For Black Girls Who Stopped Asking for Permission To Fuck Up Their Own Life
I think something happened when I turned 30. I turned all of my attention to figuring out what I wanted in my life. What new hobbies I want to pursue; what career path I would take or what career pivot I would make; what color should I dye my hair; how short should I cut my hair; how often can I wear heels without looking crazy and hurting myself. I feel like I’ve become very self-absorbed in ways I never allowed myself to be as a teenager or at any point in my life.
It is not easy being this way, I must admit, but as soon as that switch was flipped, I became obsessed with creating the cliche best life out of the life I was handed. Since my teenage years, self-improvement and the quest for Jenny Jones era Geek-to-Chic transformation has been a big part of my life, even if no one around me knew it. Every action was part of a larger plan for me to become this amazing person I always knew I would be and that would lead me to all the things in life that my parents wanted for me: a great career, a great body, a great man, a great marriage, a great ass pregnancy, some great ass kids, and then the circle of life continues.
I strategized for years on things that I’m not entirely sure were even about me but were probably more about what I thought I should want, what I was socialized to want. And when I turned 30… you know that age when people tell you should start getting frantic about your fertility (a legitimate concern but not one I can fix when I’m already 30) and latch on to the nearest man even if he is a deadbeat human being – I unconsciously started to stop caring. This is my subconscious speaking on my behalf because of course there is no way I can actually explain why or how this has happened – duh.
Once you manage to hit those “milestone” birthdays without any milestones except the fact that you’re still alive (which is a hell of a milestone by the way, just often overlooked) I felt like I earned my freedom to remove myself from the pursuit of that life. That kind of endless pursuit of a template life led me to this decision, so now is the time to make choices that are all about me, and are not tied to any goal beyond making sure I make the most out of the rest of my life which I hope is very long since I’ve apparently increased my life expectancy by at least 10 years by managing to still be unmarried at the age of 30.
For 30 years, I let other things blow up my life and I decided that if things are going to go to shit, and to shit they have absolutely been going, then at least let it be my own doing. I kept getting knocked down and trying to ward off all the hard blows. But then I started to wonder what happens if I stop letting life happen to me. If anyone has the license to blow up their life, it is me. I have the license. So, what does that look like?
It looks like me quitting my job and taking some time to gallivant the motherland in search of clarity when we’re free to travel without restrictions again.
It looks like me burning bridges with a former employer because they count on me not speaking up or fighting back, but guess what – I ain’t got nothing to lose but my own self-respect.
It means not telling my parents I’m about to blow up my life because they still think they can influence my life BY FORCE (fun fact: they can’t, but thankful they’re still around to see me do my own thing).
It means another move to a new city; a location people think will make it hard for me to date … little do they know I’m not moving for love or romance. I’m moving for my whole damn self.
It looks like me being vulnerable (again) with a man I like a lot more than I’ve liked anyone else in the past decade, exposing myself to inevitable heartbreak, against the far more superior judgment of my highly qualified therapist.
I’m the only one who will be faced with dealing with the consequences of my decisions and if that is the burden I’ll have to carry, at least let me create the burden on my lonesome, in motherfucking peace.
I’m going to do something wild and possibly unpredictable and I’m reminding myself that this is my life to live, and the only thing I need to do is give myself permission to fuck up and unlimited grace in the process. I know it’s not going to be easy and I know that minimizing risks is a big part of who we are, who I am, but knowing I can’t eliminate them entirely means sometimes you just gotta take leaps & hope for the best. But at least take the leaps that mean the most to you.