Every Step Matters

Note to self: Don’t give up just yet

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There are days when I am very motivated. Days when the ideas flow out almost fully and I don’t need to edit my work; days when I seem to get what I want and everyone cooperates with me to achieve goals I didn’t even know I had.

There are other days when with a little push, I motivate myself to do the work. I’m still getting a hang of tapping into my best hours of the day; when I fail to wake up at the time I’d hoped to, it easily becomes one of those days.

Then there are days like today: days when I need to write myself notes of encouragement and actively remind myself why I do what I do. Like this one you’re reading. On such days, I even forget what I do.

Am I a writer or a poser? Am I really smart or have I just read a lot? Do I have blind hope or am I truly confident? What skills do I really possess? Will I ever achieve anything?

I’m a twenty-something Cameroonian who just moved to the U.S. I feel the difference. I watch some of my relationships crash in slow motion via Whatsapp. I see people looking/talking at me differently. I thought this move was supposed to be where I get to be more of myself — I never anticipated I needed some form of rebirth. I mean…I knew I would in theory.

I never expected a 3D version this fast.

It’s not been even up to a month, I’ve had to redefine who I am and what I want. I’ve reconsidered my previous mindset and adapted to my new circumstances. I am no longer alone: I wake up every day to see the woman I love.

Every time I walk, there’s a new experience and something to learn. I need to pay extra attention to details I’d normally overlook. I have to vet my jokes to make sure they match the context of the broader conversation.

Most of the time, I just watch.

If there’s anything that ever needed to confirm the fact that I am an introvert, it would be this move. I can feel my excitement around the ‘potential’ of all this waning — I am not as excited as I was about the idea of the move. I have moved. I am here.

Now what?

That’s what I ask myself. Now that I have unlimited internet, electricity, water and food (not free, duh), now what?

Now that I no longer have valid excuses, now what?

It’s sad that following my dreams — both for my career and personal fulfillment — would have such an impact on the relationships I’d built for years. I feel like a child again, but without the excitement.

Mind you, I am terribly grateful for everything. I’m able to see how different these worlds are. But it’s this difference, and awareness, that makes it hard to case these feelings in any direction.

There is joy and sadness. Love and despair. Anger and hope. I feel both incredibly lucky to have found my soulmate and cursed to have to leave great friendships. There are chances I won’t see my siblings in years, yet most people simply look at the fact that ‘now that I am in America, I’ll get to explode’. I suppose career success is seen as a perfect cover for the basic needs : family and friendship.

Which makes me wonder, on this day, at least partly, if I need to grow up or give up.

I’ve had to reinvent myself multiple times in the past — in relationships, in school, in work. I dropped out twice from the University and eventually switched to a Journalism degree even after I studied Sciences in High School. I dated, broke hearts, got my heart broken. I worked at places where forced evolution showed me both darkness and light. I’ve lost friends I thought would attend my wedding. I fought to be accepted as a creative by both my parents and my community.

I’m not new to reinvention. I’m not new to rebirth. But on this scale? Nope. I need to step back and take it all in. I need to remind myself why I’m walking this path.

I think a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step because every single step matters.

I may be where my creative potential will explode, but now, I need to work doubly harder, because I’m within reach.

Back in Cameroon, I could wing one excuse after the other. I could literally have no electricity for days, and be forced to sleep or do nothing. I had one gigabyte a day and had to find a way to listen to a podcast, read, and upload something — anything — to grow my audience.

Now what?

Now next. Now, I figure out the next step and I focus on it. I appreciate the people in my life who now see things differently, and I wake up every day looking at the person who has fought for me long before I even knew how to fight for myself.

The thing about love stories is that there are facts that the lovers take to their graves. It’s always beautiful and dainty from the outside. Similar to the millionaire in the Porsche who everyone wants to be, but few ever wonder what it cost her to get to that point. Fewer have the guts to do what it takes.

Work, life, love, all these things come at a price. Usually, the price is growth. It is leaving childish things — the things of youth — and taking the adult mantle of discipline, self-awareness, vulnerability, and accountability.

And knowing when to call forth your inner child to reap the benefits of the work.

On days like this when I get to write even as my core screams that I have nothing to say and should stop trying to keep-up with some stupid 30 day personal challenge, I get to remind myself that I am growing. That I am a writer, and this is what writers do.

Now next.

Amy, thank you for your message today. You inspired this.

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.