"Excuse me honey,
but nobody's in my lane."
Lately, I have been feeling like the old bitch in the club. But I kind of like it! When I was younger, I could never picture myself at thirty-two. Now that I am this age, it's still kind of a mind fuck. I have to remind myself of my age constantly. Because deep down inside, I don't feel any different from when I was younger. Not like a ten-year-old. More along the lines of twenty-one and realizing I can buy my own liquor. But there is nothing like being around a couple of Gen Z's or trying to install Tic-Toc on your phone to quickly remind you: Bitch you’re old.
Nonetheless, I have been looking forward to turning thirty-three. I actually started saying I was thirty-three back in January. It's something about this birthday that I am genuinely looking forward to this year! To celebrate officially crossing the threshold of thirty. I want to share some wisdom that I have gained while walking on this earthly plane. So for my birthday offering this year, I will be sharing the thirty-three things I know for sure:
Margarine Is Not Butter: One Christmas, I messed up the infamous Mac & Cheese and got my feelings hurt. After that, I was determined to never fuck up the dish again and went on a hunt for the perfect recipe. Then one day on The Read, Crissle mentioned Chef Fresha’s Mac & Cheese recipe and gave it glowing reviews. When I looked it up, the first thing the recipe said was “real” butter. My life has been changed ever since. Not only have my Mac & Cheese become that girl. But now my Grill Cheese is damn near restaurant quality (though I can't see myself buying a grilled cheese, but still). Butter, real butter, makes everything better. I can’t believe I spent my whole life thinking that margarine is butter!
Fresh Flowers and Incenses Are Forms Of Self-Care I have never been the type of person who could create a vibe. I did not grow up in a home filled with fresh flowers and candles. But life has changed me. While I love candles, I don’t like wasting candles in the sunlight. Now that I work from home, I keep a drawer full of incense. (I am obsessed!) Not only do I love how they make my home smell, but the smell lingers for hours! While flowers are not only pretty, they can also shift the energy in your home. For example, I’ve been working on self-love, so I keep red roses around because they hold the power of love and passion. Also, a life hack for a stressful day is to bathe in candlelight. A building-mate suggested this to me once, and now it's a nighttime ritual. I'll even drop some essential oils in my candles to heighten the experience. Flowers, candles, and incense are not only an easy way to set a vibe in your home, but they also are a great form of self-care.
Spend Your Money, Go On More Vacations, and Fuck More. Ok, I stole this quote from The Shape of Water, but it still applies! Towards the end of my college years, I was shamed for my sexuality. I actually had a girl blame me for her friend turning into a hoe. (Oh, trust this will end up in a screenplay!) After that, I met a guy who shamed me the same way. Which, of course, shamed me into shutting down my sexual side (because no one wants a hoe, right?). This, in turn, turned off my adventurous side, my taking care of myself side until the spirit of YOLO was no longer a part of me. I started hoarding money and found myself just coasting in life. When I started reading tarot, I learned that sex, fun, and spending money are energy-generating activities. When you shut it down, you shut down the flow of energy, and then this thing called depression comes in! Now, I’m not saying I will introduce Ho’ Phase Two. But what I will say is, I’m not about to block my blessing. I will spend my money and energy on the things that make me feel good.
If I Can Do It Once, I Can Do It Again When I think about my teenage years, I remember the passion and fearlessness to live. Then slowly, life humbled me over time, and I began to do the “practical” thing. Until I hit rock bottom, in the darkness, I had to remind myself of how I went to all those job interviews during my senior year of college. Desperate to get an internship to fulfill a graduation requirement. I got it but hated the company. So, one day I left my internship to interview with another company on my lunch break. I killed the interview and instantly advanced to the next round. I was hungry and determined to get a job offer at a Big Four accounting firm. (Especially after having a PWC representative say it was impossible due to my GPA.) Lately, I have been reminding myself that I did all that shit for something I didn’t even want. What happens when I turn that drive and focus inwards? Now I remind myself daily that if I could do it once with impossible odds, I can do it again!
Fucking Isn’t Loving! Sigh, God, I wish I would have gotten this lesson much sooner in life. I seriously thought that if you slept with a guy, it meant that he liked you and was only two steps from falling in love with you. But now I know that if a man sleeps with you, it's not even a guarantee that he likes you. Let alone love you. Hear me when I say this: a dude will fuck anything. Treat your nana special and like it’s the top-tier prize at a carnival. Everyone shouldn’t be able to get it. Now I look at sex as an energy exchange, and I am very picky! That doesn't make me stuck-up, bougie, or any of that other toxic shit: It’s actually a sign of good self-esteem and confidence!
