The Unintentional Nomad

Map
Original image credit: Spoonflower

As I sit here in a hotel room outside of Atlanta, my head spins. Sure, I may still be recovering from the madness that is JCPenney on Gray Thursday, but my disorientation began long before yesterday. Last week my parents and I found out that we would need to return temporarily to the U.S. to take care of some things. My emotions were mixed, but then the anticipation of seeing friends and doing some clearance shopping made the idea of a last-minute pilgrimage more enticing. For every stunning and star-studded event I would miss in the warmth of Barbados, surely an afternoon lunch with a gentleman friend or a night out on the town with high school buddies would make up the difference. I thought that perhaps I would be able to spend a few days released from the perpetual mental challenge that is caregiving and have a little millennial holiday fun.

But of course, my days have not been spent on lunch dates with dapper Dans and my evenings have not involved getting turnt at the club. I’ve shared how my fair-weather attempt at shopping went. My caregiving duties have been magnified under the illumination of instability. Even attending church on Sunday looks like a possible impossibility. In fact, very few of my tokens of contentment for this unexpected return have come to pass. Any opportunity I saw for fulfilling these pipe dreams seems to be slipping from my fingers as we just found out that we will be making yet another journey the early part of next week.


Some people thrive on the adventure of unpredictable travel and would love to have such a hectic schedule. I question whether I am one of these people. I thought I could be, but in just a few short weeks I am beginning to realize that I am not a nomad. While I love seeing new places and meeting new people, relationships are my oxygen. I need roots. I need to connect and develop and grow.

We’ve all heard it said that home is where the heart is. But what do you do when your heart is scattered across state lines and oceans?

I guess you learn how to breathe in this new atmosphere. You learn to give more than you take. You spread light wherever you go. You leave your impact on the hearts of everyone you meet, that their roots would be strengthened and their hearts would be filled.

So, as this holiday season gets into full swing and my coordinates are yet to be fully determined, I will do my best to seek out opportunities to make a difference. To shine a light in someone else’s life. To help make their lives rubescent!

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:10

 

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Home for the Holidays

Christmas has definitely come early for me this year. I just found out I will be spending Thanksgiving, and possibly Christmas, in Atlanta!

This surprise certainly comes with mixed emotions as I realize that this will mean missing out on some of the awesome events Barbados has to offer this time of year, which also means possibly missing out on opportunities to meet new people.

That being said, I am pretty excited about heading back to the States to get some things taken care of that were hanging in the air when we left with 30 days notice. Just a few of my “hope-tos” for my trip include:

  • Visit our family practitioner to show off my 50+ pound weight-loss
  • Cuddle with my little cousins
  • Spend some time with our church family
  • Hit up H&M, Old Navy, Target, K&G, Ann Taylor Loft, Versona, Cato, and other inexpensive retailers to replenish my wardrobe for my new size on the cheap (I still have 15ish pounds to go)
  • Hit up COSTCO to purchase toiletries and non-perishables in bulk
  • Go for coffee at Land of 1000 Hills
  • …music at Java Monkey or Eddie’s Attic
  • Ormsby’s for libations and games
  • Avalon for festive fun
  • …and anything else my crazy friends cook up.

Initially, I had very mixed emotions about this return visit. I wasn’t sure how I felt about revisiting some difficult situations. My family relocated under very stressful circumstances and I realize that I allowed that stress to adversely affect some of my dearest relationships. I cannot regret the way I left things because so much was beyond my control; regret would lead to guilt and I refuse to live my life that way. But I certain wondered if I was ready to reopen old wounds and considered how I might cope with the change.

I also cannot help but acknowledge the current state of affairs in the United States and the global community. African-Americans and allies of all races are in a continuous state of protest against police brutality and inequality. Though not physically present in the country, the tragedy is not lost on my conscious. Perhaps more now than ever before, I make it my mission to “stay woke,” constantly educating myself and adding my voice to the discussion on race relations in America. The reality is that where two or more races exist, there is racism. Even on a predominately black island in the Caribbean, discrimination is very real. But, as I explained in a previous post, the fear of being shot because someone feels threatened by my blackness simply is not there. Soon, we will return to a land where this is a very real possibility.

