Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the danger of 'safe'

"I'm telling you its like therapy..[blogging] Keeps me from hitting the pipe...and you can quote me on that" - mr. slish

aiight, i will.

he, along with others, have been actively trying to snap me out of my silence. it's been a difficult time for me, not simply because i now find myself unemployed for the first time in almost a decade, but also because i find myself at a crossroads. in the past, when i heard folk say that, i'd be like "what in the fuck does THAT mean?!?"

now i know.

it is at this moment on my mortal timeline when i am paralyzed, my future forked into prongs of possibilities, my present knifed into shavings of indecision, my past spooned into a bowl of listless existence.

this moment when i realize all of the experiences prior to now were merely preparing me for the monumental decision i will soon have to make, the decision which will ultimately determine where my life moves from here.

at this very moment, this crossroads of a moment, i'm writing in my blog and i'm not even sure what happens next.

the writer in me wants to orchestrate the happy ending where i get the dream gig, the perfect man, and the 1.5 kids. at the very least i wanted to be able to come back here and say to you with confidence and perhaps a bit of smugness "hey, i got the job i've always wanted and now i'm moving back to ny where i'm gonna finally began living the life i've always wanted to live. this is the next and better stage of my life!"

instead, all i've got is "shit, what the fuck do i do?!?"

i will probably be offered a gig when i call the hr person back tomorrow. yay, right? the thing is, it means staying in atlanta. now, i've been planning to move to new york since october, even going so far as to travel up there to interview for a few gigs, including the dream gig. in fact, i was told early last week that i was on the short list for the dream gig, and that i'd be contacted as soon as a decision was made.

well, it's been over a week and i've still not heard anything. meanwhile, i might have the gig in atlanta.

and who in his/her right mind turns down a job in THIS economic climate?

even if by taking the job she basically has to readjust her dreams to not include the one place she's been trying to get back to basically since she left it as a child? even if taking the job means taking the safe route?

i've found that for me, 'safe' is dangerous.

'safe' has a way of starving a life of meaning until it's left a stale skeleton emaciated from a diet of empty memories.

i spent over a decade living the 'safe' life, marrying a man who lacked the significance to pose a threat to my heart, but he was the 'good brotha' everyone told me i was supposed to marry.

just like i'm hearing now how i'm supposed to take this job in atlanta because it means saving money and living in relative comfort without any personal challenges because seriously, it'd be hard for me to struggle in atlanta. i will always have a place to live, always be able to find affordable housing, and despite my complaints, will always be able to get a date.



meanwhile, moving to new york won't be easy or safe. if i go up there without a guaranteed job, that means living off of my severance and last check while i looked for work. it also means no unemployment check because that gig i'd be turning down? it's with my former employer, just in another department.

so it's short money i gotta stretch over the long haul and i might not get a job off the bat. then i'll be living in an old brownstone that in alot of ways is falling apart. no creature comforts, a mouse or two dashing from corner to corner in the darkness, and despite the relatives living in new york, no real support network.



i know what you're saying right now..."nikki, what the fuck are you thinking? why is this even a debate for you? girl, you betta take that damn job in atlanta and buy a few plane tickets to new york to visit!"

the scared part of me wants to do just that. it wants to take that job and breathe a sigh of relief and get back to work and not worry about bills being paid. that's the same part of me who whispered "sure, he doesn't do much for you, but he's steady and he'll never hurt you..."

that's the same part of me who has dictated my moves for pretty much my entire life.

then there's the other part...i don't even know what to label it yet cuz frankly, it's voice is rather foreign to me. it's the one saying "fuck it! aren't you tired of having folk dictate to you how you should choose the less challenging and worrisome path? they can't live your life for you! yo, just do the damn thing and handle the challenges as they come. believe in yourself! stop doubting what you can do!"

i haven't heard this voice in a long damn time. it was buried under all the pillows covering the path i was walking until i hit this crossroads. my feet never had to touch the ground. i never felt the pinch of a pebble embedded into my heel or the sting of a twig cracking under the weight of my walk, its fractured carcass slicing my skin until i bled into the dirt.

i never felt the lush blades of grass tucked inbetween my toes...

the problem with cushioning is that it can prevent one from experiencing both the blissful and painful moments that define a life with meaning. it muffles the desires of the spirit because usually seeking fulfillment of those desires means getting rid of the cushions altogether. it requires stepping out on faith, which is basically stepping forward with the hope the path is headed in the right direction, regardless of how it's paved. some folk would say that's dangerous.

'safe' is dangerously absent of faith. on the surface, i can convince myself that in choosing to take the job with the worry-free life i am saying i have faith everything will turn out as predicted because of the 'safe' nature of my choice. however, there's nothing truly safe about it. it is in fact mislabeled. it should be called 'stagnant'.

and is it really having faith or just knowledge based on pre-existing patterns suggesting the outcome will be exactly as it has always been? like, how much faith does a person have to have in the certainty 2+2 will equal 4?

in my mind, faith means hoping in the face of the unknown. it means moving forward into the uncertain future with the hope that so long as i keep moving purposefully, the outcome will prove favorable.

faith is rooted not in the equation but the question...

"will i succeed? will i fail? who knows?"

it thrives in the declarative...

"i sure as hell won't know until i go..."

and real safety lies in always keeping the faith...