Oh Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, @nytimes
printed a story about me and my colors, and I received love from people from all over the world. Me. Little me from Petion-Ville, Haiti. Little me who spent my teenage years in Newark, NJ, not knowing much about myself or the world. My biggest dream back then was to afford to eat at a sidewalk cafe like the fancy characters on the television did.
I moved to New York City in January, 2009, right after I graduated from college. I didn't know why I moved, but I knew I needed to be here. I moved because of how I felt when I saw the city for the very first time. That was also my very first day in the United States. For whatever reason, we drove through Times Square (which is now a nightmare to me). My brother slept while I sat in the back of the car, hands and forehead glued to the window, glancing up at the lights as my heart raced. I wanted to jump out and get lost. I told myself that one day I would live there and do just that (get lost), and I did. That's how the blog "Finding Paola" started.
I worked at approximately seven places in New York City before I started @FanmDjanm
, not counting the babysitting and odd jobs. At one point, I worked three jobs all at once. The titles don't really matter but they included: research assistant, server, bartender, host, guest services, research assistant, reservations manager, sales and marketing manager, accounting and human resources manager, back to server, manager. I've cried many times. I've felt lost many times. I've been treated less than human many times. I've doubted myself so many times. And I still have fears, you see. The only difference is, even when they still lurk after my dreams and desires, I push them aside, if even briefly, to get shit done.
My advice to you, on this cloudy Sunday afternoon: Get shit done. Ignore the doubts, even the self-doubts. Do one thing at a time with what you have. Focus. And don't forget to breathe. #FindingPaola
• Thank you @tariromz @mrwhite_