A Break Up Letter to NYC

Dear New York City,

The time has come for us to say our good byes. I think we both knew we were never destined to be long term lovers, but we gave it our best shot, and year is nothing to frown upon. You have taught me so much and I wanted to make sure you understood the value you had in my life. So many times we do not get to properly have closure to the most important relationships in our life. Moving gives us that gift. I want to share it with you .

1) You taught me how to be tough. You taught me how to not give into men and their advances, put on a hard shell when necessary, and be strong. You taught me that nothing is too scary for me. That subways at night are absolutely conquerable, streets are meant for crossing at all times, and gave me a bit of NYC sass and arrogance to go along with it. I like that part of me you’ve helped me develop. I feel tough.

2) You taught me the value of a dollar and resilience. You took me back to my roots and reminded how easily you can lose it all, struggle, and be back at the bottom. This was not a fun lesson, but necessary for humility.

3) You taught me Black and Brown comes in 500 different shades and languages and reinforced my sense of pride of belonging to a diverse group of people across the African diaspora. I desperately needed to see that after many years without that validation. When people ask me about my favorite thing about NYC, Harlem, and the Black and Brown people are always my top answer. I can feel the spirits of my ancestors here and see the seeds of their labor.

4) You reminded me that I can ride a bike. I got on my first bike in years when I moved here and it reminded me to always play and that some things are as easy and simple as remembering. Those were some of my favorite moments.

5) You taught me all that glimmers isn’t gold and isn’t for me. NYC glitters and glimmers; NYC is far from gold. It is a hard place to live and be yourself. You showed me that although I may aspire or think something is wonderful, I must really look carefully and consider all parts. I’m so appreciative of this lesson.

6) You allowed me to live a childhood dream of living in the Big Apple. It felt nice to say I’ve done it. My inner child appreciates the adventure.

7) You tested my patience, which I suppose begets patience. From lines, to delayed trains, to spending hours searching for a parking space, to jobs not for me, and a terrible dating scene, you really tried me. I hope I learned patience and not irritation. ūüôā

8) Bodegas make the best sandwiches. There is nothing else to say.

9) You rescued me. I have so many mixed feelings as I leave here. This wasn’t a place of warmth, love, or friendship for me, which was foreign. But I cannot forget that you rescued me from despair and a low place. You were a wonderful oasis at a time that I needed it. I’m sorry that I dont always thank you for it, but I’m grateful.

10) You made me remember what is important to me. That I don’t need a fancy city, expensive apartment, or hectic lifestyle. That family, friendship, passion, and a career that lights me on fire are what I value most. We weren’t good matches because of these things, but thank you for showing me what I really need.

11) That in spite of everything, I can do anything. BUT that doesn’t mean I should. Thank you for that valuable lesson.

I think today, as I walked my last walk home from the one place I could feel comfort, I felt you offering peace as our relationship closes tomorrow. You gave me a gift of a breezy evening, a lovely sunset, children laughing, no slow people in front of me, and the ability to help one last lost tourist find their way to Central Park. This was certainly not a lot of our evenings spent together, but I’m sure you wanted to end this on high note. I wanted that as well, and gave a gift of kindness to a stranger in the subway. I hope you take that as an offering of my gratitude.

I want to thank you. Thank you for making me a tough, bodega loving, fast walking, and incredibly humble woman one year later. I’ll be back as a familiar and indebted visitor, but the depth of our relationship ends here. I’m not sorry to say good bye. It’s the right thing to do. Instead, I’m glad we got the time to influence one another. Thank you for letting me call you home for this short time.

With all the love in my heart,

LeAnna

I’m Tired of Myself Not Showing Up and Out for Myself

A few days ago I posted a pic of me in a pink jumpsuit and everyone was kind enough to give me compliments about it out the wazoo. I almost didn’t post it, because I thought I looked ugly and fat. Last week, I posted a post about how my spiritual journey is not what most people expect and my beliefs don’t align with majority of the people I know. I almost didn’t post it because I was fearful of rejection. I am making some major life changes and am doubtful at every turn and tell little people about it because I’m afraid I look stupid or flakey. I set boundaries that are healthy for me and then feel immensely guilty because people don’t agree. I don’t want children because it isn’t for me, but feel constant pressure to explain why, and so I never talk about it, missing out on opportunities to inspire others because I’m worried about others opinions or being seen as less desirable as a romantic partner.

I could go on and on with examples like these. But what I really want, is to never have another example like this in my life. I am beyond done with not showing up and showing out for my own damn life and living it on my terms. My whole job as a therapist is centered around telling others to show up for themselves, why the hell do I not do this for me? I am tired of being bound by shit that has no positive or fulfilling purpose in my life.

My body image has held me back for years. I don’t pursue the men I want, I sometimes don’t wear the clothes I want, I avoid pictures, and I have spent too many days crying over fat rolls, doing only certain exercises to decrease fat, apologizing when I eat a donut, ans comparing myself to beautiful women. Today, I declare myself beautiful, with fat rolls, and worthy. Fuck your beauty standards I’ve internalized. I can be active and overweight and healthy and eat donuts.

I’m tired of playing small in every aspect. I will assert my truth, I will not stop talking about Black things, I will not stop talking about equity, I will not stop when you are uncomfortable, call me an angry Black woman, tell me to be sweeter. I will not stop sharing my ideas. It’s not me to be quiet or small. It’s not my soul. It kills me when I do it. I will not commit soul genocide anymore.

