Just like Lloyd Banks on “Karma,” it’s time for me to “swallow my pride and put all the bulls*it to the side.” Every entry in this diary series has been extremely personal thus far but none as painfully honest and introspective as this one, as my journey back to the United States nears.
I’d developed an extreme case of industry paranoia living and working in New York City for six years. Like many of my peers, I’d grown paranoid that at any moment I might unwittingly (or worse, knowingly) sacrifice my morals, beliefs and all ’round realness to “get ahead.” To combat this I surrounded myself with a like-minded crew; a gift and a curse. While it’s a relief when people in your corner agree with your observations that the industry’s being taken over by the wackest of the wack, those same sentiments begin to foster resentment and are detrimental to staying focused on why you’re in it to begin with.
I had a conversation about this once with Karen Civil, a close confidante. My almost overpowering fear of faltering from being real had started to stop me from significant opportunities to advance my career and I had a choice to make: either chill out and let things flow or preempt people’s motives and withdraw from being around anything I didn’t deem genuine, which I eventually started doing. A lot. I lost numerous associates and maybe even friends that way, too. Although Karen wisely encouraged me to open up more and “play the game a little,” I just couldn’t do it. Years later, I can admit that I may have been wrong. While I’m proud I’ve never sacrificed my character and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’ll tell you I’ve changed in any significant way, my stance ultimately had me caught up in my own hype. I became a “real” snob, obsessed with the word and placing all emphasis on my interpretation of it. I had a similar talk with Reggie Ossé a.k.a. Combat Jack right when his eponymous radio show was kicking off. We spoke at length about mutual acquaintances and while we shared an opinion on most, we greatly differed in our approach and relationships with them. Instead of taking Reggie’s encouraging words to heart, my hard-headed self continued the “me against the world” mentality I’d held for so many years. It’s only now, in this moment and during my time away from everything, I’ve been able to recall both my friends’ words and realize it’s time to put them into action.
My new O-1B work visa has been officially approved, which means I’m headed back to the Big Apple in less than two weeks. I might be going back the same ol’ truth-spitting, smart-a*s, classically-trained journalist known as Boss Lady, but I’m open to being a new Simone Amelia in so many ways. I’m open to dealing with bulls*it a little more. I’m open to letting my guard down when it serves a greater purpose. I’m open to letting people start on 10 with me and go down to a zero depending on their actions, rather than starting them on zero because of my attitude. I’m excited about this new awakening and where it will take me, and for those who’ve rocked with me through thick and thin and accepted me for my flaws and frustrating ways, thank you. Please believe, I won’t let you down.
Dedicated to the Dame Dash to my Jay-Z, Amber Ravenel. I’m ready!
The journey continues.
[Reach out in the comments below]