What I wish I knew before 25

Flat Feet on Cane Garden Bay
Watching my daughter soak up the salt and sand of Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. This is a bold photo for me because I’m showing off my huge flat feet.
Welcome back to my show!
I want to be more entertaining but lately I’ve been feeling….blaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh
Like I’m just existing and not living.
And here’s one of the reasons why:
I was at work one day talking with a younger colleague who seemed to have it so together. She knew exactly what she wanted and was dripping with confidence, self-love and assertiveness that it kinda intimidated me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of her. But I couldn’t help but compare myself to this young whipper snapper ready to take on the world…and then kick myself for my lack of growth over the years.
I thought of all the things I wanted to you but never did. I thought of all the screenplays I wanted to write, but never started. I thought about the books that I’ve started and stopped, then started again, but never finished. I thought about all the places I wanted to travel to, but never visited. I thought about my business and why an official launch and projects seem so far away.  Funny enough, some of these goals were made waaaaaay before I was 25.
I started to think about what went wrong along the way, and then I jotted down these notes on what I wish I knew before turning 25:
1. I wish I knew how to love myself. It’s a weird wish and most would assume that I loved myself . I was young, full of energy, some considered me beautiful and smart and I had goals. And yet, I suffered with very little self esteem and never really felt deserving of any blessings that came my way. I always felt I was too fat, had too much cellulite, my legs were rubbing, my hair wasn’t wavy and long like my sisters and I had huge size 11 flat feet. I had friends, but still felt quite alone. Then I became a mother at 23. I didn’t want to pass those insecurities on to my beautiful baby girl. I decided I wanted her to not be like me, and I kept telling her that. I wanted her to have self esteem in abundance, that others would want to be in her presence so that some would spill over on them. Flash forward to today, she is 7 and full of LOVE! She makes me so proud. She even helps build my self esteem on days where the ‘low self esteem monster’ jumps out of my closet. I am thankful for her because she lets me know it is possible to exude self love. She lets me know that a mother with a chip on her shoulder can raise a daughter without chipping away at the ceramics of her skin. I was afraid that I couldn’t do it, but I now know I can. And that’s helped me immensely. I am only beginning to love myself. And I’m okay with that. Because I’m finally okay with me. Funny thing is, I’m fatter than I was at 16 but I feel beautiful. Sometimes I pass the mirror and say to myself, “I’m sexy!” And sometimes I actually mean it. I also now value my brains a lot more. I’m happy that I am valued for my intellect. When someone says I’m brilliant, it makes me feel better than if they were to say I’m beautiful. Some days I still overthink and beat myself up for not accomplishing some professional and personal goals, but I try to remember I am okay. It’s a work in progress but I know I’ll get to where I need to be, then get to where I want to be someday.
2. I wish I knew how to say no. My mother told me when I was a teenager that she is worried that I will get walked over on because I was too soft. And she was right. And I ended up getting walked over by friends, family and lovers. I thought by allowing people to make decisions (that I knew would affect me adversely), that I was doing a ‘greater good’. I thought that if I said yes to something that I know would take me 1000 steps back in reaching my own personal and professional goals, that it was a sacrifice worth making for the people I loved. I thought that if I acted like everything was okay when it was really breaking me down inside, that once the other person was happy, that I would be okay.
I was so-fucking-wrong.
It made me bitter. I resent a lot of people because of this. But at the same time, I blame myself for not standing my ground, and saying NO. It’s really simple. All I had to say was ‘No, I don’t like that” or “No, I won’t do it” or “No, I do not deserve to be treated this way” or “No, I don’t accept your offer” or the classic “Hell no!”. I keep thinking about how my life would be different at various turning points in my life if I had just said, “No”.
But then I remind myself to forgive myself and to be thankful for where I am now.
3. I wish I knew the true value of having money. I’ve been making money from the time I was 13. I started off with tutoring to filing jobs during summer and Christmas breaks until I left high school at 16. I took a little break when I started community college, but the summer before I began another semester, I worked at a bookstore (which is a really awesome place to be/ work/ learn/ meet people/ tell stories and jokes etc.). Then I started working at a trust company full time while going to college full time. Even when I went to the University of the Virgin Islands, I made it my business to make money during my summer and Christmas breaks and also in between when I would get the occasional singing gig (I was singing with a band from the time I was 17). And I did this to MAKE MONEY. However, my goals were messed up. Instead of my goal being “MAKE MONEY”, it should have been “MAKE MONEY AND INVEST IN PROJECTS THAT COULD MAKE MONEY FOR ME”. And now that I’m 32, I’m looking back at all the money I made, and spent and making it my business to create business(es) which would eventually benefit my children (I’m talking generational wealth, cue Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “BOSS”), and to also educate my children on the value of money and also saving some money on their behalf that they may use for their own ‘start-ups’. Yes, school is important. But it’s even more important to be an OWNER, and to be a BOSS. (All now I’m singing Beyonce’s line: “My great-great- grandchildren already rich, that’s a lot of brown children on your Forbes list…”)
4. I wish I knew how to make real friends. Emphasis on real. I hope my friends don’t take this personal. But even if some do, then that should be their signal to exit stage left. I don’t know how to say it more eloquently, but I’ve had a lot of “waste people” in my life. They literally needed to be thrown away. I’m not trying to disrespect them, but I now know that they occupied tons of negative space and either hurt or tried to hurt me time after time. They really didn’t add value to my life and I just wish I had gotten rid of them sooner. Now that I’m older I now know that the process of making friends should be intentional. You shouldn’t just let anyone in your life because you and them occupy the same space. You shouldn’t let them in because they want to occupy a room in your life. You should want them there. You should want to send an invite and buy groceries and get the room fixed up BEFORE they move in. That’s intentional. I also know now that I should have sought the company of persons who could help me. No, not to “use them”, but to learn from them. I want to be an entrepreneur, so I am now surrounding myself with more and more entrepreneurs. I want to be a good mother, so I am surrounding myself with mothers I admire. I want to be a good person, so I surround myself with people that possess traits that I wish to acquire. I am being intentional.
5. I wish I knew how to let go. This one is a TOUGH one. It’s forgiveness. It’s moving on and progressing and packing light. It’s not being a bag lady, walking around with all the pain and hurt and shame and perilous memories that served no purpose really. I have been holding on to so much and it was holding me back so much. This in itself is a BIG DEAL for me and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how to START. But I still credit myself for knowing and acknowledging what’s up. And now, I’ll try to change it. TODAY!
So…today and everyday I’ll be working on letting go.
And today, I let go the mistakes I’ve made today. I WILL NOT BEAT MYSELF UP. And I hope you do the same.

6 thoughts on “What I wish I knew before 25

  1. April, I agree with a lot of what you are saying and it is also true that the first step in the healing process is admitting that you have a problem. Something you should always remember is that you have to know how to love yourself in order to show someone how to love you/how you want to be loves. The book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is an excellent book that teaches finiancal education. People come into our lives for a reason, season or a life time but we somehow always seem to want to hold on to the temporary people who became toxic because they have expired (we get rid of expired foods so why hold on to expired friendships). Let go and don’t look back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree to what you say. Have been in a tough phase….that’s when I realized that the world is selfish. One needs to self and let off things/people that is crapy. Loved your post. Love from India.

    Like

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