It’s a sullen feeling as you give your final hugs. The last impression of friendship, of love, and comradery amongst family and friends. You grasp onto them hoping their embraces might linger into the night, because you know the smell of their clothes and the pat of their hands will carry you through the trials. With the strength of your small heart, a heart that has received love and learned to give love, you force back a wellspring of tears.
You tell yourself, “It’s only a few more minutes until I can walk away.”
You take a moment to clear your throat, to wash out any reservations and signs of weakness. You muster up the biggest smile your soul can handle and loudly, almost boastfully you shout,
“I’ll see you guys soon!”
And, as if a demonstration of power could defend yourself from the descending sadness, you wave your arms powerfully with wide strokes. In it carries your last measure against turning back, a defiant rush against comfort and complacency. It is the cry of your resolve and the stand of your courage as it fights to conceal the trembling of your hands and the stiffness of your joints.
As water begins to fill your eyes and the smile begins to deteriorate, you swing around, the first tear captured only by its glistening as it falls towards the ground.
Your back is turned to them, but you can feel their eyes watching you walk away. All is silent around you, but voices you’ve known all your life are calling out to you, begging you to come back, begging you to reject change. Your eyes begin to swell with tears, tears not of your own but the tears of your family and your friends.
You don’t dare turn around because you’ll be compromised. You can’t shatter the image you’ve created. That’s how you want to be remembered. Bold and courageous. Certain and unyielding.
You told them it’ll only be a short while, and it may very well be so, but you just never know. The only certainty of your journey is the departure of what you know, what you love, and a place you called home.
With each step, you walk deeper into the unknown of your future. The uncertainty becomes clearer while the faces of your support grows dimmer. And yet, you’re still willing. With every tear drop rolling down your cheek, with every thump of the heart, and revolting of the mind, you take another step because you know.
You know that if you don’t leave the magnetic field of security and the orbit of your influences, you’ll never become the star you were meant to be.
And like that I stepped onto the plane. And like that I started to unpack my two suitcases. And like that I laid there on that bed that was too small for me, not sure if I was more frightened or excited by what I had just done. It’s a feeling unlike any other, taking that initial leap into the clouds. It has the fluttering of a first date, the smallness of looking at the deep ocean, and the thrill of getting your first paycheck.
The feeling of your imagination becoming a reality is an unreal feeling. I had this unfounded confidence and a desire that seemed like it wouldn’t be quenched. It’s almost as if the dreams you had all your life suddenly became too small for your courage.
With this sort of reckless confidence we go out pitching sales, meeting people, sending emails, going to auditions, and taking all kinds of classes. We find ourselves being inspired by the small steps we take and the little bit of progress we make.
But something starts to change when the flames aren’t rising into the sky any more and the embers start to fade into the night. All of a sudden our strategies begins to change when we feel like the progress we’ve made starts slipping. Our circumstance starts to shift around us and we can’t seem to do anything about it, and instead of delivering presentations we’re delivering dishes. Instead of wooing others with our intellect and vision we’re wooing them with our bodies and our wealth. The vision we so vividly painted is now the backdrop to the competition and the status quo of the culture around us.
The most dangerous enemy our dreams have doesn’t come with guns. Instead it’s like the constant dripping of a faucet against the rock of our confidence. It’s the quiet whispering that stops when we turn around. It’s the way people look at her with awe and the way they sneer at us. It’s the clothes we can’t wear or the friends we can’t find. It’s the food we crave or the recognition we don’t receive.
And it’s when we step into the quicksand of inferiority or impatience that we start snuffing out our own fire. Because instead of finding our purpose and living out our dreams, we start buying into the illusion of success.
But the question I had to ask myself and I want to ask you is this,
“Is that why you left? Is that why you moved to a city with nothing but a small glimmering hope of a promise?”
And the answer was and is no.
Ever since I could remember, I had an unexplainable urge to be in New York city, the launching pad of dreams and the battlefield of cultures. It’s the place where ambitions are tested and alliances forged. It is from this place that influence flows and power stands. On a side note, let’s not forget the innumerable number of cafes and restaurants for me to indulge in as well.
I didn’t know then and I still don’t quite know even now except that my heart urges me to create a business in a place as apathetic as New York that inspires, and encourages. It may be in the industry of finance, it might even have to do with traveling, but one thing is clear: to stand out in this city as a company and a person that doesn’t forgo people and purpose for profit. It’ll require sacrifice, misunderstanding, growth, faith, and courage, but what mission is complete without these ingredients?
And so even if it gnaws at our hearts, draws tests the capacities of our emotions, and demands the highest levels of introspection, it’s worth it. It’s worth being hurt. It’s worth being unsure. It’s worth going to sleep crying and it’s worth being misunderstood. It’s worth it because it’s stretching us to the farthest bounds of our existence. And as the quiet comes after the storm, we know that when the sun breaks across the sky that we have one more victory under our belts.
And with the noise of crunching leaves under our feet and the trail of dust behind us, we wipe the tears off our faces, shake off the fear gripping our heart and whisper softly, “I know that I won’t ever arrive if I never leave, so let’s go.”