“Stay the course–and stay ready for your breakthrough.” –Michael Jones
Sometimes, I want to go back.
I want to go back to age four. I want to go back to only eating the icing off my birthday cake.
Or, maybe I want to go back to age six, to my mom bringing a ballerina cake to my first grade class and to seeing a brand new Barbie doll on my bed when I got home from school.
I want to go back to that sweet ass 16. I want to go back to Darius taking me to a dinner that I’m sure his mother paid for and handing me a bouquet a flowers that I know she picked out. I want to go back to wearing pink Converses and making out in our parents’ basements.
I want to go back to 21. I want to go back to my breasts propped up in a leopard print dress, absolutely sure that the world and its endless flow of liquor were ready and waiting for me.
I want to go back.
But, I don’t.
Because, I can’t.
Because, I am here. And, this is now. And, all I have is this compass I’ve been given. If 50 Cent were nearby, he’d be shouting, “Go, shawty. It’s ya birthday.” I am here. And, this is now. And, good, bad, or indifferent, I own every last one of these jagged jigsaw pieces called My Life.
I’m supposed to have some wise shit to say today. I’m supposed to go all Yoda on you and tell you Everything I Know About Life.
But, instead, I should tell you that I am afraid. I am uncertain. I am anxious. Last year for my 24th birthday post, I wrote “Step one is to know yourself.” If that’s step one, then step two is to lose yourself a la Eminem. Lose yourself. Lose your shit. Lose your sanity. Lose your last goddamn mind. Because, that is precisely what I have done this past year. I now understand the pandemonium, the panic, the sheer terror that accompany turning 25 and wondering what in the entire fuck you are doing with your life. I now understand feeling as though you’ve failed yourself, feeling as though your life is not quite where you want it to be. I now understand looking at the pie chart of your existence and wondering why, oh why, can’t it just add up to 100 percent?
It isn’t my job to sit perched atop the Holy Grail and pretend I’m rocking the shit out of life on my 25th birthday. You turn 25 and you’re ready to jump off the ship. You’re fed up. You’ve fucked up. Nothing has gone as planned. So, it’s not my job to feign that I have it all together. It is, however, my job, to own every last one of my jagged jigsaw pieces. It is my job to channel Sheryl Sandberg and lean the hell in to this path. It is my job to steer this ship, not to request that the waters rock the boat any less.
Last week when I solicited advice from my 25 year old (or older) friends, so much of what they said resonated with me. But, if there is anything that convicted me the most, it is what Michael said: “Stay the course–and stay ready for your breakthrough.” I first titled this post, “Ready For The Breakthrough” but I changed “the” to “my” because there is a very specific and unique breakthrough I believe is on its way for me. And, if that sounds overly prophetic and slightly nutso, I’ll take it.
Google told me that a breakthrough is “a sudden, dramatic and important discovery or development” or “an instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.” My breakthrough is going to be all of the above. That breakthrough is all mine. That breakthrough is well-versed in the trenches I’ve walked through, the bridges I’ve crossed over and the flames that have burned me. That breakthrough has my full government written all over it. That breakthrough wasn’t winning a Black Weblog Award. That breakthrough wasn’t producing a showcase. That breakthrough wasn’t attending BlogHer2014. No, that breakthrough is so much bigger than I could ever imagine. Bigger than anyone else could predict. That breakthrough is going to shake the core of this Earth. I will leave that breakthrough forever changed. Of that I am sure.
I do not know what is on the other side of my twenties, and I finally am starting to settle into that uncertainty. All I can do is adhere to Michael’s advice and stay the course. It might feel great to jump off now, to stop risking my money, stop risking my time, stop risking my heart. But, you don’t get the breakthrough without staying the course. I don’t know what’s waiting for me in the second half of being a snotty-nosed twenty-something. But, I know that the first half has been setting me up for the breakthrough.
I know that July 24, 2011 and August 18, 2011 were just preparing me for the breakthrough. I know that the pockets of lost faith in 2014 were just preparing me for the breakthrough. I know that living in Framingham, MA and Plano, TX for eight months at a time, pulled away from my roots, were necessary for the breakthrough. I know that you are not deserving of the breakthrough until life has broken you, until it has forced you to fall to your knees and cock your head to the sky. I know that my breakthrough is well on its way. You couldn’t tell me any differently, not even on your best day. And, it is that assurance that will make for a happy birthday.