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Becoming the Phoenix: An Ode to 31

“Niggas tryin' to break my will

You know that ain't my steel

I'm Destiny's Child,

my fate's been sealed."

- Jay-Z

I Do Not Own This Art.

For my birthday, I like to reflect on the previous year and summarize it in a title. I’m not sure when I started this tradition, but I plan to keep doing it until I die! The name of Chapter 31 is Becoming the Phoenix. Since Harry Potter, I’ve been obsessed with this bird. But now, it’s for a much deeper reason. The Phoenix represents transformation, death, and rebirth by fire. Also known as ‘trial by fire", better known as the last year of my life.

31 in numerology breaks down to 4. Four symbolize structures and building foundations. In order to build a home on a solid foundation, the old structure has to be completely wiped away. When "changing" your life, if you don't properly take time to examine your "old" beliefs and mindset. You can find yourself building a "new" life on a very rocky foundation. Just like Jenga, towards the end of the game, the tower is bound to fall. I had to completely shift the foundation of my life by making the choice that peace cannot dwell in chaos.

I know that people from my past life look at me like I'm crazy. Like I've gone off the dead end. I had my Dad tell me, "you just have to figure out what you want to do for a living.” Because people don't see me moving in the same circles, they have written me off as a failure, despite already proving that I'm successful in my own right. It sucks that the people closest to me don’t believe in me. But I’ve come way too far to give up now. What I am doing now may not make sense to the world, but I am doing what God has asked me to do. And honestly, he is the only person I am trying to please.

One day, I logged onto Instagram just as Danielle Young and AJ Johnson started a Soul Session. I was on the live for all of two minutes when AJ asked: What door are you afraid to walk through? The question shook me, but I knew the answer almost instantly: The door that I was scared to walk through was the door of being alone. Since childhood, I have betrayed myself to keep others happy. I learned how to perform for love and attention. But I can honestly say: it was never worth it. This past year, it felt like I had to be confronted with the things I did as a child no matter where I turned. I had to make a choice. The number 32 breaks down to 5. Five in numerology means personal freedom and adventure. It is connected to experiencing life changes (married + new job) and other important choices.

This year, I vowed to do the exact opposite of everything that I use to do. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. See, I was doing all of these things to better myself. Yet, I held on to people who continued to treat me like the “old me." The hardest pill to swallow was that many people in my life loved me for how I made them feel. I’m the type of person that will hype you up and make you feel like the impossible is possible. I have an energy that can be contagious and addictive. I am the definition of love, and I love people unconditionally. But while I was being me, everyone else was loving me on very conditional terms. I can no longer lie to myself and say that’s love or support.

I had to face the hard truth that it was time to purge. If people didn’t want to treat me with love and respect: they had to go. If the relationship wasn’t reciprocal: it had to go. I realized that I couldn't be striving for greatness in my career while holding on to the bare minimum in my daily life. I had to make a choice on what I believe is possible for my life. I also had to be very intentional about the places and people I allowed into my life. When I stopped fighting life and embraced the pain, it taught me a lot about myself.

I learned how silly it is to focus on the things I can’t control. I realized that I didn't want to chase or force anything- not love, a man, or a career. I learned that I didn’t want to be in any situation that caused me to shrink myself. Especially when I’m trying so hard to grow. I have experienced confusion, betrayal, and abandonment. I think it’s far past time that I experience true love, friendship, and family. I want a life of ease. Not because I’m worthy”, but because that’s who I am. I used to spend so much time crying that people didn’t get me. But what if those people were never meant for me?

For my birthday, I took myself on a solo vacation. In the days leading up to it, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Still, I walked through that door. On the day of the trip, my nerves went from scared to excited. When I got to Florida, my Uber broke down. But instead of panicking about being on this random road, I felt a peace washed over me. My Uber driver and I talked about being people of faith. When it was all said and done, he put money in my pocket and got me a free ride to the hotel. The trip only got better from there. I met a fun couple who offered me pizza. The bartender kept slipping me shots from his leftover drink, and when I finally got up to go to the beach, it was everything I needed and more!

I didn't just face my fear- I kicked down the fucking door. My worst fear was to spend my birthday alone. Yet I walked through that door. When the clock turned midnight, all the anxiety melted away. I faced my worst fears, and I didn't die. In fact, something magical happened. That night I felt a shift occur.

I felt free from the cycle of chaos. I no longer had to answer to anyone or play by anyone's rules. There was no one to please but me. I felt free to be whoever I wanted to be! That night I cried tears of joy thinking about life: I was finally on my path. I thought I would only experience “freedom” and happiness when I got a ring or book deal. But it happened when I was all alone, eating ice cream cake in my underwear.

All that searching and seeking led me to that night. Isn’t that something? To face your worst fear and thrive. Life can surprise you when you stop being scared. When you stop moving in fear, God can bless you in the strangest of circumstances. This year will be one of significant change because I have completely transformed from the inside out!

Here's to the start of a fantastic journey into my 32nd rotation around the sun: Here’s to Becoming the Phoenix and Rising From the Ashes!



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