I was nervous about sharing this story but I said I wanted to bring you guys down this journey with me. Destiny as well as my resignation is a huge part of it. Like my hair, this decision was made to better myself. It’s amazing what talking, thinking, and a bottle of hair dye can do to a naturalista. That being said, Chapter Six of the Chop Chronicles is entitled “Destiny.”
March 2014: The Month of Destiny and Determination
March 30th 2014 was my last official day of work. No fooling. I mean, I know it’s April and all but come on. Freedom is no joke. It took a lot of courage and pep talk, but things became clear. I was missing out on what I’d sacrificed when I began working there. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t time, money, real respect or maturity that made me quit. All of those things played small parts but in reality it was destiny.
Destiny is A Big Word.
In the month of March, I’ve learned a lot about jail. Imprisonment comes in many forms including both physical and mental. One thing that comes to mind when I reflect back on this month are the lyrics from the play Aida.
You are your own master. There are no shackles on you.
I’ve imprisoned myself in this case of social anxiety this year. I’ve spent many days questioning myself, my relationships with my coworkers, my worth and my importance. My general manager asked (And I quoted it in my last CC blog) if I was going to be this way my whole life. I insisted that I was going to be because I knew he was referring to my hair and “alternative lifestyle” (which is pretty much my piercings.). As I sat down and talked about it with my friends, I recalled that I was wrong when I told him that. The Jasemine who stood in front of him that day was not the Jasemine I wanted to be forever. It wasn’t who I was destined to be. In fact, the “Jasemine” that I envisioned that I should be was someone who I was terrified to be.
I wanted financial promise twenty-four seven. That meant no risks and little to no freedom. It also meant riding two hour bus routes to get to and from work each day. It meant working more hours than the average person would even if I wasn’t always working my hardest because I needed it. I was proud to have my fraction of fairness and completely imprisoned by fear until I was given two words.
Have you heard the song That Power by Childish Gambino? If you haven’t, I’m not gonna force you to, especially if rap and educated rap metaphors aren’t your thing, but if you have listen to it again. Listen until you hear your own message. Don’t skip the outro either because it’s my favorite. Camp is gold if you don’t know by now. It’s one of my favorite records of all time. I played “That Power” on repeat as I stared at a blank Microsoft Word document that would later contain my two week notice. Then. I heard it. It was clear as a bell and directly in my ear. Destiny.
Destiny is a noun. It means: “what happens in the future” or “the things that someone or something will experience in the future.” It also means “A power that is believed to control what happens in the future.”
When “That Power” ended, “We Aint Them” came on. I hadn’t really dipped into Royalty that much but for those of you who are familiar, “We Aint Them” is the song where Donald makes reference to leaving 30 Rock. He never implied that his job writing for them was bad. He just mentioned that it was time for more.
“My mama said why you wanna leave a good job?”
“My Dad said do ya thing, boy don’t stop.”
When I talked to my grandparents about my decision to resign, I was anticipating getting a lot of backlash. Instead, they listened and were proud. Finally, I was accepting my destiny wasn’t what I’d been chasing.
So, What Is My Destiny? Surely It’s Not To Quit My Job and Become Financially Unstable.
Was quitting my job scary? It was. You quit your job, you scratch your head, you cry a little and when you start to wonder what’s next it starts to get a little liberating. Things have been falling into place since the day I slid that typed letter across the counter. I enrolled in college. That’s right! I’m finally going to get my business degree. It happened so fast. I didn’t even question it. Yet, in my mind I kept asking “What next? What about money? Freedom costs!
I bet you were wondering why this was a chop chronicles post… Like, what it has to do with my hair, right? Well.
A week of worrying went by when I got called in for a job interview. Several actually. It seemed as though my personality had attracted attention. In these interviews, I was calm and I only ever had one question. What about my hair color? It’s no surprise that I went into a few of these interviews with my real natural hair instead of a wig. Sometimes I feel like within the wig, I’m hiding my identity.
4/5 places that I wore my natural hair to? They didn’t care. Two managers were enthralled asking if they could touch it and how I got it that shade. Suddenly, freedom was there. The experience was on paper and the personality was right there… I mean, come on! You try explaining to someone that your last job was to host birthday parties, sing and jump around stage. For once, I could say that I was being considered for hire based off of my work, not my appearance. That’s when I realized it. There it was.
I couldn’t explain it but it made me shake a few hands and simply thank them for opening my eyes. For the past year, I wanted so bad to make people happy that I wasn’t aware that I was hurting myself. I stifled my own personality, safety, needs, because.. Because I was afraid. I was afraid that if I truly was myself and did things to make myself happy that I couldn’t be successful.
Now I know. It’s my destiny to prove to everyone else and myself that destiny is unavoidable.
You’re looking at an African American published writer, a professional photographer and a college student with a bright red naturally curly mohawk and a drive for success.
This journey never ends.
Before this Naturalista is Hasta La Vista.. I wanna speak words to my coworkers.
For the past year, most of you have been an absolute joy to work with. I loved that I could come to you. I loved that you would meet my energy with this fire of your own and you would be beyond excited to see me each time I walked in. The fact that all of you signed a petition saying that you wanted me to stay really brought tears to my eyes. I mean, I honestly can’t believe that each of you have felt I made that sort of an impact on this moment in your life. Please know that there were times that I was counting down the hours to clocking out but even moreso, there were times when I didn’t want to leave. A lot of you are like family to me and although as I’m typing this, I am overwhelmed with sadness to even have to tell you all, I am promising that there are moments I won’t walk away from. There are some of you who have made permanent impacts on my life and I plan to still see you. Whether I have to come up and visit like Tony or whether you guys personally invite me out, I’m always just a phone call, a text, a facebook message away.
Even though, I won’t be working full-time everyday, I’ll still be around. I might even still be hosting birthday parties! I want to give thanks to all of you for giving me so many kind words and supporting my decision whether it was to stay or to leave. I was told recently that I was a negative influence on all of you. So let me plant one small seed in your head, one last one that I hope can make a major impact.
You are phenomenal. You are smart, a leader and a person who is just as enthusiastic as you are great. Don’t push back on your dreams, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. You guys are such a unique bunch and you don’t need the negative energy. No one does. Spread the love. We all talk each day about how grossly negative that environment can be… Be the change. Show each other the bond that was once there is still alive, it just takes teamwork. It’s so easy when everyone plays a positive part and I believe in you all.
This naturalista, is hasta la vista. 😉