Trying to Build Rome in a Day

One of the most cliche sayings is “Rome wasn’t built in a day…” and I swear to you guys, patience has become a daily struggle for me. I often wonder when am I gonna finally stop trying to make it and just make it already?! I realize why I haven’t made it yet though, my life has been full of so many detours some that life has caused and others I’ve caused myself. I hate struggling…I mean who does right? But, I’ve noticed that I tend to jump at the first thing that comes along that seems like an outing from my struggles, but that thing usually turns out to be worst than what I left and full circle, I always find myself back where it all began.

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Struggle is good. Being uncomfortable is good. They both create the motivation to keep going towards what you should. I was having a conversation with a friend and I told her I feel like giving up sometimes and she asked me why. I said because it seems like the things that I want are so far out of reach. She told me to remember my mission, she said remember why you quit your job and went back home. In doing so, I had to ask myself are the things that I really want for me or are they just someone else’s things for me? It was a tough question to grapple with, but it’s been on my mind all week. I quit a job in youth development and education and moved back home to focus on my writing which included two fiction manuscripts (still writing), this blog and the other media sites I write for in the hopes of building a portfolio dope enough for a magazine company to actually hire me full-time. So why was I pulling all-nighters, spending money on study guides and sitting through a three hour exam, twice to get back into the same field I had left, the same field that made me unhappy eventually? Because I got tired of struggling, but I wasn’t even enthused about it. I wasn’t even excited about the whole process.

Joyce Meyer once said patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you’re waiting…for me it’s panic, stress, anxiety and overwhelming anticipation, but in retrospect all the times I have faced extreme struggle they have also simultaneously been associated with some of the happiest times as well. I’m learning to see each new opportunity that I land, each blogging, speaking or writing gig that I get as a brick contributing to the building of my Rome…because after all it wasn’t built in a day.

So I challenge you all to look at the bricks that’s laying your foundation.

 

 

Cupid’s Arrow Gun

This is another one of those cases where I had to unlearn what I’ve been taught and draw my own conclusions about love and life. I joke often about my usage of OkCupid. It’s a lot more entertaining than Tinder and requires a lot more effort when creating a profile. You have to answer a series of questions and as you swipe through profiles you’re able to see the compatibility percentage between you and others and you’re also able to see the questions that you answered the same and the ones you answered differently. So I use it often. I spent hours and hours swiping, matching and messaging guys from NJ and NYC to see if there’s a “spark” or a mutual interest to take things further. I’ve met my share of creeps and pervs. I’m sure my block list is as long as the NYC marathon at this point. However, recently I matched with a guy from Harlem and on impulse and since I was already in the city, I invited him out with me and some of my friends to have a fun night in the Lower East Side. So we met the same day we matched and I usually don’t do stuff like that for obvious dangerous reason, but I was feeling brave.

We met at a bar in the Lower East Side and conversation was great. I was already two drinks into my tequila on the rocks and was feeling extremely courageous. I didn’t have any food in my system, so we ditched our friends for a bit and walked to a .99 cent pizza shop across from the bar. We sat outside and talked about everything. Socialism, favorite colors, work, favorite foods, political viewpoints, hobbies and I decided that I actually liked this guy. The fact that he wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything was also a plus. Not that I needed him to. So we walk back to the bar and join our friends. After several shots, dancing and just acting silly the bartenders did their last calls. We closed ur tabs and hung outside the bar. One of his friends, extremely ignorant approached us and said, “I don’t have anything against gay people, just don’t touch me.” So in a sarcastic way I said, “why? Do they have diseased hands?” So we got into an argument because according to him, AIDS originated from gay people, it’s an abomination and AIDS was their punishment like the plague in Egypt. Of course I asked him for a black and white scripture on the abomination of homosexuality to which he couldn’t give me one. My OkCupid guy to my relief agreed with me on everything I was saying, but then he blurted out he didn’t believe in God.

Pause.

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Now this is the part where I needed to start thinking. I grew up in an orthodox Christian household where there are rules. Life is black and white just as the pages in the Bible (minus the red). That’s how I was raised, but throughout the years as I grow into a woman, I realize that life isn’t black and white. It’s actually quite colorful. I’ve learned to unravel everything that I’ve learned these last 25 years and have really examined the bigger picture of life. So why was him not believing in God weighing so heavy on me? I took to Facebook and asked my friends if they could date someone of a different faith or no faith at all and most said no, but all it takes is that one to identify with to make it all better. My sorority sister spoke up and talked about how she’s been in a relationship with an Atheist for the past three years and not once have either of them tried to change the other. He’s opened her mind up to so much and vice versa and they have a very healthy relationship.

I can’t deny that I do actually like him and would like to get to know him a lot better, so I asked him his reasoning for his choice and he actually had a similar story to me. He was raised Catholic (I was Christian) and he just didn’t feel like he belonged. SO many of his life experienced caused him to shift his views. He’s Honduran and life’s experiences living in Central America has left him with a lot of questions. He’s an insanely intelligent person, very genuine and caring and I like his character. He calls, texts, makes plans, so I’ve learned to be very open minded and get to know him better without being so quick to judge, toss aside, etc. It’s too early to tell where this’ll go though, but I’ll keep you posted! 

I want to know has anyone dated outside of their faith and what was that experience like for you?

{Hello Fear} I Quit My Job to Pursue Writing Full-time

In 2012, I graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Media Studies. For five years, I studied basic reporting, interviewing, radio broadcasting, TV production, etc. and I had decided to focus on writing in the form of print media. Before I had gotten to college, I decided I wanted to be a writer, so journalism allowed me to discover a different form of writing. After graduation though, I realized just how difficult it was to find a job. Most of the people in the program with me were also at a standstill in finding jobs. This left us to taking on internships, contributing for websites, freelancing or just going back to school. I was in the “go back to school” boat. My grace period was slowly coming to an end on student loans and I needed a backup plan and quick. So I started thinking about all of the “in demand” fields that I would qualify for. Business was certainly out of the question. I am the worst when it comes to numbers and clearly my own finances. Medicine was not an option and neither was law or technology, so my safest and most logical choice was education.

So I put in an additional year and a half in of schooling to get my Masters of Education. I loved school. I am an eternal scholar, so doing the coursework and writing the papers wasn’t a problem. I had convinced myself that I loved the curriculum and lesson planning aspect of education, but when I went out for TEACH Charlotte and got accepted I soon realized that I didn’t like teaching. I didn’t want to deal with children in that type of capacity. So I was hired to be a teen program coordinator for The Boys and Girls Club in Newark. I left Trenton and moved up to Newark for work. After working in that field for two and a half years it really lost its luster. So many things started to transpire in the media field that rekindled my interest. I wrote a book, I got hired as a freelancer for Madame Noire, and an Arts and Culture Writer for Saint Heron. I also launched my own blog that’s starting to increase in traffic. By the time I had updated and created my portfolio with all of my samples, I asked myself “why in the hell are you not working in the field full-time?!” It was to the point where I would rather be at home writing and working on blog post and articles than at work. Sometimes when I had downtime I would actually be at my job doing media stuff. It got to a point where I was so creatively miserable at work and juggling between deadlines and a room full of kids that I knew I had a choice to make. I had to choose my own happiness. In a moment of impulse, I walked out of work and called my mom. “I said mom, I’m quitting my job to pursue writing full-time and I’m moving back home.” She had a million questions about health insurance, paying bills, and how I was going to survive. I didn’t know and I still don’t, but I just know that being unhappy is no longer an option.

I do believe that when you make drastic decisions for the better, it opens up so many doors to good opportunities. I think working in youth development was a cushion. It was a safety net and even though I thought I was being fearless, I was still looking for a safe situation. Reality set in and I’ve been interviewing for several different full-time positions and my email has been buzzing with opportunities so I can say that I am genuinely fearless this time. I have Madame Noire, Saint Heron and I am also using this time to finish my second novel. It’s a long and slow process, but I am hopeful. I’m 25 going on 26 and I’m sure my 30-year-old self will thank me for this later.

What types of risk have you taken lately?