Thinkpieces

I Left My Comfort Zone & You Can Too

 

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For 16 years of my life, I grew up and lived in Charlotte, NC (prior I was born and living in Spartanburg, SC). I moved around a lot while growing up and lived on every side of Charlotte which meant leaving friends but making new ones. I was constantly being put into a new environment up until I reached high school-there was just no way in hell I was going to transfer into different high schools. I finally had the decision to stay where I could be comfortable and actually grow with others and not leave them. It was great spending four years with the same people and when it was all said and done I created some lasting friendships. I also left high school with a boyfriend so of course it was also nice to have him in my life. Everything was going great but then I had to leave for college.

After high school I went to the University of South Carolina at Aiken with plans to transfer to USC-Columbia but unfortunately due to finances that didn’t happen. So I moved back home and went back to the drawing board for college. I enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a Communications-Public Relations major. Let’s back up for a second though. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of going to The Julliard School in Manhattan and being a thesbian in New York City, acting on Broadway. I attended the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte from the age of 6-12 and took classes while also being in plays. I also acted around Charlotte for Matthews Playhouse, Nettie Reeves and Afro-American Cultural Center, did a voiceover for a Christian cassette tape and more. I even auditioned for movies such as Akeelah and the Bee and Madea’s Family Reunion (it got down to me and Keke Palmer for the role of “Nikki” but Keke was a better singer). It wasn’t until I reached high school that I started to shy away from the stage. I’m not really sure why either. Maybe I just got too caught up in experiencing high school or maybe I was to afraid to really conquer my dreams. I had all of the talent but lost motivation. Flash forward to me at UNCC. I had to find something on campus where I could express myself and I found that outlet at the radio station. Having my own radio show lead me to opportunities to interviewing celebrities and hosting shows around Charlotte. I had made a name for myself in the place where I grew up and it felt super good. I will admit that moving back home wasn’t ideal for me and I hated it at first because deep down I did want to get away. I was back to a good place though within my community and I was comfortable in my life.

I must also add in all of this that my dad lived in Connecticut the entire time of me being in college and I traveled back and forth up north. My first time being on a plane was to Harlem to my aunt’s brownstone at 14 so I already had a taste of New York. So back to taking over Charlotte. As I did more and more and got my name out there more, everything started to feel…the same. I kept seeing the same people, participating in the same activities, attending like-themed events, passing the same scenery and etc. It started to not matter how many people I knew and how connected I was if I didn’t feel like there was no real progression going on with my brand and environment. That’s when I began to think about how I could expand ToD outside of Charlotte. The realization of, “hello, your dad lives in Connecticut, which is close to New York, which is where you always wanted to be”, swept across my mind. I contemplated making the move to CT for so long. With my foundation becoming strong in CLT and being surrounded by friends and supporters it was a hard decision to make. So hard that it took me two years to make. I had sunken into a comfortable state no matter how much I actually wanted to venture out. One night, I went to a party with a few of my friends with no intention of leaving the party with a new mindset. I found the party on the boring side so I sat on the steps with a local artist by the name of The Other Guy. We began talking about our days, the party, Charlotte and whatever else popped into our head. The conversation of venturing out came about and he asked me, “What if you only had until the end of this summer, to do what you always wanted to do? What if this was your only chance?” Those words set ablaze in my mind and I knew what I had to do.

In May 2015 I began to write for RESPECT. Magazine which is a hip-hop publication based of Brooklyn, NY. My interests with them actually went back to December 2014 so I was excited when I finally had the chance to start a journey with them. This opportunity opened up my eyes to a beginning in New York. My worries of taking the plunge to move 12 hours away were almost non-existent. Thoughts of interviewing the biggest names in hip-hop, going to private events and perusing around the city engulfed my mind. Although I had people telling me I didn’t have to leave Charlotte to expand my brand I didn’t care and I wasn’t listening. June 2015, I was in Connecticut and I really couldn’t believe I did it. It felt so crazy to be away from everyone and everything and knowing I’m not gong back for a long time. I left my comfort zone and my new life began.

Leaving a comfort zone can be hard but if you have the actual drive to get away or even if it crosses your mind, just do it. Sometimes all you need is a little vacation to get away and come back fresh. You should never stay in one environment your entire life. At the end of the day, your family and friends will always be there. What is most important is that you experience your life and the world and have clarity of mind. Getting away from your comfort zone opens up your mind to new ideas and your life to new wonders. I outweighed the opportunities of being in New York and finally having the chance to being close to my dreams even if it wasn’t on Broadway. Since I moved to Connecticut I have made experiences that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t make the move and it’s only the beginning.

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