My motto this year is to do all the things I've said I want to. Partially because yolo, but more-so because as I get older my mortality is racing towards me faster than a hyperactive puppy. This is the philosophy that led me to New York, and the same one that led me to Hawaii for my sister's birthday trip. I initially wasn't going to go because let's face it, ya girl broke. But when there's a will there's a way, and so I scrounged and made it happen. I'd be lying if I said there were no regrets (I can still hear the audible cries of my bank account), but Hawaii's been on my list since I moved to this country so I'm happy I could make it there.
The islands are obviously stunning, the air humid and warm (my hair and skin thank you), the sun bestowing me with a glow to rival Mac and Sephora, and the waters clear, warm and healing. All beauties aside, Hawaii kicked. my. ass. A whopping K.O. I was no match. It started off with the tide-pools which we scaled a treacherous, steep, rocky mountain down to. The pools themselves were beautiful, with a backdrop of splashing ocean waves. I ate, I swam, I selfied, I stubbed my toe on a sea urchin and sliced my knee on a piece of coral. That thing went through me like a knife into soft butter leaving me to trek back up the mountain with a bloody knee,
Next up on the list, surfing! We drove to an area called North Shore which is ridiculously picturesque and I can't believe people get to live there. I've surfed before and I've loved it each time, so I was ecstatic to get back out on the water. What I didn't mentally budget for were the reefs that lurked beneath. Our instructors prepped us for them though and we were taught to fall off the boards like a starfish to avoid hard contact with the rocky bottoms. And yet, even with my best Patrick Star impression, I managed two cuts to the top of my foot on my first dismount.
But foot cuts be damned! I was going to enjoy this trip no matter the injuries sustained. And so we walked back to our car, tossed our wet belongings in the trunk and as I held on to the open trunk for balance to take off my shoes, a resounding thud. Yes, the sound of the trunk door slamming on and trapping my finger in it. Please open the door now! please please please! I tried not to cry, I really did, I hate crying in public but this one hurt. The actual physical pain, the mental image of having part of your limb forcefully stuck between something, plus the adrenaline triggered by my fight or flight response- it was the perfect martini glass cocktail of tears. Fortunately nothing was broken, and we very conveniently had a fully frozen bottle of ice in the trunk which I used against the swelling.
That night in bed, I gave myself a hug. For this body which had endured so much but still kept my soul secure and allowed me to enjoy the rest of the trip. For how bad everything could have been, but how perfectly safe I was able to come out of it. Behind that mortality puppy running my way, is a band of fragility kittens. I've never felt so fragile as I did on this trip. New York concrete jungle aint got nothing on mother nature (...and car nature) of Hawaii! We're truly just a bunch of soft vulnerable blood bags.
And yet despite this fragility, we are resilient. It is truly by the grace of God that I made it back to LA in one piece, and as much as I loved my vacation, boy am I happy to be back home.
I've wanted to go skydiving since I was 18 but it just never happened. As the years passed, I got scared that I'd be too scared to do it. So when S asked me if I wanted to do risk expiring, I jumped at the opportunity. "I'm going to jump out of a plane"- it's not exactly a thought that inspires tranquility, so I did what I do best, I ignored it 🙂. Despite what you might think, suppression is indeed a healthy coping mechanism. I was surprisingly calm during our climb to 10,000 ft. and didn't really process what I was about to do until the plane door opened. Whoosh! There's nothing like the sound of your impending death to really center you. From this point everything moved mad fast. Next thing I know S's body has disappeared into the void of blue, my feet are on the edge of a plane and plop.
The first 5 seconds were horrid. I didn't mean to, but instinct had me close my eyes. It felt like the drop of a rollercoaster but without having anything to hold on to. Back in the office I got a chance to watch my footage and all I could see was me kicking my feet. Talk about fight and flight. Post 5 secs though, it was the best! Yes, the free fall was great, but no one ever talks about how awesome (and yes that painfully overused word is justified here) the parachute descent is! Not even for the calm, but my instructor and I started doing parachute tricks (who knew that was a thing??!) Spins and suspensions, it was absolutely fantastic. I don't have any proof though because I was too cheap to pay for any of the photo or video packages lol. Luckily S cares more for her memories so I have these:
Final verdict: 10/10 would do it again. Somewhere more tropical looking though. As much as I love SoCal, the farmlands of Camarillo aren't the final view I'd like to fantasize about.
I've gone running everyday for the past 7 days.
WHO AM I??!!!!
