The summer of 2011 tasted like cough syrup caked at the bottom of a Cabernet bottle. Sour. Bitter. Unwelcome. One bad surprise after another, the kind my mother insists make your left eye twitch. Except these weren’t just surprises, they were grenades. And bad wouldn’t describe them, but harrowing and hellish would. That summer sprinkled cyanide into my sweet glass of burgeoning adulthood and summoned me to take a sip.
I should have died. But it would be unfair to say I wanted to. If you ever want to die, I imagine you must feel something, if nothing more than the pitch black desire to leave this planet. Instead, I went numb. My mind went blank. There are whole months I do not remember. I took a passenger seat in my own existence and let the devil on my shoulder drive me straight into oblivion. We cruised through fog for hours. I fell into a hard sleep. Didn’t wake up until 2012.
That’s the thing about being a spark for others to reach the best, bravest, and boldest parts of themselves. You don’t become that spark until you learn to fly above your own fire. You do not get crystal clear about your future until you wake up from that comatose moment, the one that convinced you there was nothing left to salvage from the ruins.
I could have vanished into becoming a victim after that summer. Instead, the Universe positioned me to become a vessel. The Universe sat me down one evening in the white hot heat of Plano, Texas and decided that light would still spill through my heart’s broken windows. Twenties Unscripted was conceived from my spirit’s beautiful cracks. But, I wouldn’t know it until much later, after years of penning half-baked love stories and recounting dating horror tales. I wouldn’t realize just how much my life’s purpose underscored that sincere, sassy and sometimes smart-assy take on growing up. Hell, I wouldn’t know just how much I would grow up. Evolve. Blossom into the kind of woman and writer I once assumed was left in summer 2011’s rubble.
But, it didn’t always feel good.
This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you about nights that antagonized me as I stared at the ceiling, contemplating how to turn a dream into a dollar. But, those nights are only a sliver of my narrative. Instead, there are entire chapters dedicated to the insecurities I had to relinquish. I had to learn how to love a body I believed had betrayed me. I had to find and nurture a spirit that got lost in the wreckage. I had to quiet a mind that remained convinced everyone was out to get me or rip me to shreds. I had to make peace with my past, one inked with handwriting from other people’s demons.
I am still doing the work.
I’m still climbing the skyscraper toward radical self-love. Still clawing my way toward unwavering confidence. Still demanding my feet to find comfort in the big shoes God asked me to fill. Still throwing nine hours of my day toward fulfilling someone else’s dream. Still running to catch the bus. Still canceling events. Still wondering where in the hell is my Michael B. Jordan? Still losing money from rushed ideas. Still growing up in ways both wildly different and eerily similar from that girl who started a blog one night in the white hot heat of Plano, Texas.
Yet through it all, I see a future packed to the gills with opportunity, even if I’m completely unsure how I will get there.
Because I’m crazy enough to believe I have the power to live off of my name. Wild enough to declare that I will use every centimeter of talent the good lord gave me to pay bills from my purpose. Relentless enough to pursue and perfect my craft. Brave enough to keep leaving my heart wide open on the Internet. Convicted enough to see my dreams all the way through.
Fall 2015 tastes like the first sip of medium roast coffee on a rainy day. Warm. Refreshing. Restorative. Just what I need to put my mind at ease. I earned this cup of joe. It’s what you receive when you rise from the ruins and turn mayhem into manna. It’s what happens when you build a beautiful stained glass window from your shattered bits. It’s what happens when you do not crumble into becoming a victim, but instead rise to the occasion of being a visionary.