In addition to the unsettling realities of home, there is so much pain globally. The Thanksgiving season is always a hectic time for travelers, even more so when dealing with tragedies like the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Paris and Nigeria within the last week, not to mention continuing unrest and persecution in the Middle East and other tribulations worldwide. I, for one, am not afraid to fly. None of us knows what tomorrow may hold and it is foolhardy to believe any of us is exempt from terrible things that take place in life. The reason I am unafraid is because I know that no matter what happens, I know how the story ends. I know that at the end of the day, my soul is saved in Christ Jesus. He died on a cross so that when I die, as we all eventually will, I do not have to worry about what will happen to me or where I will go. It is through God’s grace that I get to escape the terror and the pain of this world and trade it all in for eternal peace and everlasting joy. I praise God that I can take comfort in this fact and travel with peace in my heart.

May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. – Psalm 119:76-77

I wish everyone reading this a very Happy Thanksgiving and pray that you and your loved ones are wrapped in peace, comfort, and joy.

I Am a Woman. I Am Enough.

A little while ago, a wonderful quote by Amy Poehler went viral.

Amy Poehler quote
Original Image Credit: Women & Girls Foundation

This message really resonated with me because it describes how I feel about my dearest friends. Our love for one another is fierce and aggressive. We encourage each other to be our best selves. We admire one another’s gifts and talents. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost sight of the importance of these kinds of relationships.


When I first announced to friends, family, and church family that we would be relocating to Barbados, everyone exclaimed that I was going to come back with a man! One woman at our church even told me she received a word from the Lord that I would marry a wealthy white man who would take me to Europe and that we would eventually return to the States. I found this all fairly amusing, but I also wanted to tell people this is real life, not a chick flick. I am going to Barbados to lead a normal, everyday life, not to find a man to complete me. My name is not Stella and I don’t need to get my groove back.

Among my social group, the last few months have been very active in the world of romance. Not for me, of course. But for many of my friends and family members. There have been new relationships, proposals, weddings, and even a couple bundles of joy. And I am happy. Truly, genuinely happy that so many people in my life have found someone awesome with whom they want to share their lives.

That said, at 31 years young, I certainly have moments where I feel as though I am being left out of some major movement. I see the blissfully joyous pictures on social media and listen to my girlfriends speak dreamily of their betrothed. I congratulate them and do my best to celebrate with them because I want everyone in my life to be happy. But, as with so many single adults who hope to find someone special with whom to spend their lives, it is sometimes tempting to think Why not me? and Woe is me!

But you know what? After three decades on this beautiful earth, my attitude is changing. My song has gone from sorrow to substance. Lonesome to lovely. Empty to empowered. I am discovering my true worth as a woman and I finally can say that I am beginning to understand the importance of feminism.

Of course I believe in political and economic equality between women and men. That one is kind of a no-brainer. But I believe women’s rights are so much more than that. I think feminism is having the audacity to realize that as a female person, I am enough. As women, we are whole and complete beings, whether or not we are partnered with a significant other.

I have always touted the idea of completeness and autonomy as a woman, but I don’t know if I actually believed it, deep within my soul. Obviously, we are all socialized to meet the Yin to our Yang, fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. And don’t get me wrong – all of those things are beautiful. And if we marry for the right reasons, terrific. But, if anyone enters into a relationship because they believe they are somehow incomplete, there is something profoundly wrong with that decision.


Since moving to Barbados, several locals have told me that I am a lovely young lady, deserving of an equally lovely young man. This lovely sentiment is almost always followed by an audible sigh, and a disappointing explanation as to why I will not find such a young man here on the island.

When I shared these awkward little anecdotes with one of my best friends, her reaction surprised me. She was outraged. Absolutely appalled by the idea that people were so concerned with my romantic life, refusing to see me as a whole individual with varied interests and talents. Her frustration turned into praise as she reminded me of how smart I am and how much I have to offer the world.

I found myself agreeing with her statements and fired up by her fury.

am talented! I am creative! Yes, I am beautiful. I also have interests and goals and dreams and aspirations and…

I have so many amazing people – including strong and powerful women – who believe in me! And my circle of support grows exponentially every day. From my oldest and dearest friends and family members to perfect strangers with whom I’ve connected via social media. They are all rallying around me, saying

We see what you’re doing. We understand what you’re about. Your voice has value. Let’s go change the world!

So to anyone reading this blog post – especially my fierce females – please hear me when I say that you are important and valued. You are whole and complete. You have so much to offer. You can make a difference. You are enough!

Let’s go change the world!