forgive the sentence ending preposition, but it’s time i ‘fess up.
i wanted to do this series differently. have articles of varying points of view lined up. share and promote the voices of women i love and care about. crack open the door to vulnerability and show you are not the only person in that dark room. however…
in the span of about six, seven months, my life fell apart. all because of a dream. it’s not so much as i gave up on my dream, but rather it gave up on me…? however you dice it, a piece of my heart broke and i’m having the damndest time mending it.
i grew up in san antonio, texas. as a military brat, i tend toward the idea of having no home. of being a vagabond. but for my formative years, i spent a great deal of critical periods of development in texas. ages 4-11, if you must. my childhood has its share of traumas. many things i, to this very day, do not remember and my mom is never in a rush to trigger a resurgence. here and there i hear tale of this taking place or that being done, but my baby mind either did away with them or has them locked away in a very faraway corner. those “troubles” were a person, not a place.
still, the deepest part of me longs for san antonio. it has every single day since we moved in 2002. so, my new year’s resolution for 2k16 was preparation. do everything i needed to do in order to make my way there. i’d gotten through the harsh years of middle school, high school, and the somehow harsher years of college. i’d formulated a career path that just needed a little bit of experience to forge. i’d recognized and realized my life would stall and stop if i stayed in my small town in south carolina any longer than absolutely necessary. i’m very much a believer in timing and do the best with what you have where you are while you’re there, but it was time to put it into gear.
i wanted to be practical about it. i saved up money, investing in a FOF (fuck-off fund). i made plans. i would need a u-haul – or a trailer to hitch to my truck. my resume was in severe need of updating. i would have to prepare to tell loved ones, ones who would make it very hard to leave them. i worked on how to tell my bosses at both of my jobs at the time. i pro and con’d all the things, people i’d leave behind me. i set aside a week to make my first visit since 2005, simply to apply to jobs in person and look into apartments.
i made lists. i would need a deposit for a place and three months’ worth rent in the off chance it took a while to get a job. i’d need gas for the moving trip there. i-95 south to i-20 w until i got to tx, and then all the way down to the alamo is an 18 hour drive, so save up gas money and room for a hotel. probably in (*shudders*) alabama. a young, black female traveling through the american south by herself? i even contemplated getting my concealed weapons permit for the just in case.
it was happening. i was ready. i was fucking ecstatic.
and then my car died.
not oh, get a new fuel pump here or transmission there. i’m talking no amount of new parts could have me driving my ’98 gmc jimmy halfway across the country in one piece. i was suddenly out of a very crucial part of my plan, the plan.
with the rapid demise of my truck came another chink in the armor. a new car, yes, but guess what cars cost? money. attempting to band-aid my baby had sucked dry my FOF and a new car meant monthly payments and insurance, the former i’d been without for years and the latter had been taken care of.
whoosh. there went deposits and rental fees and gas money. but i was optimistic. okay, this pushes me from january to maybe july. no biggie. texas was now on the back burner but it was still cooking.
since purchasing my new car, which i love, at the end of july, it’d been hard enough to pay my present bills let alone make a bank account draining, life changing decision. and for months, i tortured myself with stories of people who moved to los angeles or new york with 300 dollars in their pockets and, yeah, they struggled for a minute, but now they live comfortably in manhattan as they blog full-time from home and get mimosas with their besties every sunday. i made every concession i could think of and still i was stuck in neutral.
(who are these magic women and why won’t they teach me their witchcraft?)
while i experienced this decline in my resolve, many things were happening at once. my anxiety and depression had reached its peak. i’m talking ithreatenedtoquitmyjobduringapanicattack bad. the election i never, ever want to talk about again ever took its toll on me – as i’m sure it did on everyone. suddenly people whose opinions i held in the highest esteem were lumping my perspective in with literally anyone whose mindset did not match their own. i was getting to know a guy who i liked while i became distant from a friend (well, friends) i loved. admittedly, every year around july to september, i get busy and i get stressed but this was different. this was DEFCON 5.
i fast went into self-care mode. i’m talking social media blackout, medications because it’d become very necessary, the whole nine yards. selah went into recluse mode to preserve herself and her connection to the outside world. i had to get it together and i hoped others would understand.
it turns out age 26 is a liminal space. here i thought it was time for me to go, go, go, and yet i found myself standing stiller than i ever had before. i let my friends move on with their lives without me and was met with resentment. i dealt with a medical emergency that one can’t quite bounce back from like, say, tonsilitis. my future looks a lot different than i thought or hoped or even dreamed it would, and i’m having a hard time reconciling that with what i want. what i believe i deserved.
right now, at this very moment, i know texas isn’t happening. not now, not in five years, and with the way the world is going, who knows who or where i’ll be in ten years. there is a misery in me that i’ve vowed to bring to term, but i don’t know if i’ll ever be over this. in tangled, one of the characters asserts “find a new dream”, but that is hard when a failed dream was your stepping stone to the rest of them.
but – it’s not impossible. it’s a one day at a time kind of thing, and each day has reasons to get better, do better. so i’m starting with that.
google defines “paper street” as a road that may appear on a map but doesn’t actually exist. i’ve always found a strange comfort in the phrase. who we are on paper doesn’t earnestly represent who we are in reality. yet, as writers, paper has been, is, and will always be our greatest medium. so came the thought –
why not showcase the parts of me and the people i know that live beyond the page?
• paper street is a recurring series consisting of personal and guest posts meant to showcase the varying degrees of experiences we all share •