This past weekend myself and some of the members of Mastermind Connect I had the pleasure of joining some of New York’s brightest young people from My Brother’s Keeper Fellows, Urban Ambassadors, NYC Great of the NY Department of Education programs for a panel discussion. I hosted a creative workshop in efforts to ignite their creative potential by defining their life “majors” and “minors”– a concept originally coined by Translation, LLC founder Steve Stoute.
I walked the students through a mind-mapping exercise designed to emphasize the need and value of diversifying their skill sets to be “multi-hyphenated” professionals by integrating their passions and hobbies into their career development. Following my workshop, I was joined by founder + creative director, Nate Nicholas of the Palette Group where he taught the students how to position advertisements products. Students got 30-minutes to produce a TikTok ad for a product of their choice.
I can still hear God and all the angels laughing in Paradise. The laugh at all the plans I made in my teenage oblivion and college days in the 2010s.
While I rejoice the plans that exceeded my own expectations as it relates to my career endeavors I can’t help but to feel a bit underwhelmed by the lack of meaningful relationships I cultivated that existed outside of the romantic ones. The most disappointing is my lack of cultivating a meaningful relationships with myself.
I spent so much of my late teens to early-20s entangled in romantic pursuits. And while all the love felt and created was with great pleasure, it also caused a lot of pain and corroded a lot of investments in myself. Love has a way of making you feel like you belong. The feeling of being desired in some way by someone is satisfying but it was also my direct line to co-dependent behaviors. I became dependent on the love that I would receive from others because I didn’t love myself enough.
A lot of of people hurt me along the way and I did a lot of pain infliction onto others too. From 17 to 28, I spent my time exploring my sexuality with men, I chased every pretty girl that gave me attention, I would then spar with many of those women and I would continuously jump in and out of long-term relationships and “situation-ships.” I ignored every single instinct that said this wasn’t for me or that I should break free now. I kept playing into the chaos, until I was eventually isolated with no existing meaningful relationships outside of the romantic ones that were based on very rigid structures of monogamy.
Since 2014, I’ve bounced back and forth between cities and long-term romantic relationships. I spent two years in Harlem, a summer in back home in NC, 2 years in D.C. and now I’m here in Brooklyn after my old job offered to relocate me to work in the city.
Today feels weird.
I’m so unfamiliar with my new normal that I can’t tell if my discomfort is just anxiety or just an indication that everything is actually “right” and my discomfort is just the settling of things falling into their divine placements.
It’s time to reintroduce myself to myself, whoever that is. 改善