My friend always says I have a wild imagination, so I’ll tell you about the time I fell for a guy I don’t know in 72 hours. Stay with me, because I am about to take you backwards and then make a point. I have been dreaming a lot lately. As a result of my dreams, one of my immediate long term goals is to pay off my car loan in a year. I have a vision of paying down my debt so that I can make a down payment on a condo. I have never actively dreamed of owning a home because I am single and childless (right now). I secretly believed that because I am single and childless (right now), life’s cruel fate would gobble up my dream to own a home too if I said it out loud like saying Candy Man three times in the mirror with the lights off. As of February, when people ask me if I have kids or if I am married, I answer, “Not yet”. I am now speaking affirmatively about the dreams that I want to become a reality. Each year I acknowledge that the rent in this area is extremely high, and each year it increases. I usually just resign the lease, and go on with the rest of the year, because I was told it brought stability and savings into my life to stay put. The truth is I hate this apartment, and yes I have been able to save money in my retirement account. I have never planned what my next move was going to be after I left this place, because I felt like my life was in limbo. I was scared to tell God my dreams because I feared they’d get slam dunked into the “NO NEVER” box, so I held them in my heart. It’s silly because God knows our hearts. But I still felt since I never brought it up, I was safe. I was scared to ask God for what I wanted because I had gotten used to hearing either “NO” or silence. I have lived in this apartment for seven years, and I have lived in this area for 13 years. As of late, I’ve been daring to challenge myself. My life has consisted of going to work to pay the rent, and then coming home. That is not the life that I want. I want to see what else life has to offer outside of paying bills. I have to feed my purpose, but first I have to find it. I can’t do that if I live my life by someone else’s rules or on auto pilot. I don’t believe I was born to go to work, pay rent, go to sleep, go to work, pay rent etc. That is an empty life. I want to add dimension, creation, and color to my world. So I started dreaming out loud about purchasing a condo. I want a place of my own that I can paint the walls orange and use my balcony as a studio for the art I haven’t created. I don’t want to have to worry each year about a rent increase, I want to LIVE in a space I built and created. I want my soul and dreams to infiltrate the walls. I want to write my poems on the wall paper. I want to build a nest and call it HOME. I want a home. I want to work towards getting my own home. It may take longer than one year to get there, but I can’t get there standing still. I have to get moving right? That is why I have written a plan to pay down my debt. I’m super excited about it. I didn’t stop there either. I realized that I had to cut the amount of money I pay for rent. I have a friend who has rented basement apartments in the immediate metro area in order to save money because she already owns a home elsewhere. I decided to research basement apartments. Oddly enough, one of my hair stylists approached me in late January or early February about a basement she was planning on renting. I brushed it off, because I planned to move to another apartment around the corner from this one. The new apartment would be more expensive too. In March, I began to ask the stylist more about this basement apartment. I finally visited the unit last week and it was beautiful. I was so happy. The stylist seemed like a nice person, as well as her husband. The basement apartment would have allowed me to come and go, without having to interface with anyone upstairs, and that was a major perk. There was one problem. She never told me she intended to rent the basement to two people. She told me later in the week that she and her husband were planning to rent the second room to someone else as well. That would mean that I would be living in the basement unit with someone else. She didn’t convey that to me before I came, and that was not a living arrangement that I wanted. I also didn’t like how something so major was kept from me until I ASKED her about it later. She was defensive and actually tried to say that my desire to live downstairs for such a nice bargain by myself was unfair. I told her that she can rent her basement to whomever she wants to, but I no longer want to live there. I don’t want to take advantage of anyone and I resented the fact that she accused me of being unfair. She was not upfront, and she didn’t like the fact that I called her on it. I respectfully declined the offer and continued to look for basement units online. I emailed a couple of people on Friday night. I heard back from three people, and quickly made plans to see the units on Saturday. I spoke to one guy who was renting a basement unit far out west beyond the beltway and the bus line. After researching the location of the house, I declined. I called back a number that I didn’t pick up while on the other line. A man answered the phone. I asked if he was calling me in response to my request to be contacted for a basement unit ad online, and he said yes. He said that he had a basement unit to rent in a townhouse and I could see it on Saturday. He told me that he was active duty and a full time student. I assumed he went to one of the local universities and was probably 10 plus years my junior. I didn’t want to live in a house of rowdy undergrads, but I liked the photos of the unit. When I spoke to