This is a blog that shares some of my past, where I am now, and who I would like to be.
I receive my birthday with so much joy and excitement. I will be celebrating all of the good and the bad that I have experienced, which has contributed to the woman that I am today. I am not sharing to gain any pity, but to truly share how much I recognize that these difficult experiences have shaped me, strengthened me, and allow me to appreciate the good times that much more.
In my childhood and adolescence there's a lot that I endured: the loss of my mother to cancer at 12 years old, domestic violence and physical abuse from my father, moving out of my house at 16 years old to move in with my sister because I couldn't deal with the combative relationship with my father, growing up feeling like I wasn't ever Black enough or Latina enough, and overall --- like I was going through the motions and not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life.
There was a grace period where I was able to step away from a series of difficult experiences and just enjoy life. I would consider this period to be when I went to college, meeting my husband, and enjoying early adulthood and all of the new experiences associated with independence, love, and the optimism of all the opportunities and possibilities that were available to me as a new adult.
Four years ago I was struck with another unfortunate circumstance --- my brother was murdered. My brother was my best friend, a soul mate, and one of the few people in my life who I felt understood me in every way. He was my cheerleader, my confidant, and my personal comedian. He was only 25 years old, so this was news that I did not handle well at all. But I had just given birth to my daughter a few months prior to his death, so I was able to cope and find strength in the love and connection that motherhood provides.
A year after his death, I began to recover and since I was about to graduate with my PhD (that took 5 years of hard work), I was beginning to feel like I was heading in the right direction, and opportunities that I have wanted for years in my career were opening up for me in the MD/DC area. I wanted to leave the classroom, and work in teacher education, curriculum design or support a large district with data analysis and systematic improvement. As I was getting excited about different job offers in the career space I just described, I was hit with another unexpected surprise. My husband was offered a job promotion in St. Louis, and now we would have to move in a few months. This shook me in every way, as I had worked for years on these goals, and now that I was beginning to see the fruits of my labor, I was going to have to turn down these opportunities and move to the midwest. It was painful, and technically I could have just applied to similar jobs in St. Louis, but these types of jobs tend to take 6-12 months to obtain.
It was hard moving to St. Louis, I didn't have a network, I didn't even know where I could find a hairdresser. I didn't have family members to help me out with Milan, and to add to my discomfort, St. Louis doesn't feel or look anything like Maryland or DC. I kind of felt like I was an alien in new territory, and I remember feeling self conscious and out of place.
Because I didn't want to stay at home and fall into a depressed state, I knew that I had to keep busy, and the only job I knew that I could get quickly was a teaching job, so I applied to the few high school Spanish teaching jobs that were available. It wasn't what I intended to do after my PhD, but I knew that it would help me connect with the area, and keep my mind off of feeling so disconnected and uncomfortable.
I was hired by the only school in the St. Louis area that had a full-time Spanish teaching job in mid-July, and it was and continues to be the biggest blessing. I work in an amazing school district, where excellence and commitment to quality is expressed in every facet. Honestly, it should truly be considered teacher heaven. I have a lot of love for my students, who I didn't expect to give me so much joy. Because they knew I was new to the area, many took on nurturing roles: connecting me with other colleagues at work, sharing their gratitude for my work as a teacher, and expressing their care and concern when they could tell I wasn't feeling my best.
A few months ago I started blogging, which has been one of my goals for a looooong time, but I would always put it aside, and I would tell myself that I would start at a later date. Finally, I took the initiative to start at the end of August, and it has really made me feel more like myself. It has served as my opportunity to reveal my authentic self, to allow my creativity to flow, and to share my passion for fashion.
I look forward to twirling and dancing into November 11th. I have learned that when I embrace things with positivity and joy, my outcomes exceed my expectations. Moving to St. Louis pulled the rug under me and made me feel unbalanced and disoriented, but once I learned to submit to God's plans that are beyond my comprehension, I began to enjoy everything around me. As I move into this new year in my life, I look forward to working on becoming more of who I have always wanted to be in my soul and in my heart: reflecting more love, serving a purpose larger than myself, and fulfilling dreams and goals that I have neglected and ignored for years.
One student asked me as a joke this week, "what do you want to be when you grow up?", and I didn't know how to respond, but after thinking about it I should have said, "I just want to be me...an authentic version of myself."
Below you will find the links to the beret hat, bodysuit, pleated skirt, and rose gold shoes from DSW. Since I love pink, and since it is a trendy color this season, I thought it was more than appropriate to wear all pink for my birthday!!
Enjoy your weekend!!