Everything That Goes Up . . .

Everything That Goes Up . . .

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.

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.

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

I want what I want and I want it now! Sounds familiar right?


Waiting is hard, especially when we live in a culture that has been re-designed to fulfill our desires at the push of a button. But in the end, what are our wants really worth when we don’t work for them? And is instant gratification really a bad thing?

I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but I could sense this need for instant gratification slowly seeping into every aspect of my life, and not just online. Perhaps you have yet to notice, but the evidence of short-term satisfaction is everywhere you look. From the way we shop down to the way we love one another, the beauty of social media is the ability to exchange ideas and opinions with the rest of the world; however, there is no denying the negative ways this tool has shaped our lives as Millennials. And while none of our needs are new, our expectation of what is ‘fast’ is 10x faster than our parents’. Because who has time to wait, when you have a million other things to get done?

More and more retailers are helping us not leave the house by offering same-day delivery. Bits and pieces of the daily news are sprinkled throughout hashtags and timelines as we bullshit through our workday. Quick fun has become more important than learning regardless of age. Practically every beauty product on the shelf claims to offer ‘instant’ results, even though 90% of their labels are nothing but lies. Excuses provide us with material things we don’t have the money to buy. And sadly, some of our closest relationships suffer when Facebook or Twitter is preferred over what could have been a five-second phone call.

Personally, I noticed this habit popping up most notably when dating. I had to check myself when I realized that as soon as I meet a guy I like, I become obsessed. He’s like my new favorite song and I can’t get enough of him. I’m clocking all his moves and interests online. I make an effort to talk to him damn near every day. But the problem with this is that by having these needs fulfilled so soon, actions lose value. I came to realize that I cannot place expectations on foundations that haven’t been built yet, or else my trust would crumble. So instead of day-dreaming about romance and what the future holds, I am allowing the person I am interested in to meet me there. As time goes on, even the smallest gestures will mean SO much more.

So while instant gratification can serve as a great source of motivation, my point is it can also hinder us from what it is we really want, ultimately leaving us unsatisfied. I also think that most of us treat the future like a myth until we wake up the next day, which is why it is so important to practice self-control and accountability before you are faced with long-term consequences. From now on, when I set my goals the first thing I look for is long-term value, without allowing short-term pain to distract me from my success. And while patience might be one virtue I have yet to fully grasp, I can’t let my need for instant gratification cost me something I can’t afford to lose – my future.