The last post ended with me heading to college and for a lot of people, college is where the storm starts. For me, college was college. It was exactly what I expected it to be. It was tough and it was all over the place. I never had money but always had just enough. I went to school in Atlanta and had the time of my life. There was always something to do and new people to meet. I danced on the hottest dance time in the city, I pledged a Greek Letter Organization, I won a spot on our school’s royal court and went to all the functions. I made some friends, acquired some family and fell in love. I worked 2 jobs and had an internship and I just knew my career was eventually going to be poppin’.
I majored in public relations management as an undergraduate student and eventually was going to be an entertainment publicist. Atlanta is the perfect place for that kind of career. I was doing all the interning and networking everyone told me I should be doing and I was honestly having a great time. I even found time to still be active in the community because that’s what I was raised to do. The life I was living was just on the edge of the life I had told God I wanted to live. I felt like as soon as I graduated, I was on my way to professional media relations maven-hood. Then, I could show everyone that I was going to be everything they expected of me. I had a handle on things.
In 2012 it was time for me to graduate and I was beyond ready for life after graduation. I was working at Footlocker in the Westend Mall and at a local hair salon as a shampoo assistant, neither of which were in my career field but it was all good. I was feeling inspired watching my peers who were securing their careers in Atlanta and across the country. I was applying for jobs in the city and planning my next moves toward entering graduate school. I had about $40 in my bank account and my lease would be ending soon but I told God what I wanted and I was expecting him to come through.
July of 2012 rolls around and I still had nothing. I know I know, July is only 2 months after May when everyone graduates. “Give it some time, Imani. Things don’t happen over night,” was everyone’s advice. I heard them and I believe that but this time was different. I didn’t have any money, which wasn’t new, but there had been two shootings at the mall where I worked so I had already told my manager I wasn’t going to be back because I didn’t have time to be getting shot. So now I was down to 1 job. I was about a month away from not having anywhere to stay, which wasn’t really that jarring either to be honest. Something was very different this time. I felt different inside myself. I felt wrong and I couldn’t figure out why I felt extremely uncomfortable living my life.
This wasn’t the kind of discomfort that happens when money is tight and you’re just trying to figure life out from paycheck to paycheck, no I had experienced that for the last 4 years so I would have been ok with that for a little longer. This was the kind of discomfort that felt like everything I was trying was supposed to fail. Like failure was chasing me down. Remember, before now I had never known failure in this way. Things work for me because they just do. I do the work and I say a prayer and things go the way I said they should go. Yet, in July of 2012 I felt like I was being pushed out of the life I was trying to create. At one point my car had been broken into about 4 times in a span of 4 weeks; 2 of those times happened within a day of one another. I had a tire blow out on my way to my internship making me late for the final time and eventually, among other things, costing me that opportunity. It was like all my aspirations were standing over me in true mean girl fashion saying “get outta here, girl, this ain’t for you.”
I felt so many emotions in July of 2012. I was confused, I was exhausted, I was frustrated, I was so mad. I remember laying in my boyfriend’s (at the time) lap crying because I was so hurt that God was trying to tell me the life I wanted is not the one he wanted for me. I knew for sure that’s what it was because any step toward that life fell apart. I cried every day for a week in July of 2012. Every single day for 7 days I came home from work, I ate a meal and I cried until I got tired enough to fall asleep. I told God what I wanted and in July of 2012 I heard a resounding “no” that would rearrange the next 4 years. In July of 2012 I called my parents in Kentucky and asked if I could come home. And just like that, I was leaving the life I was building with my friends, my boyfriend, and my career aspirations in Atlanta to go back home to Louisville.
There was so much resentment and many more tears. I felt like a failure. I had gone away to college to prove to everyone that I was everything they expected of me only to move right back into my parents’ house at age 22 having failed at building the life I felt like I was entitled to simply because I had told God that’s the one I wanted. In August of 2012 I packed my things and went back to the room I lived in when I told God I wanted to live in Atlanta as an entertainment public relations manager. God told me “no” and there was nothing I could do about it.
Feelings of failure take a real toll on you emotionally when you’ve always excelled. My life was still fine. I had two parents who were willing to take me back in and allow me time to figure things out. But I could only focus on the fact that I had tried something that didn’t work out. I was trying to believe that everything would work out but the spirit of failure was whispering in my ear a list of things I should have done to have a different outcome. This was my fault. I didn’t do enough. I didn’t work hard enough. I didn’t network enough. My parents sent me to Atlanta and I came back home with only a degree (imagine being mad you got a degree lol) and nothing else.
In August of 2012 I laid in my bed in my room in my parents house with tears running into my ears and I said aloud “What do you want from me?” and I heard absolutely nothing back. My experience with God has always been listening for God’s voice inside myself. Whether it’s a feeling pushing me toward something or a thought that comes to mind that answers a question I asked. God’s voice has always been very real to me and this time I couldn’t hear it. I didn’t hear anything, I didn’t feel anything different from the same hurt I had been feeling for a month so far. And it continued for months. I was sometimes literally shouting at God and I was hearing absolutely nothing.
Naturally, because I believed everything to be in my control with some assistance from God, everything was all my fault. I failed, and now OMG with a silent “G” because God is obviously beefin’ with me and is giving me the silent treatment. This went on for months. It began in August of 2012 and continued into the beginning of 2013. Silence.
This post ends here but my journey had just begun.