My eyes blinked as I gazed upwards at the stagnant fan blades. My outstretched arms and legs reached further longing to uncoil. I pressed my body gently into the many plush cushions pillowing the mattress. The grandmother’s couch inspired floral pattern embraced my rigid frame. The soft whisper of relaxation rippled through my body as my tenseness began to loosen.
An exhalation followed by a realization that I had stopped climbing. These past six months had felt like a straight uphill climb. Wrought with jagged edges, vision-clouding fog, an unsurvivable drop beneath me and an unforeseeable end. I had been steady climbing without the slightest idea of what lie in wait for me atop Mount Everest. Was it physically possible for me to make this trek? Was my own peril inevitable?
Having no room or energy to dwell on doubts, I continued climbing. Sometimes resting, but never, not even once did I stop. I couldn’t. I knew if I stopped and looked any direction other than two feet in front of me, I would give up. I would realize how much further I had to journey and lose to disheartenment. Or if I looked down, I would see that one minor slip up and the drop would succumb me for sure. Without a carabiner, I had no guarantee of my safety. I was operating purely on the fumes of faith.
Faith that I had made the right choice. That all my struggle, lack, tears and heartbreak was for a reason. A reason that would serve me and hopefully bring about something that was even greater than just me. Maybe not today. Maybe not for five years. Maybe even longer than that. But I had to believe that none of this was in vein. Not the disarrayed chaos with my family. Not the daily roller coaster of emotions, the fear, the confusion, the exhaustion. Knowing that a divine purpose rooted beneath me propelled me upward.
And finally, after six long months, I had reached a crevice. A rock that was flat enough that I could rest on it. Stop climbing and enjoy my small victory before continuing my ascent. Rest, never stop, I reminded myself.
After my mental and emotional rest, I sat up. My climb would be there waiting for me in the morning. I deserved to celebrate this feat. Because as thrilled as I was to have my new-to-me mattress and box spring assembled, I was anxious to outfit it. After all, this was a monumental step for me; it deserved the most appropriate celebration. I just couldn’t dream of a better way to christen my bed than with some brand-new sheets, pillows and a comforter and the best night’s rest.
Where could I go on a week night and purchase a stylish and functional sleep set that wouldn’t break my bank? Got it! I sprung off my spring mattress and grabbed my keys as I floated out the door. Hmm…maybe adulthood had gotten a bad rap? Because this, this felt amazing.
I extended my fingers and delicately brushed against the diverse fabrics. From cool and silky to warm and plush. The differing textures danced on my skin. Delighting my mind with all the possibilities. The home good aisles of TJ Maxx were my creative wonderland. My spirit relished in the incredible process of dressing my apartment. Well not quite entire apartment, but at least my bed.
Next month, I could worry about the rest of the bedroom, but today, I would buy pillows, sheets, and a comforter. My mind reeled with the euphoria that awaited me tonight. My first time in months sleeping on not only a mattress, but in fresh new sheets, bountiful pillows, and blanketed in softness. I instantly felt like a queen at the thought of it. I could feel the sensations of comfort and joy as I hunkered down for my first night.
My hiatus of rest quickly coupled with reflection. Reflection on my life as a whole. Looking back I saw it completely differently than I did as I lived through it.
I had certainly taken having a bed for granted. Sure I’d been camping, I’d been to sleepovers where you get in where you fit in. And sometimes that meant sleeping on the couch or on a floor. But I had never imagined a reality that involved me sleeping on the floor because I had no other options. A day or two, fine. But going on two months? It was certainly a humbling experience. But today was a new day and that life was no more. My transition chapter was closed. Now that I had a real bed, I could conquer the world!
I completed my TJ Maxx shopping trip and came home a proud owner of a new bedroom set. I kept it simple; black comforter, light grey cotton sheets and two pillows. Buying home goods made me feel like a real adult. Believe me, nothing felt grown up about coming home to an empty apartment and sleeping on the floor. And being excited to make my bed? Who was this person controlling my body?
Whoever she was, I was beaming and couldn’t wait to show Kendrae my first official grown up purchase. After he finished his shift at Kroger, I was going to treat him to dinner. He had been phenomenal these past few months. Supportive always, encouraging, attentive, understanding, sweet, generous and stable. Knowing that he was there for me filled me with courage to press on and forge my own life. A life that he was celebrated to be a part of.
One dinner certainly couldn’t repay him for all his kindness, but Kendrae’s love language was definitely food. So it was a good start. It would give us a chance to go out and get to feel normal for a change. We could be that couple who was celebrating a victory, regardless of how small it may be. Giving us a chance to be young and carefree for a night. Forgetting the pain-streaked reality that clouded over most days.
So I got ready and waited for my real-life hunky boyfriend to knock on my door.
Today? Yeah, today was a great day. Tomorrow, my journey would resume.
Author’s Note: One of the many side effects to telling my story, is the opportunity to peer into the heart of my past. Rehashing each experience is often hard, but also allows me to relive each emotion now as a wiser version of myself (hopefully my wisdom and discernment has multiplied)! I’m now able to live vicariously and simultaneously in a way that provides a crystal-clear perspective. I’m able to see my mishaps and embrace them. I’m able to watch that girl struggle while encouraging my heart that she’ll make it. To feel the heartbreak with a heart that’s now whole.
This is a note to a specific individual, and no one at all. A note for me and a note for you. Self-reflection is such a powerful tool. It’s enabled me to view my life as a whole rather than one piece of the puzzle. Part of the art of looking back is being in a different space mentally, hopefully a better one. So if I could talk to myself four years ago, I would want her to know what I know to be true today. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I value you.
You are enough. Imperfectly flawed and all. Some lessons you’ll pick up quickly; celebrate your victories. Other lessons you’ll feel like you’ll never learn; give yourself grace. Get in the habit of resting, restoring, and then rising. My dear precious one, it is okay to not be okay. Again, it is okay to not be okay. If you’re sad, let yourself be sad. Your body knows better than your mind does, listen to it.
You don’t have to have your entire life figured out. Spoiler alert: you still don’t four years from now. And I’m going to branch out and say you never will. Situations will unfold contrary to your expectations. Unexpected changes are often the best surprises, so stoptrying to plan everything. Laugh at yourself, always. And work hard. When no one is looking. When no one is asking you to. Even if you don’t know what you’re working towards. Hard work is never something you’ll regret.
Start each day fresh. Give yourself the opportunity to start new each day. Wasn’t your best self yesterday? Fix it today. Not all your goals will be accomplished overnight. In fact, a lot of your dreams will change too. Don’t worry. You are exactly where you are supposed to be at this very moment. In whatever space you are currently in, you are there for a reason. You may not know why, but find peace in the truth that you are where you should be.