the soundtrack of my life…

A Decade of Growth

Posted on: April 7, 2008

In a couple of weeks, I will be attending my 10-year high school reunion.

WOW.10.years. Like for real, it doesn’t even feel like it’s been that long. The past 10 years have been filled with lots of highs and plenty of lows; smiles and laughter, but a hell of a lot of tears. They made me the person I am today, a better person…though there were times that I was feeling so broken, I didn’t know if I’d make it.

Spring and Summer of 1998…I was on such a high that whole year. At the beginning, I was finishing off senior year with a car, no need to carry a backpack, off-campus lunches (thanks to Becky, the Dean of Students’ car, I was able to drive to get lunch — the possibilities were unlimited!), a relaxed uniform (woohoo, college sweatshirts and sneakers!), and not a care in the world! That summer after high school was the best. Me and Lo’Nique were any and everywhere. We were at all the hot concerts, eating at different restaurants trying to get some culture, meeting some really entertaining folks and pretty much living out of my car. We were inseparable, until it came time for her to leave for school in Tampa and me to head to Atlanta.

My freshman year…I came to my HBCU full of wonderment and culture shocked like a mugg! It was the most black people I had seen in a long time! (My high school may have had 50 black people total — including the janitorial and kitchen staff!) I was officially on my own in a new city, where I didn’t really know anyone. I was faced new challenges and a roommate. I learned that class wasn’t always necessary, especially if the professor didn’t take attendance. I learned that Psychology class at the gym wasn’t going to happen, unless I got a call from my R.A. saying she was driving up there (somehow I managed to pull off a A- in that class!) I learned that it was nothing to walk through the halls of my female dorm and see one of my many friends on the football team roaming around heading to his girl-of-the-moment’s room. I learned to flirt with Smitty in the corner store to get my chicken fingers and wing-on-wheats for free (or at least a discount!) I learned I was “holding my roommate back” — when she was living in my room, she never left (not even for homecoming festivities) but as soon as she moved out, she was Ms. Social Butterfly. I learned that I had more sense than my next roommate, who marked such milestones on her calendar as “first ride in a Benz,” “first time on a motorcycle,” “first conversation with a Que,” and would peek out of our window (on the ground floor in the parking lot) when the cops were arresting someone. I learned that people thought I was stuck up and mean because I would observe people’s interactions with each other. I rationalized not going to class on rainy days.

My sophomore year…I moved into the upperclassmen dorm and gained 5 new roommates. I learned to label my food and to keep our kitchen door close (damn ole girl’s boyfriend eatin’ our shit when we weren’t there!) I was reunited with my car, so a whole new world of opportunities opened up. I had my first stint as a barista at Starbucks. (Which ended up being a wonderful thing when one of my roommates got sick and we had to drive her to the hospital at 1am — I was wired thanks to all that caffeine!) I realized how important my close friends were after my “big brother’s” best friend passed away in his dorm room. I reaped the benefits of babysitting — free food, free laundry, and pay! I was officially in the business school and taking classes in my major. I flirted my way to free groceries — thanks to that dude who lost his job giving me the hook-up at Kroger…he was a cutie! (He would give me 8 bags of groceries for $8!!) I had a blast during Super Bowl weekend…even though we had that “ice storm.”

My junior year…it was pretty crappy. Overall, it was probably one of my worst years in the A. I was excited about living off campus for the first time, in a fly apartment. I was on my third stint at Starbucks and I loved it. There was always entertainment at my location in the heart of Midtown — from the crackheads to the drag queens to the gays, I loved that place and my coworkers. I was in the clubs on the regular (I even had my own parking space — the parking lot attendant had a crush on me!) However, three days before my birthday (on the way home from a great party) I got in a bad car accident. It left me without transportation for a long time, and it meant that I would have to rely on others to get around AND, more importantly, was going to spend my birthday at home, by myself eating a Hot Pocket and working on an accounting assignment (I cried most of the night.) My roommate was MIA and ended up moving in with her boyfriend and left me high and dry (see Letters.) I was really unhappy, and slipped into depression for a minute. Senior year and the end of my lease couldn’t come fast enough.

