A reflection of the last decade of my life
Hey guys its been a while but I am back with a birthday blog! By the time this is published it will be my 30th Birthday and I wanted to share somethings that I learnt, experienced, discovered, and even regret in the last decade of my life. 2020 has been a rough year who would have thought we would have spent most of this year indoors? Definitely not me, in fact December 31st I had a whole different plan for this year and it didn't even start off that way at all! This is going to be a long one but I hope you guys take the time to read my thoughts and I hope that it touches just one person.
I started my 20's off as a brand new college student who was a also a soldier in the Army. My 20s started off with my first year at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. I won't lie this wasn't the university I originally wanted to go to. I wanted to go to Virginia Tech to be an Engineer but I got waitlisted. Yet going to North Carolina A&T greatly affected the woman I am today and I think God knew why I needed to be on that campus even though I sometimes doubted it.
Aggie Land was a everything I could have imagined as a college student, the support was tremendous but many didn't know some of the secret things I was dealing with as well. I started my 20s off also being sexually assaulted on that Campus. I started my 20's off reeling from a suicide attempt and blaming myself for being attacked. I didn't start off my 20s happy and honestly that wasn't how I thought this decade of my life would begin. Truthfully it sucked but 10 years later the start and the finish do not look the same! The start and the finish in fact are drastically different. I have suffered some great looses and had some great wins. I had some public Ls and some private ones too. I won't say I have no regrets because that would be a lie. I will say I learned a lesson in every loss and win. I am scared but not defeated and I think that is the best take away I can give you. I want to share some lessons in different aspects of my life that I hope maybe you can learn from too.
Children, CoParenting, Bonus parents, and Just Parenting in General!
At 19, after having an Ovarian Cyst burst and going to the hospital, I was told I wouldn't have children or that it would be hard. If you know me personally you know that this broke me. I love children and I have always wanted to be a mother, so being told this this wasn't a possibility or my not happen I was broken.
At 21 the man I was head over heels in love with told me that he couldn't marry me because, I couldn't give him children. I was devastated. I loved this man more than even he knew. I honestly couldn't believe he would fix his face to tell me that even after EVERYTHING I had don't for him. All the decisions I had made with him in mind. We ended our relationship that day. At 22 I found out I was pregnant with my son after the death of my best friend since I was 14 and who honestly was in love with. Finding out I was pregnant was a shock, one I was on birth control and two I had been told just a few years ago this wouldn't be a possibility.
My son's father and me didn't work out and truthfully this made me feel like a failure. I had promised myself I wouldn't be a single parent and here I was about to do it alone. Looking back and being honest I was miserable my whole pregnancy, I wouldn't wish that on my worse enemy. He wasn't there, his friends were horrible and I was just angry at everybody! I also projected that anger on to him, which in turn continued to push him away even further. I was angry, frustrated, bitter, mourning, broken, and honestly depressed. My friends did everything to make sure I did not go without. They threw me a baby shower, they fed me daily, stayed at my house just so I wouldn't be alone. They honestly were my rock threw it all even when I spent weeks alone in the hospital alone because I went into preterm labour. This time was a hard and dark time and I can now say that manifested into disdain for my son's father. I know it wasn't all his fault but back then being so hurt and broken I blamed it all on him.
Now in all that I have never been the kind of woman to keep his son away from him. Despite my own personal issues with him, that was one thing I promised I would never do. Yet I also knew that at some point something had to give. It has taken years of growth, choosing my battles, therapy, as well as reminding myself that this wasn't about me and my wants! This was about the fact that I am raising a black boy in America who needs BOTH his parents! I will say this I wasn't perfect (My son's father is probably reading this like 👀yeah you were annoying 😂😂) but I do think I do a good job in ensuring that I never speak ill of his father in front of him no matter what. In time we have BOTH grown up, we have learned how to better communicate and not respond to the things the other one does that annoys us. We have both kind of learnt to pick the battles better and in the long run that is what is working for us. I think this is the first time I have honestly said out loud that I was hurt by our situation. I think if I had said it years ago our progress would have been better. I always have to remind myself that its not wrong to feel how you feel but you can't blame others if they don't know. You have to find what works for you and always ensure that your child's happiness (longterm) and needs are always priority.
With that being said my son is the greatest gift God has given me. I am also glad that God used his father to give me this gift. Getting pregnant my senior year of college was not easy. I am still shocked that I got the best grades of my college career pregnant and as a new mom.