Never Stop Being Random Before Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes, a little black girl at Hampton University lived her best life. My grad year was probably the most liberating year of my life. Since my “typical” friend circle was gone, I lost my safety blanket, but I was free to be me in its place. I lived off-campus, had a car, and the sky was the limit. That year I went to GHOE (North Carolina A&T Greatest Homecoming on Earth) for the first time. I took the China bus to New York, and I ran to DC for weekend dinners. I even went to the Hampton Player’s “For All Colored Girls” stage play. In the end, I couldn't help but wish that I had kept that same energy all four years. Who would I have become? Lately, I have been slowly getting back into that version of Am. Taking random, last-minute trips to Miami and accepting some invitations to some very questionable parties! I learned that it’s in those unexpected "what the hell" moments that the magic of life truly happens. I pray never to lose this crazy, adventurous side of me again.
I Am Not My Past. I used to make fun of the people at Hampton who came to the campus and reinvented themselves. But now I envy them because I realize that’s what life is about: it’s about bringing the person on the inside out! I have spent so much of my life retelling the stories of my childhood. Not realizing that I am not there anymore. When I really looked at my life, it was only more proof that those lies no longer apply. Life is about self-discovery and reinvention. The beauty of life is that God gave us this beautiful mind, and with that comes choice. At any time, we can decide to become better, to do more. We don't have to build our identity around the pain of our childhood. That is the choice we have as an adult. I realized that my past was only relevant because I kept it alive in my mind, thoughts, and heart. But when I released the stories and saw the truth of my life, I became free, excited to live life again. In the words of Lauryn Hill: Anything that is not growing is dead.
Judge A Tree By The Fruit It Bears: I have always been the type of person who falls in love with someone's potential. I see the best in people and often see them for who they “could be” versus who they are in my life. Being this type of person has put me in many fucked up situations. So when an older woman told me this, it was life-changing. It allowed me to shift my focus from potential to action. This proverb means forget everything that a person says and focus instead on their actions. Look at their life, friends, their accomplishments as the fruit of their tree. If the words don’t match the reality, you have to let it go. No amount of belief and faith in a person can help them become better. People have to become better on their own.
Family is Who Feeds Your Soul. While attending a Tea & Meditation event, we began to discuss family. I spoke up about my rocky past, and the meditation leader told me about "the walking trees" in the Amazon. We often think of trees as solid, immobile, and rooted to one spot. The common thought is to be a stable person; like a tree, you have a solid foundation. So if you are like me, a person who doesn't have that, you can't help but feel you are destined for some type of fucked-up life. But that’s not true of trees or people. The Walking Palm is a tree that will uproot itself and walk to a better environment to grow. When I heard this, it was affirming of everything that I believed and came to know: My only responsibility is to make sure that I am in the best environment to grow. To do that, I have to be surrounded by people who genuinely love me and feed my soul.
Sometimes Isolation is Necessary. I remember being in college bragging about never wanting to live alone. The thought of it completely terrified me. But as life would have it, I have reached a part of my journey where I have to learn to stand alone. And guess what? I realize that I like it. I feel good, and I’m fully capable of taking care of myself. When I stopped fighting this part of my life, it was freeing. I realized that I only had me to please. That made everything less frightening. When I stopped working for applaud, the pressure went away, and I found myself falling back in love with my work! This time of isolation has chipped away at my ego and released the need to please. Each rejection made me realize that I am doing this for myself and because I believe in stories. My only wish is to share a few of them with the world, and if I get rich along the way, it’s a bonus.
I Was Made For This Shit. I spent a lot of the earlier years of Honestly Sis shaming myself because I didn't have the right major. I thought that I had wasted my time on this path. But when I started using the tools that helped me in corporate america in my creative life, I began to see progress. Then when I took the Shonda Rhimes Master Class, I was shocked and excited to learn that a Showrunner was responsible for everything. (That means the creative and financial function of the show.) Shonda talked about struggling to find her footing on the management front, and all I could think in my mind was: I was made for this shit. Growing up, I wrote letters to my parents, boyfriends, and anyone who would listen. Since a child, I have always kept my head in a book. In my early teens, I would spend hours of my life on the B2K message board critiquing and making stories. It's poetic that I am writing stories and letters now about my life. It took me a while, but I am grateful that I am finally on the path to becoming one of the writing greats.
I promised you thirty-three, so I will see you in two weeks for Part 2,
What do you know for sure?