I was supposed to rent an apartment in Manhattan with a roommate and explore the city. You know, be in the middle of the “big city, bright lights” action. Instead, I stayed in my cousin’s basement in Jersey City and caught a bus and two trains to my internship each day. Okay, still not my original plan, but it was free housing and I still had a wonderful experience.
During the summer I applied for job after job up and down the east coast. I was supposed to land a great job, excellent pay, move to a new city (if not NY) and, well, just be fabulous. Instead, I received a remote-editor position with a salary, not great but livable, and ended up going back home to save money before finally moving. Okay, yet again, a little different than I expected, but at least I can move to an exciting place, as long as my salary affords it, with no obligations.
Before going home, I visited my boyfriend and explained to him how down I was about my situation. I thought when I’d left at the beginning of the summer I would only return home to get my car. I just knew I was out of school, out of that city and never looking back. Yet, there I was preparing to go back home; going back to the same place, same people and surroundings like I’d never left. And do you know what he said to me?
And I quote, “Somehow, you always find the negative.” Okay, not the response I was looking for, but the one I needed to hear. It made me stop and think, do I really only see the bad things? At first I protested, but once I came to terms with the fact that I was in denial, I found my answer to be yes.
Hello, my name is Shala and I am negative. It even hurts to type it.
When I graduated I was excited about going to NY, but a part of me was disappointed that it wasn’t for a full-time job. Negative. The reality is that I should’ve been grateful to have any type of income coming into the awful economy we’re dealing with. Positive.
I had this idea of NY and my stay there, but my living and commuting situation dampened my spirits. Negative. I got the chance to live FOR FREE, work in Soho, meet so many great people and have one of the best summers of my life. I was blessed to do what many others could not. Positive.
I didn’t want to go home and feel like a failure because I was “going back.” Negative. I was headed home, again, to live FOR FREE, save up money and then drive across the country to live in any city my heart desired because I have a work-at-home job. Positive.
My life never seemed to go according to plan because I was looking at my own plan instead of God’s. Then I’d end up disappointed and seeing things in a negative way instead of the good He meant for me. Everything is about perception; if we see bad, it’ll be and feel bad. But if we choose to find the good in seemingly negative situations, our entire outlook will change.
So today I encourage you to see the good no matter what. Everything happens for a reason, and if we search hard enough we will discover something to be thankful for. I’ll start: I had a negative mindset, but I’m thankful someone cared for me enough to correct me so that now I can say “Hello, my name is Shala. I am positive and I find the good.”
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Marks aspires to help make a difference in society through the messages in her writings. She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Check her out at: