House of Humility
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
It hadn't even been a week since getting back from Cuba and already I was on another flight, heading miles away from home. Yes, home. I moved into my new place the day after I touched down from Cuba. It's a tiny, white walled room, with a big window which overlooks the George Washington Bridge, an antique wooden twin bed, and a tarnished wooden dresser. It's the smallest room I have ever had, even smaller than the one I shared with my sister that was hoarded with many of my grandmother's random finds. I haven't had to sleep in a twin bed since I was an 18 year old freshmen, dorm living in Blount Towers at Morgan.
On my first couple of days, there was no bed so I slept on an air mattress, which was equivalent to the floor by the time I would wake up in the morning. Despite how much I missed my big bohemian studio apartment, breezy balcony, and walk in closet that was the same size of this new room, I put on my appreciative mask and tried to be content and grateful. But when one of your best friend sends you a link to pictures of her new condo and another best friend tells you she just purchased a 3-story brownstone, quite naturally, you start to look around and feel like your so-called room is more like a shoe box and you wonder, "What the hell am I doing here?"
I called Shelly and before I knew it, I was in tears, "I feel like I don't belong here." I whined. I was regretting my move. I just felt out of place and overwhelmed. How was I going to fit my life into this little room? Was I doing the right thing by staying here? What about Tay? And could I handle living with roommates? I was drowning in anxiety, even though a couple of days before, none of these thoughts were crossing my mind.
"You just need to make that space your own. Get some of your favorite Val-things and start decorating. Even if this space is just transitional, you need to make it your own so that you will feel comfortable."
So, I folded that air mattress, deciding that even though the bed hadn't come yet, I was not sleeping on that thing again. I put it back into the bag and went outside. I found myself meditating on the train and hearing Marika's voice travel from the depths of the back of my mind, reminding me, "Comparison is the stealer of joy." Ohhhh yessss... Yes. It. Is.
Calmly, I took a few deep breaths, first doing the hard work of acknowledging my thoughts (and the disgustingly innate mistake of comparing myself to my friends), then channeling my energy to begin refocusing my thoughts.
I already know how dangerous and unhealthy it is to compare one's journey to anyone else's. Unconsciously, I, let my happiness for my best friends’ come-ups downplay my own accomplishments because their’s were "better" than mine, at least by the looks of things.
I began to ask myself: Why do I do this? Am I in competition with them? And if I am, does this mean I am losing?
It was a hard conversation with self.
Why do I do this? Because that's how I was raised. And that's how the people who raised me were raised. Generations and generations of a people whose success is deemed greater than or less than by the measurement of how much more or less or how much better or worse they are doing, in comparison to the people around them.
I never noticed it in myself before. Or maybe I did but I didn’t want to accept it. I always say, "My only competition is myself." But if that was the case, I would not have found myself feeling like I was going backwards because my sisters were moving forward.
The answers to my other two questions were unanimous no's. We aren't in competition and, no, no one is losing. I'm not going backwards, I'm going in a different direction. The only time I can lose is when I begin battling for a top spot that does not even exist. Girls that compete with others are just that – lost little girls. Hellohhh? …I’m almost 30 now. It’s way past time to cut the petty ish out!
By the time the A train came to my stop, I headed to my favorite places: the Goodwill, Anthropologie, and Marshall's. At the Goodwill, I bought twelve used books - some I've read before such as: Eat, Pray, Love; The Alchemist; Ask and it Shall be Given; and Alice in Wonderland. Each of those has a universal theme that conveys the message that the key to happiness, peace, and success is taking chances that lead to embracing your personal journey of self-actualization and self-love. These books were more than just the perfect finds for new my room’s library, they are omens that I am going to let be my daily reminders that I am moving in the right direction on my unique journey to greatness.