maturing through the manure

Yesterday, a friend reached out to me and asked how I was doing. Specifically that she did not trust pictures/social media to tell stories lol. As I responded this morning, I ended by asking: Is there something to “sucking it up”? Is the lesson how to navigate maturely though the manure (bullshit)? That was my morning epiphany on this snowy, blustery Sunday morning here on Jeju Island. A no pants Sunday. A my activity rings on my Apple watch will probably not all be closed today Sunday (why do I even put my watch on days like this?). An eat what I have, I am not cooking Sunday. A self care Sunday.

And not Netflix and chill (although I may get to that). As I write this I have my Lush Cup O’Coffee face mask on, a vanilla candle is lit in the bathroom, a pink rosemary candle on my love altar in the bedroom, and a peach candle in the living room. The only sounds I can discern are the hum of the heating system, whistling of the wind and the crackling of the candle fire. As I stare out the window and watch the wind whipping around snow flurries, nibbling on dark chocolate between keyboard strokes, all my senses are fully engaged.

I need to catch up on my Arurveda studies and homework. I should probably do some yoga or go to the gym (close my activity rings). The recycling needs to be taken out, bathroom cleaned,  and house vacuumed. I have CSA fruits and veggies I should figure out what to do with sooner than later (green papaya? What am I supposed to do with that?), however I also have a refrigerator of leftovers that should be consumed. And I would like to make some art, or rather, I likely need to. That’s a whole lot of shoulda, woulda, and couldas floating around for a day that necessitates rest(oration).

In the words of Jesse Williams, I am magic, but that doesn’t make me any less real. There are many things I need and could be doing, but I am exhausted – mentally and emotionally. It is no secret I am not in my happiest or best place/state currently and I do not apologize for being transparent about it. My parents did not raise “quiet” children and we were encouraged to express ourselves, speak our minds, and be honest/keep it real. The caveat however is that personality wise, innately, Capricorn goddess that I am – tact,  patience, and pretending/faking are just not in my DNA – for grown people (as an educator and practitioner of working with young children, it is in extremely large doses if you are like under age 6). Add to that I am woman of color, darker variety and all the misconceptions and stereotypes that comes along with that. I find myself somewhere between not hating it like I did my Atlanta experience, but not loving it like I did my Chicago experience.

Last week in my quiet time I found myself reflecting on the impact of those two life experiences. In the end, I loved my job in Atlanta and in a sense it could have been deemed a dream job. Nevertheless between single/dating/situationship hell and not feeling connected to that place like a square peg in a round hole, depression eventually reared its ugly head. A healthy dose of therapy, lease ending and motivation led me to move on and Chicago became my target.

My interest in the Windy City began in college at Florida A&M University when I first encountered young men from the Chi (where is the heart eye emoji when I need it and that could be a separate blog post in itself?!). Then a family visit during the summer of 1997 solidified it and began a long distance love affair! For the next 15 years, between visiting family and friends or professional conferences, I went to Chicago almost annually. So in March 2013 when I reached my limit and said aloud to my friend Julia at lunch “I am moving to Chicago”, the wheels were in motion. As I drove off on Sunday, April 7 in my fully loaded Ford Focus – Chicago or bust, intentions fully manifested – I never looked back.

Chicago, Chicago, Chicago – what can I say that I has not already said? I unlocked and discovered myself here, I hoped to establish roots. I returned to working with young children; pursued my Master’s in Early Childhood Education. I began my yoga practice; led to me becoming a certified children’s yoga teacher. I discovered women and communities of color to practice yoga, make magick, and form bonds. I connected with my alumni association, giving me life. I joined the gym, did crossfit and indoor rock climbing; belay certified. I got my first passport and four years, 8 countries later, I relocated out of the country.

Soon after moving to Chicago, one day my uncle asked me: “What was I running from?” My answer: “Nothing”. As I made my decision to leave Chicago and the process that ensued, I reframed that thought into: “What am I running to(wards)?” Four months in, I freely admit I ran towards financial increase and the opportunity to travel. I ran towards life lessons and experiences that will serve my best interests for the rest of my life. I ran towards friendships that cross boundaries and borders. Someone I know once told me they learned to run so they could chase their dreams, so I am going to keep running until my dreams fully manifest themselves. My life experiences have shown me that it is possible to find joy in your dharma, your location, and yourself. All at the same damn time is just the question.

And it will not be today because I am chilling. And it probably will not be this year because I have a contract to fulfill. And it may not be before 45 because life. Whenever, I am confident that above all I could hope, dream, or imagine is out there somewhere for me. So, I am going to keep running and working and pressing and pushing and praying and proclaiming and manifesting and recording and learning and struggling and crying and fighting and all.

Mature into the mastering of the manure and learn how to use it as fertilizer.

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