It was a pleasure to speak with one of my good friends Nicholas Woldesalasie for Another Lost Boy Story! I’ve definitely wanted to speak to him about his story since we’ve always connected on a deeper and spiritual level as well. I appreciate Nick sharing his story on Black Lives Matter, his spiritual journey, his relationship with his parents, and his struggle on figuring out his passion through life. Read his story on his positive outlook and how it helps him become a better person.
(This conversation is summarized based on voice memo recording and his permission)
Play Our Part For Black Lives Matter
How’re you feeling lately?
Life’s been cool. Amid everything that’s going on, the world is a really interesting place right now. COVID is not great and with Black Lives Matter, I’m happy that it’s happening but it’s definitely causing a divide. It’s hard to navigate through the times right now but I think these times have caused a lot of people to have introspection. For me, that’s been 90% of my time. I’m just trying to figure out who I am in the middle of all this and what I can do to be helpful. Stay positive. Black Lives Matter is very important but I don’t want it to be something that continues to cause a divide.
Black Lives Matter is not problematic and I think it’s necessary. It’s something that needs to be talked about but we need to educate people, share a story, share our experiences with racism. I don’t want BLM to be something that’s forgotten. In the past, we had different movements but the system kind of always evolves. There’s still racism and things that happen on a lesser scale - so it’s important that BLM is happening because we want a put an end to that. We want to give everyone, not just black people, a fair chance. We just got to play our part to put an end to that.
Feeling Things Out
What’s new with your daily routine? (meditating, reading, etc.)
My daily routine has shifted. I follow a schedule and try to be on time with everything. I’m very logistical so I’m always like “okay let’s get it” and I move quickly. That’s always been my lifestyle when coming into the city. Like for work, I’m on the bus at this time, I’m at work this time, etc. Since COVID happened, that all shifted pretty heavily. At one point, I didn’t know what to do.
My daily workflow is to work a little bit in the morning, get a workout in, read, a lot of meditation and reflection. I’ve been writing a lot and jotting down what I’ve been thinking. I’m sure a lot of people have been doing a lot of self-reflection but I’ve been doing a lot of “feeling things out”. I’ve been asking myself existential questions like, “who am I”? It’s been crazy man. I feel like I’m being pulled into something that I’m meant to be doing but I don’t know what that is. It’s something that shouldn’t be rushed, you just have to let the universe do its thing. Every day I wake up and just set some goals for myself for the day.
Life Guides Us To Our Destiny
How’s your spiritual journey?
I have a religious background, my mom is Christian and my grandma was catholic. I was always around church growing up. For me, I believe there’s a higher power, a God, but I also believe that the universe does things too. I feel like I’m in this entanglement that I’m a very spiritual person, I pray and I meditate. I’m not going to tell somebody that they’re wrong about what they believe in. Every night I say a prayer for all my homies. In a sense, I am a spiritual person. I believe in destiny and who we are. As we go through experiences that shape who we are -- there is something that is trying to guide us. We are being guided along. Everything that we’re doing is meant to happen. We’re being pulled to be following our destiny. We have a choice always.
I Couldn’t Be Myself
What specific story that you want to share about where you felt lost?
I think I’m coming out of my lost boy story. Growing up I always felt like I was a lost boy almost but not knowing that term. With my parents splitting, I always felt like I didn’t belong. Growing up, I felt like I wasn’t seen or really understood. I didn’t know where I belonged. Looking back, I would always do these things to get attention, for example, being a class clown in class just to get people to like me. My mindset was if I looked a certain way, I’m doing better than someone else. If I was doing better and look like I’m doing better then I feel better. Along the way, while you navigate through life, you hurt people and it’s just not you. I felt like I always had to be the best, look like I’m the best, and make more money than my peers.
Then it hit a point last year where I had a low point. Work wasn’t going well because I wasn’t focused on work, at home I didn’t want to talk to anybody. There were so many things that were happening and it was happening so fast then come this past winter I hit rock bottom. I was depressed. For me, that was a turning point because I didn’t know what I was doing or know where I was going. Damn near didn’t know who I was and felt completely lost. I had to take time off work and really sit down because I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel like I was contributing at all. I like to help people and talk to people but if I can’t help myself who am I to tell you what to do you know?
For me that was tough. From there, I started to try to find myself. I started meditating. Even to this day, you have to accept yourself and love yourself. People throw that out all the time, love yourself and be yourself. But you have to love yourself, nurture yourself, and take care of yourself -- mind body and spirit, to truly grow and live a full life. I was just doing things that people wanted me to do.
You have to try and fail and try and fail to truly live.
So just coming out of that, lately, I’ve been doing well. My lost boy story was I never felt like I could be myself. My parents telling me I had to do this and do that go to college for this and do that. I was a photographer but having my dad telling me that it’s not a career and I couldn’t do that hurt. I hate when people tell me I can’t do something because I will defy you and prove that I can do it. If I can’t do what I’m good at, then what the hell am I supposed to do? For me that hit home because it’s like what’s the point why am I here? I can’t be me. I can’t be in front of my whole family. Who am I supposed to be? I really had to dig myself out of that and figure out who I really was. I had to accept myself.
