HAPPY BDAY TO ME: My 27 Yr. Young Self & How I Fit in this Big Ol’ World!

7 Jan

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This day, 27 years ago, in Petersburg, VA at 4:16 pm, I came swimming out of my mother’s womb. I obviously can’t remember the details of my birth, but I like to think a golden light filled the room as naked, chubby baby angels resembling Sisqo of Dru Hill sang the chorus of “Adore” by Prince. I’m pretty sure I glided out, glistening in liquid gold and crying streams of water from Cano Cristales. Just joking… kind of… not really. Though you may not be able to tell by my notions of my world entrance, I’m actually not really big on birthdays. Each year I feel very fortunate to be turning another age, but as far as the parties, gifts and whole nine, it’s just never been a big deal to me. Give me a dinner, some good convo with good people and a cocktail, and I’m easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! This year, however, is a little different as I’m more excited than usual. I think it has something to do with the fact that I’m turning 27 and 7 is my favorite number. I still don’t want anything all extravagant and stuff, but I do want to put a little more effort into making this birthday special–small, but special.

Anywho, as I toss around and conjure ideas of how to celebrate my 27th year of life this weekend, I’m also reflecting on life itself and how my life fits in its context. Life thus far has been good to me, by The Grace of God. Childhood was adventurous and care-free. Most importantly, I had a mom, dad, and family full of grands, aunts, uncles and Godparents who praised my siblings and my existence. Then there was undergrad, two years at Augusta State University followed by a transition to HBCU Albany State in Georgia where I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong dream of channeling Whitley from A Different World. Toward the end of my last semester, I was listening to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and decided in that random moment that New York was the place to be. Two weeks after graduation, grad classes began at SUNY Albany. Two days after receiving my MSW, I settled in New Jersey, 30 minutes from NYC, working at a publication company writing for two style and beauty magazines. Two years later, I’m still writing, for multiple outlets though as a freelancer. That’s the short version; I’d need a whole book and movie to let you in on all the in between crevices.

It’s been quite a journey and overall very enjoyable, but now I’m at that place where I’m not necessarily trying to make sense of it all, because I think I’ve done that to a degree, but I’m trying to make sure that I don’t lose that sense and that I keep taking the steps needed to fulfill it. For a long while, like since I was child, I’ve had some inkling of who I was and how it’d all manifest as an adult. I didn’t see myself writing, though I’ve always done it and loved it, but I did see myself in media, talking to girls and women in some capacity. With 27 here, I now know that in some fashion, whether small or big, I’m supposed to contribute to unraveling the tightly wrapped limitations–of TV, billboards, magazines, etc–in which we’ve sealed beauty.

Now more than ever I realize that there’s truly a reason for everything. There’s a reason I was watching Oprah in middle school while my peers were watching TRL. There’s a reason I studied the career of Tyra Banks beyond her supermodel legacy. There’s also a reason that I’m equally in love and disturbed with the fashion and beauty industry and what it represents. There’s reason I never corrected my overbite and why I decided as an adult to wear my hair natural, even if those reasons were unknown to me at the time and Big G-O-D is just starting to reveal them.

While I don’t have to rock a kinky-curly ‘fro to stress my point that beauty isn’t one-dimensional, it does help my expression of that point seem a bit more legit. My crooked smile isn’t a cure all either, but it will make my argument that there’s beauty beyond the “conventional” that much more convincing. I can’t say that I would have had the same interest to use media as an instrument of service to others if I didn’t watch Oprah every Monday through Friday from 4:00 to 5:00, and without Tyra Banks who’s to say I would have thought to use my own beauty and a career in entertainment as a platform to redefine “pretty?” Everything about my life, from me winning high school and college queen to girls confiding in me over Facebook messages, is starting to make sense with regards to how it fits in context of the larger life, the big picture. There’s no certainty of where it’ll all lead, but I do know that I’m on the right track.

Traveling through womanhood isn’t always easy and making sense of how we fit in this big ol’ world isn’t either. But fortunately, we do have experiences and certain convictions we can’t seem shake to draw from. If you find yourself in that place where you’re trying to determine where and how you belong, reflect on your life thus far and the correlation between your experiences. Write them down in a notebook and revisit them as often as you need to. What patterns and themes seem to keep showing up? What makes you happiest? What pisses you off? What do you think the world needs and how can you, in your own special way, help deliver that? What is it about the family members, teachers, friends and role models you most admire that draws you to them? The answers to these questions and others may not come right away, and they may even change over time. But in each of them is a little bit more clarity of your life and why we all need it!

Love you lots,


*I still have NO idea what I’m doing for my birthday. I have a little time though because I’m not going to celebrate until the 11th! I’ll update you 🙂


5 Responses to “HAPPY BDAY TO ME: My 27 Yr. Young Self & How I Fit in this Big Ol’ World!”

  1. Tuttie January 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Fabulously written piece…but you knew that. Lol.


  2. Christi January 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I’m late to reading this post but the world is def blessed by your existence! I’m so proud to have you as a best friend and sis! You are so much wiser beyond your years, even without experiencing half of the things that you have wise counsel and insight about. God gave you that for a reason and I am so happy that you are truly walking in your purpose, not only for the betterment of yourself but many others as well! Love you bestie and happy birthday! (although I already told you on your birthday-don’t want people thinking I’m a bad bestie lol) Can’t wait to witness the coming months and years!


    • Essence January 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      Omg! Love you sooooooo much. You know I’m emotional and can’t handle these kinds of things but thank you a million and one times for this!



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