It’s cold and bleak outside and likewise, I’ve been feeling the same way. The only sensation that opposes the persistent feeling of numbness is the burning in my chest from the literally 20th cigarette now lit between my teeth and the similar burning in my nose from overdoing it again. That’s why I’m walking home- it all got to be too much again. I did too much. Smoked too much. Drank too much. We did too much of everything and I had to walk away.
The lights are dull and softly grazing the streets as the sun is itching to rise in the East.
Home at last and the first thing to slap me across the face is the heat, and then my mother with her worried and watery eyes. Avoiding contact with both, I slip, maybe more so stumble, into my room.
Sliding into the familiar oversized tee I love so much and always will, now I am safely tucked into my covers with the sun peaking through the blinds and the streets starting to buzz again with errands and time commitments.
The last thing to slap me in the face is my cat’s tail, in a greeting manner, his kind way to say ‘Hello, I love you. I’m glad you made it home safe but do you know what time it is?’
Staring at the ceiling because sleep won’t come for another hour or two but at least I am in the comfort of my own bed and not some strangers.
I think to myself the following thoughts: first, this is my room and I am very, very comfortable laying here compared to the below zero temperatures outside. I dedicated a lot of time in creating a specific mood with the lights and art and posters displayed, and it deserves to be admired. Second, I try to decide if I am living my best life or rather am I wasting my youth and just turning a blind eye to the metaphorical clock we all are conditioned to fear. I wasn’t sure. But maybe a decision subconsciously had been made due to my third thought which was the following- it might be time to change again.
The sun is at her peak during most of these days and so am I. She glows and I believe in these moments I shine just the same. The birds are singing and the flowers too, the bees are still working hard and the ocean is bright blue. I’m on the West coast now, far, far away from the rotation of drastic weather changes and the blurry faces.
A bit has changed. I only drink with people I trust and don’t mind waking up to, and only after working from 7 am to 8 pm every business day of the week.
Sadly my cat has left this world, his spirit plays in the clouds now and his ashes rest on my mother’s dresser that is still in the North.
My nose still burns, but it feels really cool and almost validated when walking down Market Street with the other business men and women, the already millionaires and aspiring to be, and the freaks and geeks dressed for their daytime sales and marketing careers. To be in the midst of a working culture with such high expectations and high end results, of course most of us are high when we clock in to hang in there until it’s time to clock out. That’s the American way it seems.
I’ve picked up drinking coffee too. She [coffee] encourages you to get everything on your to-do list done. It’s like the soft buzzing of a generator is going on in your belly that keeps running until you decide you’ve had enough, or you’ve finished the day’s work and got a headstart on tomorrow as well. She encourages productivity and punctuality- she provides everything this city thrives on.
Lately I’ve been pondering a phone call- it was a seriously ill family member requesting I move in at once, across the country again, to help take care of them with the surgeries that will most likely be necessary and the cooking and housekeeping as well.
My first reaction was absolutely hostile. Why would I ditch the place I passionately proclaimed to be my home after about 20 years of searching for this exact sweet spot? But then I thought about my responsibility as a big sister to my little sister that I haven’t seen in a year and several months now; and as the first daughter in a long line of Nigerian blood, it wasn’t much of a request more of an expectation- even if I was raised in an American household my whole life before any of this had occurred. Maybe it was time for another change even if much resistance would pair with it.
I am a firm believer in answering when the wind calls and trusting you will land right where you need to be and this was a time to remind myself of so. It is always better to let go than to get dragged away, dragged to, dragged down- you get what I’m trying to say. So after weeks of debating and internal conflict, a decision had been made even though it wasn’t much of a choice to begin with. Another change would be embraced as much as my young and weary heart could give. Another one way ticket was purchased and this time I was heading to the South.
The skyscrapers turned into cotton trees and the ocean breeze changed into a static and sticky heat that promises to be present from dawn to dusk to dawn again. It is always hot hot hot. And sticky. The traffic is the same- unbearable. The people are the same as just before too- colorful, creative and community driven. My room is bland- mostly because half of my belongings are still scattered across the country.
I don’t partake in fast living like before. I’ve learned moderation is key with everything fun and boring- too much of either will drive you up the wall or down into the ground and then you will have to come back to life time and time again. It is so exhausting that you might as well dance in the middle for the whole show.
I’ve become much more focused on what’s happening inside my home with my family and involving my own heart and health. I brought along my bright ideas and growing work ethic on this last move and left behind bits and pieces of recklessness and carelessness that has crept into my constantly evolving self. We’ve still got some work to do but alas, progress is progress.
Living in such radical places throughout this year I’ve come to realize the following: some things are bound to change and other things never will. Regardless, it is vital for your personal well being and growth to recognize the countless choices embedded in each day that allow you to make a change whenever you are ready to do so. It starts with the time you wake up, how you use transportation, the way you talk to others and how you treat yourself, it’s about what you choose to read, watch, eat and drink. Pay attention to the choices you make and notice what changes when you do and what stays the same too.
Seasons drift from one to another and the moon always glides into the next phase. What a beautiful process it all is and what happens next in your own little world, the one we all happen to share, has a lot to do with what you choose to do now.