If anyone tells you that being a parent is easy, they are lying! It is one of the hardest but most fulfilling jobs I have ever had. Being a mom at 23 I had to make some decisions that would ensure that I could take care of my son in more ways than one. I made some sacrifices and made some career moves that if I wasn't a mother I wouldn't have made. Yet he also drives me to be better. My son isn't always the easiest to deal with but I have never seen such and empathic human. He is what some empath, he is super sensitive to the feelings of others and though he sometimes frustrates me God blessed me with a great kid. There are some many things and pieces of advice I have gotten in theist 7 years on being a parent but honestly some work and some don't. I will say learn you kid, be patient with them (I am working on that), LOVE on them, hold them accountable, listen to them and their dreams, protect and defend them, be their rock and their peace. Do all those things (as well as provide every possible resource you can for them) and I think they will be just fine but check back in with me in 10 years when he is a high school senior lol.
That brings me to Bonus parents. This is something I think me and his dad did do right and we both can agree. We may have not worked out but we provided him with two people that love him greatly! His mimi and his bear!
Mimi has been a part of his life for a while now and as a mom I am grateful. She is someone that truly loves and adores my son, our son. She may not have agreed with me in the beginning but despite my own personal qualms she respected me and my wishes. I honestly think this soft spoken woman would go upside someone's head about this little boy. I am grateful to know that, to know that if God forbid something was to ever happen to me, he would have someone that wold fight for him with the same kind of fight as me.
Bear is my husband and though he has only been in our lives for only two years, this man would kill for him. He will fight you bout him and that a given (If you know him you know he is also soft spoken). When he started dating he was patient with my rules when it came to my son. He was ready to meet his father when the time came and he built his own relationship with my son. He respects his father's wishes and gives our son all the love and affection a father would give his biological child. As a parent I doubt myself often but as a parent this is something I did right. I am not telling you that all coparenting situations will be like ours and trust ours took time. Yet I think if there is respect and mutual understand and most importantly love for the child or children involved y'all will figure it out. It takes time, adjustment as well as personal reflection but with time and effort it will all work together for good.
Hmm where do I start? in 10 years I have taken some Ls in the relationship department and I have also had some major wins. I started off in a relationship I just knew was going to be my love story.
"Meeting at an HBCU, both being in the army and falling in love"
Well that didn't happen, in fact as y'all already ready we ended. That relationship hurt more than I knew it did in that time. He cheated, he cheated with someone I thought was my friend. Looking back at that relationship I understand the saying that sometimes we mistake what God sent people to do in our lives. I thought he was meant to be my husband, but we are honestly better as friends. He is honestly one of my good friends now, we weren't meant for each other and though there will always be love he taught me so much more than he will ever know. I wont go into every story because we would be here forever. Yet there are key things I want to share that I learnt that lead me to be able to handle the marriage I now have.
Lets talk about the relationship I was in in 2015 where he was the first man I introduced to my son. The first man I signed for something together. In fact we were suppose to get married in 2016 and that whole thing just crashed and burned. What hurt me the most was how he ghosted me and my son and never told me where things went wrong. That one stung(This one my big sis TJ was pissed and ready to fight about).
Lets talk about the MAJ I was dating that I introduced to my family during Christmas, then I went to Kuwait in January and his whole demeanor towards me changed. In fact found out he was messing around with a girl I thought was my friend! Yeah that didn't end well cause now I don't trust certain folks! Crazy it took him almost a year to apologize for that and all the name calling that came from that. She apologized too but that hurt hit me different (I will talk about that in the next section)
Yet I could talk about all the hurt and pretend like I didn't hurt others but that not it. In these 10 years I had to learn that sometimes I can be clingy. I had to learn that I snap at times when I don't understand things. Lets talk about the ex that I just stopped speaking to because I didn't like the plans he had for his life. Or the time I just started dating someone else. My hurts made me hurt others and it took me learning myself to understand what I want and don't want. It taught me that there are somethings that I can and should compromise on and somethings that should make me go running the other way.
All these things prepared me for 2018 when Sherrod came back into my life. If anyone had told me that my next door neighbor in college would end up being my husband I would have laughed.
