CHAPTER 1. INSIDE THE EXTERIOR

by Jeremy Danté

chapter one. social media has shit fucked up. and while my ability to prolifically express such a sentiment escapes me, the new year brings about a new ambition to document my journey of development through mirroring, theme and elevated awareness. a selection of twelve chapters will live in this space over the course of the next year. totaling to one post per month, and a living story to be told; in my words, the only fitting way my story should be told. much of my development has been constructed on the gauge of my ability to give. to be responsible, to manage up; to strategize and to properly assess the value of things- so that nothing and no one is left behind or forgotten. but in this process, i am the forgotten one. the exterior is a concept of reality and surface. much of the internal affects the external, and in the last month of reflection i continue to think of this concept more and more thoroughly; not being fooled by the outside, but not being naive to what may, or may not, lie beneath the surface of all things, tangible and unfelt.

the last month of the year seen me traveling back to my home of the bay area, in the northern region of california, and also in the southern region of the state, in los angeles. while much of the last year had been a tug-of-war with my heart, mind and my own endurance, the decision to move to new york had already been made and was set in stone. restricted financially, and bound by a promise i made to myself; i was planted and the ground that held my feet in place slowly became cemented here in the concrete jungle. the last year is this blur of struggle that only i know, truly, how hard it has been. traveling back home had my anxiety at it’s peak. as i boarded the A train from all the way uptown to queens, my body spiked with anxiety, i kind of wanted to run back into my apartment and hide in the purity of my all white bedroom. i didn’t sleep the entire night and packed after a dinner party with the agency, where i told the president, “thank you for making my dream come true, really”.

arriving at the airport terminal, clad in all black with luggage to match; i sat at my gate, 4 hours early, just so i could sit and think about everything that the last year had brought me. the love that i found, the dream i achieved and was living, and everything it cost to make all of that happen. tears welted up in my eyes as i sat there thinking about how hard i worked to scratch the surface of really making it. i thought about what i left behind at home, and wondered if everything would be the same; or if life had pressed on without me, leaving me an even smaller space than i had once had back home in the bay. as the plane took off, i began to immediately fall asleep to push the hours of flight away and to distract myself from the lack of planning i had made for who i would see first and who would see me.

first thing i did as i exited the gate was take a deep breath of the clean san francisco, california air the international airport terminal. in a flurry of just four short days, i seen friends that have become my family at the university of california, berkeley; seeing many familiar faces, none of which have forgotten me, or who i am destined to be. it was a good feeing. my cousin took me to in-n-out burger, and a few other spots i love to eat. my strongest ride-or-die homegirls helped me to and from the airport, and let me stay with them during my short visit. in the visit, i seen both sets of my grandparents, which is a blessing to my heart and mind. “don’t bring him here”, spoke one relative. and as my heart sank, i remembered why i left in the first place. right up against the christmas season, much of my familial has been reduced to it’s founding members; with convenient subtraction of those who have been categorized as problematic to the health of my life and aspirations.

i skated off to los angeles, after having a conversation with my girl, penny. “now do you see that you made the right choice to leave?”, she asked. i agreed. knowing that i made the best decision i could at the time i had made it. the familiarity of home is comfortable but can easily inspired complacency if not treated in the right regard. los angeles was my vacation; a place where i could rest, build and recuperate from the year i had in new york city. i was with leya; to help create a lifestyle structure for her apartment. this method of building took on many forms, from energy sharing, to scouting for interior pieces that fit the space and character of leya herself. to balance light with dark; to be mindful of lines and cleanliness. to eat the right food, to have the right attitude and listen to the right music all while sharing an open heart of inspiration and gratitude. the perfect start to a new year. i take with me the heartache of love lost, and understand that all pain is with growth. the concept of inside the exterior came to me; because the idea of home was romanticized. being inside of my looking glass, i realized i chose to extend outward, into the world i am now living. inside that exterior, i was able to help leya to create a new foundation for herself; and see much of myself in this figurative process of building, retracting and mindfulness.

with the goals of the new year already actively working in my favor, i remain filled with hope and am inspired to push forward in a real way; more confident in my instincts, choices and respecting the angel that brought me to new york. i know this year will be one of greater goals achieved, love received and more importantly, love reciprocated. to opening my mind to a boundless love that extends from my core and connects with that of my strongest partner yet. these hopes are now manifested in the writings of this piece, and the rest of my story will be told, as each month passes throughout this year.