Three years ago, to the month, I was sitting at a retreat I had to muster up the courage to go to (if you had known me three years ago, you’d know that I was extremely anxious to do anything new, plus I was the most burnt out I have ever been) thinking about how much I didn’t enjoy my life, my job, or how far I had let my dreams run from me.
I remember praying and asking God if this was the life He actually wanted for me. I immediately knew that it wasn’t, but it was necessary in order to get to where I was going; a lesson I have held close to my chest and have used when things happen that I don’t know how to be thankful for yet.
That weekend at the Subculture Retreat (Thanks Sean Scott for providing that space) changed my world. I wish I could say that the day after I left the retreat my life did a 180. It didn’t. There were ants in my car when I left.
On brand for me, I know.
Anyway, that weekend where I had some beautiful breakthroughs, did in fact start the three year road to healing and wholeness. Let me just say this, healing and wholeness are beautiful words and beautiful realities but holy hell are they the hard and vulnerable work to get there. Oh, and they’re an every day choice too.
I spent the next year diving into some really great therapy and dug up trauma I didn’t even know I had buried under my shoulder blades (Thanks to my dear friend, Dr. Jake Hyde from Sozo Wellness), going through waves of epic depression but then epic release, started doing more things that scared me or felt risky like taking days off from work to go on tour, and asking for help when I needed it, and giving myself permission to move forward with my life.
Fast forward to early 2019 and my life and my spirit were completely different. For some reason God only knows right now, I felt my heart being tugged toward Nashville. Mind you, I’d never been here except for the 5 hours on tour. The only thing I knew was that I had incredible friends here, country music is a thing, bachelorette parties were a big deal, and that there wasn’t an ocean (honestly, living somewhere without access to the ocean is a weird concept to this Florida water baby). If there’s anything I’ve learned and a still learning in my walk with Jesus and my pursuit of wholeness, is that when it’s time to make the next move, you do it.
So, I came to Nashville for a weekend in March and it was a really special time. The tulips were in bloom (I’ll put some photos of them at the bottom of this) and it was cool enough for me to wear a jacket. Sold, kind of.
Then I got back home and summer plans started making themselves known and dreams that I had when I was 15 started becoming an option, like going freelance full-time and go on tour. The way I felt about my apartment (which again, if you know me, you know how much I loved that studio) started to change, I felt peace about leaving my job, and then before I knew it I was putting in my notice, moving out of my home, and then on a plane to spend three weeks in Nashville to see if it was actually where I wanted to go. It was.
I kid you not, every little thing started falling into place. My friend Brittany who let me stay with her (thank you 100000x B) was moving and needed someone to take over her lease from September - January, I met the most incredible people that were about what I’m about, and the fear that I thought I would have about saying yes to doing something completely out of the norm never showed up.
Oh, and four of my dearest friends all decided to move here too the same week I moved up here. God is already providing the most important thing about living anywhere: community.
Life is wild. I have NO CLUE what’s going to happen, but I’m fully trusting that the rest of 2019 in Nashville is going to be something special, that I’m going to be able to create and connect with people in ways that I never even knew were possible, that Jesus is going to come through (cause, like, I don’t have a 9-5 anymore), and that I’m about to make 15 year old Imani proud by honoring her dreams to make art.
Last night my roommate’s manager came over and saw my room, saw one of my photos (the first photo in the gallery below) and started crying because it spoke to her. You bet your bottom dollar I cried too. When she hugged me goodbye she said to me in a reassuring tone, “You’re going to be happier here than you ever even imagined.”
And you know what? I receive that.
Here’s looking at you, Nashville.
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