"You're going places..." - Several People
For the past two weeks, I have been hiding. Pretending like my social media addiction isn't really an addiction, refusing to acknowledge how much I rely on public opinion; a cosign of my complicated thoughts, original words, goals etc.. It was a much-needed wake-up call. Although I came to terms with it, "it" is still an issue that I am working to fix. Of course, two weeks away from ghost followers and phony friends could not possibly be viewed as enough time for change. My progress is pending. However, I am now aware of where my focus lies.
I have known about this trip for months; I just never thought it would come to pass, due to my history of being safe, scary and sheltered. My parents are understandably uneasy and concerned about the restrictions surrounding the upcoming distance barrier, yet they want me to be happy. And for the first time in a long time, including all periods of temporarily being in love, I am happy. Sometimes we fake happiness to showboat or impress/embarrass others, but happiness isn't a game. It cannot be conquered with board pieces or mind mayhem. Nevertheless, it's a hefty payout for passing go. As a result, I made a conscious decision to just go... to an area where I will feel extremely uncomfortable, so that I can test and develop my true spirit as a natural-born writer.
It's so easy to write when you're trapped in a comfort zone, holding on to the things that treat you kind. Lately, I have been repeatedly dealing with some not-so-kind people. Surprisingly, a few of those people are blood relatives. I have discovered a lot on my journey to fulfillment. Mostly, that everyone doesn't support me as they verbally and virtually claim. Instead, they exploit the convenience of our relation as an attempt to benefit from my notoriety. I'm thankful that I am able to discern who's for me and who should, from this day forward, politely ignore me. I'm growing and settling into a positive space that includes like-minded individuals who complement and appreciate the way that I think, the way that I behave and the way that I exist. Fortunately and unfortunately, I am unable to take everyone I still care about, even those who manipulate for selfish gain(s), with me.
For the next three months, possibly longer, I will be peacefully existing in the Middle East as a stranger to strangers, with only one person immediately available whom I know, trust and cherish. Some family members and close friends are already worrying about my survival, but the church that I am a member of has a motto which promises, "God's Got THIS"... THIS being the career opportunity that I faithfully prayed for, believing but not knowing how or when it would come. But, it's here.
As I await final confirmation on book signings and appearances, poetry performances and a rewarding freelance writing position with a popular overseas magazine, I'm leaving the city that I'll always call home behind, intending to return with better judgment and a new outlook on life. My vision is clear with the stylish corrective frames that I depend on for direction resting on my face, and even without them I maintain a coherent perspective. If it's difficult for you to see how much I'm genuinely trying to inspire you to LIVE YOUR DREAM, though, maybe I should stop trying so hard and just learn how to live a little more for myself. I cannot be successful until I literally travel far away from the circumstances that often threaten to hold me back. Several people were right. Yes, I'm going places, and with these invisible wings, I'm ready to fly...
Goodbye, Jacksonville, but not forever. I'll miss you.
*Please return weekly for travel diary posts.