I stumbled into adulthood accidentally. It was as if I missed a step, and suddenly, I was on the platform to god-knows-what.
So, the day after I turned 27, I gave myself a reminder to always return to — and never to fear — who I am. To embrace the sharper edges that exist within me. On my right arm is a stem of gladiolus flowers — symbolic of moral and character strength — and a crescent moon. The moon, representative of the unknown, of the things that hide in the dark.
I never could envision myself at 27 — yet, here I am. And every passing day, week, month, year seems only to bring greater uncertainty and very little clarity. But there are a few truths I am promising to live by. I am writing this to hold myself accountable; these are the things I will remind myself of during those times when the moon obscures my path.
- Do not hold others to your own character. In other words, do not assume because you would not lie, another would also choose truth. This is necessary for self-preservation.
- Do not seek love where there is only physical intimacy. No explanation needed; desire is not love. Lust will not keep a heart full. Say it out loud, say it again. Believe it.
- And do not build monuments on a foundation of pillow talk. Within those tender moments of vulnerability, we often share and say things that are never meant for the real world. Lovers aren’t always made for the light.
- Do not be afraid of endings. Not everyone deserves second, third, fourth…unlimited chances. “No” is a sacred word and one we should use wisely.
- Do not fear your voice. Your feelings and experiences are legitimate.
- And do not try to find your voice in another. No one will ever speak for you. Hold your own damn megaphone.
- Do not forget you belong only to yourself. You are not a commodity. Your value is not based on who loves or longs for you. You are yours, from birth to death.
- Do not be afraid to forgive. Grace is a rare gift.
- Do not give into fear. We will always regret the choices made when we feel scared, lost, or alone. And there will be times that fear doesn’t always look like hate, but something far more innocuous, yet no less sinister.
- Do not forget the power of listening and respect. Respect others not for what they give you, but because they are human and deserve dignity.