I think for COVID, for a lot of people, it was a blessing in disguise.
I got to a point where I’m solid with myself and figuring out all these things about myself. You want to hit the ground running, but with COVID it made us take our time and think about what we want to do. At least now, going back to what we were talking about -- I feel like I’m getting pulled towards a direction I want to go and I think that I will do well at. I want to give it some thought. I want to inspire people somehow through a more creative route. I just don’t know what that looks like yet.
I love seeing different places and document other people’s stories through photography is dope. There’s a lot of things people don’t see and a lot of things people don’t hear through stories which is why I think it’s tight you’re doing this. We can live through such a tunnel vision. When you live life through tunnel vision there’s a lot you miss out on. You’re able to learn about people and learn about places and yourself if you open up that tunnel vision.
Attack Life And Just Go For It
Is there any advice you’d tell someone who is currently lost?
What I would tell myself a few years ago is to give yourself the time and space to know or figure out what you want. Figure out what you’re passionate about and what you like. It’s easy to get sucked into something like a corporate job. You can grow gradually and get paid a little more every year or you can just jump off the cliff (figure of speech) and fail. Try something else and fail. Give yourself the time and space to know what you want and who you are. Just go for it and try it. Just attack life.
Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to be who you are.
Don’t let anybody tell you who you are. Be solid with that and be like this is who I am, this is what I like and this is where I’m going. Stick with it no matter what. When you stick with something and ignore the variables dope shit will happen. You can’t psych yourself out and not let anyone psych you out. Believe in yourself.
Everything falls into place when you go for what you want.
You always got to take the first step to manifest something.
I Want To Make Them Proud
Have you ever talked to your parents or would you have that conversation about your lost boy story with them?
I think what I’m struggling with still is having that conversation. My mom for example is super supportive. I tell her the most, like what I’m going through. One someone prays for you without asking for it I think that’s mad powerful. When my mom tells me she prays for me I can tell she really cares. I feel like I’m still waiting to be “successful” because I still want to make them proud. Whatever reason they came to this country, I want to make it feel worth it. A lot of first-generation kids have that pressure, no matter where you’re from. It plays with that mindset that we have to hustle because we want to make them proud. I want to be successful and have the cool things but I don’t need to. I want to have those things to make them happy. I’m waiting to have that conversation, it will happen. Even if I don’t have that conversation, I think it’s more or less how they see how I raise my kids. I just want my kids to try their best.
My relationship with my dad wasn’t much of a relationship growing up. It’s one of those he was there but wasn’t there. I think I get some of my stubbornness from him. Growing up, you have this idea that somebody doesn’t want you. When in reality, dad was working around the clock and followed his passion for opening up his coffee shop in the city. He was working long hours so I get it now. He also had that expectation of me being the best of the best since I went to private school. The first question when I see him, it’s always “how’s school”? It’s never “how are you doing”?
I think if you ask the question, “how are you” is mad powerful.
I could be having the worst life but he was asking me how my grades were. Growing up we just had this disconnect. My mom works hard but still asks me how I’m doing. But, my dad and I have a great relationship now. We cook together all the time and he’s a great guy. During these past 6 months period, I’ve definitely felt more comfortable talking to him now.
Start Within Yourself
Anything else on your mind?
I’m feeling good. I feel like I have the capability of doing something extraordinary. There’s something that I’m going to do that’s going to be dope. It’s going to inspire someone to do something great. I’m super optimistic right now. I’m just trying to set myself up for success. Going back to my spiritual journey, my Saturn’s return is next year. Next year and the year after is going to be pivotal years for me. The rest of this year I’m laying low and get mentally prepared for the next two years. It will shift my life completely. Tips for anybody I would say start within yourself. Take your time, go to a beach, hear the water, wherever that place is for you to where you can really listen to yourself and at peace - go there. Go there a lot. Once you feel comfortable at that place hear your thoughts out. Let go of what you have to let go of. You’re going to have to let go of some people, let go of some thoughts. Everything starts with your thoughts. 100% listen to yourself.
Manifest where you see yourself.
Take the steps where you want to go.
Always be grateful for where you’re at and where you came from.
Do your best to be your best to whatever standard that is to you.
Thank you again Nick for sharing your story! I felt honored to be the first person to truly hear your lost boy story. It took a lot of courage and love to be open and vulnerable with our conversation. I am super excited for your next few years and how successful you will be to make your parents proud. I know you will find your passion in life and inspire others to do the same. Remain the same and always keep in touch with me brother. Check out his page and follow his journey through life through his photos on Instagram (@wodofodo)!
I appreciate you taking the time to read his story! Sending you all love and here’s to finding out who we are during unprecedented times. From one lost boy to another, may we comfort one each other and always spread love.
Another Lost Boy