The Saga of Art & The Lean-With-It-Rock-With-It Stairs

Art Undone - Saga

Sometime in July, 2019

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Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I almost became victim to the lean-with-it-rock-with-it-stairs…

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life. Actually, I’m sure I’ve never been so exhausted in my life. It was 7:00 pm. I had driven twelve straight hours from Middle GA to Chicago, IL. I had already unpacked the top cargo from the top of my car at my storage unit. I was now at my new, temporary residence, on the top third floor of the building, unpacking my overly-packed car. Going up and down the three flights of stairs to my new dwellings just TWICE, I knew I had gotten myself into some mess. How in the hell do stairs safely lean? I brought up my tv and purse for safe keeping. Now, I had to figure out how to get everything up these lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs and manage to survive.

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After two more trips up the stairs to bring up a couple of boxes and bags, I knew I had to change up my game plan. Going all the way to my car, that was parked on the side of the building, to the top floor apartment, every single time wasn’t going to be the move. Screw that. So, instead I got a burst of energy and an idea. I was in the back stairs of the apartment. On every floor, there was a pretty large platform in the back. I figured I would unload everything from my car to the first-floor platform. So, that exactly what I did. I unloaded the car and put everything on the platform.

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So, once I got done unloading my car and locking it, I felt accomplished asf. So, what if I didn’t know my neighbors and I put all my stuff in front of their backdoors and was the only black person I seen in the neighborhood. Efficiency was on my mind. Safety and any Backdoor Beckys would have to chill out.

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You know that feeling of accomplishment I described? That shit went away quick asf. I was on my SECOND trip back down from carrying my things up and big girl was TIRED. Um, why did I think this was a good idea? Who told me to be Queen Independent?! Let me just say, I had a lot of stuff. I mean at least 15-20 flights of things, stuff. So, I’m not exaggerating. I promise. Anywho, while I was upstairs, my previous roommate’s partner comes out and says hey, I can help you.

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BITCH! I almost kissed them! I have never been so grateful in my life. A true blessing! Not only did they help, but they carried MULTIPLE loads at once. They literally cut my load in half. Let’s be completely clear, if they didn’t help, my stuff would’ve still been on the platform. There would’ve been NO way.

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My roommate and her partner had to go so I was left alone again. I felt so blessed but sad they had to leave. Like, can I pay you to stay? No, seriously, I’ll pay you to stay. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. I went back down the stairs, happy to report that I had maybe 7 trips left. But at this point, my energized buddy was gone so I wasn’t feeling it. However, I kept on trekking… until the last two trips.

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Yes, two. I had two trips left and I had nothing to give but hopes and dreams. And honestly, barely hopes because that took too much breath. I was walking slower than molasses. I couldn’t afford the luxury of breathing through my nose, so my mouth was agape, just trying to find a way to push out as much air as I needed to be okay. I wasn’t okay. On my way back down, I sat on the stairs for at least five minutes.

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I prayed. I prayed hard. I needed Jesus to get on the mainline so I could tell Him what I wanted. Heck, I was even okay with Mary answering at this point. Imagine me calling out for help like Fabo in the second half of “Scotty” by D4L.

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I only had two trips to go, but the ability to do anything was gone about 3 trips ago. Someway, I believe Jesus heard me and helped me through the second to last trip. I was literally on some Eminem shit by that point. Palms were sweating, knees weak, arms were heavy. I mean GONE. Anyway, I made it and I only had one flight left.

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At this point, I’m contemplating if I’m going to pass out on these stairs. Since the time I started moving, NO ONE has come out their back-apartment doors so I doubt if I passed out anyone would discover my body for at least three hours. So, I had no other choice but to survive. I refused to be a headline story, “Girl passes out and dies of exhaustion while unloading car after moving from Georgia to Chicago”. F that. I have places to see and meals to eat!

So, what did I do next? I took one step at a time. Slowly, but surely, I climbed those lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs, TO FREEEDOM! I took my time and sent up a little prayer on every twist and turn. When I finally reached the motherland, I stretched out on the bed and just breathed. To this day, I don’t know how the hell I made it, but I did and I’ve never in my life been so grateful that I didn’t turn into a crazy headline because that’s not the introduction I wanted Chicago to have of me.

Moral of the story? I made it. Screw a beautiful success story that was done in style and grace. None of my belongings are stuck on the first floor. I don’t care if I didn’t leave the house for two days afterward and ordered groceries to avoid the lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs. So, yeah, that’s how my first day in Chicago went, and when I move, I will definitely be paying someone to do all the packing and lifting for me.

Update: I definitely hired a mover when I moved into my apartment.

Signed,

Art Undone

Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27,

I’m already so proud of us. We have already accomplished so much this year, I can’t help but already be proud of you for things I know you will accomplish at 27. That’s honestly how confident I am in us. It’s so much bigger than being perfect or having It all figured it, it’s about being true to ourselves and just doing the best we can in this crazy, beautiful, wonderful life we are blessed to have.

