Honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done. ~John Bingham, author
A few weeks ago, I had the idea to start a blog. I wanted it to be meaningful to my life. I decided that I’ll explore the many lessons that I’ve learned as a twenty something (this is the last year I can truthfully say that!) and chronicle my final year in this decade.
Here’s a little sneak peek of future topics that I plan to explore:
- Hair Politics: What does it really mean when people say my hair is “elegant?” Of course, this only applies when it’s not in its natural state. *side eye*
- Prayer/Spirituality: I spent the night over my friend’s house. The next morning I took a shower and I typically use this time to pray. Apparently, I was keeping it a little too real with God because I ended the prayer with a “holla” instead of an “amen.” When I came out of the bathroom, my friend asked me if I was talking on the phone. I replied, “No, I was talking to God.” She gave me the side eye!
Before we begin this journey together, I’d like to take a moment to share a few of my poignant moments in my 20s.
Defining Moments of My Twenties
1. Moving to D.C. This was my moment of reinvention. I jettisoned the negative experiences and destructive feelings that I internalized over the years. At the same time, I was also fulfilling a dream to move to the nation’s capital and start my career. When I first arrived to the city, things were not easy. I struggled to find a full-time job but I went into survival mode, doing whatever it took to take care of myself. Thankfully, I had a great network of friends from college who helped me make the transition. In addition to becoming settled in the city, there was a shift in how I perceived myself. I became more comfortable in my skin, with my albinism, with my natural hair and in my personhood in general. This process didn’t happen overnight — there were many midnight crying sessions and letting go of others’ expectations of me. Moving to D.C. is probably the best decision I’ve made for my life.Being in this city has stretched me (and continues to do so) in so many ways and I’m thankful for every experience.
2. Finding God for myself. It’s no secret that I’m a church girl. I grew up going to church like it was my job. I mean literally a job because church lasted from 9 a.m.- 3p.m. (this included Sunday school and the morning service) and let’s not forget the evening service for special programs. I also regularly attended bible study on Wednesday, Friday prayer sessions, and the occasional deliverance service with my mother. Needless to say, church and spirituality were heavily embedded in my upbringing. I became well versed in the rhetoric and traditions of the Black church. However, I always felt a little out of place though because I’m not a “hooping and hollering” type of Christian but I enjoyed being a spectator during service. That was the problem – I felt like a spectator – I was going through the motions and I wasn’t sure how to connect with God for myself. I eventually outgrew the traditions of the Black church. I realized that I couldn’t continue to ride the coattails of my parents’ Christian experience because we’re obviously different people and what was working for them was not working for me. I embarked on a journey of finding God for myself. Through this journey, I’ve learned so much about God’s character and myself. Overall, I’m thankful for the spiritual foundation that my parents instilled in me but I realized that I needed to foster my own relationship with God.
3. Accepting my albinism. For as long I can remember, others have always given their opinion about my identity. Mix that with being misdiagnosed at birth as having “partial albinism” (whatever that is!) and that became a recipe for major identity issues. I was searching for answers and nobody could give them to me. I just wanted to know why I was “different” than my family and why I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. The façade I kept up for so many years was becoming harder to mask the pain and confusion I felt surrounding my identity. Things changed as I became more involved with the National Organization of Albinism & Hypopigmentation (NOAH). I met other people with albinism who understood my perspective.It was a relief for me to finally realize that I actually do have albinism because for so many years my mother told me I was just “light-skinned” but that never satisfied me. I was so happy to know that I have albinism and fully accepted it. Through my involvement with NOAH, I finally found what I’ve been looking for all these years: acceptance and a sense of community.
There are obviously so many moments that I could have included but I’m just going to stop right here and you’ll need to keep coming back to gain further insight into my world. J It’s truly been a journey navigating through life but I wouldn’t change one thing because it all made me who I am. The good. The bad. The ugly.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride!