“There is no secret or shortcut to changing your life: walk through the fire, you will get burned. If you keep going, you’ll make it to the other side. Put some cocoa butter on them burns and keep moving (in the direction of your dreams).” – Demetria L. Lucas
About two years ago, I pulled the needle out of the grenade and blew up my life. My old life no longer suited me. There was a nagging feeling that there was something bigger/greater for me, I just need to take a chance. Well, pulling the needle is what I did.
I picked up my belongings and moved to Maryland. Three days before my scheduled move, the weatherman forecasted a hurricane to hit the day after my move. My movers decided to cancel my move due to the storm. So, I packed my Honda Accord coupe with everything I could. My mom and I had a disagreement about when I should leave. She wanted me to change my move date, but I didn’t want to. In the mist of our argument, all I remember her is saying “you don’t make good decisions.” In the moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe she was right? Maybe I don’t make good decisions? I was scared I had no idea what the next days, months, or years would like. But I promised no matter how bad things got (unless I was being abused or became homeless), I was staying for two years.
I arrived in Maryland tired, yet proud of myself. I was optimistic about the adventure that lied ahead. I unloaded my car and walked to the grocery store in hopes of purchasing a bottle of wine to unwind and relax before I started work the next day. I walked and perused through the store looking for the wine section. The store wasn’t that big but I could find it. I chuckled to myself and said “Rhaea, how did you miss the entire wine section?” I walked through again and still couldn’t find it. I asked the sales associate and she look at me with a confused look in her eyes and asked “where are you from?” I proudly stated Virginia. She stated I knew you weren’t from here. Grocery stores don’t sell wine. Tears welled up in my eyes and I said… "where am I?"
Just like with real explosions, after the smoke and dust settled there was rubble all over the place. I had to sift through everything and decide what parts of my life was I going to keep and what I was going to let go.
The purpose of my move was not to recreate the life I had in Virginia Beach, but there were definitely some things I kept because with so much unknown I needed some familiarity.
So, what did I keep?
1. God: I am in unchartered territory. Even in moments of despair, God has been the most constant being in my life.
2. Exercise routine: I have sweated out a whole lot of frustration. The soreness in my muscles is a metaphor of me overcoming the issue before me.
3. My authentic self: Not who people want me to be. Not the person who had been dosed with societal pressures. God has given me unique skills and abilities that will allow me to adapt, create, and pursue my dreams. Literally, I am enough and I have decided to bet on me.
4. Family and some friends: Everywhere I went there was an unfamiliar face; a person I was unsure I could trust. It was so nice to see a familiar face via Facetime or to have people to visit me.
What did I leave? Whew, I feel like everything (lol).
1. As I geared up for my move, I took an empty wine bottle and filled it up with negative thoughts I had about moving. I didn’t fill it up right away. As the thoughts came to mind, I jotted them down on a piece of paper and shoved it in the wine bottle. The morning I left, I prayed, cried, and threw it in a dumpster to ensure it would break. I was figuratively breaking myself free.
2. My old way of thinking. I had boxed myself into a box, thinking life had to be a certain way. I needed to interact and be around people who had lived a different life. I needed to be open and welcome life.
3. Some Friends. Listen, I knew before I left that majority of the people in my life would not be brought with me on this journey. They weren’t necessarily naysayers. I didn’t want people who were going to convince me to recreate or continue with a status quo life.
In full transparency, it has not been easy. In challenging times, I fell back in old habits. I went to therapy seeking answers and to gain understanding of who I am and how I process events. I had to be reintroduced to God. Not in the cliché way I was originally introduced. I had blown up my life based up a dream or feeling that there is more to life.
Demetria is right, walking through the fire you will get burned. September makes 2 years that I have been living in the Northern, VA. (Yep, I left Maryland.) It’s time for me to make a decision to leave or stay. I think I am going to continue to put cocoa butter on and keep moving in the direction of my dreams.