Photography: Morgan Daniels
I believe I clung to idea of wanting a super tight knit group of people because I didn’t want to or didn’t think I could correctly make my own hard choices. Decisions like ‘What to do you think I should eat?’ or ‘Do you think I can pull off these colors’ didn’t occupy my mind as much as ‘Do you think he’s worth all this trouble?’ or ‘Am I making the right life altering decision?’ And in that desire, I tried to align myself with people with virtues and values I admired, in hopes that being in their life would bring insight into mine.
But in the last six months, I have realized that my closest friends have branched into different phases of their lives that I’m no where near or more terrifying enough – may never reach. As excited and proud as I was of them, I couldn’t help but feel that thattheir lives would strain our relationship and I would end up alone with no “guidance”.
All of this uneasiness sat in the back of my mind, making it harder and harder to hide my disappointment and annoyance when busy schedules took the people I loved most away from me. I thought it was jealousy at first but I realized it was more selfishness that stemmed from a fear of having to sit and figure out my shit on my own.
No too long ago, one of my professors casually asked to speak with me after class. As reluctant as I was to go, the semester had just started and it was never too early to start academically ass kissing. I walked into his office, full of souvenirs and trinkets from every corner of the world. He began to rattle off students who had bestowed each gift to him and what amazing feats they had accomplished since leaving his academic care. I listen politely but was completely unaware of the relevance to me. Just as he began to lose me, he made a sharp turn into my psyche. I had never met the man prior to that day and he knew nothing more than my name and my face but he spoke so directly to my insecurities that I began to tremble.
His long winded but insightful stories about former students painted stories much like my own of uncertainty and mistakes. He bluntly told me I’d have to figure it out alone but not “alone” alone.
“Everyone will have a different idea for your life because of how they see you and not the way you see you.”
We all have a voice that pushes our best interest and intentions for our lives forward. Through the mess of life, it gets easier and easier to drown it out and avoid checking in to see if we are actually taking care of ourselves. Unfortunately, the more we drown that voice out, the harder it is to hear it when we finally stop to listen.
As hard as it has been to sit with myself and ask questions like ‘So, what do you really want to do?’ , I have found a that there is a quiet sanctification I have discovered from making my decisions on my own. Even when they are terrible, I’m able to sit with consequences rather than wallowing in self loathing. By no means do I have everything figured out but I certainly do feel more content in my process.
A week is honestly too long. It’s seven whole days, which equals 168 hours or 10,800 minutes. It’s exhausting. I was quite used to finding myself so worn out by Friday that I would choose to spend my weekends locked away, trying to regain the energy that had been sucked out during the week. And then I would turn right back around and have to do it all again Monday. It made me miserable and even more annoyed when Sunday came around.
One day, while sitting with my dad, I mentioned being over the week before it even started. He asked me how I spent my special day, Thursday. I simply stated that I tried to power through them so I could really deal with the expectations of Friday. He laughed and asked me why was I always in a rush.
“You will always get to Friday Maame, but why put that much pressure on it?”
I knew that I was mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the week and that needed to change. So I came up with Thursday’s are for Yaa’s. Every Thursday is set aside as a personal day. Thursday’s are the days I do exactly what I want, no matter that obligations. It sounds extremely risky but it’s beautiful to have one day that I get to control to the best of my abilities. Depending on the way I feel, the activities may vary but in an ideal world, this is how my Thursday would look.
I wake up in my pure white sheets whatever time I see fit, usually before 10:30AM. I sit and contemplate whether I would like to be around people. If yes, I try set up an activity that I really enjoy, like enjoying a meal with good friends. That makes the experience that less stressful. I find myself a meal for breakfast that I haven’t enjoyed in a very long time and I eat in my beautiful bed before jumping into the shower or taking another nap. My Thursday can be used as a ‘Get it Right Get it Right’ day or to just veggie out in front of my TV or laptop and write about my feelings. But the day is mostly about me. I pour into myself so much of what is stripped out of me during the week. All the early wake up calls, long nights, and disappointments of the week don’t matter because Thursday’s are for me.
I tried to write this for Thursday but my day told me take a break and rebuild from brokenness that I had suffered during the week. Nothing hurts and everything is beautiful on my Thursday’s.
The funny thing about falling in love with someone is that it never seems to be at the right time. It’s never rehearsed, never calculated. We don’t sit and consciously plan and scheme ourselves into falling deeply and utterly in love with someone who just popped into our lives – but yet it happens.
I could never explain what it feels like to fall in love to someone – I really can’t. The only thing that comes to mind are terrible clichés about stars aligning and butterflies that flutter in the pit of one’s stomach. Though I’m sure all those things and more happened, no one cares to explain what happens after the fairytale feelings pass. Cinderella and Snow White never quite explored the possibility of the passing of love or even unrequited love.
No one explains how to manage holding his or her tongue to feelings that can’t help but leak out. There isn’t a book on how to maintain a friendship with someone you can’t help but hate and love at the same time. People will never understand how a person could possibly run one situation over and over in their mind until it becomes so vivid that they don’t even have to close their eyes to imagine it.
No, no one explains anything. A person is forced to deal, to take each day as it is handed to them and figure out their problems in private. No one begs anyone to fall in love so no one can help him or her out of it.
Before I started this blog, I avoided doing and trying a lot of things out of of fear. Well, a mixture of fear, anxiety, and laziness made me avoid doing many things. Some days a brilliant idea would pop into my head and by the time I had gone through the course of the day, I would have talked myself out of my brilliant idea. To be honest, I never saw a problem with it. That wasn’t until I began to share my brilliant ideas with other people. My friends, as grateful as I am for them, began to pester me about my “passions.” They supplied me with story ideas, planned photo shoots, creating experiences that ultimately lead me into producing… nothing. I’d write a couple of paragraphs, filled with all these new ideas, before I over-thought the entire thing and scrapped it. Explaining my writing process to my creative support system was far more nerve-racking than anything else. I felt as though I was disappointing everyone that had faith in me, which made me even sadder. Many, myself included, didn’t understand how I could just not “do it.” I felt stuck and anxious. I searched for inspiration in everything. I scored other blogs, submitted samples to writing mentors, and I even reworked pieces that I had no business revisiting. It wasn’t until I saw my ideas I had jotted down months and years ago coming to life through other people that I realized my fear had crippled me.
I read somewhere that creative ideas don’t die. They simply move on to those who are willing to work with them. My fear of inadequacy isn’t nearly as terrifying as watching dreams I’ve spent nights fantasizing over, happen without me. Nothing is worth that guilt. I’m not quite sure how my ideas will work out or where they will reach but the thought of not acting because of fear is a risk I am no longer willing to take.
Fear is unfair. It steals joy, passion, and if allowed, will take over an entire life. As I have learned, nothing perfect is created over night. There will be scoffs and people who constantly question why so and so is doing such and such but the ability to see past assumptions is within everyone, you just have to see it through.
Your passions and desires are valid. You have the ability to succeed at whatever is in your heart. You are beyond your wildest dreams.