Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chapter 1: Four, The Hard Way

My name is Keisha. I am a writer... Well, a journalist. I interchange between the two titles dependent upon my mood and which freelance jobs I am trying to get. I grew up in West Philadelphia; Wynnefield, to be exact. Philadelphia is dirty, grimy, and boring. But I love it. Philly is home.

I am starting this blog because I need to write about something other than old people. My current job is the Executive Public Relations Representative for the geriatric department of the largest hospital in the city. The geriatric department is becoming very innovative in its approach to caring for their elderly patients. With that, my team and I are staying very busy. From monthly events to family interviews, there is always something new to report. The department head raves about my team and how we have made the department much more "spunky and edgy" with our "wit and young sensibility" (her words, not mine). She has ensured me that I will always have a job and that whatever request I make within reason, they will be fulfilled. I should feel honored, blessed, and humbled. But instead, I feel trapped.

When I got out of college in 2010, I wanted to finally be free from everything. I trekked overseas for 3 years. Met a beautiful man, who I didn't quite tell my parents about. Together, we traveled to Polignano a Mare, Paro Valley, Burma, Lord Howe Island, and so many more places. I traveled the world and wrote a book about my travels. I just knew it was the perfect way to merge my two favorite things: writing and travel. Everyone told me to start a blog. I was in a rebellious stage. Plus, I just thought a book would be a better way to portray the story I wanted to tell. Stupid me. If I would have listened, I would probably still be traveling off blog ad revenue. At first, I funded my trip with my trust fund since I had a full scholarship for college. When my money started to run low, I somehow convinced my parents to invest in this venture. Let's just say they were ready to see a return on their investment. The book flopped. The beautiful man left me when I was no longer able to support our travel expenses. Since I couldn't get a publisher after months of trying, I self-published. I spent so much money trying to garner support and I didn't make many sales from the book itself. On top of feeling defeated, my parents sent me an ultimatum via email.

"Keisha, you are coming home tomorrow. Your economy ticket information is attached. The day after that you have a job interview for an executive position where you will be able to write and travel on the dime of the company. You can stay here for 1 month but you need to start looking for an apartment. Prepare your mind. These aren't suggestions. See you tomorrow."

I didn't stay with them. I stayed with my little sister, Kassidy. Her and our friends, Lachay and Madison, were very supportive during this transition back to life in Philly. I've been home for a year now. I was so depressed but I had to keep moving, get a job, get an apartment, and start life over. I was operating through life like a robot. Slowly, my friends brought me back to human form. My depression didn't derail them from sharing their lives with me. I needed to be around growth. I wasn't a hater either. I guess because I know where they have come from. I had no choice but to celebrate them. We used to be so hard-headed. We all had to learn stuff the hard way. But we learned together. I was so proud of them, even though I felt so low.

My Kassidy is slaying the Philly hair game right now. In high school, Kassidy used to keep all of our weaves and duby wraps fly in between being the rebellious life of the party. I never would have imagined that she would open up her own salon and become one of the most in demand stylists in the industry. She has overcame many obstacles which left a promise of a bright future bleak for her. But she succeeded anyway. She is a loving mother to my nephew Lil' Harry and she is married to the most understanding brother-in-law a girl could have, Chris. Knowing that my Kassidy could've given up when life hit her like a high speed train as a teen makes me even more proud to call her sister and friend.

Madison, my day one, is following her heart and true passion. This good girl who used to keep our teenage butts in church decided not to follow in her parents footsteps of full time ministry. Instead, she decided to go to culinary school. She just opened up her own bakery this year and business is really booming. Her cakes, pies, and pastries are constantly getting press and rave reviews. To add the perfect cherry to her sweet life, her boyfriend and associate youth pastor at her parents' church just proposed to her. Growing up, she never judged and always cared for others. Hearts like hers don't come around anymore. She deserves all the love and admiration coming her way.

Lachay has really turned her life around. She has built her fashion brand Voleur from the ground up. She turned her vice for getting her hands on the latest trends and staying fashionable at all times into a lucrative business. She only buys the latest and most exclusive clothing  for her boutique. When she can't find exactly what she is looking for, she designs and creates it herself. Lachay has always been good at making a way out of no way. She is single by choice and loving it. After a string of dysfunctional relationships, Voleur has become Lachay's one and only bae. Although she hasn't been apart of our circle as long, it is refreshing to have a real woman in your corner who is always ready to ride or die at anytime.

So now, I am taking everyone's advice and blogging. Not for money or relevancy though. But as a release for my soul. This is an Ode to My Girls. My life savers. All of the stories that make us laugh, cry, and fight. The things we've been through are too coincidental and magnificently life-changing to not be documented.

Since, this is told from my point-of-view, I am going to call the blog "Keisha." The name is fitting. While I am telling the stories of those who have a piece of my heart, I am undoubtedly showing you all my life and repairing my heart simultaneously. I hope you like us.

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Artwork: Digital Designs

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