When a one-way ticket comes round-trip

Exactly 365 days ago, at this very hour, I was freaking the fuck out. I had only been a few hours into the realization that I had not bought a round-trip ticket. Despite the conversation with my friend and host, I was screaming internally about the implications. How did I let myself get talked into this? In hindsight, it’s easy to say I didn’t. I clearly chose to get on that plane with my PS4 and two-weeks of clothes. But in that moment, even in the company of my best friend of nearly a decade, I had no idea what to expect.

What a life. This is now my most used phrased, both ironically and not. In 2017, I had a loose understanding of who I was and an even lesser understanding of how the shit I was going to make that 2,000 mile gamble work. With 2018 halfway done, I’ve just about solidified who I am through my Jamaican bobsled through so many connections, scenarios and situations that I’m looking forward to the next frontier of madness I stumble upon.

Unfortunately, with growth, decay is not far behind. I really hate using this metaphor because it’s been bastardized to hell and back, but I had to amputate some stagnant aspects of myself. That spans my ego, image, and physical self. Ya boy had to do some demolition work in every sphere. A part of me wishes things were different; that I could keep some of those relationships alive, but to stunt my growth and live on a prayer that others will change is folly. There’s only 2 things I can control: my actions and reactions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ever grateful for what these people have done for me and the positive vibes we shared at that juncture in time. Never would I be so arrogant to erase that bit of history to feed my ego and delusions of self-righteousness. But the facts are the facts. And the fact of the matter is that, I got shit to do, places to go, and experiences to harness. Hop on the train or wave me goodbye. Gone are the days of standing on the platform waiting for these people to come with me because it would be too late if they were to ever come around.

November to now has been exponential. I finally got a break professionally then everything took off. I barely had time to stand up. I’ve heard time and again that everything clicks when you’re 30, but something tells me I got the pre-order bonus early or a sneak peak because holy shit. My frame of mind is so much different. Everything is different honestly. From my hair, to my diet, to my hobbies, and my commitment to positivity. But let’s get to the part y’all care about though. Ye olde romance. Or lack thereof.IMG_20180220_202959

Let’s start with my philosophical outlook on matters of the heart. I’m not quite aloof, but not giving a fuck is the mantra. And not in the angsty, traditional sense. I’ve no expectations until I come to that bridge to make a decision. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m keen on setting clear boundaries depending on how things progress. Everybody gets two chances, after that I’m coolin’. Life’s much to short to chase anyone with the billions of people on this earth. Reciprocity is the name of the game. Granted I evaluate these things on case by case basis. But that’s the general framework. #sitback2018 is still in effect.

Practically, my initial plan at the tail end of last year was to jump back into the dating scene around March because I figured my place would be ready about then to receive guests in general. We’re now in May; so much for that. The very idea of dating makes me want to vomit, I’m not going to lie. I think about all that time spent searching when I could put that energy towards improving myself. It gets less appealing each time I muse about it. We’ll see what I do. Ideally, I’d like to fall into something inadvertently because those are the most genuine connections in my experience. I may or may not be vaguely interested in a certain bartender. Jury’s out on that. Funny enough, part of me hopes she’s not single. Another part hopes the opposite out of simple intrigue. The moral of the story is that online dating is trash…for me. Another post for another time.

Being single is 100% a choice on my part which is new. Before it was out of circumstance and lack of motivation for a while. There’s a strength I’ve gained from being solo in the purest sense of the word. There’s a cultivation of latent characteristics related to independence that I’ve weaponized for lack of a better term. And it’s helped me immensely on all fronts. I can confidently say that I don’t have any major flaws that get in the way of what I want to do. Which is liberating to say. I couldn’t even muster the words to that sentence a year ago. I was in such a dark place. I don’t think many knew how fucked up I really was. I pride myself on being a part-time ninja, but yeah, there was nothing fun about that toxicity.

For all the trials, troubles, trepidation, and tiredness I endured, I’ve come up on some real gems. A passion for becoming Black Legolas, connecting with amazing human beings that I work with, that have resurfaced after years, and some I’ve come across through stepping out my comfort zone. Speaking of which, that’s the hallmark of this annual retrospective: stepping into discomfort. Everything that’s lead me to this sweet slice of life came from pushing myself to be really uncomfortable. But it’s not enough to push myself into discomfort.

Owning that negativity, harnessing it, then channeling positivity through it and adapting to it or vice versa was key. I mean, a onesie day-drinking party? By myself? Yeah right. 2000 miles on a whim and heart full of cautious optimism? Insane. Doing odd jobs that were literally the antithesis to my existence? Straight up madness. It all seems crazy until the fruits of falling come into the light. For the first time, in a long time, I can confidently say that I’m happy. Not the cheesing, overly extra kind. Not the facade of happiness that I vainly tell people either. When I think about the journey thus far, I chuckle then go back to scheming and living my best life.

The light and the dark. The cool and the feverish. The muted and cacophonous. Above and below. These are the gifts I’ve been given and only together can they produce something more beautiful than themselves: a balanced soul.

I can’t say I’m there yet, but this past year has gotten me pretty damn close.