lot of time to observe. And what I’ve observed is, a lot of my friends ain’t really about that social justice life either. Do they care about the issues? Yes, of course. But many of them are content with sharing posts and commenting… and not much else. I don’t see solutions. I don’t even see deliberate articulation of why they are upset or what they want from the world. And it bothers me, because they are not being critical. They are perpetuating the violence. They are making it easy to see these images of dead Black men in the street, hear these stories of Black women being murdered, and continuing on with our day without doing anything to prevent the next death. And I wonder if they understand. 

To be fair, It is easy to not understand it. Our world really does have a sickness. It is easy these days to devalue human life, to believe that so-and-so over there does not deserve the same compassion, decency, or rights as you do because they are not like you. It is easy to accept violence as the norm, and to answer the violence with more violence. It is easy to be disconnected from our humanity, because technology has changed our definition of what it means to be “connected.” But at some point, we have to hold ourselves accountable. We have to hold up the mirror and look harder, deeper. We have to accept that our anger has limits, and our anger does not move. We have to recognize that there is still more to this life and this world and our humanity.

At some point, we have to recognize that there is also still joy to be found in the world. There is love. There is progress. There are victories. We have to move beyond anger, because anger is not always the most productive state to act from. As a matter of fact, I think anger works in pretty destructive ways. 

And isn’t social justice all about building something better?

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On the Verge

I am a person ruled by my emotions. My family’s favorite pastime is to remind me how “sensitive” I am.

As I’ve grown (and continue to grow) into adulthood, I have had to figure out a way to exist that both honors my emotional intelligence and allows me to move beyond it. Within the past year or so, I have had to face the hard truth that I can’t just do or not do things because of my feeeeeelings. But I also learned that my emotional intuition is a gift. Thus, I need to listen to my emotions… because they provide me a certain type of wisdom and hold meaning.

Right now, it is quiet in my mother’s house. Almost too quiet—it was unnerving at first. But it rained last night—the first real summer rain in Southern California—and it’s overcast today, so there’s not many people out on the street. I’m the only person at home. I do not have music or TV on in the background, which never happens.

For the first time in over a month, I think I am able to really listen to and process what it is I’m feeling in this moment.

In 36 hours, I leave for a two-week road trip with my homegirl. We are heading to the Bay Area first, where I’ll get to see a bunch of people I love. And then we head towards our final destination: New Jersey/New York. (I write that with a slash, because we’ll be laying our heads in New Jersey… but I’m mostly excited to spend a day or two in my favorite city in the whole world.)

A cross-country road trip has been on my bucket list since college. When I was about to graduate, I had overly romantic notions of packing up a car and spending a year traveling by road. I would stay with different people and take their pictures and record their stories. I still might do it one day. But until then, a concentrated one-week version will do just fine. When my friend first asked me to join her, I was like, “Hell yeah!” And then I told my mother what was happening, and a lot of doubt and fear set in. My mother is good at doing that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing… but it’s not always what I need.

I resolved to do it, though. It’s something I have wanted to do for a very long time. But it’s also something I need to do. For myself. To assert my independence. To break out of the mundaneness that has been my life for the past few months. To affirm that I am an artist… and therefore, I am also a wanderer. And what better way to seek out inspiration by wandering with purpose through the crazy, vastness that are the United States of America?

But mostly, I am doing it because it truly scares me.

In October, I took a workshop with a poet/artist/woman I admire deeply, Natalie Patterson. I was feeling then pretty much all of the same things I have been feeling this summer: Impatient. Confused. Frustrated. Closed off. And she said to me, “You need to do things that truly scare you. You need to open yourself up.” I didn’t listen to her so much… but when I made the decision to go on this trip, her voice was so clear in my head.

So, yes, I am feeling scared right now, as I sit in my mother’s house with this quiet. My body is telling me, “This is a cliff and you’re about to jump!” This is a very particular kind of scared—one that propels, one that invigorates. It’s a “break-me-open” kind of fear, rather than my usual “closed-up-tight” fear. The last time I remember having THIS particular feeling was during my sophomore year in college. I had gone to my hometown for a night, to see a play and hang out with my high school friends. As I was getting ready to drive back into LA, something just told me, “You’re going to be leaving this place soon. And you won’t be the same when you come back.” Sure enough, I got into NYU a few weeks later… and I really haven’t been the same since coming back from New York.

