“My name’s Dan,” he said and extended his hand.
I smiled and extended my own. “Ahyana,” I said.
He complimented my hair, made a joke about his own mostly silver cropped bone straight tresses, shared he’s a regular at this particular Starbucks and has no idea how we’ve never crossed paths. I told him I tend to come in the mornings and being here in the afternoon was not my norm but is where my day had led me. He smiled, said he didn’t want to keep me from whatever I was working on, but just wanted to say hello. “You’ve got this glow and you’re just really giving off some good energy. You’ve got great vibes.” I smiled, returned to the project that brought me to Starbucks on a sunny gorgeous Saturday afternoon, and was grateful that it was just a light short conversation- nothing more. He strolled over to the high top two seater table near the pick- up counter to wait for his order.
Staring at the presentation on my screen, highlighting the text to change the font, I laughed. He was perhaps the fourth person to mention this “glow.” The others previously weren’t acquaintances, but friends. They were friends I’d known for the past 8 to 15 years, friends who knew that the past 8 months had been really hard, two who knew that just the past 48 hours had been really painful, like headed to the hospital kind of pain. Shucks, the past 48 minutes had even been a struggle. Seriously. Starbucks on a sunny gorgeous Saturday afternoon was in part because I needed to focus and get some things done, but it was also the best I could manage in an attempt to deal with my anxiety. Anxiety that came as an attack just a few days before and had been coaching me to stay home, inside, in my bedroom where it was safe, familiar, and I had some control.
I wanted to go to the art festival downtown. I wanted to go capitalize on the semi annual sales with my collection of rewards and coupons. I wanted to get my nails done before heading to DC to present at conference about mental health and wellness for Black and Latino students. I wanted to go to Target and see if that light weight white and multi colored striped tassels at the ends throw that I thought would look great draped over the chair in the corner of my bedroom was still there (and still on clearance). But I was too anxious and thought that perhaps I’d stick close to home today and maybe later try to do some of the things I wanted to do, or maybe Sunday would be better than Saturday. After all Saturday was better than the anxiety I was feeling Friday, and Friday was better than Thursday.
So, I took my differently styled blonde curls, made up face, fun floral printed swing dress I snatched up with whispered thanks to Jesus at Nordstrom Rack during my last trip to Philadelphia, grabbed my laptop ad went half a block to Starbucks and met Dan, who said I was glowing.
I’m calling the glow friends and Dan the random older guy coffee shop man are referring to as my glow through what I’m going though glow. More simply stated- my making it glow. Because after all, that’s all I’m doing- I’m making it. Not barely and not swimmingly, but slowly, purposefully, creatively, tenaciously, rebelliously. I’m committed to pushing, pulling, and pumping the breaks when I need to. I’m devoted to advocating for myself as fiercely and persistently as I have for the students and clients I’ve been privileged to work with other the past 12 years. It’s that don’t call it sweating, call it glistening kind of glow. That flickering flame in dark moments that just keeps burning because it keeps getting fanned, sometimes by myself, sometimes but my tribe of family and friends glow. It’s the glow that comes from a deep knowing that I’m going to be alright, everything will be okay, and despite the circumstances, when I focus, I don’t need to worry about a thing. It’s the result of a decision to constantly be in touch with myself, letting in who and what I need to let in (wine, chocolate, Redbox movies, a smaller and tighter circle of friends, church, etc.), and keeping at bay who and what I don’t (an entire pizza, candy/sugar, too much wine, brother man who tried it and brother man who keeps trying it, etc.), and not beating myself up for those necessary decisions kind of shine. By the way, if you need to let in that whole pizza, go on and do your thing.
I started this post when I was so over editing my presentation for Friday afternoon. I’m finishing it the following day, in Stabucks, but no Dan. I’m finishing it having managed to get my nails done, gone to Target, tried lunch at a new coffee shop downtown that I stumbled across while meandering the streets of the art festival (mhmm, I made it there), and having made peace with the weekend coming to an end and capitalizing on those semi annual sales online…or while I’m in DC this week. I’m finishing this post with the same glow.
I’m also finishing it holding space in my heart and prayers for those reading this who feel like you’re doing anything but making it and made it is nothing more than a cute artsy font mantra on a canvas or mug you rolled your eyes at while making it to the line in TJMaxx. You’re making it. We’re making it. You’re glowing and I bet you don’t even realize it. You’re glistening girl. You are oozing with the hope that comes with knowing that your current circumstance is not it. You are working this life thing out-refinancing, downsizing, parting ways with relationships that are more harmful than healthy, applying to go back to school, applying for the promotion, filing the HR discrimination or harassment complaint, going to the gym, admitting that your anxiety, depression, grief, etc. is more than you want to handle on your own. You. Are. Glowing. Your light is shining and it’s lifting others and you. Trust me. For those of you whom life has granted you some reprieve and overall things are pretty good, that is awesome! You got a glow too. Just do me a solid- point out the glow in others this week. Someone might need to hear or read (mhmm, you can send a little text, email, tweet, direct message, snail mail, etc.) that you see their light, even if it’s embers from a fire that is so close to being out and needs you to speak life to fan the flame and kindle a full on bonfire type of glow. Shine on this week. Don’t give up. Reach out to the people you trust care for you and let them know what’s up and what you need (or don’t need, or think you need). Glow through what you go through. Stay lit! xxoo