Who Am I? A Work in Progress.

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“I will never apologize for who I am. I've worked hard to evolve and I'm proud of my triumphs.” - Alex Elle

A few months ago, I found myself digging down a deep rabbit hole in my old Yahoo inbox and while doing so, I came across an essay that I wrote in high school titled, “Who Am I?” I couldn’t help but to laugh while reading it because there I was at 17/18 years old thinking I fully knew who I was – not realizing that I still have so much more life to experience. Yet at the same time, I felt like I was reading a letter I wrote to my future self to remind me of the person I was then, to keep the me today pushing forward.

When I look back on that old essay, I realize that answering that question has many layers to it because every day as I grow and evolve, I step further away from my old self and into an entirely new self. Who I was months ago, isn't who I am today. I've had to learn how to extend myself so much grace, forgiveness and patience in light of this. Now it’s a requirement for the people I deal with on a daily basis as well because I am continually learning. I am a work in progress. I am the sum total of all of my decisions and experiences, but my bad decisions and mistakes don’t define me, rather they contribute to where I am today. It took each and every experience I’ve encountered to bring me here.

Recently, I’ve been in a reflective state as I hit my four-year mark in New York City. I never expected to be here this long, but if I have learned anything since living here it’s that one should always expect the unexpected – whether it’s encountering your first mouse (that’s a story for a different day) or someone who changes your entire outlook on what you thought to be a truth.

I have also come to learn that many times people will remain so stuck on who you were, that who you are now never stood chance. More often than not, people often decide what they want to see before they see it. But I am done trying to convince people of my magic. I've done it one too many times and lesson learned. Either you see it, or you don't. Either I'm for you, or I'm not. Because at the end of the day, I'm always going to see it and I’m always going to be for who I’m supposed to be for.

The last four years have taught me that sometimes I have to show up for myself at the end of the day in a way that no one else can and that’s when I found my superpower. That’s when I found self-love. If you’re struggling with this – you’re not alone. It takes time. Do the hard work. Realize that self-love isn’t some destination to be achieved, rather it’s a process of learning and unlearning things about yourself.

In my last blog post, I talked about how one must unlearn things, let go of pieces of oneself that no longer serve them (people included) and embrace the uncomfortable, painful feeling of growth. I’ve been through this process a lot over the last four years and I’ve experienced tremendous growth as result. But lately, I've found myself in some situations where I've had to choose between leaning into my growth or falling back into old patterns.

Do you want to know something that’s real as hell? It’s extremely hard to make the intentional choice to choose your higher self when it seems easier to fall back into old patterns. Every single time, I've placed my growth and healing above all. It has been hard, it has been messy, but above all it has been worth it. I’ve worked long and hard to heal from different situations, and that’s not to say that I’m still not healing from things – healing is a process with no timeline. But, I say that to say – if you’re struggling with this, please remember that you’ve done the work, trust in it – trust in yourself. You were taught the lessons, now apply them.

I’ve had some tough times in this city. Like many people, I’ve been through some shit. I thought that by leaving those situations, along with the uncertainty and pain that came with them in the past, I would then be presented with more answers, focus and clarity. And while I have to a certain extent, I still find myself asking even more questions, trying to navigate even more complex situations and deeply trying to figure out what’s next. #adulting

I have to give so much thanks to this city and my experiences here for greatly contributing to who I am. While who I am is changing with each new experience, a few things will always remain the same, “I am a woman of color, a woman of potential, a woman of values and a woman of high standards. I am not a follower, but a leader.” My 17/18 year-old self reminded me of this and for that I thank her.