Today we are all saying goodbye to August and hello to September! For some of us, this means the return to the daily grind of school. For others, it means continuing life as normal because work hours don't discriminate no matter what month it is! For me, with my impending move to Atlanta now only being one week away, it all means so much more. Before saying my 16 hellos to September, first allow me to say my 16 goodbyes to August.
You represent more to me than just a month:
You are every memory that lives here in Michigan, and that is indeed most every memory.
You are my dancing days at Artistry in Motion from the age of 3 to 10. Nobody could tell me I wasn't meant to be Misty Copeland!
You are Maria Montessori, the school where I was so harshly abused, that I grew to have my first suicidal thoughts by the time I was in 1st grade.
You are the middle of 5th grade at Ealy Elementary after my parents took me out of Maria Montessori. Some of the kids were mean, and the food was terrible, but it was the first time that no teachers hit me. I loved it.
You are the (ONLY) time that I got suspended at this new school for fighting. Whoops
You are my middle school awkward phase, gapped teeth, puberty and all.
You are the time I got cast as Ms. Darbus in 8th grade's "High School Musical". I hated my character and the musical choice, but I decided to give it my all. Nobody ever forgot my performance and other people's parents even bought me flowers and balloons. I knew then that acting was really all I ever wanted to do.
You are my freshman year at Mercy High School where I became the Freshman Class President, 1 of 10 chosen to go to D.C. as a Model United Nations representative, a basketball player, and too many other things to count. I really felt I was hitting my stride.
You are November 12, 2009, the day I got cut from the basketball team, the day before I was going to finalize putting a basketball as my high school ring design. Mom told me, "You're not looking for a ring design. You're looking for your identity, and until you settle it in Christ, you'll always be searching." I'd always put my worth in what I could do, never in just being a Child of God. That night, I prayed God would help change my perspective, and He did. I never struggled with suicidal thoughts or depression again. I chose to put the ARTS as my ring design; nothing truer could ever belong.
You are my senior year at Mercy High School when I found out I would be Student Body President. I only wanted the position because the President got to make announcements every morning - they spoke and people listened. The President had influence. I wanted to influence people for God. To this day, young girls who I don't even recognize know my face and my voice and tell me that I was the best President they had.
You are the trip I took to NYC when I just KNEW I would be accepted to my top choice of Columbia University and I figured it would be awesome to be on campus the precise moment I received the good news. You are the tearful taxi ride back to the hotel when they told me no.
You are every "no" I got from every other college and scholarship that I applied for. You are the one "yes" that I got from the University of Michigan. It proved to be enough.
You are my first poetry slam win that landed me a spot on the UM Slam team and the all expenses paid trip to go compete with my love of poetry in NYC at none other than... Columbia University.
You are my 2014 experience at Actors, Models, Talent for Christ showcase where out of 700+ participants, I was chosen as Runner Up for Best Overall Actress with callbacks from all over the nation. You are all of the nights that I went to sleep crying, wondering if I made the right decision to turn it all down just to go back to finish school. You are the days my heart was filled with regret wondering if a chance like that would ever come around again.
You are April 30, 2016, my graduation day. I walked across the stage with a degree in Spanish from THEE University of Michigan. I wore my cap, gown and tassels from 6am until 3am, not even taking a piece off while eating in restaurants or taking a nap in between ceremonies because the girl that they all said would never amount to anything...she made it! #HAIL
You are my first study abroad trip to Brazil a week after graduating. You are the moment I watched the sun rise, knowing it was the same sun rising there as the one that rises in Michigan. In much the same way, post graduation, it will be the same God who goes before me and with me in this leg of my race no matter where that may take me.
For all that you were, the good/bad/ugly, I thank you and I now wish you adieu in order to make room for September.
You represent more to me than just a month:
You have always represented something new, usually a new grade. But this time is different. This time I've run out of grades to go to, so you represent a newness that is so new, I don't really have the name for it yet.
You are Atlanta.
You are my "FINALLY". I am FINALLY free to go after the passions that have been in my heart for years without having the guilt of quitting something else. FINALLY there's nothing else!
You are the excitement that comes with feeling like this is the beginning of my life. Real life
You are the dread that comes with the knowledge that my parents now want me to start paying bills.
You are the confusion that comes with ADULTing. How do I cook rice again?
You are the endless list of phone calls that I will make back home to ask the questions that I never thought to ask before (but not too many calls because...refer back to #5).
You are the "firsts" that are coming not just for me, but my whole family. One day before I move to Atlanta, my brother will move to Phoenix to live on his own for the first time too. My parents will be empty nesters for their first time. What will home look like when we are no longer there? Will it still be just as sweet?
You are the anticipation that I wake up with. The feeling of a rush of energy that makes my stomach feel like it's on a rollercoaster and makes my hands sweat like I am about to go on stage. It's the energy that says, "I have a feeling something BIG is coming my way!"
You are the new friends that I hope to meet quickly since I'm such a people person, yet I am going to a place where I don't know many people. You are the much needed growth in my spiritual discernment department, allowing God to show me who I should connect myself with and who I should leave alone.
You are the process of finding a new home church. Will it ever compare to my last one? Should I even compare at all? Lord, lead me.
You are change: a change in the way I eat, my exercise habits, my daily routines, everything!
You are fresh opportunity! I can't wait to get attached to an agent and go on auditions.
You are the answer to my list of confessions from my senior year. I spoke forth all year that I would be getting paid for my passions and that I would travel with people that I love, doing the things that I love. Now I find myself moving for the purposes of a touring Gospel stage play. I am truly blessed.
You are the week-long fast that I am beginning today in order to have my priorities straight before I really hop into this next phase of life.
You are this next phase of life...and I don't really know what that is. Maybe that's what makes you so great, what makes me so brave, and what make God so...God.
To all of the good things to come - I welcome you.
To all of the bad things to come that God will eventually work out for my good - I welcome you.
Yesterday was August, and the beauty and pain that it brought are all memories.
Today is September, and the things to come are all mysteries. But God knows it all, so I trust Him and choose to take this day as it comes. I am more ready than I know, and so are you because...