Before you read this please know that this was the hardest blog for me to write. It's honest. It's raw and it's still every much of what I'm dealing with. The judgement that can follow is a bit scary but I know that there's someone out there that can benefit from my story. There's someone who can use it and improve their situation or it may be the reason why someone doesn't give up. So... Here it is...
Growing up I have always been different from the crowd. There have been friends that have come along throughout the years who have made me feel "normal". People that you just connect with. People that understand you. People that can finish your sentence without explanation. Yes, I have been blessed to meet amazing friends along the way who could assist me in every single phase of my life.
Moving to NYC has been a journey and finding friends has been a difficult task to say the least. Now I know what your thinking, "You live in a city with millions of people and you can't find one friend?" New York City is full of people, bursting with energy and lots of opportunities.. this is true. However, New York City is a cold place. It forces individuals to build a wall in order to protect themselves from the cruel, dishonest and down right dirty situations and people that are encountered daily. So with that being said, no I haven't met a group of people that I feel completely understand me. I find that often when meeting people I am either perceived as fake because I'm nicer than most people or a little too forward because of the passive aggressive tone that most people have adopted.
I am different. I get it. But this has been very difficult. There has never been a time in my life when I couldn't find a safe haven. Growing up in a small town, going to a small HBCU and going back to my small town after graduating allowed me to be myself wholeheartedly. I was surrounded by like-minded people who could understand my thoughts. Who just got me. Of course there were the side eyes and haters along the way but nothing like what I'm experiencing now.
In ways I've become an introvert. I've become used to being by myself. Relying on myself. Most of my meaningful relationships are maintained through telephone conversations, which is great but it doesn't fill the void of having a group of friends that I can hang out with weekly or that I can call at the drop of a dime and have them meet up with me. After dealing with the awkward quietness that follows my comments in group convo's I've become very withdrawn. There's nothing more discouraging when trying to get to know new people than having them treat you as an outsider and blatantly show that they don't care about you being uncomfortable. After you add to the conversation and they stare at one another then continue to speak as if you're not standing there... That's crazy yo. I'm a woman with an opinion.. with wisdom and with a voice but it doesn't feel as though that's praised or appreciated. The general consensus seems to be "Let's all think alike." I would be okay with that hadn't my parents raised me to think differently. To follow the beat of my own drum. To dare to be different. To refuse to be a carbon copy. I can't spend my life being like everyone else. What makes me so special if I look, think and act like you? I hear the whispers when I walk in a room. I endured the months of cold shoulders after I spoke my mind in a meeting. I'm over it.
I don't want to sound ungrateful because I've met some beautiful people on my journey. Most of the models at Abercrombie helped maintain what little bit of sanity I had left during the time that I worked there. They made me laugh. They made me smile. They gave me hope that I could find someone who gets it. The frustrating part was that being their manager kept me from hanging out with them outside of work due to the no fraternizing policy. So when I would leave those doors I was alone again. Very few of the managers understood me. After vocalizing my opinions I had become the girl that was "hard to manage". Ha. Story of my life. I don't believe in sitting in bad situations and saying nothing because 'that's just the way it's been'. I'm sure I could've picked my battles a little better but I've never been the person who sits around and accepts less than what I deserve. I applaud people who climb the corporate ladder. But I won't do it being someone's bitch. The movers and the shakers of this world aren't the people who just deal with everything... they're the ones who step up and speak out.
Anywho... this is not a bash Abercrombie moment.. I don't have the time or the patience to type all of that out lol. I say all this to say, there are times when I'm lonely. There are times when I want to pack it all up and go home. But I don't. I stay and I fight. I cry. I wipe my tears. I keep going. Yes I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss being understood. But I have a purpose. This isn't just about me.
I don't want people to think I'm completely unhappy because I'm not. I enjoy this city. I enjoy all that it has to offer but it has taken me on a roller coaster. At times it felt like more valleys than hills but this is my story and I accept it. I love it and I learn from it. I'm not sure if I'm going to release this but... we'll see.