The most uncomfortable moments in my life have always expanded my definition of reality and redefined my understanding of my abilities. Getting shaken to the core by my island, then cramped into a US Air Force plane to escape it, alone, at the mercy of pity and love, forward I moved.
Then further North, to the City Beautiful, alone yet again, I moved to a universe I misunderstood. UCF gave me the latitude to become, and to learn uncomfortable truths. The truth has this way of sticking to you sometimes, and as Baldwin said, you must vomit the anguish up.
Not much is more uncomfortable than telling your bewildered Christian Haitian mother that you love women. In person. Not being a breath away from eviction all through sophomore year, or walking an hour to and from work for a year, or riding the bus for three hours each way to work after graduation for three months, being chased by raccoons, walking away from two great loves within the span of a summer,…nothing I’ve done this far.
But being this uncomfortable develops something new in you. A little healthy addiction to being just a little more uncomfortable, in order to learn a little more, feel a little more, breathe a little more. Live a whole lot more. So I moved forward, with her misunderstandings but still her love, always her love.
I’m turning 25 in a week. That day, I’ll be driving 8 hours further North toward a new chapter. This is my last weekend in Orlando and even though I spent a while cursing this city, I feel wistful. It has taught me so much.
This is the city where I learned to be truly alone. I learned how to drive on its sinuous streets. I first fell in love in this city. I grew up, here. And I learned so much about myself. I reconnected with amazing friends and met new ones for a lifetime.
They helped me feel and connect to the world in this weird little corner, swampy and humid, deprived of functioning street lights, garishly dipped in Walt Disney’s gold, at first, looking all surface. I used to decry it as an ephemeral city; we are all transients. How do you connect with people when we’re all just passing through and acting like it?
As I look out my window and listen to its sounds, I feel I now understand the magic enveloping its streets. It’s a city of development, for those under construction, like its roads (ugh). It’s a city trying to catch up, overwhelmed, looking forward to something bigger, expanding past its confines. Orlando is adulting.
I’ll always miss this city, but not in the way that I’d want to come back for more than a week. In the gentle way you think of the old you, the one you don’t wish you were again but are eternally grateful for, as she withstood all and grew into who you are today while loving you and sometimes tripping you, all the way here.
And as a parting gift, this city helped me figure out what I want to do next. And I’m so excited. With the time I have left, I plan to do all my favorite things in this city. Keep an eye out on my IG if you wanna see (link at the top)! And while you’re there, check out my Word of the Day Highlight.
All of my moving preparations have been a little stressful but the picture is definitely a lot clearer. Something great is brewing and this city’s lessons stay with me. Enjoy where you are, wherever that is in your journey. You’re only competing with yourself so as long as you keep going and growing, you’re winning. Make a plan, but have fun. Want more, but be grateful. Connect to people and let yourself love.
And keep moving. Further and further away into the uncomfortable, until you make it a home. That’s where growth happens. However, always make sure you find flow, doing what you’re convinced of, that’s how the love blooms. Of everything. It’s new, and sometimes lacks glamour, and you’ll always feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, but you’ll live. Let go, you’ll be fine. I promise.
Don’t forget to check out my post about my next chapter! And keep an eye out on my 25 lessons for 25 upcoming post!