Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sink or Swim

'Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)' by Hillsong United passed through my ear plug speakers on repeat as I sat nervously at the bus stop. It was 11 pm. and by this time, the metro stopped running. The busy hustle of Los Angeles' traffic finally reached a calm and local establishments were beginning to close. I turned the music lower to be mindful of noises that could easily be omitted by loud music. My guard was up, firmly cemented around my senses of vulnerability, and in that moment, I felt more fear than I ever had in my life. I didn't have many options other than to just sit there and try really hard not to cry. It will all be over soon, I reassured myself, trying to find comfort in knowing my mom was thousands of miles away praying for me. I couldn't understand how it came to this, how the city of my dreams became such an atrocity, so I just continued to hum the lyrics as if my life depended on it

"...I will call upon Your name/ Keep my eyes above the waves/ My soul will rest in Your embrace/ I am Yours and You are mine..."

Daybreak came and it didn't cross my mind that I had not eaten, or showered, or slept. Maybe I had slept, but it just didn't seem like sleep at all.  When the first bus came, I hopped on as if the night hadn't been spent in that same spot. Where was I headed? Starbucks. I loved it there. It was just so welcoming, people treated me fairly, even if I didn't buy anything, and I could charge my phone. As soon as I arrived, I went to the bathroom to clean up and pulled out clean clothes to change into. It was now 8 am. Life was so much better in the day time. And I was headed to my first business meeting.

The meeting went well, my bosses seemed to like me. They threw around words like charismatic, confident, and well-mannered. I was glad they only saw the surface. I was glad that I didn't open my mouth about my living situation, or lack thereof. Maybe I should have said something, maybe they could have helped, but...would've-should've-could've doesn't change what is or what was.

Back at the train station. Night time again, walking from bus stop to bus stop. Slowly dozing to sleep on a crowded train. Waking up, repeating the steps in reverse to end up at Starbucks again, only to get to my destination and realized I'd been robbed of the little money I had, the cards too. So no more money. Then to McDonald's. That's when I met her. Usually, I read people well, but for the first time in a long time, I couldn't discern whether or not she could be trusted. This foreign stranger saw me crying and wanted to help me or at least drag me along to help her. The details didn't really matter, I just appreciated her company for the time being. But that gratitude slowly morphed into fear; fear for my life and fear that I couldn't protect her from the life she already surrendered to long before meeting me. As I watched her wave goodbye, eyes low and body week from the injection, I couldn't help but to feel remorse for not being able to protect her...

Over the years, I'v been insanely spoiled-yes blessed, but spoiled all the same- inclined to thinking that stuff like this happened in the world, just not to me. Never to me. I can watch a show all day centered around meth, the dangers and affects of it, the greed behind it, but assumed it would never reach my front door step. Maybe it has and I never noticed. Maybe I needed her to show me a layer of myself. All I do know is, during the countless moments God brought me to safety-at the bus stops, the train stations, on my journey-by-foot through the dark shadows of Los Angeles, CA-I no longer felt a sense of entitlement and stopped thinking that shit could never happen to me. 

I'm home now, finally home, finally having enough courage to openly speak on "what happened to Cali". No, this is not just an elaborate story of a fictional novella, this is real life. It was my last night in LA and I had to decide if being there was worth the struggle, if it was worth being so displaced from the only home I've known with the family that would never fail me, if it was worth being practically homeless until the second, or maybe even fifth, pay day. Was I going to swallow my pride and admit that maybe I moved too fast or be tempted to keep up with the performance of living in my dream city and doing well? Do I sink or swim?

I had to learn that it wasn't a matter of sinking or swimming, but surrender; to accept that God is ultimately the one in control, to learn to distinguish my voice from his (or hers...whichever gender you prefer), and to be humble or get humbled; to trust in spirit to direct me rather than trying to lead myself. I have found peace in knowing I acted fast and did what I had to do the moment I realized what needed to be done. Despite how ugly or horrifying, I am grateful for the experience and I trust that where I am and wherever I end up next is exactly where I need to be.

♥ Chymere A.


  1. I love that you were open enough to admit that maybe you moved too fast. I'm so guilty of always moving before God says so and ending up in difficult situations but I've learned that no matter what, I can trust that God always has my back and He can turn any situation around for good!

  2. Thanks for sharing some of the story. I don't quite understand all these details, but it sounds like a really crappy time, and I'm really sorry things turned out the way they did. Atlanta is happy to have you back! God's timing is always perfect, and that's something I constantly have to remind myself when I'm making moves. Xo

    1. the details don't matter much, believe me. It was crappy, but maybe it was a wake up call for me. Maybe not getting what I wanted will turn out to be exactly what I need. God's timing is perfect; You're absolutely right. Thanks for reading!

  3. I just caught up on everything. I don't think I even knew that you moved but I am proud of you for taking that leap. You would've never known what was on the other side of the mountain if you didn't climb.

    As a Californian born and raised I can tell you that LA is beautiful and ugly in the same breath. I'm sorry for whatever you went through while you were there but I couldn't help but to smile as I continued reading because your experience didn't defeat you. Just a temporary set back but you will definitely bounce back and when you do the reward will be much greater.

    California has a way of molding us. I still carry lots of bruises from it. It's not over though. God always has the last laugh. =)


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