Art at 26 showed out honey! I mean, we freaking moved to Chicago, on our own! We started a new job that changed our tax bracket. We’re navigating a new, completely different city on our own. I mean, can you say growth? We started THERAPY! Thank God for Therapy! We had Hoodie Season 2! It’s just so much. Even without a list of technical “accomplishments”, I’m so very proud of all the mental and emotional growth that we’ve done in this INSANE year.

Sorry that you couldn’t be celebrate the 4th annual ART Weekend with your friends in Atlanta due to the Rona (Coronavirus) messing up your plans, but don’t fear, this birthday and this year will be amazing. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on life and I can fully say that while this year has been no crystal staircase, your life has been very fulfilling and blessed in so many ways. I honestly can say “Job well done, beautiful!”.

I really wish I could put into words the amount of emotional and mental growth that has happened this year. It’s honestly part of the reason I haven’t been putting out as many blogs because so much has happened. So much is still happening and I really don’t have all the words. Everything just feels different. I’m literally sitting and typing in the middle of a pandemic and I’m so calm. I’m happy. We’re happy going into our 27th birthday. We feel so good. It feels like all the mental work we’ve done by establishing boundaries, maintaining peace and overcoming trauma is paying off. The crazy part is that we’re still in the thick of it, but this is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It feels like a miracle honestly. It feels like a blessing. It feels like God.

What’s crazy is that as much as I’d love to be with my friends and eating the best fried shrimp in Middle Georgia, I feel like I’m right where I/we should be. This year I’ve realized that past Alena has gotten us through so much. From past blogs, journal notes and therapy sessions, I’ve found a way to leave myself multiple resources to get through the toughest of times. That’s why I know Art at 27 will be okay.

Art at 27, you have 26 versions of yourself that have consistently found ways to be there for you before they even knew you would be here. I don’t have much advice or predictions for what this year will bring. I just know that you will be okay. You’re a survivor. You’re a thriver. Regardless of what life brings, you’ve done a damn good job with everything you’ve been given. You’ve made lemonade out of lemons. You’ve overcome things others will never know. You’ve had very hard conversations with the people you love. You’ve made some very difficult choices. You haven’t given up. You may have had to re-adjust, but you haven’t given up. I can’t say enough how damn proud I am of you.

Whatever this year brings you personally, never forget your worth and how amazing you are. I’m once again going to say Job well done already because I’m already proud on day 1.

I love you beyond measure. Stay beautiful, stay true and trust your growth.

Love,

Art at 26

I Didn’t Lie This Time! | Art Undone

Didnt Lie - Aug 1

Yes, this is the energy we are coming in with because it is the truth! I didn’t lie this time. I didn’t lie to myself or anyone else. I kept a promise and it feels really good to say that I actually did it! It feels even better when it feels like I’ve lied to myself for such a long time. Let me explain…

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Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve had a plan. I was going to work for two years then go to graduate school, specifically at the University of Pennsylvania. It had been my dream school in undergrad, but afraid to transfer, I decided to defer the dream instead and attend for graduate school. I was going to go to an amazingly elite graduate program, for FREE. That was it. That was the entire plan. After that? Well, of course, get a good-paying job. Doing what exactly? Didn’t matter. I just needed to get into grad school and say it was all paid for.

So, what did I do to make this happen? Well, I took the GMAT twice and failed miserably twice. I then postponed taking the third test I bought THREE times before I finally got a “refund” after I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

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Me to all my wasted money

Let me tell you, that was an anxiety-induced time in my life. I was telling all my friends how I was “studying” so hard for the GMAT to get into grad school, while privately having this internal battle inside that made me keep on saying myself “why?”. Why did I want to go to grad school? Why couldn’t I shut up about it? Why couldn’t I stop lying about really studying? Why couldn’t I focus?

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With so many unanswered whys, came even more lies. So, why the hell was I lying so much about grad school? Well, honestly that shit sounded so good. It gave me the next step. It gave me a purpose, a pathway. It also gave me a great acting role. Acting you say? So, who was the audience? The audience was truly me. Every time I could convince someone to believe in my “dream”, I was one step closer to believing it myself. It was a great show, but afterwards, there wouldn’t be an applause because when the curtains closed, I had to face myself and the truth always comes out. I didn’t want grad school. I just liked the fake audience applause it generated. I didn’t want to really lie. I just appreciated the fact that people believed in me. So, yes, I did lie, but this time I didn’t, and it feels so good.

On July 17, 2018, walking down W Montrose street in Chicago to go to get breakfast at a bagel shop, I stopped to take a selfie to commemorate a promise I knew I would keep. That day I decided I was going to move to Chicago. It felt right. It felt like home. It felt like the truth. I didn’t know exactly when I would get there, but I knew that it would be. In some ways, I don’t know how it all happened, but I can say I didn’t lie. Two weeks short of a year from that day, I’m sitting in my bed, a street over from W Montrose, in Chicago with all my belongings, gladly able to say that I didn’t lie this time and I kept my promise. Oh, what a feeling this is.

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Signed,

Art Simply Undone.