On almost every journal entry that I have posted within the last seven months, I've written the place that I'm writing it in the top right corner. Just to remember exactly where I was. I've been moving around so much, and each place is associated with such a specific feeling, an energy. Vineland.. A gorgeous luxury guest room of a couple who I love so dearly. What a space to feel liberated in my newfound decision to move to New York. Acacia. ...simple. My sister's apartment, and within, my own small space to discern the upcoming steps of my move. I felt very brainy here. #33, Brooklyn. The quirky and expressive house I found myself living in with four amazing and unique women upon moving to New York. Orange St. My brother's apartment, and my sanctuary of healing, after an abrupt end to my stay in New York. A homecoming. Comforting, safe. #12...my own room in Studio City with two wonderful friends of mine, whose love I admired, and within that time, finally began to accept that I, too, want a mature, and steady love like this, leaving behind wishes of a wistful, youthful, and passionate romance in exchange for wishes of a lifelong partnership. And now, I'm here. Shelburn, Ct. A beautiful home with a beautiful friend, someone who I can trust so much, and affectionate and loving dogs that bring me such joy. It's been a theme lately to see who I am in relation to the space I occupy, and I am so happy to say that it changes, I grow in each space. I suppose there is no conclusion to this entry other than, I've learned to create room inside for whatever change is to come, and through these different and unique spaces, I meet more different and unique pieces of Jasmine. And what a pleasure it is, to meet her, every single time.
Change is scary as shit.
It can be real sexy from afar..like..in a “yup! My hair cut extremely short will be totally liberating and have me seen as a free spirit..” kind of way... or, “Hell yeah, I’m gonna quit my job and pursue professional golf.” kind of way.. or in a “Hey, moving to New York is also going to help geographically distance me from this traumatic heartbreak! What a bonus.” kind of way...oops, don’t know where that last one came from.
But when change is actually here...when things are beginning to really be new. To begin, to roll forward...that shit is not sexy up close. It’s nerve wrecking as hell, y’all. You guys know. Because even though some of our circumstances have been undesirable, damn, at least we know them! We know what they are. We’ve seen their ins and outs..how they affect us. We even get addicted to these circumstances BECAUSE of their certainty, even if they’re not the best! Crazy, isn’t it? That we would avoid the temporary sharp pain of being stretches in the beginning stages of transition, while instead choosing to just completely succumb to the pain of things staying exactly the same, even if it’s causing us such sadness. Maybe because that pain isn’t a sharp kind of pain anymore...it’s more like a dull misery.
Like look, everything is new here in New York. Seriously- the way people are, my relationships, my living space, what I’m learning, what I experience, the skyline, everything. My brain synapses are firing like crazy every single day. And tonight, in acting class, I went up for the first time and did a monologue. Holy shit. I currently have a vulnerability hangover! And even though it’s actually incredible, and exciting, and I’m so extremely fortunate to be venturing into new spaces of art...that part of me, that ego that is so addicted to control and certainty and making sure everything is okay wants to RUN AWAY. “Girl, no!” “You’re too old to try new ish!” “Back to NoHo, we go!” “Watch out, they will critique us and thus strip away our identity! AH!!!!!” I know that this fearful ego specifically wanted to run because my teacher told me that I didn’t have to grip the sides of my chair while she talks to me, because it means I’m ready to bolt out of the class. I looked down, seeing my white knuckles gripping the red chair. Oops. Ha.
But... “run where?” I ask my ego. Run back? Back to what? Nights of “safety”, laying in my bed not changing things that I knew need to be changed? Run back to doing everything for someone else and nothing for me? Run back to the literal feeling of a sore throat from keeping my voice silent and emotions inside, to not be seen and heard in a certain way because I wanted to appear perfect and spiritual and authentic and all of the other shit that people think of me as? Run back to closing my eyes at the way I allow my fear to contribute to suffering in my life?
Hmm..not much back there-is there? And I don’t mean location. It doesn’t matter where you are..New York, LA..but I mean back there in terms
of mindset. There’s literally nothing to go to. And I don’t mean, like, family and friends. Of course, your people are always gonna be your people..the true ones. In fact, I think that the idea that says moving forward must leave ALL comfort is also a delusion..The Universe, God, whatever you wanna call Her, it’s all still there. Comfort is not really the problem, complacency is. And for our inner life to grow and evolve, our life situation must also grow and evolve. I do believe throughout it all, we can even still find peace.
So yeah, after a long, vulnerable, achy, and kind of exhausting day...I say yes. Again. With heavy eyelids and an exasperated sigh, I say yes. To the packed subways, long walks, uncertainty, and wrong turns. Because this means I’m also saying yes to the skyline, to new faces, and to the simple joy of purchasing a chair that matches my carpet. It’s all included in this yes. Yes, yes, yes. I decide yes today. And I think it can be a decision that is both hard and so easy at the same time.
"So how's New York?"
I smile, weak from exhaustion..."Amazing. Tiring. Challenging...Real."
I don't know if I could quite put into words what has transpired over the last two months of my life. I'll try to do it in a few sentences..In Los Angeles, I was on the precipice of new relationships, connection, and creative spark...but still somehow was able to hear a call to change. Real change, and honest growth...and only the Universe knows how New York came to be the place for this change.. (I guess I can also credit it to little Jasmine who has dreamed of the city even long before the 'Rent' days in High School), but one day I am teaching in Nashville, Tennessee, and a student comes in and talks to me about how she is a musical theater actress visiting from New York, and I am brought to life in a way that talking about this passion of mine for musical theater always brings. I gush with excitement, and ask her questions about her life. We get into a whirlwind of a conversation, going back and forth about things we love...the conversation closes with, "Just move. I'm telling you...it's an amazing time to be a woman of color there." Two days later, I find someone to take over my apartment, I tell my family that night...and after a hundred teary goodbyes, hours of reflection, a lots of planning.. a month and a half later.. I am living in Brooklyn.
I'm starting this blog to yes, keep my family and friends updated. My heart misses them so...and I mourn our physical time together. But I happily and eagerly take responsibility for staying connected and offering humble insight into my life. However, another reason lives side by side with this, and maybe it's selfish: Processing and expressing. A move across the country obviously evokes some questioning.. "Why was I so ready to go?", "Why did I even start dancing in the first place?", "What do I really think of myself?", or even, after 8 years of being completely engulfed in the dance scene, "What hobbies do I EVEN have?" Some of these answers have been eye-opening...some obvious...some answers haven't come, and I'm not sure they will completely.
Sure, like many of us, I have exciting, thrilling, and really sexy dreams ahead, which I take a crack at every day...but on the other hand, this time has made me more honest with myself than ever before. I've had to face some things: self-destructive habits I've acquired in young adult life, the confirmation that I do struggle with depression and anxiety, bittersweet clarity in seeing the part I played in a toxic relationship, dealing with a heartbreak that gave me the keys to change my life (that a part of me still tries to run away from), and uncovering deep fears of being truly seen, even as a seemingly vulnerable artist...and more.
Another reason for starting this blog (and to bring it back to a lighter note! Haha) even before music and dance, writing was my first first love. When I was eight I wrote a story about miniature people named Dumdongs, the heroine's name was Lemon and her and her tribe were on a mission to save her trapped brother Mocha from the House of the Humans. LOL. So this is is going to be really fun outlet for me. I'm having fun writing this right now!
Who knows what will come out...maybe one day it'll be a tad heavy, but some days it'll be cheery and buoyant! I promise that I will always strive to be honest, and help point us all towards my guiding lights: love, hope, and joy...oh, and courage.
So hey beautiful human, you're more than welcome to join me. Thanks for reading!
Love Above All,