Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
I remember the day clearly. It was bright and sunny out; sixty-four degrees and a week before my twenty-eighth birthday. I was trying to decide if I felt like going to my co-worker’s baby shower. The last thing I wanted to do was be around a bunch of “Oooing and Ahhing” females. I spent more time with them at work than I did with my own family. Don’t get me wrong, I love babies (and my co-workers are cool) but I’d rather be oooing and ahhing over my own. My biological clock was ticking away and getting louder by the minute. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Beres Hammond was belting out one of my favorite tunes from a mixed CD that was playing on the stereo.
“Ooh ooh he’s standing in my way.”
“Standing in my way hey yeah, yeah…”
Odd as it was, those two lines in the song seemed to mirror the words that my roommate was bellowing through my bathroom door. Even with the faucet running on full blast (intentional on my part) I could still hear her loud and clear.
“Angela! The only person who is standing in your way is you!” Michaela yelled.
It was 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday and I was suffering through another lecture from my sometimes irritating but well-intentioned roommate Michaela. Michaela was exactly where she wanted to be in her career and her life. Swiftly moving up the corporate ladder as a sport’s agent, she just received a major promotion at her firm. Not to mention, she is engaged to an awesome guy. (I shivered at the thought of having to hunt for a new roommate. There were just too many crazies out there!)
As far as Michaela was concerned, the idea that one of her closest friends (she could count them on one hand, she says) is struggling in their career, in life, is just, “Well . . . troubling.” And it was her duty to remedy it. Dr. Michaela planned to find the cure. I know. I know. I was being mean-spirited, but I was tired of hearing about what I already knew.
“Angela’s stuck at life’s intersection!”
I literally felt like I was running in place. I had no clue whether I should move forward or backwards.
As a tenured professor at my university, I guess you could say I was also doing well in my career. But whenever I stood in front of my students, I felt like I was missing something. I lacked the energy, the enthusiasm, an interest in what I was doing. I realized that something was wrong. And it forced me to question, “Did I make the wrong choice in my career?”
When I was in high school and college, I just knew that I was going to be an accomplished writer. Full of ideas and vigor, I wrote for the school paper and I was a member of the Caribbean Writers of America organization at college. But then life stepped in and changed all that. I was faced with the responsibility of caring for an ailing parent and I knew that writing was going to be a pipe dream. As far as I was concerned, there was no real or immediate money in writing. I had no choice but to stand back and watch my dreams for the future pass me by.
Now at almost twenty-eight, I was hiding out behind a closed bathroom door and a running faucet, trying to avoid having this discussion with Michaela. Again.
Ripping open the bathroom door, Angela stormed out. “Enough already! I get it! I get it!” “Do you Angela?” Michaela asked. “Since we were in college, you have been sitting on a manuscript that I believe would have led you to an incredible career.” Angela threw her a sour look. “I know. I know. Your mom was sick and you had to care for her. I know that you needed income to do that. But it hurts my heart when I think about what you lost!” Michaela shouted. Grabbing Angela’s hand when she tried to move past, Michaela continued. “Angela,” she whispered. “Your mom has been gone for four years now. You have no children and you are only responsible for yourself. What’s holding you back?”
It has been a month since we had that conversation. I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking down at a dusty copy of my manuscript. It has been sitting in a box at the back of my closet for a long time. I finally found the courage to take it out. It’s a story about my mother’s childhood in Jamaica. When I read it again, it brought back so many memories of my mother and all that she shared with me when I was creating the book. It was painful but it also gave me closure. And I realized that having this book published would bring her close to me once more. All of a sudden, I felt renewed. I knew what I wanted to do. A story had begun to materialize in my head. I had to write.
Reaching out for her laptop, Angela pulled up a blank page, and started a new chapter in her life. She decided that it was time to stop standing in her own way.
What stops you from writing? Are you blocking your own path? Too fearful to take that first step? Or perhaps, you are just afraid to start again? Start a new chapter in your life. Begin writing the book that you’ve always wanted to. There’s a Yoruba proverb that says:
“The man who waits for a perfect opportunity, will wait a life-time.”
This is your opportunity. Don’t waste it.
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment. J