Meditations: Farewell, Goodbye & Moving On

This post is written at two separate points in the process of moving on. It journals my last few days in Providence, Rhode Island and my first day in New York City before flying to Los Angeles. The music video is a song that I’ve been listening to this summer and I love.

Whoever said that the twenties were turbulent definitely had something going on. I’ve been talking with a lot of people recently about their twenties. I love talking to those who have passed the twenties and lived to tell the tale. They seem oddly empathetic but also so very glad to be clear of these woods. My cousin told me that in preparation for Los Angeles, I should be ready for the highest highs and the lowest lows. I’m writing this post on my last night in Providence, Rhode Island. I move to New York tomorrow and then on to LA in two weeks. I used to wonder if this year was ever going to end, and now that it’s here, I find myself in shock. Is this actually happening? Am I actually ready to start the next chapter of my life? I don’t have a job or car or apartment yet! What am I in for? Did I really sign up for this?!

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Saying goodbye has been a month-long process. It started slowly, with long walks at night and late nights at bars with friends. Trips to Boston included long looks around a city that I couldn’t trace the moment that I started to fall for. Pictures of sunsets and summer selfies with friends are the classic staple of short goodbyes. I don’t know that I ever intend to return to New England. I currently don’t see any strong reason to besides graduate school, but it is interesting isn’t it? This life is at times characterized by the strange nostalgia and utter joy that human beings have the ability to feel at the same time. Dual feelings war with each other and make a perfectly sane person feel like an alien. Have you ever stopped to look at the place that you’re leaving after you pack everything into the car? For me, it’s so very odd that this place that only a few hours ago was filled with my energy, my things, my life, is now empty and waiting for the next person. It shocks me that through time, humans come and go and yet the monuments remain, just as they were when we were there.

These last few weeks have been integral to making me wake the heck up to the world around me. Hilary Clinton became the democratic nominee and I realized just how many people support this woman, which is scary as I currently live in the world with a black female body. The new Ghostbusters came out, sparking conversation and animosity from various receptors. I started to pack my life away and move on from the space that’s been mine for exactly a year.  I lost friendships that were once so dear to me. Value of the materialistic kind tends to fade as huge life changes approach. What is near and dear to me are the relationships, the people I’ve interacted with, the work I’ve created that lives on. Below is a collage of some of the gorgeous children that I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with.

Is there a real difference between Farewell and Goodbye? They are two very similar phrases and in the world of Merriam- Webster, they have the same definition. But somehow in the past few days of hearing them, they mean something different.

Farewell:

Used to express good wishes on parting

 

Goodbye:

Used to express good wishes when parting or at the end of a conversation

In my mind, “Goodbye” holds a certain finality. To say goodbye is to say that I won’t be back, that this is truly the end. “Farewell”, in my mind, is saying that this moment is only “See you later” or “See you soon” and remains open-ended. Although I’ve had tons of practice in moving on from places and people, it somehow never gets easier. I’ll always miss the time I’ve had. Isn’t that so human? We always miss the places we never thought we’d leave. Throughout the day, my mother was adamant: “You aren’t leaving. You’re just moving on.” Now that I think about it. There was a point to her stressing that I was moving on. Leaving requires no looking back, a fleeing energy that comes from disparity. Moving on requires maturity, heart and soul and even some tears within the firm understanding that this is for my good as I take with me, the trials, tribulations and successes of a year fully lived in.

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This and last summer, I taught theater at a theater summer camp here in Providence. I met some beautiful brown girls, who worked their way into my heart.  All year long, I got to mentor them as they came into the theater to take various theater classes, expand their artistry and just sit in the office and talk to me about their lives. Saying farewell to them was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But, as I looked in their deep brown eyes, and they asked me with tears, “Why do you have to go?” I realized that this moment was oh so familiar. As a young girl growing up in New York, I had so many brown women come into my life and leave to pursue their dreams. I would ask the same question with tears filling my brown eyes and they would say something to the affect of ” I have to leave so that you can be some other girl’s beautiful brown woman and mentor.” As I looked at the future dead in the eyes today, I said those same words. ” I have to go, so that you can be some other beautiful brown girl’s mentor.” They bestowed upon me the same Black Girl Magic that I bestowed upon them. They changed me just as much as I changed them. They needed me just as much as I needed them. What a gift.

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