I don’t know if any fans of Steve Harvey are reading this, but he wrote a very inspirational book, titled Jump: Take the Leap of Faith to Achieve Your Life of Abundance. This book is meant to encourage people to do the things they have been too afraid to do. To step out on faith, take chances, and hope for the best. I recently jumped: I moved from New York to Virginia, to get a fresh start and gain some new perspective. Now, you’re probably thinking: people do that sort of thing all the time. Let me tell you how I got here.
Thirteen years ago, my mother and I moved from Virginia to Georgia, to be closer to her family. Her brother (my uncle) Donald, convinced us that our lives would be better if all of us (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) were closer together. The rest of the family had migrated to Georgia from New York and Indiana over the years, and it could be the first time most of the family would all be living together in one state. So, we moved. I had a cat, which I was forced to give up on the very day we left, because Donald neglected to say, he didn’t want any pets in his house (BTW: we would be staying with him and his girlfriend until we found an apartment). That was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and it still haunts me to this day.
After a few days, it became clear to Mom and I, Donald hadn’t fully discussed his plans with his girlfriend, who flipped out a few times over the fact that we were living in “her” house. Donald ignored the situation, until an argument escalated one night, and he decided to put us out. At midnight one night, Mom and I found ourselves searching for a hotel to stay in, so we basically became homeless. We eventually moved to New York to stay with a great aunt, and after about a year or so, we managed to get an apartment. All of our belongings, however, were in a storage unit in GA, and it took some time (and money) to bring everything to NY.
Fast forward a few years, to a landlord who never mentioned his house was in foreclosure, and evicted all of his tenants, including us. Another one of my uncles, Arthur, heard about our situation, and offered us a place to stay at his house in GA. He also said he had made an investment in Iraqi dinars that he was about to cash in, and he would share some of the money with us. We moved our belongings into another storage unit in NY, and returned to GA. As it turned out, Arthur hadn’t been paying his mortgage either, and was on the verge of losing his home, because he had spent all of his money on Iraqi dinars and had stopped working. If my mother and I had known any of this prior to moving, we would have stayed in NY. Once Arthur realized we knew things were falling apart for him, he put us out. Once again, we found ourselves homeless. Again, a great aunt took us in, in NY. (BTW: Arthur later lost his house and was forced out by the bank).
Here we are, in 2018. My great aunt passed away, and once again, my mother and I found ourselves having to make some tough decisions. We decided, it was time to JUMP. It was time to make some real changes. Family had put us in this position in the past. My great aunt’s son would eventually sell the house that had been left to him, and we would want us to move. So, what was the next step? Remain in overpriced NY, or live somewhere that was affordable? We were paying $600 a month for a room. We could pay that or slightly more for an entire apartment in VA. So, we jumped, and we moved back to VA, where I had spent my childhood.
Now, I’m not telling you this in order to gain sympathy. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me in any way, because I don’t feel sorry for me. I gave my family a chance (several chances, in fact) to be a part of my life, and they screwed me over every time. But hey: the universe sees all, and payback always comes around. Donald cheated on his girlfriend, put her out of the house, and married the woman he cheated with. Things aren’t going so well between them now. Arthur lied to us and his children about losing the house, and he eventually did lose it, and had to live with other relatives. I don’t think he has accepted the “Iraqi dinar scam” yet, though. So, why am I telling you all of this?
I want everyone who reads this, to remember something: you can NEVER give up. Life is hard. The people you think should have your back, often don’t. Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation you didn’t ask for. But, it’s moments like that that define us. You learn who you are; how strong you can be. I’ve been homeless more times than I ever expected to be. I’ve had $5 left to my name, and have had to chose between eating, or putting gas in my car in order to get to work to keep my job. I’ve sold the jewelry I inherited from my grandmothers, in order to eat. I’ve lost precious things, and given up a lot of things that matter to me. I’ve even been robbed. But, through it all, I’m still here.
By moving from NY to VA, I JUMPED. I’m literally staying in a hotel with my mother, until we find an apartment (which will be soon, hopefully). The future is very uncertain, but that isn’t a first for me. I’ve been here before. Sometimes, you have to step out on faith. Sometimes, you just have to believe that things will work themselves out. Sometimes, you just have to JUMP.