This Chick Has Left The Nest



“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”

-Warsan Shire

My Mamaiay and I left Chicago in 1998 to move 2,063 miles closer to the American Dream.  Seattle was safer, had better jobs, generous social services, and a budding Habesha community. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have gone to amazing schools and be supported by a village that could’ve prequel the Blind Side. I’ve had the privilege of calling Seattle home for the last 20 years, and I’ve always entertained the idea of leaving someday – but I always had an excuse to hold me back; “I can’t go because I need to finish school”  “I’ll lose my job if I move” “I need to save $X” “My Mamaiay needs me” “I can’t leave my childhood friends” “I have an apartment lease” etc.

I made a promise to myself last year to let go of things which would inhibit growth. This resulted in me quitting Amazon, shaving my hair, to even breaking up with my long-time boyfriend.  From these experiences, I learned that we often block our own blessings by being too scared to let go of what makes us comfortable. – It became clear that the last thing I was tirelessly clinging onto was home.

The only feeling worse than being alone is being around a room full of people and still feeling lonely. Every birthday, wedding, and special event exacerbated this feeling as I struggled to connect with people who I’ve known for most of my life. I hated that history was a precedent to obligation and found myself justifying my actions  and environment to myself by saying I’ve known so-and-so for X years.

During these gatherings, I grew tired of hearing people saying “Seattle is toxic” yet not doing their part in bringing positive energy. I grew tired of looking around watching people drown out their insecurities and depression with alcohol and drugs. I felt like I was around a bunch of people who were unhappy at the core and everyone was putting on a show of who could hide it the best, including me.

I wanted to rebrand myself, but I knew it’d be hard to do in Seattle. I didn’t want to be the “life-coach” anymore and known as “so-and-so’s ex.” I realized that my identity was being shaped by other people’s perceptions of me and I wanted to break free of that. I was ready to make the leap to become Rahwa 2.0 but then I was getting constantly reminded about version 1.0. This is when I realized I was trying to build a Sand Castle in the Arctic. Right tools, wrong place.

I read somewhere that the definition of Hell is this:

The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.

I felt like I was fearing this on daily cadence and finally mount up the courage to ask my employer to relocate to DC. Once I got the yes, I sold everything, said my goodbyes and hopped on my flight the same week. I cried my whole flight to DC; I was sad about what and who I was leaving behind, yet, eager for what I felt was lying ahead.

I wonder, how does the chick feel when it leaves its nest to fly for the first time?

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