Quite a few followers and friends alike have asked me how I've been as of late, given the massive changes I've experienced in the past several months. This blog post is my response.
I was sitting on my fire escape when sounds of a child laughing drifted up from below.
“Red light!” a woman exclaimed.
The child’s ponytail bobbed as she played the ever-familiar ‘Red Light, Green Light’ game, her mother trailing behind her.
I sat with my knees folded into my chest, staring at the building across the way, the sun drenching its brick like a fresh coat of paint. After a few minutes, the sounds of the mother and daughter faded out until they were gone altogether.
In this transitional period of my life, I can’t help but compare the last few months to a game of ‘Red Light, Green Light.”
There are the moments that propel us forward like a slingshot— and others that stop us dead in our tracks. There are moments that ignite our insides like fireworks— and others that make us feel hollow.
The truth is, no period of life involving change will be a seamless sidewalk. Every few blocks you’ll trip on the uneven bits and stub your toes.
I’ve never known how strong I truly was until I hugged my parents goodbye and quietly shut the door of my very first apartment. I leaned against the closed door and squeezed my eyes shut. Was I excited about this new chapter? Yes. Was I also absolutely terrified? Yes.
The following day I returned home to my apartment, starving and drowning in my own sweat.
“The New York City heat is no joke,” I muttered to myself as I collapsed into bed. This sudden burst of movement was enough to pop a curtain rod off the wall, my brand new curtains sent plummeting to the floor in a sorry heap. I eyed the fallen curtains and couldn’t help but compare them to the current state of my being.
It is impossible to protect yourself from fear, embarrassment and pain without also protecting yourself from happiness. We must not miss out on all the great things just because they might be difficult.
Sure, it’s beyond difficult to admit that you’re afraid. That you messed up. That you don’t know the answer. But each time the rug is yanked out from under you, you’ll rise from the ground faster and faster until you leap over that darn rug altogether.
I pray that all of you will experience an outpouring of ‘green lights’ in this life, but when a ‘red light’ must surface, you remind yourself that it’ll turn green again with time.
Please do not give up on the person that you are becoming. Even if you get hurt. Even if it seems hard to carry on.
Seldom do we reflect on our past and think, “Darn— I wish I believed in myself a bit less back then…”
This evening I walked down the sidewalk with my dry cleaning slung over one shoulder and a bag of groceries in the other. I felt myself grin. Sure, I still have trouble unlocking my door on the first try, among other challenges, but I’m surviving and I’ll continue to. On my own.
Instead of striving for absolute perfection in every element of my day-to-day life, I simply hope to learn more about the world today than I knew yesterday. I celebrate my small victories.
Each morning I awake to the day’s first fragments of light coming to rest on my face, the sounds of my city drifting up from below, and excitement swells in my chest.
I’m working on myself, by myself, and it’s pretty sweet.
Note: The featured photo for this post was taken in 2015, my second time visiting New York City, and the first time (of many) I vowed to myself that I'd end up living here.