I’ve experienced a whole lot of change over the past couple of years and all of it wasn’t good.
Learning to live in a world where the mother who grew me in her belly no longer exists on this earthly plane has taken some adjusting to. Adding to that the permanent loss of a brother I only met one time and the fragmentation of a host of other relationships has been an ultimate test on my heart and my head.
One of the other life altering changes I faced during this time was losing my first Harlem apartment.
I had lived there for almost 18 years, having made the historical neighborhood my home after I moved to NY from Detroit, Michigan to attend college. After that loss, I then lived for a short time with a good friend and her family until I found a place in Brooklyn where I rented a room from a couple.
Now, anyone who knows me knows, I love my personal space. And my privacy. And peace and quiet. I like things a certain way in the space where I pay rent and when you live with other people and your name isn’t on the lease you often have to take a step back from the things you like and learn to adapt to living a different kind of life.
I thought I’d be there for a year, but due to grief and finances, I was relegated to staying put. One year turned into five and slowly I started to think I’d never leave. I felt like a failure. Not because I was sharing an apartment, because that is nothing to be ashamed of. I do live in high rent ass New York City. I felt bad because I had let myself down. I had failed to plan for life’s challenges. I hadn’t saved an emergency fund. Or rather, I had emptied one and had no back up, hence having to become a roommate. Having to and not choosing to fucked with my psyche.
I learned a lot about myself during this time. I also suffered from depression. Functional, but depression nonetheless.
Through it all amidst my grief and disappointment, I grew a small business, saved money, raised my credit score and tried to heal my broken heart.
I was able to achieve those goals due to my faith in God and good friends, (new and old) who believed in me and pushed me on even when I felt defeated and emotionally depleted. Thanks, my angels!
Now fast forward to the past two months. A lot of my hard work was starting to pay off. I was offered the opportunity to work at Audible. I have worked at quite a few high profile companies, but as a book nerd, this new role is especially sweet. I also was able to move into my own apartment again. In Harlem. Full circle, right?
Even though these are positive developments, I feel out of sorts. I love change, but adjusting to it can be a challenge.
One of the most important things I’ve learned through this period of transition is this: in order to experience positive change, you have to be willing to positively change.
I know I’m more analytical now, more patient when it comes to things that challenge my sensibilities (I still have work to do in this area though), more open to revealing my vulnerabilities and more willing to take even more chances.
Why? Anything of value we desire should challenge us to push ourselves to our highest abilities. Whether it’s a new apartment, new job or new way of seeing the world. We should be willing to work hard and in creative ways to get those things and to open ourselves up in new and uncomfortable ways with the end goal of changing our lives and the lives of others.
I still have goals left to achieve and I know I will be challenged with even more change.
In the words of the beautiful and talented Gabrielle Union, whose book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, I recently read:
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I am so happy for this injection of uplift for you, Tameka! I know you’ve earned every single inch of forward momentum, and you’ve acquired many Life Stripes in the process. Those new colors look good on you, babes, as does that cloak of resolve that has protected you through the stumbles, the unexpected detours, and the refining of the spirit. That kind of fabric always wears best with being broken in, yes? Yes.
I haven’t written anything on my blog in ages, either, and I am traversing some similar uncharted waters, so it may be a while yet before the urge amd the words align for me. For now, I am celebrating your triumph! You’re shining, Tam. All the way down here in East Tennessee, I see you shining, and I am so happy for you. ?
Your response means the world to me my southern sister! I pray that the both of us continue to realize our dreams and that we can rise to meet the challenges we may face with grace, strength and vibrant energy. Love you!