Monday Dare: 1/10/02

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Keep moving forward. 

At the age of 21, I made two decisions that profoundly impacted my life. One, I committed to stop living on welfare. And two, I decided to move to California.

I saved enough money for two airplane tickets by pushing fancy lotions and sprays at Crabtree & Evelyn. Since proper luggage would eat up most of the $300 I had left, I bought two plastic tubs at Target, crammed them full of clothing and blankets, and wrapped them securely with bungee cords. BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

When we arrived in Los Angeles, I used one tub as a desk, and Cal used the other as a makeshift playhouse. Please don’t give me shit about letting my kid play in a plastic tub. I removed the lid, laid it on its side, and used a Sharpie to draw two windows and a door. Oh, and a sun. I think *that* gave it a little “something extra.” BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

We had no couch, no real bed, and no dining table. Just a pile of blankets we unfolded every night as our bed, my makeshift desk, and a breakfast tray I pulled out for meals.

The first piece of furniture I proudly purchased was a small dresser from IKEA. I didn’t own any tools, so I used the handle of a hairbrush as a hammer and a nail file as my screwdriver. BAM. Homettes gittin’ creative. 

Lacking marketable skills, my two employment opportunities came down to selling more lotions and potions at a local beauty emporium for minimum wage or stripping. I chose the former option, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I gave the second option some serious thought.

At each turn, I thought to myself, “This just isn’t the right time. I should be better prepared. I’ll wait. I’ll wait.” I wanted to wait to get off welfare. I wanted to wait to move to California. But I didn’t. Instead, I just kept pushing forward. And I’m glad I did. During a few especially rough weeks, I thought about applying for public assistance again. Once, I got as far as locating a welfare office and gathering all the necessary documents to apply. In the end, I decided I’d rather be hungry and independent, than slightly less hungry and dependent.

Tomorrow is the 10-year anniversary of my move to Los Angeles. This city has loved me and hated me and coddled me and pushed me the fuck around. I’m using this week to reassess, prioritize, and keep moving forward.

What I realize now is that there is never a perfect time, never a “right” time to do anything. You just have to keep moving forward. It can be incredibly scary at times, because the trail you blaze for yourself is often dimly lit and full of things that go bump in the night. Sometimes, you get to where you think you wanted to go and fuck shit damn, it’s not where you wanted to be. That’s okay. Keep moving forward.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?

P.S. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of the kind words on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page during The Moment Giveaway. Christopher Fan, Carla Smith Pearson, and Kristine Kastner Santiago, please email me at flourishinprogress at gmail dot com with your mailing address.
image via pinterest

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