Something #formymisses to Keep in Mind this Holiday Season: What You Give, You Get

Something #formymisses to Keep in Mind this Holiday Season: What You Give, You Get

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Photography by Myron Watkins

The holiday season is upon us, which has brought about some mixed feelings for me this year, however, one thing that hasn’t changed is my love to give. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I have good taste (he he). But no, seriously, it makes me feel so good to put a smile on someone else’s face, and it makes me wonder why I don’t go out of my way to do it more often. Why wait for a special occasion when we can make our own?

After feeling slighted one too many times in 2017, this time of year also made me acknowledge my tendency to give away all the good shit up front. If I view you as my family or friend, I automatically want to help you with whatever dilemma you may be facing – no matter how it may inconvenience me. I support you in all your endeavors and want you to be the best you can be. Ultimately, I want you to be happy. But in 2017, and even long before that, I came to realize I was giving away my time, attention, effort, help, and concern to people – people who never even asked for any of it. And yet, I gave some more. I gave until it hurt.

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Photography by Myron Watkins

My intentions were good, I swear. But the truth is not every one will appreciate my gifts, and what I have to offer, so it is that much more important to be selective going into the new year – not selfish. I say that because I don’t want to turn cold and stop caring for others altogether, but I can be more mindful of who and what is most deserving. There is nothing naughty about keeping a little some of that good stuff for myself, too.

Everything That Goes Up . . .

Everything That Goes Up . . .

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Photography by Ajani Charles.

For most of 2017, my life seemed to be on the up and up. I worked my ass off and was finally booking paid modeling jobs. I’d just released my fourth novel in August and the 5-star reviews were slowly rolling in. At the start of November, I’d just landed a new job and would be granted a title change as well as a raise. Not only that, but I’d made it to my happy place aka LA for the second time this year. If you’d asked me how I was doing a month ago, I probably would have said something along the lines of, “Life is good.” And I wouldn’t have been lying.

After 5 days on the West Coast I was forced back to my “regular” life, but upon my return I gained more confidence and clarity in regards to my next move. I felt like God had sent me another message through the repetitive theme of my conversations over the past few days because while I was away, I kept being confronted by an uncomfortable ultimatum. According to old friends and new, in order for me to be successful, I would have to choose between my writing and my modeling – something my stubborn ass just isn’t willing to do at the moment. It was then I decided that the easiest way for me to compromise would be to shift all of my energy over to my blog. Suddenly, it all made sense.

I remember being on such a high coming home from Cali. It might have taken me until my late twenties, but I finally felt like I had direction. I felt like I’d “figured it out,” and I was ready to get back to work. Unfortunately, I hadn’t even settled back into my routine when life as I knew it . . . changed. And all it took was one phone call. My grandfather was dying and there was nothing else doctors could do.

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Photography by Ajani Charles.

I found out my Pop-Pop was diagnosed with cancer in July – which is partly why I pushed my release date for my last book back a month. Even then, I think I was in denial, though. I never imagined losing him, let alone like this. And even though I knew he was sick, his death still feels so . . . sudden.

One of the first things I did when I got to my home-state of Pennsylvania was to grab a notebook and try to write out my feelings, but I never even opened it. It’s been a month now and I am still struggling to process the reality of his absence. I don’t know how else to say the week and ½ before Thanksgiving was one of the darkest periods of my life.

Once I got back to Michigan, it got even harder for me to acknowledge the pain behind the details, so I went numb. Most days I find myself simply going through the motions. I’ve never felt so . . . uninspired. And yet, I am even more tempted to take a major risk on this shit. It’s weird.

All my life I’ve been told everything happens for a reason, and while I want to believe that, I also have to ask; what is there to gain from a loss of this magnitude? And for my misses who have taken a similar loss this year, how did you handle it? Because these days I am drawing a blank.