Happy Monday, womanistas! it’s my birthday today! (woop! Cue the 50 cent song! “…go shawty, it’s your birthday…”) I’ve made it through 30 years of life with some successes and stumbles, lots of love and lessons. So my fellow, fabulous womanistas, I wanted to reflect on a few truths in my life to celebrate this occasion (and I am thankful to each of you for reading and taking this journey with me!!)
1. Being nice is awesome.
It really just is. I can’t claim to always be nice (there are certainly days that I am frustrated, tired and having a moment and I’m sorry if you have ever encountered me then…) but in 30 years I have definitely learned that nice wins. No matter the situation. And no matter to whom. Being nice to one another allows us to travel down the path of human experience together without feeling alone. And that always, always makes our lives better.
2. Loving yourself will help guide you through every other relationship in your life.
There was certainly a time in my life when I didn’t love myself enough. I made concessions for boyfriends who were “eh” & not really that into me & friends who were flaky & self-centered. And not only that, I bent over backwards to make those relationships work! But eventually I realized that it’s OK to expect great things for yourself (it’s not just ok, it’s healthy and fabulous!) – loving yourself and expecting others to treat you with respect and love is OKAY!
After learning that lesson and loving & respecting the person who God made me to be (we are all beautifully & wonderfully made!), the relationships in my life became more fulfilled. I met a man who also loves who I am (and I love who he is, even though we are both far from perfect) and my friendships became deeper and more connected. Bottom line, when you love who you are, everyone else will too (and if they don’t, whatevs! Just keep doing your thing…)
3. SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN!
Please, just wear sunscreen, ok? There is no backstory here. But I am now 30, and hope to ward off wrinkles and cancer for as long as possible and you should too. So just wear it.
4. Falling in love with the man of your dreams is worth the wait.
I have dated a LOT of dudes. When I lived in New York City after college and could barely afford a subway sandwich, much less a good meal and a glass of wine, any willing suitors who didn’t appear to be serial killers received a “yes” when asking me on a date. (Am I proud of this fact? Not really. But I’m also not ashamed of it exactly, either! A sista has to eat.)
And I’ve also had my heart broken (and smashed into smithereens on a few occasions). And those moments were the worst and I thought I would never recover at the time (yes, I’ve had a “sobbing on my bathroom floor” moment a time or two…) But all of that was ok. Because the first night I met my husband, I just knew. It felt different because it was different. I had encountered enough dates to know that not every guy is handsome, funny, attentive, kind, and smart! Because I knew what else was out there, I knew that my husband was special. And trust me, womanistas, that kind of special is worth wading through the doldrums and the crazydums of the dating pool. Open your heart to love, but be patient for the right person. Don’t settle. Wait for the one who is absolutely fabulous.
5. Wearing clothes that look good on you is way better than following trends.
Ok, I’m MAJORLY guilty of some fashion faux pas over the past 30 years and this lesson took a while to learn…(WHYYYY can’t I wear a midriff top and harem pants???) Well, because both of those items look terrible on me. That’s the sad fact that my midriff-loving heart has to face. And I generally want to look decent in this world. The reality is, when you look good you feel good. So bottom line, wear clothes that look great on YOU, and not necessarily what is “on trend” at the moment. You will always feel confident and look great! (PS – a great tailor is also your friend!)
6. There will always be storms in life…”left foot, right foot, breathe”
As I was watching the fabulous and brave Robin Roberts tell her story to Diane Sawyer during an ABC special last week, she mentioned this incredible mantra (one that she said Pat Summit told her!). “Left foot, right foot, breathe”. She mentioned that each day with cancer is different, but on the hard days, this is what she focuses on – one step at a time, followed by a breath. No matter what you are facing in life that is difficult, try to keep moving forward. Breathe. Because I promise you will eventually walk through it to the other side. (Thank you, Robin Roberts for being such an inspiration!)
7. Be thankful for your role models
My very first friend (and #1 role model!) is my mom. We have known each other for my entire 30 years, (plus the 40 weeks that I was hanging out in her belly becoming her daughter!) For my entire life she has been a picture of strength & grace. She worked to provide for our family (as a single mom for a few years) and she was never too tired to give me the love that I needed, or to help with homework/attend a softball game/make a healthy dinner. and I’m so thankful for that.
My grandmother is another amazing role model. She and my grandfather shared the picture of a happy, loving and fulfilled marriage for 61 years and I look to their marriage as a model for my own. She continues to be vibrant and fabulous at 82 (she has an iphone, goes to pilates a few times a week, and gets together regularly with her friends!) These two women are incredible role models. I am so thankful for them, and thankful for the opportunity to learn from them!
What about you, womanistas? What life lessons have you learned along the way? How did you celebrate your most recent birthday??
xo, the Womanista