him, I felt at ease. I believe it was because I thought I was older than he was, and that allowed me to let my guard down. He didn’t sound like a threat, and I didn’t get any bad vibes from him. I even cracked a few jokes during the short phone call because that was how relaxed I felt. I cannot explain why. He told me a few more things about the townhouse, but I knew I would need to see it for myself. So I went to see the unit on Saturday morning. I threw on a whatever outfit because that was how easy and breezy I was feeling. I went to the house and called the landlord on the phone. When he answered the door, I saw a man who older than what I thought. He looked to be about my age actually. I still wasn’t alarmed by him. He took me on a tour of the house rather quickly. He spoke about his plans to buy a house within a year, and that was the reason he wanted a roommate. He was saving for his next step, just like me. He said that he planned on selling one of his cars; I was planning on paying off my car in a year. I drew parallels where there were none. I asked about a bus route and he offered to show me the nearest park & ride where people go to catch the bus. He was pleasant and accommodating. It was actually a nice gesture, but I took it to heart because I had recently been drenched in pain and cruelty by people I considered close to me recently, and a hole is still in my heart from the experience. The juxtaposition was jolting to my soul. His kind gesture was magnified in my mind because my heart is still wounded. I went on to visit another house. I didn’t like the vibe of the neighborhood, the person who showed me the unit, or the apartment. That was because my mind was already made up. I’m a sucker for kindness. That is because I’m lacking that in my life. When someone is genuinely kind to me, I am always suspicious, shocked or both. I went back to my hometown recently to receive love from my loved ones and friends. My heart was sick for genuine love custom made for me. I was tired of eating crumbs off of the ground or begging someone to see how lovable I am. I was tired of working hard to keep love. So when a stranger showed me kindness, I took it to heart. I thought it was a sign that surely my boat had come sailing in. After years of heartache and disappointment, it was my turn. After fighting for attention and recognition, it was my turn to be seen for who I truly was. I declined the last apartment, and canceled my later appointment because my mind was made up. I texted the landlord of the town home and spoke to him later that day. I am usually someone who is full of distrust and I walk around with my guard up. For some reason, I believed him. He was straightforward, and offered no gimmicks. He also chuckled at my jokes. I believe in my helium induced imagination, his kindness fed my hurt heart. The truth is, he could just be a decent human being. He could also be a nightmare. I don’t know. The point is, for 72 hours I imagined that I had finally met someone who held the key to my future. Just because he was nice to me, I thought that was a sign of what the future held. I was literally on cloud nine for 72 hours. Then I realized that my heart has suffered trauma. My desire to make the pain go away caused me to drift off into my wild imagination. I wasn’t hit on, and I don’t know who this man is. I just got carried away on what could be. Then I remembered that my number one assignment was to fall in love with myself. Then I remembered how I failed to protect myself from harm in February. Then I remembered how I walked to my car, alone, in the rain with no friend to hold my hand in the dark in February. Then I remembered that I was alone. I am alone for a reason. I am still on this journey to love myself. My mind played tricks on me in order to numb the pain. I fell for a stranger in 72 hours. I fell for the idea that a savior would come and take my pain away. I tried to pass the responsibility of healing to an external factor. It’s still my job to love me. I can’t outsource that. I fell for the idea that my pain was just a dream. The reality is I must work through it. I used romantic imaginations to escape trauma. Reality hit me two hours ago like I had beeen brought back to life with automated external defibrillators. I didn’t fall for him, I fell for an idea I imagined. This all happened in my mind. I’m just sharing it with you because I am working out and walking out some of the crazy things that go through my mind.
Sings “Well it was just my ‘magination, once again….running away with me…..it was just my ‘magination…running away with me”. I am not going to be too hard on myself because I caught myself imagining again. My imagination led me from seeing commercials on the television as a little girl that painted a dreamy whimsical picture about vacationing in some mythical place called South Carolina. I held on to that dream, and eventually vacationed as an adult in Charleston and Hilton Head Island. I had no idea how I was going to make it out of Akron, OH as a child. I imagined vacationing there because I used to cut out vacation advertisements out of magazines. My imagination led me from listening to a NASA engineer speak to my class in the 10th grade, to graduating from a Big Ten school with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. My imagination has dared to take me places my circumstances said were impossible. My ability to dream has taken me surfing in the deserts of North African and snorkeling in Bora Bora. I’m not so sure everything that comes across my heart and mind is a futile flight of fancy. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
“The man who has no imagination, has no wings” – Muhammad Ali