Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hi, I'm Juwon and Sometimes I'm Sad.

It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay, take the necessary steps to take care of yourself, and work on making things better. Not only is it okay, it’s really important.

Bad things happen to all of us. I’ve said it before but it begs repeating: what these past few years have taught me is that a “good life” isn’t about the ways you are blessed, it’s about getting up and walking forward when everything goes to shit.

 I wrote about my father’s death a lot on my blog. And I’ve written about my brother-in-law’s death. It’s not a fun, light topic so I’ve been reluctant to really open up about it, especially to strangers who don’t know me or my family.

 I sometimes wonder if part of that reluctance to write about the more personal aspects of my life stems from fear of judgement. I certainly don't want to be looked at differently or considered "emotionally fragile". I don't identify with that; if anything I see myself and anyone else who has been through some tough situations as a hardcore motherfucker.

Anyway, I want to help people and I’m hoping "sharing" does.

I have a lot of experience being a caretaker. It’s not easy. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting and if you’re not careful, it can really put you in a funk. I found myself in that exact situation in 2015. I recognized that while I was busy taking care of others and - let’s be honest - distracting myself, I was not taking caring of myself. Physically I was fine but I wasn't taking care of my mental health and I wasn’t even praying anymore.

I kept myself busy with anything I could because if I stopped for a second to self-reflect, I would burst into tears. I knew I needed to take care of what was going on before it became a problem.

A lot of people were confused about my move. When I wrote my last post and mentioned how I still struggle with the death of my dad, brother-in-law and dog, some reached out and told me they had no idea I was so sad. I think I speak for everyone who has ever lost a loved one when I say you never stop being sad about it. I think over time we adapt and learn to live as the people our experiences have made us.

That's what I'm trying to do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why San Diego?

Some people have asked me why I moved to San Diego. There are so many factors that went into making this decision.

 One: I HATE winter in the Northeast.

 I hate it. Snow is stupid, being cold is the worst. To me, hell is a frozen wasteland where I have to shovel all day every day while my hat keeps on sliding off, the wind feels like a slap to the face, my lips are cracking and I can't feel my fingers and toes.

 So the weather was a huge reason.  Also, this lady on a plane told me to.

I was on my way to Nigeria from NYC with a layover in Paris and I was seated next‎ to this French lady on the way to visit her mother. We chatted about books mostly and then she asked where I lived. At the time, I was in CT with Yemi. I asked her where she lived. She replied, "San Diego". She met her American husband in France and followed him back to SD and she's lived there since.

She talked about how beautiful it is and I told her I always wanted to live there. She then asked me, "are you married?"
 I said no. 
 She asked, "do you have kids?"
 I said no.
 She looked at me and said "what's stopping you?"

 The lady made a very valid point.
 It took me a couple of years but I made it, nice French lady.

 Aside from that, I decided to move to San Diego because my heart is broken.

Is that too honest? Well, it's the truth.

 Dad, Jay, Scooby. Losing them hurt so much and I never dealt with it. I just threw myself into looking after my loved ones so I didn't have to address my feelings too deeply.

I'll get into this more another time since it's so heavy and this post was meant to be easy breezy, like all of my stereotypical assumptions about Californians.

 Long story short, I decided to move to San Diego because I wanted to enjoy sorting myself out while wearing a sundress.

Has anyone ever moved to another town for a random reason? I'd love to read about the experience that led you to where you are now.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

West Coast Living in 2016

"I want to love all of my life as much as I love this night".

That’s a quote from this book series l love (shout-out to authors Christina Lauren and to Laineygossip for recommending their romance novels).

 I didn’t remember that quote until I was in NY one night with my friends, laughing (I don’t remember about what) and it hit me. I understood what the protagonist meant when she said she wanted to love all of her life as much as she loved the moment she was in. 

 New York was supposed to be a bon voyage of sorts for me. A goodbye to my twenties if you will. A goodbye to selfish asshole living. A goodbye to nights fueled by vodka and Redbull. A goodbye to cheese (for real this time). 

 Anyway, it was my summer of fun. It was great. It was exactly what I needed when I needed it.

