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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Midnight Stream of Conscious: A Love Supreme: A Dénouement

* A writing ritual I do at each year's end. Personal, cathartic-- and for some reason I feature it on my blog. Feel free to skip. Or better yet, try it yourself.

First off, I don’t know how smooth this will be or how writer-like. I was prompted to repeat this yearly ritual when I entered Starbucks today and saw that the red holiday cups were back, as was the gingerbread loaf that I adore. Oh, I ate so much of that at Yale because I used pastries to lift my spirits amidst dizzying rounds of depression. As they say, stressed is ‘desserts’ spelled backwards.

My life has taken an auspicious turn, and I’m seemingly light years away from the wet streets of Elm City, where I meandered during awkward hours of night, munching on croissants and piping hot coffee, anxious about cramming a 30 page paper into 48 hours or how my demonic Arabic professor would love to fail me. Yale is over. Shove a fork in a really dry, over-cooked piece of filet mignon.

To be honest, it does not feel like an incredible accomplishment. It just feels done. Sort of like I ran so hard to finish that I’m too winded to smile for any pictures at the finish line. But having had seven months to reflect, it is a tremendous victory and I should not overlook that.

As a student, I was unfulfilled. I felt that I’d made a huge, incorrigible mistake for the first three years. In spite of having an opportunity to study at one of the world’s finest institutions and a fellowship with a media company that some students would kill for, I wasn’t convinced that I was walking along my gilded path, the term I have coined to mean destiny. I tussled with the idea of dance, and longed for those yesterdays of skinny legs and freed point shoes but I would learn through trial and error that the life of a ballerina was merely an avenue not a destination. If I can compare my relationship to the ballet with a torrid love affair, it was and always will be the most difficult lover with whom I’ve had to part. But I did. And when I look back I smile.

Somehow it was my journey to Africa during the summer of 2007, right before my senior year, that put the sequence of events, also known as my life, into pristine order. It’s awesome how part of a blessing is the ability to know when one has been blessed. I believe that my indifference toward life came from that failure to see.

Today, I understand that the knowledge I gained, the camaraderie I shared and the mistakes I made in college were part of a long-term growth process that I needed to endure in order to be the woman that I am. When I see my reflection, when I entertain my private thoughts, I am so proud. Diamonds are formed under pressure, and one only gains that type of sparkling bearing, scintillating wisdom, through life’s horrific challenges. This I believe to be true.

I endured a hellish senior year. At no point did I know how or if I would finish until I did. I felt like I was stepping through thick brush in pitch black darkness, hoping the end was near. And that was only half the battle.

After graduation, I had a clear goal. I wanted to be a television journalist—let me be clear. Not a producer, not a writer, not an assignment editor, but a reporter. And I would go anywhere and accept any amount of pay to do so. This in my heart I felt was the only job at that moment that I could be passionate about and what is life without breath and passion?

I was insecure about how this goal would be realized. For months I sent out dozens of demo reels to no avail despite a few broken promises. Everyone told me that I was crazy to be entering the industry. It was too hard to start off as on air-talent and even if I did, I’d be in the boonies and broke. I should be reasonable. Sensible. Safe. I’d be wise to go to law school or settle for job similar to what most Yalies do post-grad- what ever that is. The economy was bad. "Nobody's hiring" they warned. They said my aims were entirely too high. It seemed as those around me were trying desperately to break my fighting spirit but even in the absence of promise, I held onto my will for dear life.

In July, on a whim I decided to travel to Chicago for the Unity Conference of journalists. I would use my charm to hustle some new opportunities. This is where I met a news director who told me she believed I had great potential, but I needed just a year in small market before she could consider me. I had to lose my being ‘green’. The problem was my feverish search for a job in a small market had turned up nothing.

Months later, after several ghastly disappointments, it happened. It was Ramadan. I was fasting and praying every day, exercising my faith excitedly and entering new spiritual terrain. At this point it was coming on four months without an offer but there was a peace that had blanketed me. Somehow I knew that in my midst was an open door and I would not stop until I found it.

It was during this month that that same news director got in contact with me. A reporter had quit, there was an opening. She explained that her instincts told her to give me a shot. To remind you, this is a lady that had met me over two months ago at a conference with about a thousand journalists. I’m convinced that instinct was God. Within two weeks following that phone call, she’d checked with my contacts, I flew down for an audition and landed an incredible position.

I was suddenly a reporter and not in a small market either, but a mid-sized market where most reporters were on their second, third and fourth jobs. I had surpassed the vision that I formed for myself and that is an exhilarating feeling. You know what it feels like? Like with faith and iron-clad fortitude anything is possible. And it is. We have a new president, my degree hangs on a wall at my parent’s home (they can keep it) , and five days a week folks turn on their tv’s and see yours truly! How lovely. Really, through God all things are possible. That maxim says it best.

So during this holiday season I am most grateful for how closer I have grown to Him. Certainly it is a sign of my maturity.

I think about love and how It’d be nice, but not necessary. I remember how while in college I so desired that affection and felt that amidst a few half-hearted liaisons, I was missing out. Reflecting, that search was not for love but rather validation. It can be confusing.

I think I was another fly girl that did not understand her inherent value. I had the grace, but not the dignity that accompanies that. So when I cried over Prince Charming’s dashing disappearance or put up with Scorpio’s madness, I was really appealing to these men for confidence. When I felt as if I were stumbling in the dark, their affection seemed like a bough to grab on to, if only for a moment.

But today I am experiencing total self love. (Many of us are in partial). And that feels like the smile that spread across my face when I see a baby laugh, when the sun shines in my face, or when I slide into a warm bubble bath and sip a glass of sweet champagne. And it feels like prayer, because to know God and to love self is to feel—complete. Blithely complete.

Sometimes, I must admit, I still think about the craziest instance of kismet and the man who went away but I no longer take pity or punish myself over this unfortunate turn of events. Nor do I still try to make sense of the nonsensical. I can only let my light shine. I can not dim it for others or allow others to dim it for me. The wind of serendipity never stops blowing so perhaps he and I will meet again on a chilly day. Perhaps this time, with me a complete woman and him a more complete man. Or perhaps, we shall not. I realize that these matter, like all matters, don’t happen on human account. We just convince ourselves that they do.

It is Christmas time and I feel the joy of the holidays running to the end of my garnet tipped fingers. After work, I remove my disco ball earrings, wipe my face clean of all the glamourous make up, the concealers, powders and the high lighters and I still glow. Walk past my house and you may hear me belting Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” at the top of my lungs or possibly John Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’ simmering. Truly, I have found my Love Supreme.

The last time I wrote holiday manifesto I secretly hoped that a certain someone might read, it, but this evening I wrote this all for me.

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