Perpetual complainer, sleep collector, famous amos inhaler, professional excuser. Yup, I'm all of that and a 7 day running streak champ, so please take 20 steps back and address me as m'aam from now on. All jokes aside, I'm incredibly proud of myself because post high school, the struggle has been real. I've never seriously struggled with body issues (fortunately), but motivation and consistency are the devil's hump. I'm even hesitant to be writing about this because let's face it, I'm no stranger to boldly proclaiming my goals and boldly failing at them. But I'm trying to be positive so let's frame it as me "failing fast".
The truth is I haven't done this alone and I've had some key variables that have led me through this week's success. First, I have a workout buddy who honestly deserves a medal for his sheer willingness to always get out. It's nothing but inspiring, and for a moody Judy like myself that unwavering tunnel vision consistency is something to aspire to. Second, I recently discovered David Goggins. Nuff said. If ever you're feeling down on your self, need a kick in the butt, pepper soup in your eye, kilishi that went down the wrong pipe jump start in your life, watch David Goggins. In fact for your convenience, I'll link his instagram here. Third, a classmate put me on to a 40 day running challenge. I'm tentatively publicizing this challenge but that's just fear talking and I seek freedom from my fears! And last but not least, now that the dramatics have subsided, I've accepted the fact that I hate running.
I've spent so much time looking for the perfect workout, aiming to find something that I enjoy that I've pushed off doing anything in the process. Ever since I accepted that this is not something I like (or may ever will), it's been easier to accept my foe, get out there and fight it. Goggins helped me get to this place and it has really changed the game for me. Is there a workout out there that'll probably give me more pleasure than running? I'm sure there is. I just haven't found her yet, but when I do I look forward to our blossoming relationship. Until then, I've accepted my fate. And like a dutiful honor that a prince might despise, I will wear my crown (or shall I say tennis shoes) and perform my duty.
There's a stereotype out there that New Yorkers are impatient assholes who have neither the time nor the politeness to deal with us bright eyed bushy tailed tourists from out yonder. I'm not saying that's untrue, but the New Yorkers I came across were nothing short of amazing (except that one grumpy manicurist who seemed to find pleasure in taking his grief out on me. I hate people sometimes). Even despite the few grinches, I really can see myself living there. Now I'm not without self awareness (well tbh cousin Ngozi's awareness ) and I realize that spending the summer in the city has put a nice warm, snow exempt glow on what living here must be truly like. All that aside here are a few things I've enjoyed from my #hotgirlsummer spent in the big apple:
1. The people. Hands down. One of my favorite memories is sitting outside the packed patio of Bed-Vyne Brew, watching locals walk up and greet each other with the kind of familiarity that makes you miss your childhood friends. And it's not just that they're people, it's that they're black people. Varied black people. African black, European black, Brooklyn black. It's a different kind of refreshing to be surrounded by your people, and I was born and raised in the motherland! See how the valley has immunized me from my roots?
2. The food. In LA if I want good Nigerian food, I'm driving 45 mins in traffic to Veronica's in Inglewood. In NY, if I want good African food I'm walking 5 mins to Paradis Des Gouts. Nuff said.
3. The stoop parties! I was never invited to one because I guess I wasn't cool enough lol, but riding my bike through Brooklyn on a Saturday evening, watching people grill, hearing music blast, and rolling through the waters of an open fire hydrant made me feel like I was living my best Spike Lee movie joint life
So far I've talked of things I loved. Here's some I hate:
4. The city. lol. If I ever lived in NY, my ideal package would be to live and work in Brooklyn and never leave. And if I did leave, it'd be to journey into lower manhattan because at least that's only a short subway ride away.
5. The bugs, the heat, and the humidity! The holy trinity from hell. I'm not exaggerating when I say I was bitten over 30 times. It wouldn't be so bad if I had Wolverine type regenerative powers, but my skin does. not. heal. This means I have scars for souvenirs that I'll be brandishing for an unforeseen amount of time.
Maybe it's because of Trump, or maybe it's because I'm getting older, but these past few years really have me feeling like anything can happen. If you know me, I've always said I want to live in New York. I was fortunate enough to have the summer, fortunate enough to have a job that let's me work from my computer, and fortunate enough to have my Gemini right brain out-convince the left brain (I'm the queen of talking myself out of things 🙄) so we made it happen! I really do plan to continue carrying this spirit of "Getterdone!". Our futures are not promised on this earth, no time will ever be right, and we'll never have enough money. But if we're trying to make moves, we just gotta put our ducks in a row and someway, somehow, go out there and make it happen.