F.E.A.R. II: California Almost Sent Me Packing

By Torrance Winder

It’s been a little over a year since I wrote my post F.E.A.R., a post that sent me on my path of true self-discovery and prompted my cross-the-country move. I received way more love than I could have imagined from that post. Soooo I thought I’d share more of the ‘struggles turned lessons’ that I have encountered. So I’m gonna try to sum up my VERY crazy year in a short post. Let’s see how this goes!

Now as I sit in my apartment in Inglewood, California, I can’t help but be thankful for what I have been able to accomplish and overcome. But let’s be clear here… IT WAS NOT EASY! I was lucky enough to be able to sleep on multiple couches and air mattresses for 10 months. I was working multiple part time jobs for months that didn’t pay all of my bills. I ate my fair share of rice and beans, noodles with butter, and Top Ramen. And after SERIOUSLY contemplating going home, for some reason, I stayed. I figured, if I kept at it, these things that give me so much grief had no choice but to subside. And I was right! And if I can help it, I’ll be in LA for a littleee bit longer. Soooo I’ve narrowed this experience down to 3 main points that have really blessed me on this journey and I hope it does the same for you.

“It’s Not Happening TO you, It’s Happening FOR You”

I hit my rock bottom in LA. I experienced setback after setback musically. My self-esteem was at the lowest state it had been in a while. I finally got a full-time job and everything you could think of increased monetarily, (OF COURSE!). My bills and responsibilities were suffocating me and I had NO idea how these things were going to get paid. Anxiety had taken up a permanent residence. I couldn’t focus on music. I felt inadequate. My relationship with God was in shambles. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I distanced myself from the friends/mentors/acquaintances I met out here. I couldn’t face the conversation that I might be heading home sooner than I thought because all of this was too much for me. All I could do was focus on the negative things that were happening in my life.

I was texting all of this to my good friend Jabari. After I said all of this, he responds with “It’s not happening TO you. It’s happening FOR you. And you need to figure out how it’s for you.” I immediately stopped responding. How could these trashy situations be for me?! I mean so much was going on and I was working my ass off just to stay afloat. It wasn’t until the next day that it finally hit me what he meant. These stressful situations weren’t meant to break me. I was supposed to learn something and alter the current course I was on. There was a solution to my problem. I just couldn’t see it because I was only focused on my struggles and how hard things were on me. I was able to reap the blessings from these challenging situations. I had to let go of my fear of doing the wrong thing to get my way out. Which brings me to my next point...

“Life Isn’t A Linear Path; More Like A Staircase”

Many believe that it was “brave” of me to quit my job and travel across the country to live. That was hard for sure but I don’t think it was brave. I moved to Cali to chase a dream. The pursuit of that dream and my happiness; now that’s brave. My fear of messing up or “taking the wrong path” kept me stagnant initially. A conversation I had with a friend and music manager out here, David, changed the way that I viewed this journey. We came to the conclusion that life isn’t this linear path that we hear people talk about; it’s stepwise, like a staircase. Let me explain...

In life, we go through a series of different situations, trials, and adventures that contribute to our overall understanding and functioning. We might not understand it at the time, but these events and things that we go through have a way of coming full circle and benefiting us when we least expect it. I was so afraid that I would go down the wrong path that I didn’t choose a path at all. Seeing life as an ever moving staircase, I was able to finally put things into motion. This gave me the confidence to move forward knowing that each experience will shape me in someway to benefit me (That’s my faith talking there). So keep pressing on, even if you’re unsure. You have to take that initial step and things will work itself out the way it’s supposed to.

“Let Fear Guide You”

 “I gotta go home and change and I’m not in the mood to come allllll the way back out to Hollywood. I’m also kinda tired. And my hair looks crazy. I mean I’m not even really warmed up foreal. I don’t even remember the words to the song. I’m probably going to mess up because I don’t know the last time I practiced that song.” This is every excuse I threw out at my frat brother Brandon on why I couldn’t perform at an open mic night in Hollywood one evening. He responded with “Let the fear guide you.” Now while I didn’t end up going that night because I legit felt sick, this statement would change the way that I viewed fear. After doing some thinking, I now understand fear as both good and bad. Bad Fear is the irrational, “what if” type of fear that I talked about in my first post. But Good Fear is your intuition. For me, Good Fear is also where my dreams are. Good Fear houses my deepest desires. And the same way we let our intuition guide us to safety, we have to do the same when it comes to that initial feeling deep down inside that tells us to go for it.   

Let the good things that scare you the most direct your path. Marvel in the space of uncertainty. That is how, I believe, you finally reach final form. When you have enough faith to know that everything is going to be alright, despite where you are in your life; you will always be at peace. This might be the hardest step for me to take. But I know that in time, working with those good fears will get a lot easier. I just have to be consistent and let the good fear of the unknown guide me to my destiny.

There is one consistent thing about each and every experience that I want to make clear: It takes a village. Don’t be afraid to share with the right people your struggles and desires. They are put in your life for a reason. Let what God has taught them be a lesson for you as well.

-Jah Bless

Photo Credit: Danny Sellers