I’m sitting on the plane to Puerto Rico, on a flight that’s two hours delayed and counting, after a previously delayed flight, a missed connection, a lost evening with wonderful women, a 14 hour day spent lazing around the Newark airport watching the sun drenched halls swell and empty crowds of travelers through buzzing food courts, frantic bathrooms, and frenzied departure gates. I’m moving between feelings of panic and peace. Panic—I’ll have spent 24 hours in a grungy travel stupor during what was supposed to be a journey of ultimate zen and spiritual awakening // where did I go wrong in life to be here, running through Newark airport to catch an already departed flight, on my way to meet a group of strangers // am I gonna have to spend the night in the San Juan airport if there aren’t any cars around when we land // why me next to this guy whose leg has been shaking furiously, dare I say vengefully, sending the bench of conjoined seats into violent reverberation.
And yet at the same time, peace—the miracle of being young and alive (!) and ready for my Linklater moment spent in a sleepy San Juan airport, feeling the texture of life as everyday annoyances dissolve into veils of romantic charm // the magical pursuit and possibility of manifesting the deepest recesses of my soul, some not yet discovered, others buried under years of neglect but ready to re-emerge, even if not yet under the embrace of the warm sun and Atlantic waves but instead next to the whirring engine of an idle plane in the blistering snow // how did I do everything *right* in life to be here, committing to myself, to community, to other women of color, fighting my way back to myself after years of prioritizing an ethos that was not my own // what may look like a plan gone awry is actually just life, pulsing, surging, beating with energy, and how beautiful and freeing to remember that it’s a gift to be lived, to be shared, to be explored, in all of its glory and quotidian, its messiness and imperfection.
So I sit with panic and peace, and remind myself that neither is right, neither is wrong, but both are intertwined in effortless yin and yang. They are feelings, thoughts, beautiful manifestations of our minds, electric current that allow us the miracle of meaning, inviting us to engage, observe, ask, listen. And as I do, I’m able to see what has been and what will come—a year that has brought me to my knees, that will undoubtedly shift between panic and peace, heartbreak and joy, despair and hope. But through it all, may I have the grace to move through this world with patience, kindness, and forgiveness; may I have the fortitude to know myself, nurture her, honor her, and grow into her with clarity. And above all else, may I have the strength and courage to love, love, love, even in the face of darkness.
And now, what we all came here for, a photo dump of the last few months, of people I love and people who have held me up (notably including myself!)—new and long-lasting and ever growing, including Tessy, Haley, Andrea, Carolyn, and Louie who aren’t pictured but ever present! Must remember to take more photos 🙂