My excitement quickly turned into fear once I realized I was alone in a new city. Not just any city, but the city that’s infamous for chewing people up and spitting them out. You’ve really outdone yourself this time with the impulsive shit. That was the first conversation I had with myself in the middle of Times Square. Now what? I had no idea where in NYC I was standing. It was 9pm, cold, and crowded. There were so many people on the streets and they were walking in herds in every direction. They were homeless. They were professionals. They were young and they were old. I tried my hardest not to look lost but I was standing in everyone’s way with luggage and a GPS on my phone screen. Impulsive. In hindsight, I could’ve put a little more respect on my move and called it courageous. I mean, after all, it did take both heart and brains. It did give me an opportunity to evolve and it did scare me into maturity. Above all, my move to New York City was so profound that it became exactly the type of thing that could show people that God is real. I have a bad habit of minimizing power, especially my own. I dilute it, dismiss it, or simply act like it doesn’t belong to its rightful owner. Sometimes, I even give mine away to avoid the responsibility that comes with it. Why else would I reduce something so profound to “just another one of my impulsive decisions”? Around that time, I cared a lot about what other people thought of my life. I felt as though I had created a script and gave everyone I knew a copy years ago. Now, I was too scared to tell them that there’d been a change in plans because I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. And not fulfilling my purpose scared the living shit out of me. I always thought that being kept alive after 15 stab wounds meant something. No one gets stabbed 15 times and start their freshman year of college two months later. But I did. God kept me here and put something inside of me that would continue to keep me here. Why else was I the only survivor? “That has to mean something, right?” I always asked myself the same question when I arrived at a crossroad. I was scared to have been saved for an important reason and never finding out what the reason was. I had to have something to show for surviving and it couldn’t be anything ordinary. I had to impact lives, inspire the youth, help the homeless, help fatherless girls, and break generational curses. I had to do SOMETHING that would outlive me. I had always been the strong friend and the friend with her shit together. But in the midst of my leap to NYC, not only did I feel fear, a part of me felt ashamed for not knowing where my life was headed. That same part of me also felt weak that it was falling apart in the first place. From where I had been, it was a long way down and it seemed like it wouldn’t end. Eventually, I was just waiting for someone to call my bluff and tell me that I’d been a fraud all along. I was waiting for someone to tell me that I was all talk. I was even almost convinced that the times when I did seem to have life figured out, it was only because of luck and not because of favor. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how I’d gone from tip-top to rock bottom. To be completely transparent, all of my moves prior to NYC had simply become me proving a point, even if it was just to myself. From creating an on-demand beauty app; moving back to Washington, D.C; moving back to Atlanta to join a tech incubator for said app; all of my endeavors screamed the same thing: “See! I told you I’m not a liar. I really am that bitch.” It was easily the worst place I’d ever been in because for the first time ever, my life had become about other people and their opinions. I started to care what people thought about my journey and any hair out of place had to be fixed fast. The worst part about being in that place was that life started to revolve around people who I knew weren’t half as capable of pulling off the things I already proved I was capable of pulling off. But then it hit me: my actions were proof that I had fallen out of love with myself again. I cared so much if people loved me because I didn’t love me anymore. I cared so much about my achievements because I based my entire identity and self-love on what I could do. In other words, I only loved me when I was being extraordinary. No matter how much I forced it, nothing extraordinary was happening for me anymore and it tore at my self-esteem. NYC was my clean slate. I had nothing else to lose and writing in the big city was the only thing that could make me feel like me again. NYC was my chance to learn who I was outside of what I’d been through and what I could offer the world. It was my chance to accept that I’m enough just as I am. It was the perfect opportunity to become comfortable with the idea of only trusting self and my God-given gift. Impulsive shit. Seriously? I really should stop adopting other people’s vocabulary to describe my own life. Deep down, I knew there was nothing impulsive about what I had just done. There’s not much left to think about when you receive direction from your Creator. Your job is to figure out the what and His job is to reveal the how. Divine timing is the complete opposite of impulsive. When God tells you it’s time, the timing could never be more perfect. And there was no better time than now to return to what I used to love the most: ME.
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