April 2014: Around this time, I was just counting down until I was leaving Chicago, I could quit working at the loan store, and I could just have new surroundings. So, I was still trying to save to leave Chicago, but it seemed like as soon as I got a paycheck, it was gone. The leave Chicago fund was slim to none, but I was still leaving. Atlanta was the move. I was just putting things in place.
May: May was pivotal. I started to get antsy about life. Per usual, it seemed like things were not working out. May was monumental, because I was feeling stagnant and confused. I knew I was supposed to be doing something, but it seems like the direction I was taking was not working fast enough. I kept praying to God, just trusting he would lead me. May 21st, I was sitting on my laptop, and I was praying to God. At that very moment, he showed me the PowerPoint presentation I created back in October 2013. That was the outline for my book. Writing this book showed me purpose. I think that’s what I had not been grasping totally. I took myself out the picture. Granted I wanted to accomplish things for myself, I knew I was supposed to be doing something that served others. So, I started writing. My focus was to complete this book.
June: Here I am working on a book, but my patience is growing so thin while working at this loan store. I was ready to go. I was totally ready to exit the state of Illinois and be in Atlanta. So, I finally set the exit date. August 1st, I was going to take my car and drive to Atlanta and start this new journey. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a book or moving. I didn’t want anyone’s opinions to interfere with my decision. It was between me and God. While this was an exciting point in life, I was still feeling anxious, impatient and pissed off about where I was in life. There was one key moment that changed my outlook on my current situation.
I remember the weekend of June 27th. I had took off that weekend from work, because I had planned on going to LA for the weekend for the BET awards. That was another faith trip I wanted to take, since I had some connects there. Of course, life didn’t work out like that. Around this time I was actually contemplating moving to LA. I was literally going to take my things and grab a one way flight to LA and make it work. Now, I’m confused and unsure of if I’m moving to LA or Atlanta. So, for like two weeks, I tried to buy a flight to LA, and every time something went wrong. So, now I’m stuck in Chicago for the weekend. I couldn’t get to LA, but I needed to be in a totally different surrounding. So, I pack up my stuff and I drive downtown to my friend’s apartment. I figured being there would give me the chance to think about everything and reflect. Friday (6/27) was a beautiful day. It was hot, I didn’t have to work so I was going to enjoy my stay downtown. I went bike riding on the lake (well, somewhat..lol), had lunch up north and walked around downtown with my friends. It was a great day, until about 9p.
I remember scrolling on Instagram, and I saw pics of someone I know in LA…at the BET awards, and then it hit me. Why does she get to be there, and I’m not? My whole mood changed the rest of the night. I went completely silent on my friends. I didn’t want to talk, all I could do was think. Thank God my friends are so understanding. They were chilling poolside, singing and having fun, and I was mentally somewhere else. So, my friends go home, and as soon as they walk out the door, I start bawling in my friend’s living room. That was my breaking point. I just admitted how unhappy I was. I really let go of everything I was holding inside. I just cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. In the midst of my tears, I was set free from everything I was holding against myself. I believe God spoke through my friend that night. I remember him telling me, keep writing Jonnita, just keep writing until sh*t happens. It was like he knew that some amazing things were about to happen in my life that I didn’t know about. But his words stuck with me, and that same night, I started writing whatever came to mind. I literally wrote the whole weekend I was there. I sat outside on his rooftop with my laptop, and my book came to life. It’s the still, quiet moments when you can really hear from God. After that weekend, I was focused. I no longer cared about my circumstances, where I thought I should be, or my job. My focus was on the things I couldn’t see. That was and still is my fuel.
July: During this month, I focused on finishing my book. I wrote everyday, and everywhere possible. July was a transition month as well, because I decided I no longer wanted to move to ATL, but to New York instead. I prayed on this decision, and God showed me a series of signs starting with my mother, to one of my friends telling me she knew I was moving to NY, and I hadn’t even told her. My moving date to NY was set for Sunday, August 31st. Around mid-July, I gave my job three weeks notice I was leaving. Everything was falling into place…finally. I had peace about everything. So, I enjoyed what was going to be left of my summer with friends and family. Even, when I told everyone I was leaving, they were all supportive. Of course, no one wanted me to go…lol, but they were all supportive. I still hadn’t really told anyone I was writing a book- a select few knew.
