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  • Nubia Beasley-Bartee

INTO BLOOM | Being Present

Living in the Moment and Embracing the Journey


The wind whistles through my hair, throwing my curls into a frenzy dance around my head. Into the distance, the moon rests low in the sky and the sun creeps up behind it, ready to steal the white orb’s place. Orange and pink bleed into the ink-black of the night and a faint chirping rings from the distant tree line. I sit, cross-legged, with my back against the well as I pick at the blades of grass within reach. My mind has been bombarded by the weight of the task at hand; by what I have completed and what efforts still await. In times like these, when reality overwhelms me, I try to take a moment to look at what is happening in front of me rather than what I am expecting.


I see it like this: at the exact moment that I am ripping the grass from the ground, watching the sunrise, and worrying about how much further I have to go, I am also taking my first steps out of my bathroom and into this abandoned garden. My past self still exists, confused and hopeful with a lot on her plate; by the same token, there is a future me overcome with joy and pride that she has resurrected this garden and persevered on this journey towards emotional growth. The difference between me at this moment, me in the past, and me in the future are what I know now, the things I once knew, and that which I have yet to learn. It is natural to want to quell fear with possibility, to want to imagine a way out of your problems before you face them; but, there is always something changing about you, which is unpredictable. Looking back at how far you have come is one thing, it is a celebration of the self within the safety of your consciousness; but, concerning yourself with what is yet to come, toggling through the endless possibilities of the future, is a dangerous game. One that often leads to the dread and avoidance that drive procrastination and hopelessness. So, let the past you finish what they have to do to get where you are now and let your future you enjoy their celebration and confidence without worrying about where they could have gone wrong.


This journey towards emotional growth is not an easy task. It is breaking yourself down to put the pieces back together from scratch; it is emerging from your shell raw and pink, exposed to the elements in a search for another. When I was a little girl, I would lie on the patch of grass in my front yard and watch the clouds float by overhead. I would imagine I was a bird flying high above me, looking down at the little dots of people below; and then that I was an astronaut watching the blobs of brown and blue spin from the comfort of the moon. I would imagine a bigger picture until I got to the fiery glow of the cosmos, and I was nothing more than a microscopic speck in the grand scheme of the universe.


As I sit here with achy knees and grass under my fingernails, I am reminded of that microscopic place in the grand scheme of things, and my problems don’t quite feel as big as they did before. I am nothing but one person trying to better themselves to the best of their ability and, at this moment, that is all that matters: that I have tried my best and that I only push myself to be better. At this moment, I am that little girl lying beneath the clouds, reminding herself that this world is infinite and so is my potential.


Being present is about recognizing that you can only control so much; that there are highs and lows in everything that we do. Mastering social awareness requires a solid understanding of yourself; to interact with others without letting them too heavily influence how you view your progress and capabilities. Understanding the emotions of others must be prefaced with an understanding of your own emotions presently, and that is where being present comes into play. With a social awareness score of 74, I would argue that I am adept at understanding others without jeopardizing my belief system and self-esteem. Here is what my coworkers have to say about my social awareness skills; their words have been revised, as needed, for clarity:


“I would have expected Nubia to score higher than a 74/100 on the social awareness scale. From what I’ve gathered from working with Nubia, she seems like a very intuitive, empathetic person. I think Nubia is very socially aware and can easily pick up on emotional cues”


“Recently, I’ve seen a lack of presence from Nubia in the context of our working relationship. They do not always show up, and when they do they do not engage as much as they should: if at all. This score makes sense to me as they need work in the area of social awareness. I would love to hear from them more because I know there’s so much more to Nubia than we see.”


With an emphasis on human emotion, memory, and reliving experience, Nubia is a Chicago-based short fiction writer. As a black working-class woman, their life experiences within hegemonic academia have informed their writing, pushing their interests towards the representation of the Other while capturing the varying perspectives of those deemed unworthy of empathy. Follow her on instagram @nubiapharah




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