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I Can Still Dream. And, I Am. 😊

As a young child, born in Los Angeles and raised in southern California before moving internationally with my dad, my biggest dream was, well, “The American Dream.” I wanted the nice house (preferably Colonial style house with 2-3 floors and a reading nook–I’m a nerd, what can I say) in a nice neighborhood (standard with parks, sidewalks for walking, and friendly neighbors), an office job (so I could wear cute fashions, sky high heels, make executive decisions that would have a positive impact on people’s lives, and carry a briefcase–I mean, it was the 80s and 90s) and a family (a couple of kids that would benefit from all the traditions I set and a spouse–at the time, I thought the only option was a husband but now I'm blessed to have a wife). And, even then, with this American Dream, I knew it would look different for me because I am Black and a Woman. But, I held on to the dream. My barbies acted it out before I could make it become true and my books reinforced that I had possibilities, even if they were slim for me and all the interactions of my identity…still, they were possibilities.

And I worked hard, because that’s part of the American Dream too, right? Work hard and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. And, while this was a conflicting cultural battle for me (because most Black folks believe in community not just individuality), I didn’t know what to do except what was comfortable which was working and working hard.

Once I bought my colonial house and had my beautiful job as a counselor in a WDC charter school, I was set. My kids were healthy, excelling in character, making good grades, involved in a healthy (not overscheduled) range of activities and sports, and I was dating. Life was good. I achieved my American Dream.

But then what?

Well, I was obedient to spirit and went back to school, earned a doctorate, was our program “valedictorian” (we don’t call it that in doctoral programs, but you get the gist), fell in love with my wife, continued to raise my babies and build out the business. A new dream was forming and it felt good.

Years passed. The pandemic hit. Onyx was doing well. My kids were surviving in all aspects of life and things felt good…until they didn’t. My brother was murdered. My marriage took a blow and we separated. My daughter was mad at me for many reasons (some earned and some not…but she was a teenager and I was a mom trying to figure it out. Both of us made some mistakes), my son was losing focus in school and my compounded grief was showing itself in my work and the way I was running my business (whoa, this paragraph is super emotional. Tears are forming).

I was losing it. Most people couldn’t tell because I’ve learned that people see me through a kaleidoscope. They see what they want to see. But, I was losing it and it was bad. And the worst part is, I stopped dreaming.

Sure, some will say that I went into survival mode…and I wouldn’t detest that notion. However, I had been in survival mode before, in my youth, being raised by a mother addicted to crack cocaine, a father away in the military, deeply in the midst of poverty AND surrounded by despair. Yet still, I dreamed. I dreamt hard. So, it was a bit of a shock to me to realize that I was no longer dreaming even though I was still building. Building a family. Building a career. Building a life. Building. Building, but not dreaming.

And, I took another hit. My teaching job was removed from me unexpectedly and painfully. And I grieved again. Hardcore. Sidenote, some of my worst grief is when it's unexpected. I can handle ALL things if I have a glimmer of thought that it is coming. But, unexpected experiences tend to take me out (it’s also why I read the last few pages of a suspense book before I get too deep in it. Blame yo mama…not me. Lol).

Nonetheless, I am so much better now. All the shocks, changes, grief, and pain have subsided or dissipated. The fruits of my labor have really begun to bloom, blossom, and become ripe. And, while everything isn’t perfect (I am a Virgo and I am still working on this notion of–what does perfect look like to me?), things are so nice. Yup, I have the American Dream…my style. But, I am also able to dream again. Able to dream bigger than I imagined because I already have more than my initial dream.

So here are a few things Im dreaming about:

  1. Regaining my discipline: Eating ONLY what is good for me, challenging my body with different workouts, drinking a gallon of water, taking my vitamins, drinking less–even socially, etc.

  2. Writing my book(s): I’d like to write 3 by age 50. Think I can do it? Well I will dream about it.

  3. Quadrupling my savings within the next 2 years: Lord, that’s going to mean a whole lot less shopping…but I do love clothes and my travel mementos, which leads me to…

  4. Going to one of the Fashion Weeks: Oh just to be in the present of walking art (that’s what I think about good fashion) and sitting with other “walking art” admirers and collectors. Being at one (or many) of the fashion weeks would be like going to different museums; just sitting on the benches, taking in all the expression, the energy, the interruption, and the vibe.

  5. Buying a house outside of the United States: You know, it's not always safe to be Black in America so I need a consistent place to retreat, get some good sun and beach, challenge myself with new cultures and ways of being and…

  6. Speak another language: I grew up around Spanish in Southern California and now both of my children are bilingual and biliterate in Spanish. (Once, they got mad because I didn’t give them something so they switched languages to vent to each other. It was funny to me. I knew enough Spanish to know they weren’t going to pull a Mendez brothers because they didn’t get juice…but I was happy they had more than one language to express themselves). So, as I grow in travel and live part of the year internationally, I dream of being bilingual too.

  7. Building Onyx to a multimillion dollar company: I don’t want all (or even most) of the money for myself. I love to give and share knowledge, resources, and money. It feels like a blessing to me. So, as I dream of building Onyx, I imagine offering my staff retirement plans for them and their children, bringing in experts for quarterly conversations about the things most of were/are not taught, and providing a space in which they can work at an organization that is low stress but high productivity, satisfaction, and income.

  8. And lastly, or not, I dream of a peaceful life, centered on spirit, observation, intentionality, reciprocal relationships, love, and ease. I dream of ease. I dream of love. I dream of peace. I dream…and dream again.

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