This moment feels like that one over five years ago. This trip feels like the same kind of catalyst. Everyone keeps saying, “Yeah, a road trip will change you.” I believe them; it already has a little bit. The decision in itself was a small shift. I elected to spend a good chunk of my “Oh, shit! I’m unemployed!” savings to travel these big ol’ United States by car. I decided to spend two weeks living out of a suitcase, instead of trapping myself in the comfort/prison of my home. I have chosen to spend the next 18 days with another human being, even though I spend most of my time alone. I am suspending all of my usual worrying and stressing—about earning an income, finding a career, losing weight, proving that I’m a “real” adult, and so forth—until I come back. I have chosen to be on someone’s open road, under a sky that belongs to nobody. I have chosen to make a decision that belongs to me, to have an experience that will only ever be mine.

This is where I wanted to be last summer. It’s almost like a do-over. Last summer, I wanted to feel this free. I wanted to have this kind of open-ended question hanging before me, representing my life. But I wasn’t ready. And so I have spend the past year yearning for freedom, but feeling trapped within myself, within my own small definitions of what is right and acceptable. But I know this was necessary. Because as much as I’ve wanted to be “free,” I recognize that personal freedom comes with a cost. It comes with responsibility. The cost is a sense of security and external validation, the sense that you’re doing things the “right way” and are aligned with what is expected of you. You don’t get to necessarily have these things when you’re free, because you are not “free” because someone else tells you are. You are free because you make yourself so. Last summer, I don’t think I could afford the cost of freedom. I have spent the past year almost exclusively wanting other people to tell me what to do, to tell me that my decisions and actions are valid. It’s exhausting and paralyzing.

This trip is my small un-doing, my big becoming.

 

Being 25: Week #1

Last Monday, I had a birthday.

I am now one quarter-century old. In the grand cosmic scheme of things, I’m still a baby. But in my eyes, being 25 is a pretty big and schnazzy deal. I am officially old enough to rent a car. Yay, me!

All in all, my first week as a 25-year-old has been pretty uneventful. I didn’t have a fancy birthday party. I didn’t go on a weekend trip to Vegas, or a trip anywhere. I didn’t treat myself to an expensive, indulgent purchase like a Michael Kors bag. (Maybe next year.) 

But there have been some developments…

1. I applied for unemployment. I am scared shitless of being destitute until I find full-time employment. Thus, I applied for unemployment benefits to help ease my stress. Also, the California EDD makes you register on a state-wide job search site, so it’ll really kick my job-hunting into gear.

2. I paid the registration renewal on my car. This is not interesting, I know. But in April, I bought my very first car. I paid for it in cash, like a boss. I own a vehicle. It is mine, all mine. And somedays, I still can’t believe. Getting my pink slip in the mail and renewing the registration made it so real. Yes, I will also have to maintain and take care of a machine for the foreseeable future… But man, it’s my car! I smiled through the whole process on the DMV website.

3. I let a bunch of people give me wine and buy me food. I love wine. I love food. There’s nothing better than getting both of those things for free. Over the past week, my lovely friends and family gave me four bottles of wine, made me BBQ (thanks, Dad!), and let me eat such delicacies as portobello mushroom fries and lobster. Mmm… Do you think they will do the same if I decide to celebrate my half-birthday this year?

4. I have agreed to go on a two week road trip with my homegirl. Three months ago, I was seriously considering moving back to New York City. And then I decided to buy a car and was like, “Welp! Guess I’m staying in California for a little bit longer.” But one of my dearest friends has decided to take a leap and continue her journey for artistic world domination in the “Big Apple.” She’s also decided to drive there, and asked me to come along for the ride. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. We leave in two weeks. First, we’re going to the Bay Area for the National Poetry Slam. (Poems on poems on poems!) Then we leave for the tri-state area! It’ll be good, good fun. Well, when we’re not tired and miserable from long hours of driving, swamp ass, and bubble guts from fast food.)

5. I have figured out (kinda) what I want to do with my life. I’ve been so all over the place this past year about what I want to study in grad school and what trajectory I want to be on. For a while, I was really into screenwriting. And then I realized, I have no business being in anybody’s film industry. I mean, I definitely still love TV and film. And I will probably write a screenplay or two in my life. But right now, with this semi-social personality, I don’t think it’s the best plan. But I do know that I love writing. I really, really love writing. I love reading. I love stories. I love critical conversations about what’s going on in the world. I love the Internet. And interning with For Harriet has made me realize that I enjoy doing editorial. So, I’m thinking about graduate programs in journalism and/or media and communications. Most journalism programs are only a year long, so I think that’s what I want to focus on first. I kind of fell into editorial on accident. And I’m still “honing my skills,” but I think being in a graduate program would be really beneficial. I need to re-learn how to research. And I need a better understanding on how media, journalism, and advertising feed into one another. I may pursue an MFA in Creative Writing later. But I’m really trying to be someone’s staff writer and/or features editor.

