Let me tell you a little story. Or two.
I had a homegirl in college who was beautiful, fun, smart, and sassy but she was flunking school like nobody’s business. No, she wasn’t on drugs and no she didn’t come from a bad home. She was a little boy crazy but let’s face it, who wasn’t? It was college. #TeamJudgementFreeZoneOk.
I love my squad, always have, and I wasn’t feeling the fact that my homie wasn’t pulling her weight. I mean, you can’t be a baddie crew and run the yard (be the cool kids on campus for my non-melanin readers, don’t worry, I got ya’ll) if one of the members of your clique is barely getting by. I mean, you’re just setting yourself up to be upstaged by the next hot crew and we were not having that!
So we did what anybody with any sense at that age would do. We staged an intervention. Had a “come to Jesus” talk with my friend to get down to the bottom of things. Like a real live, “girl wsup?” moment. You know what she confessed, she didn’t want to be a doctor. Wait, what, stop the music? Pre-Med? That’s your major?
Ok, so lemme give you a little background. This friend of mine was the hardest working chick I knew. No forreal, she had two jobs in college. Not to support her shopping addiction but because she really just liked working and she was bossy as shyt. She was assistant store manager at Gap our junior year in college and ran the leasing office in our college apartment complex. Just because. She loved clothes, being fashionable, and was very into materials and textiles when none of us could care and just wanted things on sale if they were cute. However, she came from a well to do family, and her parents expected her to go to college, graduate Pre-Med and then go to Med School, because she was smart. I was her friend for 3 years and had no idea that was even her major because she never even talked about it and none of that seemed to interest her. Right, so now you can understand my surprise. I’m like, no wonder you’re failing. Of course you don’t want to do that.
Long story short, we had a long conversation with my friend that she needed to stand up to her parents and tell them the truth about her lack of desire or commitment to medicine. At 20, standing up to your parents who pay for your off campus housing, car note, car insurance, books, and occasionally slide you a few hundred dollars for spending every few months is a really big deal. It was scary. She was scared, hell we were scared for her, but we convinced her it was necessary for her sanity and more importantly for our crew pride (she was our weakest link because of this!)
So she did it, and you know what, her parents were like ok. Yep. No pushback, told her they wanted her to be happy, and that was that. We were scared for nothing. They were just glad she wasn’t a dummy after all and only needed to stay an extra year in order to graduate. She ended up changing her major to textile merchandising or something and salvaged her college career. She was offered a position to be Store Manager at a high end store in the biggest mall in D.C upon graduation and as new grade, she made about $40k more than the rest of us peons all because she decided to F.L.Y. Talk about a win.
There’s a similar story of my bestie who sort of did the same thing. Graduated with an IT degree when EVERYBODY had an IT degree and decided, screw that, the market was saturated and she really was interested in law. Blew my mind because this friend was always extremely rational, always pointed out both sides of the story, was very much a “rule follower” even though she bumped trap music 24-7 but I’d never considered her being an attorney. She worked for a temp agency for about a year, applied to law school, and graduated with a 4.0. Now she’s a bomb attorney and is always taking a trip somewhere cool. People envy her life because she is living it up, all because wasn’t afraid to F.L.Y.
Then there’s me. My story isn’t as glamourous but I’ll tell it to you really quick. I went to college thinking I was going to be a lawyer, like Claire Huxtable, because I thought she was the illest black women alive. Took a political science class my freshman year and was bored out of my brains. Decided to take up psychology because I love people and thought I wanted to be a therapist. My senior year I interned in a psych ward and yea well, that was that. Worked at the same temp agency for a year with my bestie who I mentioned above and then decided to become a teacher. Did that for 5 whole years, (s/o to the teachers, ya’ll are the real MVP’s) but knew as much as I loved the kids, my heart wasn’t in it for the long run. I was the Dept. Chair at my school and was bored. AF. So one day after talking to my friend who had started his own professional sports agency, I decided to go back to nursing school. I was planning to buy a house at the time but I knew if I was ever going to change my life and find my joy in a career, it was now or never. So I started taking pre-requisites and didn’t sign my teaching contract, with no clue of whether I would be accepted into the only program I’d applied for, a very prestigious and expensive one I also might add, but I believed in myself. Thankfully I was accepted, did very well, and then the semester before I graduated nursing school, I decided to stay another year because I really didn’t want to be a nurse (I know, I know). I got my masters in Nursing and now I’m an Advanced Practice Provider in Oncology. I love what I do and I made a ton of sacrifices along the way to get here but I wouldn’t change any of my steps because I’m happy. I had to stay focused, brush off the fear the naysayers spoke over my life and F.L.Y. It was the best series of decisions I could have made.
I’m sharing all of this because I know firsthand what it’s like to be afraid to chase your dreams. To start a business. To think outside of the box and want more for your life than anyone you know has. To mid-way through your journey, decide to change directions. The truth is the only limits you have over your life are the ones you settle for and if you haven’t realized it yet, there really are no rules in this thing called life. You make them! It’s YOUR life, get it?
So you took a little longer, so it wasn’t the way they said it should be done, so you changed your mind? So! So what if you do all of this only to find it, it’s now what you thought it was gonna be? So, try something else. That’s the beauty of living. Every day that you are alive, living and breathing, you get another chance….to change, to grow, to learn, to love, to live.
Just remember, when those moments of doubt creep into your spirit, when your friends look at your like you’re crazy, when everyone you know is telling you different but you see yourself at the end and it’s incredible because it’s what YOU want for YOUR life…brush all that negativity off and F.L.Y.
First. Love. Yourself.
Toya, In Wonderland
p.s. There was a homeless man rummaging through the trashcan behind me the whole time I was doing this little solo photo shoot. But you know what, I kept going cuz I knew there was gonna be at least one dope shot from this, ha! F.L.Y. It’s not a game!