 Do I have to say goodbye?

 I mean, I’m okay saying goodbye to cheese. What really made this summer great was feeling like I was an active participant in the world again. It was the feeling that I was actually living, I was working towards something, I was experiencing, learning, discovering. No one should ever say goodbye to the things that make them grateful to be alive.

 Being in love with every aspect of your life is an amazing feeling. I decided to chase that feeling. 

 I chased it to San Diego.  So I'm in California now.

Don't ask me to explain why, this post is already way too long.

Everything about life right now is new, terrifying, and exciting! I'm in a completely new place and I don't have my tribe of amazing family and friends to rely on. I have to be everything for myself right now.

 I am so far away from my comfort zone, I don't even remember where it is, guys.  But that's when things get interesting, right?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Prayers for Paris Hashtags Spark Anger on Social Media.

This weekend has been shocking for a lot of people. As many of you know by now, there was a horrific amount of violence that took place in Paris on November 13th.

I was at a bar with friends when the news about what was happening really started trickling in. People were carrying on like they usually do on a Friday night but at some point I spoke to a guy who asked me, “don’t you know what’s going on in Paris?” I said I did and he just looked at me. I looked at him. I then asked him, “Do you know what’s going on in Nigeria and other parts of the world?” He was quiet. I was quiet. Then I said, “The world we live in is fucked up.”

I’m not happy with the way I handled that. I wasn’t rude or unkind. I was dismissive.

Being on social media, I see that people are responding to the tragedy in Paris in different ways. Reading people's comments reminds me of what Lainey Lui said during her Ted Talk, that people can't consume what is in the media without filtering it through the "prism" of their own experiences. She said, "what inevitably comes out the other side, is a pretty definitive declaration about what we believe, what we expect, what we reject and how we process."

I can’t speak for other people. I can only look at myself and try to explore my reaction to everything.

I think I’m desensitized. You see, this isn’t shocking to me. This has been happening in Northern Nigeria for years now. This has been happening in a lot of places. The attack in Paris is not unique in any way. I can see how it could be shocking to someone who may not identify with many different cultures. I can see how the attack in Paris can feel more personal, how a tragedy in a place or to people you relate to can hurt more than a tragedy that takes place in a part of the world that feels so foreign it might as well be on another planet.

I’m not going to mislead any of you into thinking I am aware of every attack in every city in the world. I had no idea Beirut was bombed the day before the Paris attacks. What does it say about my awareness that I had to google, “hundreds of children killed in Pakistan attack” to know about something that happened almost a year ago?

I still feel the need to say sorry. Just because what happened in Paris happens every week in other cities doesn’t make it any less horrific.

I am praying too. I am praying that God helps me to be kind to others. I pray that I am never dismissive again when someone is hurting. I am praying that I never look at a person and only see the ways he/she is different from me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New York, You've Been So Good To Me.

As I wrap up my summer of fun in my favorite city, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what being here has done for me. 

 When I was trying to figure out where I wanted to attend esthetician school, I gravitated towards New York City for many reasons. One, it was familiar. Two, some of my favorite people live there. Three, in my opinion, NYC is at its best in the summer, insane heat and all.

 I craved the mind-numbing effect being here has on me. I wanted the distraction. Yep, being here has been one big distraction. Now that I've been here for four months, I feel the effects of long hours in a classroom, not enough sleep, way too much alcohol, barely working out and a diet that was totally not vegan at all.

 Despite the trauma I may have subjected my body to, I feel pretty fantastic.

 With the long hours of classwork comes new friendships and a certificate that says I am a trained esthetician. The lack of sleep was a small sacrifice to make for the countless nights I spent chatting with my friends all night. The alcohol... okay, I probably could have cut back a bit but merriment and wine go so well together. As for the lack of exercise and the questionable diet, eating like there was no tomorrow was fun but I'm more than eager to get back to regular workouts, and the fruits and veggies life. 

 With the plans I have, I know spending months at a time in the states is a luxury that I'm not going to have for much longer. I'm okay with that. I'm ready to roll my sleeves up and get to work. I'm just happy I got this blissful summer. I'm going to cherish everything about it.