And lastly, I have managed to maintain a press-n-curl for 11 days. OK, this isn’t really news. But in the past five years, I’ve had my hair straightened four times. These edges give zero cares about how much money it took to flatten them out. I’ve been really impressed by my ability to rock straight hair, but I miss my ‘fro.

But in all seriousness, the other day I just had an overwhelming sense of excitement. I wasn’t doing anything worthy of being excited. But something told me, “You’re on the right track. This is going to be a good year.” 

Ten Intentions for My 25th Year

I have always been slightly (OK, overwhelmingly) obsessed with my own birthday. Every week, I calculate how close I am to the next anniversary of my birth. In general, I believe every person should get excited for their birthday! I mean, celebrate yo’ self! You only come into this world once! That was a historic day. But for the most part, my family is pretty blasé about the b-days. Now that my brother and I well into our twenties and thirties, my mom doesn’t even make an attempt to give us our birthday cards on time… let alone a gift.

Anyways… My birthday is in less than two months. Even though there’s a bunch of other people’s birthdays happening between now and then, I think it’s time that I think seriously about my intentions. I’m turning the Big 2-5 this year, which I’ve been calling my “Grown Woman Year”. I feel like 24 was somewhat of a throwaway, so I really want to make 25 count (whatever that means).

1. I will visit my favorite family members in Texas. Some of my favorite people live in the Great Ol’ Republic: my aunt, my four older first cousins, and their families. For a long time, I would see them every year. My mom and I would go visit at least once a year. But the last time I saw them is when I was there for Thanksgiving in 2009. I’d really like to visit them this year for Christmas. I’m not the most family-centered person, but it does feel good to be in the presence of your tribe.

2. I will visit New York. It’s been over a year since my last trip to my favorite city in the world (tied with Paris, of course). I think about New York everyday, especially this time of year. Late spring/early summer is my favorite time of the year in the NYC. The city comes alive. Everyone’s outfits are bright and superfly. A bunch of free shit happens. And it’s just the most beautiful place. I miss my main girl (every thing/place/emotion/idea I love ends up being my “main girl”). I definitely plan on spending a substantial amount of time there at some point this year.

3. I will visit the Bay Area. When I can’t make afford expensive airfare, but really want to “get away”, I love hopping up to the Bay Area. In recent years, I’ve had more friends move up there. They are so good to me. They feed me well and indulge me in great conversation and convince me that I need to move to the “Yay”. And then I come back to smoggy, trafficky, sprawling L.A. and am like, “Oh, but this is home. For now.” I definitely want to visit Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and some other cities in the Bay Area. Plus, with my new fuel-efficient car, I’ll be able to drive this time!

4. I will save more money (and not spend it). I’ve gotten really good at saving. But after buying a new car, she’s taken a hit. I still have a pretty good amount saved up, but it’s nowhere close to where she was. I would really like to save up a substantial amount this year as a combined rainy day/travel adventures/emergency/preparing for grad school fund. I pride myself on being somewhat fiscally responsible, as I’ve seen what life looks like when you’re not. I want to keep it up.

5. I will treat my body right. I have been working out 2-3 days per week with my homegirl for about two months now. She’s an amazing personal trainer/health coach/fitness guru/holistic wellness expert (and a bomb-ass friend). Even though I haven’t lost any weight and I still grunt-huff-puff-wheeze-complain my way through every work out, I feel so much stronger and more confident in my body. I bought some shorts and a bathing suit this summer. Not because I think I look particularly fwiiiine in them, but because I feel more comfortable in my body. There’s muscle under all this fat and cellulite! I want to continue working out on my own, adding at least three additional hour-long workouts per week. And I finally want to change my eating habits. For good. I won’t say that I won’t ever have a cheat meal again. But I remember how amazing I felt when I lost weight last year through diet and exercise changes. I want to get back to that again. I want to lose weight and improve my health… For good, forever.

6. I will be more fearless with my creative pursuits. Interning at For Harriet has had a wonderful affect on my confidence as a writer. I still get nervous/sad/frustrated when I read the comments. (I just want to post, “All y’all are haters!” sometimes.) But I like that there is finally a platform for a wider audience (read: those who are not my Facebook friends) to engage with my writing. And I like that readers challenge me and interpret the things I say differently than I intend. But there’s so much more I want to do with my writing. I’m currently working on a web series right now with my ace-boon-sistafriend. And I would like to start vlogging regularly on YouTube. Plus, I’m applying to graduate writing programs beginning in December. I want to take the fear, doubt, shame, and self-consciousness I feel out of my writing and creative process. I want to finally begin working on all the ideas I’ve had. I know not every idea I have or thing I produce will be good. And I know not everyone will like what I write/create/produce, but I can’t let that keep me from doing what I was born to do.

