Illadelph Basslife: Packing Bags

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

I have a vision board. I know, I know. The Secret was sooo 4 years ago. Fine. But still, I have a vision board. It’s digital because I’m high tech like that. I’m not going to tell you everything that’s on it. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to tell you anything but the fact that half of the board has already manifested. The other half… has always been a bit more of a marathon than I sprint.  On the top right hand corner, there is a picture of Philadelphia’s skyline. On the bottom right hand corner, is a picture of a word written in the sand somewhere: Patience.

I’m learning.

So next week, I move to Philly for a month. I got an opportunity to be a teaching artist/artist in residence at a school in the city. I turned over this offer in my head, asked everyone I could think of, trying to figure out a way to turn it down and not feel regret. There was no way I could turn it down. The money was too good. The opportunity to live in a city for a month (M-F) and experience all it has to offer. I’ve been thinking about moving to Philly for about 2 years but this city and I have a passive-aggressive relationship. Up until very recently, I referred to it as the “Philly curse”. Over the past 15 years, every single time I stepped foot in that city, something stupid would happen to me.  I won’t sit here and list them all but the city and I had a precarious relationship. So putting it on my vision board was more about hoping I could aim for Philly and hit Brooklyn again.

Be careful what you ask for.

Over the last year, the city and I have collided on numerous occasions. It started this time last year, of course, it was a boy. And though that music and magic has faded into silence and dust, it taught me to look at the city just a bit differently. Maybe give it a try. Reminded me that it was a perfect location between The New York that I loved and the DC that I needed. It was city enough to satisfy my wanderlust but town enough to protect my insecure. It was a place for me to grow wings again. The last few years, I’ve been clipped. Concentrating on doing what’s best for the child, forgetting what is good for me. Trying to figure out how to combine the two.  I’ve been to Philly more times in this past year than I have in the past 10 and though the curse has wiggled and squirmed beneath the weight of these visits, nothing catastrophic has taken place. My heart still sinks a bit at the thought of the boy and the city that spells his name against the sky but my spirit rises when I know that this move isn’t about him. If it was, it wouldn’t be happening. It’s about me and my need to breathe easy again. It’s about the desire to carve space to create and write. It’s about doing something new. It’s about shaking off the dust of doubt and remembering the girl who with only wind at her back, $100 in her pocket and the desire for something more, left the comfort of college and created a space for herself in Brooklyn. I’ve been measured and careful in everything since then. This is a tethered leap. A securely strapped-in bungee jump. It’s this need to do something new. To put the years from 2005-2009 firmly behind me. To make 2010 about healing and hope and having everything you already need to continue being the person you know you are. But allowed yourself to forget somewhere between the doubt and the disappointment.

This move is only for a month. From the 28th to the 28th but it’s a test. A trial run. A clue into whether or not this city will hold me almost as close as Brooklyn did but so much more closer than DC tried to.  I will be teaching and that terrifies me but I have known fear this year and these children don’t scare me. I’m ready. I’m ready to grow. I’m ready to write. I’m ready to stop holding on to the rails and build a life for myself and my son.  I’m ready to love the city. I’m ready for the city to love me back.

It’s time to move on. It’s time to keep moving. It’s time to walk towards the sun and keep walking until you can’t deny the warmth and summer.  It’s time to get back to the business of being Bassey.

Welcome back, mama.