If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you already know the deal - More Than Enough, the first book in my new POSTGRAD series is coming soon, sometime this "Spring." (Spring is in quotes because it's still cold, not because I'm lying.) Anyway. Here's a sample and the first introduction to Jamila... if you haven't read Winter Wonderland yet.
Anyway, this work is copyrighted. Here we go!
"Is my heart a black hole or is this just what adulthood feels like?” I sat on the floor in front of my bed. Legs folded, struggling to meditate.
“Take a deep breath in and count to four,” the meditation app’s recording began and I inhaled until I hit the count. “Now let go. Breathe out, and count to four.”
I exhaled, releasing all the air out of my lungs as the recording continued. “Allow yourself to feel the sensation of your feet touching the ground.”
I feel how much I can’t afford this month’s student loan payment.
“Hear the sounds around you.”
I took a deep breath in. I hear my ears ringing.
“Let go of your mind, allow yourself to think, don’t try to force your thoughts out.”
I need to fall into a lump sum of money so I can breathe a little bit.
“Take a second to refocus, get back to your meditation… it’s okay to lose track…”
“This is so stupid,” I finally spoke out loud.
I’d wanted to get back to peace mode or find some sort of calm after I got home from work. Because my job was the worst. Not because I worked for a creepy nonprofit executive director who looked like Suge Knight, but because I worked for a creepy, scamming nonprofit executive director who looked like Suge Knight.
The nonprofit, shamefully named YouthFirst, was supposed to provide resources to the public school system. But besides a small after-school program we “sponsored,” – I went to the grocery store and bought the refreshments for a recital – YouthFirst never interacted with any schools, or invited any principals into our office, or did anything other than raise money. My boss Terrence cashed fundraising checks and drove an Audi while the kids danced underneath a leaking roof.
Earlier in the day, I’d overheard a conversation between my boss and a well-known corrupt congressman that could put us all in jail. As I backed away from the copy machine, sweat beads forming on my back, I knew something had to change.
If I wished I never occupied the same space as my boss, and definitely never alone, I probably shouldn’t work there. Everything felt out of control.
I needed to find another consistent paycheck before something worse happened at work. And even though it’s what I wanted and needed, the job search exhausted me.
I wanted a new job, but I also wanted it all to work itself out. Like it always did.
About an hour after I got home, the thoughts I tried to avoid on the drive hit me. The room I rented out of the house I shared with my best friend Kenn, was courtesy of her ability to get her life together.
Again, not surprising.
All of my life I fell into things instead of making them happen. Situations usually worked out in my favor, but I cruised through everything, feeling like a bystander as life happened.
And then of course, once those negative thoughts sank in as I sat at home alone, all the other things I wanted to forget floated to the top of my mind.
In an effort to fight off the soon-to-come panic attack, I started meditating, since none of my usual relaxation strategies worked.
That’s how I ended up on my floor, eyes closed, using a meditation app I’d seen in an Instagram ad. And I was over it before I really got started.
“Siri, play Adult Jamila, Take 2 playlist.” Immediately, music filled the room from the playlist I created the first time I said I’d get my life together. That was a year ago. The songs comforted me and motivated me, but clearly not enough to start brainstorming or executing plans.
I opened my notes app to write down the idea that popped in my head: an actual plan, which consisted of four points: No more foolishness. Responsibilities first. Stay organized. And… no more dating.
“No more dating until I get my life together,” I said aloud as I typed. I wanted to secure a job in my field, open a savings account that I wouldn’t use so much the bank wouldn’t threaten to charge me to withdraw from it, and make enough money to start paying back the student loans I’d probably start to defer within a month.
A man would distract me and fuck my head up. All the men I’d previously dated were failed experiments that left me distracted, confused and wishing I’d used my free time to find a better job, a cheaper apartment, or cuter shoes.
I started to climb in bed and try to sleep away my frustrations, but the sound of a large piece of furniture sliding across the living room floor ruined that.