Hey there beautiful human! It is Noah again and I wanted to catch up with you! I hope that all has been well in your world, because it has been a bit shaky in mine. This entire pandemic has put me into feelings of gratitude, hopelessness, sorrow, loneliness, anxiety and overwhelm simultaneously. I cannot even begin to describe how I feel lately. I am so grateful to be alive and I know that God is not finished with me yet, but I am uncertain about many things in the near and distant future. I am still struggling with learning to accept myself, and so this global shift added to the internal battle that I face on a daily basis. It has been hard to wake up and keep moving, despite living through such turbulent times. I ask myself, “What needs to be done today?”. Questions like that give me a sense of purpose and direction. Whether it is household duties, academic obligations or finding new hobbies, I try to welcome the day with optimism. I am attempting to create a morning ritual, where I will thank God for another day, stretch, drink a glass of water, journal, shower, SPF, and put on an outfit for my Zoom class meetings. It is a struggle, but I will be able to do that! Mark my words lol. During this pandemic, so much of life has happened. Feelings of rejection, hurt, guilt, regret and angst still surround me but I am actively working to fight against it. I am beginning to realize that it is okay that some people may dislike me. I like me. God loves me. My family loves me. People love me. That is all I need and I am going to be grateful about the things that I do have in this life. Of course, I have lonely feelings when I yearn for a boyfriend, but within a few minutes, I remind myself of the seriousness of a relationship, and I immediately dip out LOL. I remind myself that I lack financial independence and I have some more skills that I need to improve on in order to have the relationship that I want. I do want a long-term, monogamous, healthy relationship where I can be with a man, who reflects everything that I am. A man who is kind, sincere, loving, God-fearing, willing to be vulnerable, open-minded and someone who wants to see the world. A man who stands up for himself and others. A man who pursues his dreams relentlessly and never takes no for an answer. A man who will do anything to protect the ones he loves. I want to be able to embody the type of man that I wish to date. I want to be that man who fights for his dreams, stands up for himself and others, but still maintains class and dignity. I want to be wholesome, but still be able to have fun. In those moments of loneliness, I remind myself that relationships are sacred and they require commitment, dedication and respect. Friendships and relationships. I thought that everyone needed to be my friend. I had been through so much with suicidal ideation & attempts, depression, anxiety, and I did not want other people to suffer. I felt that I could be a Savior in some way or another. I wanted to save people. However, I am learning that I cannot “save” anyone but myself. I am human, but I tried to do God’s job. I spoke with a friend about choosing life, and it was so ironic that I was doing my best to speak light into her, but I felt so hollow and empty at the time. I wanted her to keep going, but I thought of quitting at that moment. Life had felt like a standstill and I didn’t know if I wanted to go through with it. I remember one day during this summer, I was feeling really low one day and I just went to sleep, but I didn’t want to wake up. I just wanted to disappear. Honestly, the thing that kept me going was my family. I just thought of how sad my family would be if I were gone. I had to tell myself how selfish I was being. Life can get hard, but I cannot give up. I felt like how I did when I was about 12 or 13. I have told you all about me being Black, queer and fantastic LOL, but it was, AND IS, such a rough journey. From the “faggot” name-calling, “Are you gay?” questions and feelings of isolation, I felt so weak during that time. A lot of the time, I just wanted God to take me, because I didn’t think I could survive any longer. The one day where I felt deeply wounded was around 7th or 8th grade. I went to a Catholic grade school in Philly and I usually had my earphones in so that I could listen to music while I was waiting for my bus stop. I remember some older kids from a nearby high school would frequent the bus I rode on. When I got near my stop, I headed toward the front of the bus. As I exited the bus, I felt a hit against my head when I got off. I didn’t know who did it, but I took my earphones off and I just heard laughing. To this day, when a group of people laugh, I have to remind myself that they are not laughing at me. I think that was one of the days where I felt that I just needed to go away. I felt really worthless and in my mind, I heard the thought, “Maybe you deserved it. You are a bad person.” I never mentioned it to anyone or even my parents. I just thought that I deserved it. But, I didn’t. I would not learn that until I was about 18. That wound, along with others came up during this time of quarantine and self-reflection. So, when I spoke with my friend about choosing life, in a way, I was talking to myself because I needed my inner child to know that we have worked too hard to just give up now. I did not think that I would live past 12 years old. I honestly thought that I would have taken my life by then because life got too much. But, I surprise myself everyday by choosing to live. It takes a lot of work and there are lonely nights, but I have learned that I am never alone. God sees every tear that I have shed and He has also seen every hard won battle. A time where I felt truly special is when I got this special award at my high school graduation. In that moment, I felt seen. I felt like my life really mattered in this world. I felt special. That euphoric feeling is something that I wanted to hold onto for dear life. I started to discover things that make me happy like outdoor activities (BOO COVID-19!), exercise, daily prayer, fashion, blogging, graphic design, painting, sketching, cinema & television, books, cooking, photography and acts of service. I began to see life as not against me, but FOR me and everyone else. So maybe, that’s what was keeping me going as I tried to provide counsel for my friend. Maybe a part of me knew, that this is a rough patch, but I will get through it and live to tell the story. I wanted to share some personal accounts with you all because I take pride in being transparent and honest with people. I do have the capability of talking too much LOL, but I love to be in communication with people. I feel that hearing a person say, “I get it.”, really helps you to recognize that you are not alone. We all are trying to find our pocket of sunshine through this life. So, if you are going through a storm, it is so cliché, but please know that after the storm, there is a rainbow. Your joy is on the other side of adversity. Your happiness is on the other side of hardship. Your testimony is on the other side of this test. You got this love! I believe in you! I am praying for your victory and your peace. I know this blogpost seems a bit all over the place, but please be glad that you are not my mind, because it is getting these thoughts times 10. I felt compelled to share something with you all because I am a late night blog reader and I have some friends who are as well, so feel free to read. Take what you can, and ignore what you do not need. My message is for you to decipher, analyze and figure out what is best suited for your life. At the end of the day, if I was able to make you feel anything, then my job is done. I love you. God bless you. Please choose life. You are worth it.