the olympic games (part 4)
On a plane, the takeoff and time up in the air can be the scariest. The present moment holds uncertainty— uncertainty as to whether or not a safe landing will come in the future. When the descent into one’s destination begins, however, it gets much easier to feel genuine faith. It is when you not only realize, but wholeheartedly internalize the fact that God remains with you even while the flight is 38,000 feet in the air and 500 miles from your destination that you will become the master of your destiny.
This was the general message delivered at church with my stepmom down in Atlanta the day before my move to New York: “FAITH over FEAR”.
July 11, 2017
My flight into NYC’s LaGuardia Airport may have just touched down, but the flight towards my dream was just getting off of the ground; a long ride full of both turbulence and stunning views was in store. A fresh-out-of-college, young, black man was prepared to fight against the best of the best, all for the love of himself. Without his dreams, he was dead.
I pulled up with one suitcase and one bookbag to the apartment whose couch I would sleep on for the first night. A family friend from middle school had agreed to let me stay there for one night, but I had no idea where I would lay my head even the next day. I barely had any money and didn't even have a secure place to stay. Despite my worried stress, though, what I did still have was my dreams to keep my faith fueled.
Originally, although I knew that I would succeed in New York, I truthfully didn’t feel that me making it in the fashion industry was a guarantee; my faith only reached so far. I decided that I would be happy working in a financial role for any major creative company. I broadened that to mean fashion, retail, entertainment, media, beauty, advertising— pretty much whoever would take me.
I submitted my first applications to places like Macy’s, L’Oreal, Complex Magazine, etc. Belief in the achievement of your dreams is vital, but expecting a certain timeline is a waste of time. I had been telling all of my family members that I expected to have a job within 1-2 weeks of touching down, but life quickly humbled me. Almost 2 weeks in, I still had not even received a single ounce of communication from any company. That belief in my greatness was useful since I probably never would’ve moved to NYC had I known just how long it would take for me to actually land my dream job, but now that belief had turned into disappointment and self-doubt.
Hundreds of highly-qualified professionals apply to each of these positions; companies have to narrow it down from hundreds of resumes to just one new employee. That is what makes the experience of achieving one’s professional dreams an Olympic competition, especially in New York City. You train and give it everything you’ve got, building up your best possible resume and interview pitch, yet there will still only be one winner at the end. And the same goes for entrepreneurship. It was easy to believe in myself before the games began, before I began applying to jobs. Once the big stage became my backyard, however, faith was much more difficult to feel. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. But would I even make it in New York? I wanted evidence of my descent into my dream destination.
July 25, 2017
“I HAVE AN INTERVIEW WITH MACY’S!” I screamed to the midnight sky from a Brooklyn rooftop overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
My stepmom had called to tell me that her high-up connection in corporate Macy’s informed her that I was going to be invited to interview. Despite my stressing, this good news had come through to affirm for me that hope was still alive for my dream. That night alone on the roof, I screamed to the sky hoping that God could hear my gratitude. I couldn't believe that things seemed to finally be falling into place.
Even better, through a miraculous series of events, a few days later, I signed my lease for the apartment that I had stayed in the first night. My first morning waking up on that couch, the thermostat had erupted all 6 residents into World War III, and the resulting conflict and violence got so insane that two of the roommates had to move out. As a result, I had had a free bedroom ever since my second day in New York. Now, through the grace of God himself and some extreme hustling, I was able to get approved for the apartment and a relocation loan to end my financial worries temporarily. The loan was only enough to cover me for about two more months in New York at the very most, so the race to my dream was on, now more than ever. By October 1st, I would need to be receiving paychecks in order to pay my rent.
Journeys to our Olympic golds are hard. They are agonizingly long and faith-testing every step of the way. God, however, does not want us to give up. He wants to see us accomplish even our wildest dreams. Through all of the long, hard days of our Olympic paths, he sends us small wins to help us keep hope alive. While this hope that comes through in these moments is amazing, the tough part is maintaining that hope long enough to reach the finish line in first place. The challenge becomes consistently meditating on the optimistic feelings from moments like finding out that I had the Macy's interview. It is focusing on these blessings that gives us the strength to make it to the finish line in world-record fashion. And boy was the finish line still far away from me..
To be continued...