The Beginning: Eat, Pray, Loving Myself

"First thing Monday morning, I'm going to pack my tears away"- Toni Braxton

Sidebar: This is only Part I of the journey. More is to come.

2017 began in a strange place for me. I opened the year in fasting and praying and trying to figure out who I was. I was trying to figure out my next move after graduation. I was a full-time master's student, studying and interning 40+ hours a week. Life was falling apart, I was losing an aunt, my family was acting a mess, I was losing "friends", and my paper was THIN. Long story short, I was a few steps from being A Day Late and A Dollar Short. I decided that I owed myself the chance to get to know myself in the moment. At 25, I was not the same person at 18, or 23. My perspectives changed. I changed. 

Over Christmas break I finally got a chance to read Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes. I had been waiting 6 months to get a copy from the library. Within three chapters, I decided that 2017 was going to be my Year of Yes. I was going to say Yes to everything that scared me. And I was afraid of everything that had not been tested or tried. I had this fear of the road less traveled. What would my family think? What would happen if I failed? I was always the person with the plan and precise execution. Things were never allowed to go wrong. I had backup plans for my backup plans.  If this thing worked for Shonda Rhimes, surely I could walk on that same path. 

Shortly after my decision, a situation arose where I was planning a trip with my cousins and everything slowly began to fall through. Im not going to lie, I was stressed out and disappointed. I had my bags packed. I was ready to go. I had made all these plans and once again they got sidelined. I decided, I was going to go out alone. I hit up one of my college friends who lived maybe 2 hours away and made plans to visit her city.

I booked myself a nice hotel room with a wonderful last minute discount rate and hoped in the car. I was going to an unfamiliar place, by myself (basically), to just have a staycation. I really didnt care if I walked outside of that hotel room or not. Truth be told, once I got there I took full advantage of every amentiy of that hotel. I splurged on valet parking, I tried all the wines and cheeses during cocktail hour and I used my free mini bar credit to eat these exotic kettle chips and cranberry juice. Im unashmaed to say majority of that trip was spent watching a Real Housewives of Atlanta Marathon (I don't have cable at home). The evening I arrived, I met up with my homie and we ate at this local soul food restaurant. I spent majority of the weekend in the hotel room just hanging out with myself. I loved every minute of it. This trip is what began my Eat, Pray, Love Journey. 

In that room, I came to the realization that I spent so much of my time wound up and worried about school or people. I wanted to live. I didnt want to become a robot that sat down from 8-5 and had the occasional drinking outing every wednesday or friday during happy hour. That life was boring. With such a hectic schedule, the only time I had to myself was the weekend. I packed up my duffle bag and hit the road.

Literally every weekend for three months I was on the go doing something new. My friend Angela refers to it as being "gone with the wind". I didnt care where I went, I just went. I went alone or with friends. I went with the flow. I got a chance to see local places and attend new events with friends. I became apart of an art show, learned how to skate on inline skates, I hung out with my family, tried new foods. I got to breathe and step away from the stressors that stayed at the house. I helped other people deal with their problems from 7am-8pm. I needed to deal with my own.