I can admit now, after nearly a year of living in New York, I've been hating on it. It's so easy to do. New York is heart-wrenchingly annoying, year round. There is always something to complain about, and people take every opportunity to do just that, complain. It's really overwhelming at first, gradually you become numb to it.
Coming back from San Diego this time around, I left a lot more motivated than before. I see, now, how tools I'm gaining here in New York are beneficial to the people in my hometown. A lot of them are subtle, but effective... Similarly, the way my people are growing in San Diego, grounds me. It reminds me of my roots. Both are necessary. There is a balance between them.
When you find a place where your spirit can comfortably grow at a rapid pace, it's exhilarating. Whether you've fallen in love, or found God, the adrenaline is far too dope to pass up, and we linger in that space as long as we can. Sometimes failing to move forward because of it.
I love California with all my heart, but after a certain point, I was just comfortable there. I never felt like I was trying hard enough, and felt like my character hadn't grown much either because of it. I started to feel naïve, and though I wanted to consider myself, "worldly", I hadn't been enough places or seen enough things to truly own that term.
I didn't understand the severity of my bubble.
I think this can be said of the way many hometowns feel to people... Nearly suffocating, yet so liberating at the same time. I'm specifically speaking to my experience growing up in Cali.
I feel like I was most impacted by my perception of what other's thought about me based on appearance alone. California can be very "Hollywood" when it comes to the aesthetic people are drawn to. California, is without doubt, home to a lot of beautiful people, many of them entertainers. As we are all products of our environment, I'm currently unlearning what that has meant for me.
For the majority of my young artist adulthood, I had made myself to be what other's have told me to be, to sing and dance on cue wearing whatever it is they wanted of me and being told what would and would not make me successful.
Now as a person who is coming into her own confidence, I can see how that frame of thinking is ineffective. To constantly worry about pleasing others for your success...
I've recently undergone a lot of physical changes. I cut my hair super short, stopped wearing make-up, and started dressing more comfortably for myself. In doing so, I began to realize how little my appearance actually mattered to me. Sure, I still want to be cute, but I want to be comfortable so that I can radiate the confidence that makes me feel cute.
I started to think about what "beautiful" really looked like, felt like to me... I soon realized that I didn't really know. My perceptions of beauty have been controlled by other's perceptions. What media thinks is beautiful, what the popular boys are attracted to, what the successful people look like.
Living in New York, I've found it's quite different. The weather conditions, hot or cold, humble you down to human. There's no time to be cute... No 6-inch heels, or pounds of make-up, and the people who are aiming to be cute, often look ridiculously uncomfortable and sweaty...
I see people differently now. I don't look at them for their appearance, I look at them for their spirit... I try to see past the aesthetics, and I hope people see past them when they look at me too... It helps me to understand them better. After all, looks can be deceiving.
This month, without make-up, has been so revealing to me! At first, I didn't feel like going anywhere in the public eye, no bars, or night-time events, or anything that would force me to fit in with everyone else who was uncomfortably dressed. I didn't want to dress-up too much, because I felt like my face wouldn't match my outfit. On the flip-side, my face feels so free and through this fast, I've grown to love it as is much more than I ever have before and can comfortably say, I feel so beautiful.
Up until this point in my life, I haven't looked in the mirror without some sort of critique for myself. Those critiques became the voice of my consciousness, often making it uncomfortable to navigate in every day life.
For the first time in my life, I don't give a damn what people think about me, how I look to others, or what opinions people have about the moves that I make and because of that, I'm more confident as a person and in my womanhood. This journey is about allowing God to come into my life and having acceptance for myself through that..
New York, if nothing else, has taught me that. And that's enough!