7. I will find a work/life balance that works for me. I went from working a full-time “office” job to working part-time from home this year. There are things I enjoy about both, but neither one of them are actually what I want to do long-term. I have a second interview at an arts-in-education organization tomorrow. But I know nothing is guaranteed, so I’ve been thinking about what it is that I really want to do. More than anything, I want to work towards becoming a full-time writer/storyteller and creative content producer (in whatever manifestation that looks like.) I still dream about working for BuzzFeed one day. I’ve gotten really into seeing all the cool things people are doing with YouTube. But until then, I have to pay my bills. And I have to do something that won’t take up so much of my energy, resources, or mental/emotional capacity that I’m too drained to write, perform, and create at the end of the day. I’ve been thinking that I may find another part-time administrative gig for the next year, as I work on projects and grad school apps. And then, of course, I’ll continue seeking out freelance opportunities. I’ve given up on trying to meet others’ expectations of what I “should” be doing when it comes to work. Instead, I’m focusing on what will allow me to still be responsible while working towards my goals and enjoying myself.

8. I will spend more time out of the house and away from electronic screens. I need to go to the beach more. I need to breathe outside air, frolic in nature. I need to disconnect from the holy trifecta of my MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. I need to realize that it’s possible to live a fruitful life without constant Netflix streaming, WiFi, and Facebook/Instagram creeping. I need to read books. I need to see more plays. I need to visit museums. I need to have in-face conversations with my friends. I need to get out of my room and be in places that make me happy. I need to people watch, so I have good shit to write about. I need to go out, so I can meet a normal person to potentially date and sex up. (Kidding about the “sexing up”! Maybe…) I need to go out dancing because I love it and I miss it and it makes me feel good. As much as I love the comforts of my mother’s central-air-conditioned home with a fully stocked kitchen… I want to be out in the world! Begone, recluse tendencies!

9. I will consistently work on my gratitude and spiritual practice. I have much to feel grateful for. God done the upmost good in my life, praise be! Seriously, the Universe generally has my back. And when She doesn’t, it’s usually because I needed to learn something or laugh at myself or both. But most days, I spend a lot of time feeling sorry myself or conflicted or depressed or frustrated or angry. I mean, I’m always going to feel a little bit of those things. Our world is fucked up. But I need to learn to counter it with some good gratitude affirmations, meditation, and prayer. There was a time when I talked to God everyday. We were pretty tight. And then… I kind of drifted apart from Him (or Her or They or It or whatever limiting pronoun one uses to describe the Big and Infinite and Living Indescribable). Lately, I’ve been wanting to find my way back. Because despite all the messiness and fuckery and tomfoolery that is my life most days, I know God is present with me always. I know all of this is a goodness and a grace, in some way. And I just want to feel more of that freeing goodness and loving grace.

10. I will be kinder to my parents. I am a brat. I am a high maintenance child. Not because I’m constantly asking for things, but because I am so unpredictable in what I need from my parents. Sometimes, I want them to leave me the hell alone. Other times, I want them to smother me with affection. I’ve spent a great deal of time angry at them for whatever reason. But in general, they are the best people and the most loving parents. They truly raised me, as in lifted me up to the sky Lion King style and made sure I understood the vastness that was available to me. But they also gave me incredible roots. They are strong, intelligent, hard-working people. And they’re funny and interesting. I don’t know if I necessarily want to spend more time with them. I mean, I do. I definitely do. But I recognize that for them, this is first time in over thirty years that they’re not responsible for taking care of anybody. I want to give them their space to groove and be free. But I want to be more compassionate with them. I want to be kinder, more patient with them. As individuals, as human beings. I want them to realize that I still need them, but I can take care of myself. And I want them to know how much I love them.

These are my intentions for my 25th year on this here giving and gracious Earth. If I can work at these things everyday, I know by the time 26 rolls up, I will be in a great place. I’m excited/nervous/crazed by whatever the future has to bring. But mostly, I’m ready to do the damn thing and sing Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” to myself every morning when I wake up and enjoy this living. Huzzah!

On Having a Plan

My least favorite question that I get asked by friends and family members when I tell them that my contract with my current job is over at the end of June and I’m looking to make a career change is, “So… What is your plan? What kind of jobs are you looking at now?”