My senior year…things definitely got better. I moved into a new apartment with my friend Cris. Things were pretty great. We had a lot of fun for the most part. From going out to the doorbell that just rang on it’s own to the late nightswatching Vh1Soul and dancing around our living room. We fought killer spiders and complained about dumb people. I got closer to a couple of my B-School friends. That summer, I met my best friend B.Lanier (what a blessing that was!) At the end of senior year, I moved into my own place. (I don’t know how I survived all of that time with a roommate! LOL)

Fall ’02 – Spring ’03…I had 3 or 4 classes to take before I could graduate, so I pretty much coasted through life with no worries. I spent most of my time playing nanny to “my girls.” I had been babysitting four girls ages 1 to 15 for the majority of my matriculation for extra cash, free laundry services and, most importantly, free food.

From Spring 2003 to Summer 2004…I was straight chillin’. I was unemployed, but amazingly was eating out all the time. Me and KRF had met a lot of people and made friends with some restaurant people, which allowed us to get the occasional free meal! We were Sunday brunch connoisseurs, played full court tennis, and worked on our tans. And every Monday night (without fail) you could find me at The Havana Club for Mellow Mondays! Yeah, I coasted through the majority of the time. But that year was an important one for me personally. At the end of 2003, I decided that it was time to eliminate the negativity in my life. I’ve always been a people person and had a good group of friends. Since I’m an only child, I treat my FRIENDS as family — meaning, if I have it, you have it (in a sense.) Through out my life, I’ve always had people to take advantage of that, but have usually just let that slide. Karma is a bitch and always had a way of coming back with a vengeance. I decided that I couldn’t take the abuse anymore and I started making serious cuts to the team. I think I laid off about 4 people in a couple of months time. They all were let go for specific reasons, but it all boiled down to me feeling like I was unappreciated. One or two of them didn’t even realized there was a problem, and that was my fault, but I just got tired of putting in the effort when I wasn’t getting anything in return. Many people doubted that I would just cut people off, even B.Lanier, but I did. And in retrospect, I bet I looked hella crazy like I was losing my damn mind — I went from a crew of 15 to a crew of 4 in a few weeks.

June, 2004…I started working in corporate America. Ahh, the joys of being on salary. I had real money. I didn’t have to clock in…but on the other hand I also didn’t get any benefit financially when I had to stay at work past 5pm. GRR!

2004 – now…I’ve had a lot of personal growth. I’ve discovered things about myself. Definitely learned things about other people. I got rid of more negative energy. I’ve met my father. I’ve gotten closer with my family. I found out who my real friends were and are. I’ve traveled to a lot of wonderful places. (I could’ve stayed in Rome forever!) I’ve met a lot of great people. I found my passion and am making plans to actively pursue it. I’ve become closer to the people in my inner circle. I’ve reconnected with special people who I thought I had lost. I’ve gained 2 more godchildren.

You know, now that I’ve looked back on the last 10 years, I can honestly say that I’ve had some of the greatest times of my life and wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything!

As the years go by, things get sunnier. When it does get cloudy and rain, I have a better understanding of why things happened the way they did and come out a better person.


3 Responses to "A Decade of Growth"

Loved this one. Sent me down a memory lane of my own. My 10 year high school anniversary is just around the corner too… boy time flies.

I went to my 10 year in ’06! It was sooo random to see everyone now!
Peeps were married, had kids/family, the hot guys in high school were balding, and the strangest was seeing some of the geekier guys roll up with wives lookin like straight ho’s! Dressed in barely there dresses. I was trippin!

I LOVE that we used to shop, travel and eat with 0 income between the two of us….WTF? I’ve been working for however long now and my ass can’t do that, what the hell has gone wrong?

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