I’m tired of settling. I will go for jobs in my career that invigorate me, challenge me, and call me to step into the leadership position that I am called to be. I won’t be anyone’s entry level anything anymore. I will walk in my strengths humbly, but not self deprecatingly.

I will not settle with men. I deserve what I want. My body will not be used for pleasure unless I say so, and I will not settle for a man that does nothing less than challenges me to be better, loves and cares for me, can hold his own, and also is what I want. No more nice guys with potential, and certainly no more fuck boys here to waste my time. No more half committed, empty words, me chasing you, you being too cool. Stand beside me, be ready to commit, or get to walking. Also, this isn’t only your descision; I actively get to choose. I’d certainly rather be alone than to deal with any BS.

Listen. I’m ready to show up and show out for myself. I am tired of playing it safely and diminishing my light. I am soft and fierce and courageous and change maker and I no longer have a choice but to live up to this. And I’m excited AF.

So please know, I am showing up for myself in a big way and I hope you join me. But if it makes you uncomfortable, IDGAF.

I Finally Understand the Relationship I Crave

I first encountered this question with one of my favorite therapists. She asked me, “LeAnna, what kind of relationship do you want?” And said, for her, “it would be like my favorite pair of blue jeans, worn in, comfortable, and comforting.”¬† I thought that was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard and so, I tried that on for fit. It was a delightful notion, but didn’t quite fit what was the relationship that would be best for me. Yet and still, I continued for years to wrestle with that question.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. And today, I came into the realization of what the relationship is that I crave. I am looking for a relationship that allows me to be the wildflower or wild fruit I have always been. Some people call me a free spirit, some an exception, some weird, some zesty or wistful, and others throw their hands up in exasperation as they do not know WHAT I am. I think I am a wild fruit with many branches, stems, and odd fruit, that does not wish to be confined or defined. I am not meant to be a fenced in flower, I am not a dainty rose, I am not flowers that grow in neat rows that bare no fruit but are stunning, and I am not a weed to be plucked. And I need a relationship that is a garden large enough to allow me to grow as I please.

This relationship would not try to confine me, would give me the space to sprawl my long greenery all over the dirt, grow over any fences, destroy fences that stunt my growth, and tends to me with the tender loving kindness that gardeners use to tend to their bounty. Providing nurturing and support when necessary, but never critical or blaming when the bounty does not reach their expectations, and instead thrilled with what it blooms in its own unique space, admiring its unexpected colors or fruits.

A love that is careful when entering the garden to not stomp or destroy the wild flowers of my being, but not too careful as it understands that as a wild fruit, I am capable of a persisting in the worst conditions, but am better when provided the best conditions. A love that respects my ever persisting and fierce life force, but understands that even the wildest among us needs sustenance.  A love that possesses the understanding  that a garden that wilts needs water, love, nurture, and sunshine, rather than criticism, neglect, or coldness. Who understands that a wilted garden does not have to die, but can thrive when shown a little tenderness, and often comes back tenfold in its produce.

I crave a love that understands that my roots run deeper, wider, and across spans of a universe that they cannot see, and yet, takes the time to study and learn how a wild flower like me can produce sweet fruit, and puts each new tidbit of knowledge into practice. A love that understands that wild flowers cannot be tamed or controlled, they can only be nurtured and loved. And that in return for your understanding, I will reward this love with the sweetest fruits, sustenance for his vitamin deprived heart, and a beauty that has little to do with physical appearance, but the very essence of what it means to live. My fruit is versatile, can be used to cure the ailing of broken hearts and to nourish the sickest of men – if only allowed to be wild and free, with a gentle guard of protection and a tender form of care.

My perfect relationship is a garden, and I, the wildflower. The gardener and I take care of nourishing one another, never expecting each other to be any one other than we are. He would love me to grow into the most magnificent part of myself, never worrying about if I outgrow or shine him, as we both will know, the flower is a direct reflection of his care, nurture, and ability to allow me to be a wild flower. While his health, resilience, and stature is a direct reflection of my ability to provide him with the nourishment of my fruit.

This is what I crave.

Pictures that make me happy

I like to think I’m sort of a photographer when I’m out and about in places I’ve never explored before.¬† I sometimes even look like a tourist in my own city.¬† Constantly pulling my phone out to take pictures of the Charlotte Skyline, or something that I think is just “neat”.

I used to didn’t really care about taking pictures with my phone.¬† I was definitely all about living in the moment and just enjoying it for what it was.¬† But having a camera allows us to relive these moments over and over.¬† The pictures I take with my Google Pixel has captured most, if not all, of my happiest moments in life.¬† Looking back at each photo, each tells it’s own story and it reminds me of good times when times aren’t necessarily so good.

I’m by no means a professional, at all and I would love to own a DSLR camera one of these days to see what I can really do.¬† Maybe there will be an opportunity in the future for me to buy one.¬† Who knows? And if I do ever get one, maybe I’ll find more things to take pics of.

I’d like to share with you all some of my favorite pics.¬† All of these pics are my own, and I should probably watermark them before posting here, but ah hell, who cares.

 

 

If you like these pics, I have more on IG @eM_Daht. Beware, there are a lot of selfies!