Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Sunday Style is a New York City based digital publication on personal style.
Not many people are privy to the conditions of my health. I credit that privacy largely with my own sound judgement and a sensible measure of reason, but sometimes I wonder if part of it is due to my concern that once I’m fully transparent about everything in my life, the true face of the world might be a bit uglier than I’m prepared to know. It’s like I imagine the worst this world has to offer is just waiting for me to share my flaws and insecurities so it can immediately turn them into shackles, bind me up, and throw away the key, and I’m like, “no thanks, I’ll suffer in silence.” And so I did, for months... so many months.
People generally tend to assume I’m in perfect health, and for the most part I suppose that makes sense. I didn’t always have the best diet or sleep routine, but I did maintain a steady weight and drink plenty of water and -for a New Yorker- that felt good enough. On the surface everything seemed fine, but not too far beneath, there was this one little condition that had repeatedly kicked me in the butt day in and day out for nearly two years. How do you go about addressing an issue you’ve so long tried to suppress? Much like Sway, I didn’t have the answers.
New York City has this strange ability to cram nine million people into 303 square miles, and still leave enough room for you to feel alone. And for so long -and even still at times- that’s exactly what I felt. I felt a responsibility to be concerned about the things that concerned the people in my sphere of influence, but I didn’t think they needed to be concerned about the things that concerned me, and they never even asked. Every time I think about how skewed my priorities were at the time, about the adverse effects it had on my health, I find I’m curious to know the kind of environment would have prompted me to look out for my own best interests with a quicker sense of urgency. That’s the kind of space I want to build my future in. So for anyone reading who feels anything like I once did- stop. Take care of yourself first, and perhaps you’ll be in a better position to support those around you.
Like most people who left home to live in the big apple at any point in their lives, my cellphone has long been my best friend when it comes to connecting with family members who are still hours away at home. Conversations with siblings and friends last for hours, and while these moments have certainly been quite joyous and energetic, there is only one person who has been there for it all- especially in those not-so-happy times of my life. It’s my mom, and I am literally the worst at delivering suspense.
Normally a photo would go here, but she’s not ready to be famous, so I’ll just keep writing about her, and you can just paint a picture in your head. Much like me, she’s quite beautiful, but even more so, so imagine that if you can.
When I can’t figure something out myself, or I don’t want to deal with something alone, I often call my mom to get her thoughts on the situation. And you never really know how it all will go- sometimes we agree wholeheartedly, sometimes we agree to disagree, and sometimes I happen to be going through a tunnel when she’s talking. In all seriousness though, my mother was the first call I made when I was ready to better manage my health, and it helps that she has been there in every season of my life (more than I think she even knew she’d subscribed to). Earfulls, tearfulls, radiant health, crippling sickness, and everything in between. My days have often been added to her days with little to no notice, and I dare say she manages all of my “stuff” with more grace than Tiffany Haddish had when she handled Katt Williams calling her out of her name on the airwaves. So before I continue with details schmetails, I just want to say thanks, Mom.
Although I knew the call to my mother wouldn’t give me the final solutions needed for my health, there’s something about talking with someone who loves you so deeply that supplies you the necessary calm before facing the storms of life. That, and I also kinda needed someone to help hold me accountable for fully taking care of myself at the time. After speaking with her, I finally felt a bit more prepared to set the appointment with my doctor, and handle this thing from a medical perspective. Why I was so against seeing the doctor for so long I honestly could not tell you, but these days I will set an appointment so quick if I so much as cough weird.
Anyway, fast forward through months of recovery, a new diagnosis, a terrible relapse, and oh- wait, I’m still healing from that last one… yeah. It’s been two full months since my major relapse of sickness, and I’ve just recently begun to reenter the real world outside my apartment. At this point, I’ve seen my doctor so many times in the last several weeks, that I’ve added him towards the top of my holiday list. My recovery has been slow, to say the least, but I think what inspired me to write about it has been the major revelations I’ve had during this time. Have you ever felt like you’ve been given another chance when you know full well you didn’t (and probably still don’t) deserve it? Before you, leave, this is not turning into a church service, but I’ll happily accept an offering if ever you should feel so inclined.
Laying on my bed for weeks, I realised I was blessed with the gift of time. Yes, I was in searing pain, and yes, I spent some of that time thinking about death, but I also used that time to explore so much more. My mother always raised us to be peacemakers, so I have always been very conscientious about accepting divine peace in every situation, and here it was no different. I knew what I was going through was very difficult, but I also knew there was enough strength in me to get through it, and I was determined still to find even more to help me come out of this battle with my health stronger than ever. I said a lot. Are you still with me?
My focus as a person this year was to grow stronger in mind, body, and soul, but more specifically I just wanted to say what I feel, and express more freedom of thought. I like to think I’ve grown a lot, and as I slowly return to the real world, I’m excited to see how I can continue to grow, especially in the presence of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives that differ from or try to compete with my own. For example, it’s one thing to say you’re strong when you’re by yourself, but it can feel entirely different when you have loads of people constantly trying to convince you otherwise. Oh boy, did I have a lot to think about.
How many times must you speak your truth before the universe is on your side? Interesting question. Probably start by accepting the fact that the truth is not yours to own, get a grip on all that is real, and let go of all that is not. Life is hard for everyone, and you are the only one who can truly feel the pain you are in, so take good care of yourself, and be grateful for any and everyone who expresses their genuine concern. ← That, boys and girls and non-binaries, that is how I came to terms with all that has been happening in my life. This is when I started to experience this sort of ‘rebirth.’
When we are born into this world, we are born into this structure of time, of which we have no concept, and are then made to learn the ways of those who came before us. People grow up up having built their lives in a linear manner, based on the learned concept of time. We buy into a sense of security, and view the future as a safe in which to place our hopes and dreams for life. But none of this is real, because tomorrow, we learn, is more of an idea than a reality. So then, what are we to do - abandon all hope? I certainly don’t think so. For me, I think these thoughts and revelations offer an opportunity to view new possibilities. I recently heard a lyric where the rapper iterated that “every day I wake, I’m a new man.” As I approach a new year of life, I’ve decided to adopt this philosophy and see where it takes me.
If right now is all you have, wouldn’t you want to make the most of each moment? Why do we lock ourselves in the prisons of miserable careers, fruitless traditions, and religious obligations that bring us no joy, no peace, and no victory? It didn’t take a sickness or near death experience for me to realise these things, but those experiences certainly helped me in the effort of embracing them. Right now, I’m experiencing a moment of rebirth. Right now, I have a fresh sense of life and energy. In this moment, I am fully committed to living full and free, and I’m open to deeper understandings of what that means. What’s up with you?
Peace Love + Light. KI.