August: The countdown. The month of August was bittersweet. Life as I knew it was about to change. I knew I wanted my book to drop before I left, so my focus was getting the book edited, and designing a cover for the book. Of course, circumstances popped up that interfered with finishing the book. I promise I had almost 20 different cover designs that just weren’t doing it for me. I had been going back and forth with a designer, and after a while, I was just like, I’m going to do this myself. It was a lot of pressure, because I was trying to figure out how I was going to actually end the book (writing never ends, you just have to stop) and on top of that I had to design a cover. By the grace of God, it all came together, and one night after sitting on my computer for about 3 hours after getting home from work, around 1AM, I finally had a cover. That was done. So, now the internet in our house is barely working. My
fancy MacBook is not letting me use the internet for whatever reason, so I have to use my god- mom’s PC for everything. Waiting on the internet connection was like waiting on paint to dry, but I had to sit there, because that was the only way I could finish the book set up and everything to release. Thank God, one of my friends lived down the street from me, because I was able to go to her house and use the internet, but this was a strain, because I didn’t get home from work until after 10p- which was around the time she was getting ready to go to bed. So, I would rush to her house, and work as fast I could. I’m a writer, so nothing really comes fast when I’m trying to create. August 22nd, the day I released my book, I did it from my phone. The struggle was real, but I did it. Everything came against me, but I was on a mission.
Preparation to move.
The entire month of August, I had been trying to avoid having any emotional moments with my friends and family. It doesn’t take much for me to cry, so I wanted to hold off on the crying and the realization that I was really leaving my comfort zone. I would have moments by myself in the car, when a certain song would come on, and I would just start crying, but I left my tears in the car. Up until my move date, I just tried to keep everything as normal as possible. I kept going to work, going to see my mom, and doing my random drop- bys on my friends & family. But, now every moment counted a lot more. So, I had my going away dinner August 16th. No one shed tears! It was fun and full of laughter, as usual. I really just needed for everything to feel normal, and for no one to make a big deal about me relocating to a totally different state. Fifteen days to go and I’m out. The last two weeks felt like a drag. Like I mentioned, August 22nd, I released my book and it was also my last day at my job. Freedom in so many ways! My job gave me a little going away party, and me and my boss cried. Many people have left that job, and I never saw her cry when anyone of them left. She really understood that I had to leave and this job was just a passing through moment for me. That night, I had a girls night with my closest girl friends. The ones who have been through everything with me. Just wanted to enjoy them and take lots of pics – mission accomplished.
Now, it’s 9 days left and it really hit me I was leaving, and not coming back for a long time. I cried everyday of the week. All kinds of thoughts started running through my mind, like, do I really need to leave; who’s going to take care of my mom (because she’s my child…lol); I’m not going to see my youngest god-child start walking, what if she doesn’t remember me; my friends need me; what if me and this book fail in New York; I’m going to miss my car (really, Jonnita?); What if I run out of money; I’m going to miss my church and singing in our choir.
Everything one could possibly think of, I thought about it. My thoughts were so extreme. I couldn’t believe I was really leaving. It’s crazy, because I have traveled the world, from Paris to Las Vegas, now here I am a little scared to take a 2 hour flight to embark on something that could be so beautiful. I started thinking about what I was leaving behind, instead of what was actually in front of me. Truth is, I didn’t know what was in front of me. It was a big question mark. I just knew I had to reposition myself, somewhere else, to achieve something new- on a totally different level.
August 30th: I had clarity. I cried all day Saturday. I woke up crying at my friend, Keanna’s house. We have literally been inseparable since we met in college. Every text message I received made me cry. I remember sitting in the Walmart parking lot crying in my car. I ran some errands that day. Packed up whatever I could fit into my suitcase, which at this point was being forced. I went to visit my family on my dad’s side. Then I was back home. The last person I saw was my friend Tyesia, who made this same move in 2012. Tomorrow was the big day.