I want to tell you all a story, not to stir up sympathy for me, but to instead stir up inspiration and self-confidence for you. I’ll admit, that sharing this story is a challenge that I don’t know that I would have taken had it not been for someone prompting me to be less afraid and more vulnerable. It’s just beautiful how it fits right in with my word for the year COURAGE.
So here it goes :-).
Some of you may know that I lived in North Carolina for a year or so about 8 years ago. I can probably count that as one of the worst years of my life. Hands down :-). In that year, I had so many loses, particularly at a time where I couldn’t really afford loses, mentally or literally.
I moved there to pursue my dance dreams of performing with a partner and finally making a distinguishable name for myself as a separate entity from my dance team. I’d tried to pursue these dreams in my hometown of Chicago but never quite achieved what I wanted. I felt like moving was the only option I hadn’t tried.
I did my best to make the decision of where to move in the smartest way. I looked for a job first and when I found one, I thought everything would run smoothly from there.
Wow was I wrong. The downhill spiral started with the job. I was an esthetician at the time and what I thought was going to be a steady hourly rate of pay, turned out to be fully commission based. Imagine sitting at the spa for 7 hours in the hopes that you get some walk-ins. The only guaranteed money you see is a 30% split from the one booked client of the day and that’s if she/he doesn’t cancel. And with most days like this, it was tough to say the least.
At the same time, the dance dreams that I moved there for were quickly falling apart. I realized that I didn’t really know my new partner and we inevitably did not end up getting along well enough for the partnership to last. Then I found myself in the middle of a long-standing feud between two other teams, eagerly wanting to dance with someone, but not really gung-ho about joining a team again anyway. On top of that fact, I had friends in both courts, so choosing was that much more difficult.
And all this time, I was STRUGGLING to make ends meet and often falling way way way short. For instance, for months I didn’t have a reliable car in an area where you absolutely have to have a car and then I lost my license because of a friend, a ticket, and my own fear-based inactivity. Too many months went by where I couldn’t pay my $200 rent, let alone buy food. I spent many a Wednesday at the local food shelter gathering groceries for the week.
And there were tons of things that looked like they would work out and then just dramatically didn’t. For example, I was almost a regional rep for Eminence, my absolute favorite skincare line at the time. I spent a weekend shadowing the PRESIDENT of the COMPANY and do you know what he told my recruiter afterwards – that he didn’t believe that I actually had a chemical engineering degree – that he was sure I was lying. Maybe he doubted that a black girl could have a Chem E degree. Or maybe it was because I was too shy and too quiet to make the kind of impact he expected. Who really knows. All I know is that it was one more thing that didn’t happen.
North Carolina was a string of disappointments and setbacks. I lost so much in that year and a half and hit absolute rock bottom to the point that I didn’t feel like trying anymore. And I could have given up then but I chose not to. All the dreams that are coming true now though, I had back then. I just had a lot of things to work through to stop blocking those dreams and those blessings from coming through. If I had given up in that time when everything seemed impossible, I wouldn’t be here today, figuratively or literally.
What I’ve come to realize is that all of that struggle was necessary for the walls of my resistance to my blessings to be broken down. You never know how many layers there are for you to work through to ‘get out of your own way’. The thing to do is to keep working. Keep peeling off layers. Keep rooting for yourself, even if no one else is and even if you can only muster a small rah rah. My life is testimony to the fact that you can be buried in resistance and you can absolutely peel your way to freedom. I’m getting closer and closer and everyday (just like I know you are too) I’m getting to somewhere better.
What’s helping me today is realizing that I’m allowing this thing to mean something that ultimately boils down to invalidating me. I’m allowing this occurrence to make me question my value and place the decision maker outside of myself. And although that’s so easy to do, it’s never the right thing to do.
You really have to get to a point in your life where your sense of value is maybe shakable but never breakable.
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