I don’t know if it’s the noncommittal millennial in me, but as soon as this question is proposed, I just shut down. I hate this question so much because I can never give people the answer that I know they’re expecting. They want me to stay I have a five point strategy. They want me to say I care deeply about a 401(k) retirement fund and health benefits and stability. (I do actually care about health benefits.) They want me to say what we are conditioned to say: I am looking for X job in Y industry to work at for Z years. They want me to stop being so imaginative and creative and idealistic… and settle into firm, reality-based adulthood. They want me to settle.

The problem is… well, there are lots of problems with this.

First, I don’t have a plan. Well, I don’t have the kind of plan they are expecting. I want to work in any combination of the media, entertainment, communications, and/or creative fields. My work experience is primarily in youth development and public health. Yes, finding a new job will be difficult. Yes, I have thought about that (and think about it everyday). No, I am not willing to settle for something else.

Second, for the past three years, I have mainly looked at jobs within the non-profit world, focusing on youth programming. I know non-profit youth programming in a Biblical way. We are very intimate. Although I’ve always wanted to work within a company that better utilized my writing and creative passion/skills/talent, I never really thought much about what that would look like manifested in a search for a 9-to-5 job. So, I’m not quite sure what type of job I am looking for. I know I’m looking to work for a company or organization that contributes meaningfully to people’s lives and our larger world. I’m looking to work for a company that has a work environment and culture that I would fit well within. I’m looking for work that is engaging, challenging, rewarding, and educational. I’m looking for work that would allow me to truly use my abilities and skills to get things done successfully. I’m looking for work that I won’t get sick of in a year or two years.

Third, I am not 100% sure the things I want and how I envision my life fit within the same structure of the 9-to-5 office gig. Do I want health benefits? Absolutely. Do I want to be 65 without any financial ability to take care of myself? Definitely not. Do I want to security that comes from getting a decent paycheck every two weeks? Duh! But in the past couple months, I’ve been really wondering if the “normal” way of being an adult and having a grown-up life is the way I want to live. And I’ve been trying to figure out where this pressure came from to live this certain way?

I definitely never want to disappoint my parents. I don’t want them to feel like I can’t take care of myself, so they’re obligated to take care of me. Or have them feel like they raised a daughter who is irresponsible or immature. And I’ve never been one for “The Struggle is Real” kinda life. As I love to announce to the homies, I’m a bougie bitch. I don’t expect things to be rose petals and unicorn magic forever. But if one does not have to eat ramen or live in a studio apartment with an air mattress instead of a real bed, I’m all for the life that is struggle-lite.

I feel like there are options if you want to be a responsible grown-up, while still pursuing the things you love and are good at? Right? That’s a thing! People do that! But it seems like the possibility of it happening are slim to none most days. And that sucks. Because I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to bunker down into a life that was prescribed to me, because it was the “safe” choice or the “practical” choice.

 

High vs. Low

… OR BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN

I find myself in a curious predicament these days: I am both the happiest I’ve ever been, and extremely discontent. Consequently, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out why this is so… which leads to a lot of self-revelation (yay!) and more confusion (boo!). I’m learning that adult life has no pre-ordained hard-drawn boundaries. This is both delightfully freeing and achingly frustrating.

I have made the decision to leave my secure, safe, full-time, benefits-providing job at the end of the summer… to follow my dreams. I’ve become obsessed with giving that last phrase some sort of affect every time I say it out loud or write it down, as a means of deflecting whatever judgment shade others throw at me. Usually, most people are very positive. I’ve realized that it’s me who needs to stop making a joke out of the very real and compelling desire I have to follow my dreams. Especially if, ya know, I plan on doing it and will need emotional support from the people in my life.

Since making this very important and exhilarating and terrifying decision, I’ve realized just how out-of-whack I’ve become. I mean, from an outsider’s perspective, it would seem that I’m in the middle of another depressive episode. I’m making poor food choices. I have little to no energy. I spend a lot of time sleeping or watching Netflix. My room is a mess. But inside, I feel… well, not depressed. I am definitely anxious and scared, but I’m not depressed.

This morning, I woke up at 5:45am. I didn’t even realize that the sun comes up that early. I thought I had left a light on when I fell asleep… and then I realized it was sunlight. The part of me who wants to be a productive and contributing citizen to society thought, “Well, since I’m up, I might as well get some stuff done.” The part of me who is literally trying to process all of this shit was like, “I could do that… or I could just lay in this here bed and do absolutely nothing.” The latter me won out. I eventually fell asleep and woke up again at 11:00am. I tell myself I should embrace these moments, as I know I probably will not be able to do this once I quit my job. But I know that’s bullshit. I know I’m just making excuses.