The night before I came back to the city was heavy, my mind racing towards panic. The holidays were over, and it was time to come back to reality, where for the first time in my entire life, there was no one telling me what comes next. What I had to do when I wake up, what the world was like without my next assignment due. I didn’t even start packing for the trip until around 9pm, because I simply could not believe my “professional” life was beginning. College was over, and it all sort of hit me that night.
Shyly, like a child, I crept into my parents bedroom. The way I would when I was nervous for a test or anything big as a kid. Back then, I would enter with my head down, embarrassed by my debilities. I was never good at asking for help or admitting when I needed support, because it always felt like some humiliating defeat. Like I was above it, for some unknown reason. But that night I knew support was what I needed. My mom always knows when I’m like this. When I’m nervous, scared to take a step, and just need a moment of comfort. When I’m holding back right at the important parts. When I’m scared to grow up.
I was scared of the unknown, afraid of the secrets of my future. I consider myself adaptable, someone who perseveres and keeps going. I have dreams, I have goals, and I understand what it’s really going to take to get there. But now it’s like, starting. That big, shiny “one day after I graduate” was now. Suddenly, with no warning, I’m no longer a student. I no longer know what tomorrow will look like, or next month, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like in a year. It all just sort of hit me all at once during that last night at home. It hit me like a truck.
I knew going back to New York after I finished class and the holiday season would be completely different, but I just ignored it until then. I went to my mom holding back tears. A life I’ve never known of rigorous self-discipline was waiting for my back here, and I didn’t know if I was ready. When you have big dreams, you sort of have to do all that stuff no one else wants to do to get your foot in the door. You have to take yourself and your time seriously, and I didn’t know if I was fully ready for that. I still felt like a kid. I still watch SpongeBob and I still need at least three stuffed animals to go to sleep. I’m just not ready for this, I thought. I’m not ready to be an adult.
The next night I was back in my Brooklyn apartment, and the fears I faced just the night before took an unexpected turn. Being back there, well, I was back home. I was back with my roommates who showered me with belated birthday gifts and family stories. I was back with the two best dogs in the entire world. I was back in my familiar room where I can be myself and dream. Back in the reality I was scared of: the stupidly beautiful reality that is my life here.
I have my moments. Since I’ve been back, I still have my moments of pure fear and panic. Of what-ifs and self-judgement. Like I want to crawl back home and never leave that childhood bedroom, embracing the warmth of familiarity and feel the satisfaction of mediocrity. It would be so much easier that way.
I’m finding a comfort I could never imagined that night. I can do this, I really think I can. I think I’m just really starting to see how much potential lies in my future. I remember a few years ago this white boy said I was “marketable as fuck”, and I was like, um, that’s a weird thing to say to someone. But what if I actually think about what compelled him to say that. What if I were to believe him, even just a little? I’m trusting myself and learning that all I really need is already a part of who I am. I’m really just working on making my light shine a little brighter with everything I do.
I let go of my past and welcome the abundance of good fortune the universe is leading me towards for my future. I trust the process and practice gratitude towards the people who are a part of my life. Growing up is weird, but I know it will be worth it.