How I Found Myself. (During An Early Morning Walk In Harlem)
I’m from Texas. Born and raised. 90 degrees isn’t hot to me. I don’t really like the Cowboys, but I promise, I’m still Texan. Yes, that’s possible. I first landed on this planet in Houston. I love chopped & screwed music, gold teeth, and there’s even a chapter in the book of my life that has “LEAN” written all over it. A very short chapter, but still part of my story nonetheless. I’ve spent the second half of my life here in Dallas and a quarter of it out in Lubbock (West Texas). I don’t own a horse or any cowboy boots, but I can assure you that Texas is in my blood. It’s who I am. I love Texas and I love living here.
But for the longest, I felt lost.
I got lost once things got familiar. Nothing was new. It was uncomfortable how comfortable I was becoming. Texas was all I knew and it was starting to dawn on me that it may be all I will ever know. That’s not what I want. I wasn’t meant to stay in one place. I needed an escape. A temporary one, at least. I’ve never really been out of the state. There was that one time I went to Nigeria as a little kid, but I barely remember it so that doesn’t count. I went to Los Angeles in 2011 for a competition but that was more like a business trip, so that doesn’t really count either. Oh, and Florida for Spring Break but I was young and stupid, surrounded by people just as young and even dumber than me. I needed a real get away. A vacation. ASAP. Luckily, so did a few of my homies. We all decided we needed to get out of here for a little bit, so we planned a trip.
What better place to run away to than New York?
I’d never been to NY and always wanted to go so the moment we booked our flights and solidified our plans, excitement poured over me like a perfectly hot shower. It almost felt like Christmas was coming. It was July though, so Christmas wasn’t even close enough to the corner to be around it, but regardless of the date, this trip was the ultimate gift. Possibly the best gift I’ve ever given myself. In the airport, I was smiling. On the plane, I was smiling (when I wasn’t sleeping). When we landed, I was smiling. And as soon as we got in the Uber and headed towards where we would be staying, I felt the freedom start to creep in. It’s ironic I feel lost when I know everything about where I am, but free when I’m around things and people I’ve never seen.
It’s weird, but I truly no longer felt lost.
I think I found myself on the subway. Underground. Surrounded by people who I may never see again. People who have problems bigger than the city. People who could care less about what I’m going through. It made me see how small I was. It made me appreciate Texas more than ever. Being away made me have a new love for where I’m from. I found myself but didn’t realize it yet. There was too much going on around me to fully take in what was happening inside of me. The constant clanking of the train against the tracks like a drummer who’s tired of playing the same song over and over. The numerous voices piled on the middle of my eardrum like a wardrobe’s worth of laundry; every now and then, the sound of actual words being folded neatly and slid in to the drawer of my hearing. The stops. So many stops. So many people. So much going on. I wasn’t used to this. And I loved it. I loved every second of it. I was as uncomfortable as I’d ever been, and in that, I found real comfort.
I didn’t realize what was happening to me until I was alone. I didn’t realize I was realizing who I really was. It wasn’t until 5am on a Saturday morning that my revelation fully revealed itself. All my friends were asleep. We didn’t really do much the night before, but we did stay out pretty late. If you know me, you know sleeping isn’t always my thing, especially when I’m feeling inspired. I was pretty much a walking sponge soaked full of inspiration after my first day in a completely new space. I spent all night writing. After my mental pen ran out of ink, I ran out of the house. I had no idea where I was going, but I was going. In Texas, the weather is similar to a sauna in the summer. On the east coast, not so much. I had to take advantage. So I decided to go on an adventure.
I found myself at 6am in Harlem.
I can’t explain exactly what it was that made me realize who I am, but it happened. I had to get lost in order to find me. Aimlessly roaming in a place I had never been, I found exactly what I should be aiming for. I had no clue where I was and I had never felt more at home. Between the whisper of a city deprived of sleep and the kiss of the breeze on my tired cheeks, I found peace.
You have to get lost in order to find yourself.
I encourage everyone to get lost in a place they’ve never been. It’s so easy to get comfortable where we are and forget that there is so much more out there to see. The more you see, the more you can be. Don’t be afraid to go. Don’t be afraid to let go. You will only find true comfort when you become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It took awhile, but I finally found myself.
You can do it too.
Just don’t be afraid of getting lost.
And don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.
Originally published at davidfnmorgan.com.