A spirit of gratitude and appreciation has been brewing in my soul as of late. As I continue to make my best attempt at balancing school, tutoring, dreaming big and being awesome, along with all of the demands of taking on a job with the University; I am often succumbed to emotions of doubt, confusion and defeat. While grinding and giving each project my all, there are often setbacks that seem to always arise. Hurdles that include cancelled tutoring sessions, school tasks that often take up a significant amount of time, assessments that cost more than my earnings bi-weekly, study sessions that require my attention and precious students who are discouraged and need my heavy lifting. I often feel like my energy and spirit are drained at the end of a day and I take a bucket of discouragement home to dump on my kitchen table. A warm bed seems like the perfect place to lay down my burdens. But my brain goes into overdrive, replaying what I could’ve done better. It is my nagging calendar reminder, preventing me from actually sleeping and is the gasoline to the fire of anxiety that swells.
Immediately after picking up mail from the post office this week, a car backed into my bumper causing minor cosmetic damage to the car. The beloved Honda Accord now has Milwaukee war scars ‒ well more scars if I include the damage from babealicious plowing into a snow bank a few winters past. The driver of the other vehicle frantically walked up to my weeping Honda and began to spew her sob story. What I quickly deduced was that this woman was stressed, overwhelmed, upset and slightly irrational. As I exited my vehicle to assess the damage, I peered into hers and saw two beautiful brown children, with fright all over their faces. Her rapid fire yelling, turned into a muted whisper as my mind contemplated the emotions of these terrified babies. If you ever want to break me down, bring me a child or a puppy, YOU WIN. Before I could collect any of her information (she carried no insurance, the car had no plates, she had no license. What info she was going to produce is still unknown to me) she’d ran to her get away chariot, jumped a curb as sparks flew from the underbody of her gloriously shitty Avalon and sped off! In shock I did the only thing a rational person in my situation would do. I stood there on the corner of Center and Teutonia and cried. The Honda and I collectively wept.
I am a highly empathetic person (on occasion). So as I drove down the street, tears hanging out at the ledge of my eyelids, collecting into pools and kissing my cheeks with warm reminders of my sensitivity, I couldn’t help but think about the women who backed into the car. My mind thought about the heartfelt monologue she delivered while standing outside of my door. I thought about the kids and how scared they looked sitting in the backseat. My sociologist brain thought about what situations led her to the point where she would operate a vehicle so recklessly with two small children’s lives in her hands. I felt the tension, the weight, and the pressure she carried as she explained her situation and circumstances. That moment was when I started to be appreciative.
Appreciation blanketing my teary clouded eyes and I felt calm. I don’t know what led the woman to her circumstances but what I know with certainty is that I positioned myself to be exactly where I am right now. I made the conscious‒ and maybe even rushed, decision to leave a full-time job to chase a dream. I understood the magnitude of carrying a full-time graduate school course load. I understood that tutoring was a business that needed to be built upon and that time was needed to nurture the business. I understood wholeheartedly that if you leave a job with little savings, money will deplete and require replenishment. I knew that I would have to be consistent and prove my abilities for doors to open. While it may drain me and keep me awake, I am where I am, because this is where I chose to be. For that I have to be appreciative.
I am extremely fortunate. My life and personal circumstances could be completely different. I am climbing to my destiny and while it’s okay to acknowledge my blisters, cuts and bruises: I must not forget that I could very well be in a trench trying to dig myself out before the climb.
In hindsight, the battle of the Honda vs. the busted, emerald, Toyota Avalon was a blessing. It allowed me to put my life and current positioning into perspective. While it isn’t necessarily the most comfortable chair in the cottage, it’s one of the steps between too hard, and just right for me. Everyday can’t be a good day ‒ the queen of certificates can’t get a gold star everyday. This busy schedule and brain of mine, continue to extinguish the fantasy of a good night’s rest. But I could instead be worried about a laundry list of other things like basic necessities.
To my provider, babe, I thank you for letting me figure out my path to greatness. For without your love, support, JOB, and cruel sense of humor none of this would be possible.
For my current journey, my struggles, the “no’s”, the no-shows, the letdowns, the small paychecks, the few bills, the humble pie, the sacrifice, for my beautiful struggle I am grateful – as I sip my warm mug of french pressed coffee, curated by my favorite barista at my neighborhood home, Coffee Makes You Black.