You’ve Got to Live Your Life

This past June, my two besties and I went on a much needed vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and returned home to the States to take in the Queen of Slayage- Beyonce- at Citifield in New York City.  Can I just take a moment to explain to you how completely EPIC that vacation was for me?   Before that trip I did not have a passport, so Canada was the only place that I had been to outside of the U.S.  And that water… omg that water, that air, that beach- it definitely did something to me.  And then to experience Beyonce live and in color during her Formation tour was an experience in and of itself.  I had never been to a Beyonce concert and have always wanted to go.  When it was all said and done and the vacation was over, something inside of me had altered and made me realize that I was not living my life to the fullest.

Cuz I slay.

            I am just as dope as Beyonce is and then some.  Women are constantly being held to this commercialized standard of what beauty is supposed to be, to the point where even I was starting to struggle with how I viewed myself.  I don’t look like Nicki Minaj or Draya Michele or even Beyonce for that matter.  But I was starting to feel like if I don’t, then I am not attractive.  Men seem to glorify in “bad bitches”- women who have their own and handle their own bidness but are fine as hell while doing it- but it was starting to seem like the women that these men desired looked like the women on TV and not the everyday woman like me.  I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s hard for me to juggle working 40+ hours a week and still figure out when I am not too tired to make it to the gym.  I’m too busy trying to NOT live paycheck to paycheck, so who has the funds for bundles?   It just wasn’t a realistic look for me.

   What I loved about Beyonce’s concert and the feeling that it left me with is that I, in my extraordinary glory, slay just like these other women slay.  Beyonce is BEYONCE, but listening to her lyrics live, dancing and singing and getting my life all brought to my mind that I am just as dope as I want to be right where I am at. And if there is anything that I feel needs to be changed with myself, then who is stopping me from doing it?  Beyonce is who she is today because of the hard work and dedication that she puts into her craft.  I realized that there is nothing stopping me from doing the same.  I may not want to be an entertainer, but I can go hard in everything that I do in my personal life to get to where I need to be.  Beyonce will tell you herself that she is winning, so I needed to develop that same type of confidence and just go for it and conform it to the life that I was living.  Not everybody is going to see me the way that I do, but it starts with how I view myself.   And, dammit, I SLAY.

I am mine FIRST.

            Working 3 jobs and still trying to be a godmother, sister, friend and girlfriend are the devil. Like, I don’t even have any kids and I oftentimes feel like I done took care of an army.  But I wasn’t taking care of myself.  Being on a tropical island with no outside communications will sit you still for someone who is always on the go and that is what being in DR did to me.  I fought so many urges not to think about how my godchildren were doing or to not feel guilty for not being able to speak to my Love while gone.  I had worked so hard on trying to be a good everything to everyone else that I wasn’t taking the time to be good to ME.

            This is so dramatic, but on the last night that we were in DR, I stood in that clear blue water, looked at the sunset and vowed to myself that I would take more vacations.  I promised myself that I would take breaks when I need to, slow down on working so many hours or even add the word “no” to my vocabulary. I had gotten to the point where I no longer belonged to myself and having 3 days and 4 nights to sit on a beach and do nothing, but swim and sunbathe and eat- it brought to my mind that I am mine first.  In order for me to be a great ME, I have to first invest in ME.

 Life is what you make it, so make it great.

           I don’t know why I have been so closed- minded these years concerning where I could go and what I could do, but being in DR made it clear to me that there is more out there than what I see every day- being in DR ignited my desire to travel.  In the past it always felt like I was watching what I wanted my life to be through the adventures of other folks.  In my mind, I didn’t have money like that to take trips to the Bahamas or Jamaica or any other exotic island or place.   It’s actually part of the reason why I deactivated my Facebook- I had to stop comparing and being discouraged by the life that everyone else was living.  I get it now.

            If I want something, I have to go out and get it- the impossible is really not that far- fetched.  My girls and I planned our trip roughly a year in advance and decided that by such and such month, we would need to have a certain amount saved.  Saving is not my strongest suit, I will just admit that right now, but the key is that I had a goal and a plan and I wanted to make that happen.  In the end I made it and the reward of the save is what made me realize that it can happen.  If I plan and play smart, I can allow for any experience in my life to exist.  And every vacation or experience does not have to be tropical and out of the U.S.  I have a bucket list of locations that I would like to travel to and visit.  So what is stopping me?  Nothing that a little planning and saving won’t hurt.

            Sometimes life can become so overwhelming and frustrating.  I get into a zone and I just move move move, but that experience in June will stay close to my heart because it re-directed the way that I thought about myself and the direction that my life was headed in. I didn’t want for the day to come where I have kids or I have passed on and the trip down memory lane of my life is dull and restless.  That trip made me truly consider: where do I want to be in 10 years?  What experiences do I want to have under my belt?  How do I get there? What all is it going to take for me to get where I am going?  Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle sometimes with remembering to cater to me first or to make time for myself or even to keep up my confidence.  But when those moments creep in, I remember where I have been and what I did and remind myself that I have somewhere to go- this is the only life that I have to live, so I’m going make the best of it.

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