Tomorrow I turn 35, and it will be the first birthday in a long time that I am truly excited about. At Breakfast Fete this year, I met a friend that I haven’t seen in yearssss. She was quite the genius in school so we all expected nothing less that supreme greatness from her. After we greeted and hugged up each other, I began to ask her about her her life and how she was doing, but she wasn’t interested in talking to me about her amazing career. Out of no where she began to share how proud she was of me and all I’ve done up to this point. I kinda looked at her a bit weird, because I was thinking she couldn’t be serious, my accomplishments seemed simple in comparison to hers. I laughed off the fandom by replying with my usual go-to funny statement, “I am just trying to be famous!”. Her response was ‘you already are Linisa’.
As I celebrate my birthday this year, I reflect on where I was ten years ago. The depressive state I was in when my friends, family and then boyfriend planned a 25th surprise party for me – albeit I had been campaigning for one for nearly two years lol, but I didn’t think anyone would take me serious. When I reflect on that birthday and I fast forward to now, I stop and I think about how far I’ve come. Life is about overcoming obstacles, we know and accept this, but when you start every task from the very bottom, your mind and actions often times are only occupied with getting over the humps. I have spent the past five years just slaving away, working harder than most because I was aware that I was working at a disadvantage, coupled with having limited resources. My dreams and endeavours have always been big. I’ve transitioned and evolved over the past five years, but because I was preoccupied with getting things done, I have taken the time to really appreciate my successes. I always saw myself as the underdog, a late bloomer, starting with the least and having the most to get done, and the greatest to lose. My creativity and innovative personality has developed out of the necessity to see every task through. Whether it was successful or not, or I had to start over again, or just ‘dash um way’, every task required my commitment and passion. These experiences have taught me that mistakes aren’t setbacks, they are lessons that make you great.
So this birthday is about celebration. For once, I am slowing down to smell the flowers and bask in the success of MY hard work. This doesn’t make me complacent or a narcissist, this makes me human and free. It has taken me 35 years to find FREEDOM, and with it I found a place of happiness. Nothing is perfect, and never will be, and there have been sacrifices along my journey that have truly gutted my heart and rendered me helpless and hopeless at times. I’ve cried to friends, family and significant others a lot over the last year. I’ve felt so overwhelmed and anxiety has overtaken me quite a few times. I’ve suffered great losses that will continue to haunt me, but you must be willing to embrace the life you are destined to live, and whatever great journey that awaits your arrival. Conquer that fear. By all accounts, I am not suppose to be where I am or succeed at the things I have succeeded at. Coming from 108 sq miles, ‘thinking big’ is often times seen as an anomaly. You can be good, but we never think we can be great. Things are still chaotic. My work schedule is a cluster fuck of sorts. But I LIVE not live. When you wake up each morning, you better damn well count yourself a winner. My biggest fear use to be leaving this earth without making a lasting impact. Now as a carefree black girl, I do my best to embrace each day with vigor. Whether it be a good day or a bad day.
Tomorrow I turn 35! How amazing is that? In my 20s I would always tell people I wanted to own a business by 35 – I actually accomplished that a few weeks short of my 34th birthday last year. I knew I wanted to leave the field of accounting and finance and have a career in writing. I was never sure how I was going to get it done – there were many naysayers who enjoyed projecting their insecurities on me about this. I own my own media and communications company and two online digital entities – and that’s not even half of it. I am a professional writer. But here is the thing, I am no one-woman show, I actually have an army. Family, friends, love ones and fierce supporters, who NEVER once dissuaded me from going after my goals. Whether they understood what I was doing or not, they put their full support behind me, that support many times was not only their love but also their financial support. They are all contributors to the Black Girl In The Ring brand.
Today I am grateful. Today I tap myself on my shoulder. I did good. Without even noticing it, I’ve evolved into the woman I’ve envied from afar. I’ve journeyed 35 years TO FREEDOM, with the hopes of 35 years OF FREEDOM. To everyone that’s been here from the beginning, and everyone that has jumped unto the train, I love and appreciate every last one of you. Thank you for holding my hand, wiping my tears and being amazing individuals.
But excuse me, while I take this moment to sit on a beach chair, puff a cigar and thank whatever Gods maybe for my unconquerable soul. Come in year 36!