Atlanta holds many memories for me; some memories are good and some I’d like to erase from my mind. It’s been nearly four years since I left the city. I departed with the burden of a broken heart while trying to begin a new chapter in my career as a journalist. There was this sour taste in my mouth even after I returned to visit a year or so later. Friends were the reason I came back. I was in dire need of comfort from a circumstance that left me bruised and broken. It wasn’t the city that did this to me, but my own will to keep faith in situations I knew were no good for me.
I learned many hard lessons in the city. I reflect back on many of them today and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stray that far from reality.” I’ve heard people say love blinds you from seeing the truth in a toxic situation. Once I left, I realized there was more of me that needed work than my mind led me to believe. Two years flew by as I reported across the state of Kentucky, and then it was my time to head west. I decided a journey to Palm Springs would do me right; I heard it was a destination for people looking to reinvent themselves or tap into their spiritual inner being. I didn’t think about either outcome though. I was just ready to live a more open life.
It’s hard to believe I only spent one year of my life in that desert oasis. It felt like a decade crunched tight into a small box. I reported on hundreds of stories, met thousands of people, and made even more memories that still bring a smile to my face. What happened next was, what I believe, a higher power writing out another adventure designed just for me. I met a guy on Facebook; we began messaging and video chatting daily. It wasn’t the typical romantic love story, but it was right for us. Two weeks later, I proposed to him. I heard non-stop from friends and strangers around me that I was insane. A part of me thought so too, but I knew in my heart it was right. A month later I moved to Albuquerque, leaving the city of my dreams behind. It was a hard pill to swallow. I missed everything about Palm Springs. Nothing felt right to me in Albuquerque except the man I was about to marry. I pushed through and did it because I knew I’d have to sacrifice to end up in a better place.
Unemployment hit and I was without a job for nine months. We were struggling, but fate had a plan for us. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I’ll tell you why. While searching for jobs on LinkedIn, a notification popped up trying to sell me a premium membership. I had grinned before I went to close out the notification, but something told me to stop. I thought about it, grabbed my credit card and signed up. A few minutes later as I was searching for journalism jobs, “Editor for the Georgia Voice” appeared. I went to apply. As I reviewed the job posting, I noticed a button labeled “Premium In-Mail”; it gave users the opportunity to message the person posting the position. It was a feature of the premium service, a service I’d just bought. I sent a quick message introducing myself hoping for any type of response, anything other than silence. A day later in my inbox, a letter from Tim Boyd with the Georgia Voice appeared. Through dozens of messages, a writing assignment, and an hour-long conference call with the Georgia Voice team, I was finally offered the position.
I might not be the most religious or spiritual person, but I believe in something greater than all of us. Things happen for a reason when you least expect it. From my departure from Atlanta, moving to Palm Springs, and meeting an amazing man, to returning to a city that saw the worst of me. Never doubt where life will take you. Always accept a new direction with open arms and comfort, knowing there’s a reason you’re on that path.
As I complete this full circle back to Atlanta, I know I got here because I was supposed to end up here. The journey has been full of learning lessons that have prepared me for this moment. At times I didn’t think I’d made it through, but I survived. I’m grateful for the voice I’ve been given, and the opportunity to use it to share stories from our community with all of you. I believe I’ve found my purpose on this earth; I’m glad it’s here at the Georgia Voice. Now it’s time to get to work!