This relationship by far has been the hardest one in these 10 years. This is the first man I have ever fully lived with (learning how to share closet space was not easy🤣😂🤣), the first man that has ever bought me a car. He is also the first man that has made me step out of my box on things and the first man that I have ever truly full compromised with. He is completely different from any one I have ever been with and that honestly sometimes scares me. He is so calm and soft spoken and he doesn't argue with me (learning that you don't have to scream and yell when you don't agree! Adults can have discussions in a healthy way). He is assertive when he wants to be an passive at other times. This is so different to me and I had to learn that its ok. He isn't perfect but through all the years of dating, walking away from relationships, being hurt, being misunderstood and honestly hurting others myself. I am grateful that God has blessed me with a man that loves me unconditionally and can apologize for his mistakes. I have learned that I have to take accountability for my own actions and control the one person I can control, me! I had to learn to heal personally and learn to be patient! Love comes at the right time but NO ONE ELSE is responsible for my happiness other than ME!
In the last 10 years I still have two best friends from high school. That hasn't changed I honestly think they can't get rid of me if they tried. Besides my family and my childhood best friend Tami. Staphon and Tye are my longest friends. Now besides them I have made some great friends over the years but I go back to them when I need to be grounded. In this time I will say that those who are my friends know that I take this friendship thing seriously. In the last 10 years I have learnt that not every one take friendships the same way.
I have a friend that I made freshman year of college. I just knew she would be a bridesmaid in my wedding but as I write this we are no longer on speaking terms. Looking back and thinking about what one of my friends Koko said about her is that sis was only happy when I was miserable. She didn't like when I didn't hold on to grudges or forgave people. Y'all me and my son's dad get along now and sis is still holding on to the hurt for me! Hurt that I let go of years ago! I had to let it go. Yet I think for me in friendships more than relationships I tend to hold on longer than necessary. I tend to be more vulnerable and I guess in a secret need to be liked I allow things happen that I shouldn't! I have had friends steal from me, someone I thought was my friend sleep with my partner, a friend completely ghosted me because someone else lied to her about me. I also had a guy friend turn on me in his quest to sleep with another friend of mine. I am not one to believe in no new friends but I am one that believes in no Fake friends.
Over the last ten years I have learned that not everyone is going to like you and you don't need to be liked by everyone. Like my shirt says I'm not for everyone and I had to learn this the hard way.
I don't think that I should change caring for people but I am more careful with who I am vulnerable with. I have also learned that my dynamic will not be the same with everyone. I have learned that with everything I have to treat certain friends a certain way that other friends can't handle just like I am not like everyone else. I have learnt that my true friends will stand by me no matter what and be there through the good and the bad. I have learnt that I too need more patience with my friends because God knows they are patient with me! Friendships change like people but those that you want in your life will meet you where you are and you can do the same! You don't have to talk every day cause God knows I don't do that with y friends but when you call they answer and when you need support they are there ten toes down.
In the last ten years I have lost some people to this thing we call death! It hasn't been easy in 2020 alone I lost my Uncle, my Sister, and my cousin. These three hit hard and death isn't ever easy to process. I still have hard days and will probably still have hard days. I lost my best friend in 2012 and I still have hard days. What I have learnt in this that there is no wrong or right way to process this. I have learnt that its okay to cry and its ok to question God! Even Christ questioned him when Lazurus died so you are not wrong for it too. I have learnt that its Ok to miss them, its ok to wish they were here. Its okay to to be angry! I have learnt that people grieve differently and we have to be patient with them. Be patient with yourself! This has also taught me to say I love you often, to be at as many things as possible. I have times I wish I could replay and do things differently. I wish I could say more but I believe I will see them again and that they can hear my cries.
These last few years have really shown me how blessed I am to have the family that I have. I have learnt that every family isn't the same and that you can't pick the family you are born into but you can choose the family you build with.
Many don't know I have 9 siblings and I don't share the two parents with any of them. So either we have the same mom or the same dad. I didn't grow up with all of them, so learning to be siblings as adults isn't easy. For example my brother Uche and me DO NOT see eye to eye. We honestly have gone years without speaking but the truth is we just weren't raised the same way. We don't see things the same and so I have learnt to just ignore the things I don't agree with. All in the same breath me and my little sister Ginika have gotten so close that you wouldn't know we weren't raised in the same home.
These things have taught me that all families aren't the same. I have learnt that sometimes that family hurts you too and you may have to cut them off too. I have learnt that we have to give ourselves grace as well as others. All in all I have learnt to be grateful! I am so thankful for my family and the different dynamics. I am grateful for my cousins who are always there for me in the good and the bad times. I have learnt that Family is who you make it!
All in all my 20's taught me that I am not perfect, just like people fail me, I have failed others. I cannily do better for myself and be the change I want to see. I hope this touches just one person. I hope you give yourself more grace and more patience. As always stay safe, keep fighting for justice, keep washing those hands and here is to the start of my new decade!