Up until last year, I had always been a part of a group within a school environment. My middle school homies were infamously cliche-y, my high school posse looked like a mini U.N., and my college friends had an assortment of characters that could have easily walked out of a Woody Allen film. My closest friends today are scattered around the country, so to not have a steady group of folks to hang out with makes me feel like my social life has taken a nose dive. For a girl like me, that equates to being an ugly duckling covered in lamesauce….
I can’t move. I can’t be seen. Oh no, who am I?
Choosing to remain hidden from the world of social media and removing myself from circles I was a part of was a conscious decision that I made. I wasn’t putting my best foot forward and I didn’t allow people to see me for who I was because I was scared. I was afraid of being the person I was even in front of the people that I cared about because I suffered from a crippling anxiety disorder that prevented me from examining situations for how they really were.
My anxiety is in check now. And I feel happy, healthy, and so blessed.
Blessed. That’s a word that I would never have used before this year. Knowing what it feels like to not be connected to a cosmic being has enabled me to feel the full force of my strength today. So, yeah, I am blessed. I’m grateful that I see that now.
This past weekend, as I was walking home from the Evanston Metra, I was stopped on the street by a trio that had been watching a lively performance of Romeo and Juliet in a park. Yes, Shakespeare in the park is a real thing. Reason number one of why I love my neighborhood. Hassan then asked me what I thought about the neighborhood that had been my home for over a decade. I told him that this was an area where hippies and hipsters collide. And it’s true. This is where liberalism thrives in Chicago and only the lucky ones that know of this quiet corner of the city can attest to that. Hassan and his two friends, Roohi and Sam, had been stopping people on this particular corner of Rogers Park to ask them about community building and what that looked like here. After a few minutes of talking about purposeful engagement, the conversation was soon taken to new heights. Roohi, a Columbus native, wanted to know what I thought about prayer and it’s benefits. I explained to him that I had recently gotten back into meditation which was helping me connect better to myself and divine wisdom. His face instantly lit up. Roohi, whose name meant my soul in Arabic, told me that as a followers of the Bah’ai faith, they wanted to create a initiative where people from all walks of life could come together and discuss how to make the world a better place. “Whoa there, Gandhi…that’s an awfully tall assignment,” I thought. But as I listened to him explain what it was that they wanted to accomplish, I realized that what they were doing was exactly what had been on my mind during this past year. Truth is, I’ve been wondering if I can find a space where like-minded individuals can come together and brainstorm how to change things in their community.
Because I’ve been struggling with meeting new people and acquainting myself with folks that are on the same wavelength as me, it was really refreshing for me to have met these cool cats when I did.
By the way, I decided to write this post this afternoon because I just got a call from Hassan who wanted to know if I would be interested in going with him and the others to an open mic event at a Rogers Park cafe. Awesome. How can I say no to that?
I think this is the universes way of saying that things really do happen for a reason. All I had to do was mediate on the idea that I wanted to be more satisfied with my currently stagnant social life. It nice having the feeling that the universe is on your side waiting to give you exactly what it thinks you need, right when you need it.
P.S. I wrote this post yesterday and I’m now just posting it. Womp womp. In other news, the open mic was a huge success last night. Tonight, I’ll actually be accompanying the trio to the Bah’ai temple. 🙂