Have you ever had a lump sum of money and spent it on the wrong thing? Bought too much black clothing or forgot to buy necessities like detergent? Now the money is spent, and you feel some regret.
That analogy reminds me a lot of my 20’s. I had youth currency and man was it wasted. Not only was that decade supposed to be the prime of my life, but also a time for exploration, taking risks, having fun, laughter, travel, all the things. Yeah, I missed that train. Now I have to etch myself a whole new prime. Prime 30.
I just can’t see myself spending another 10 years making safe choices, not loving every inch of myself, and being shy about sexuality. Whenever I tell my husband I feel like I’m getting braver he chuckles. Only thing that’s missing from the mocking is him ruffling my hair and saying “sure, kid.”
But he’s known me my entire adult life, and the chuckle is fair. I have been everybody’s stable church deaconess friend for a long time. In high school I was called “grandma” in college it improved to just “mom”. That’s the name you would call the friend who is way too mature for her age, who never seems to party or even laugh at a dirty joke.
I studied hard in my 20’s, and when I was finally out of school I couldn’t wait to be back. I wrote papers till 3 a.m., volunteered for everything on and off campus, shed tears when I got an A- and not an A, and did the absolute most in church.
I promised myself when I finished my bachelor’s I would have the freedom to really be free. I was going to pierce my nose, lock my hair and become the new Hannah. I was 21. My hair had never been that long, and I had never been that grown. I thought something would happen. Nothing did. I got married and turned into a real old lady.
Ultimately, I was still too worried about what people thought of me and I was still the girl who followed all the rules. I didn’t know who I was and who I wanted to be and that really affected how I carried myself. And I was always scared. One thing was for sure, I was always terrified. I was scared of being caught for doing things people post on Instagram in real time. I was scared to drink too hard, party, go pretty much anywhere by myself, color my hair, wear revealing clothes, curse, talk back to my parents, disrespect anyone, say what I feel, be myself…anything and everything. I was just plain terrified.
I thought if I did one thing wrong it would cause some seismic shift in the universe and I would ACTUALLY get in trouble. Something was bound to get me—either my parents or hell fire. But nothing goes unpunished. That must be some Caribbean parent fear that was drilled into me at a very young age without me even recognizing it. And it took all of 30 years to realize I was fooled because Caribbean parents are that powerful. But I truly believed that if I didn’t do what other people expected of me at all times then not only was I a failure, but I would face some consequence from my actions that would be irreparable.
Now that I’m older, done a few things and woke up alive to tell the tale, I realize that it really wasn’t that serious. I mean hell fire is still real I think, but it doesn’t feel as immediate. Also I’m now much bigger than my mom so she’s less scary. My dad is slow. I’m the captain now.
On the one hand I’m happy that the terror I carried with me kept me safe, but I’m quite sure it kept me a little too safe. No street smarts and borderline bored in the house where my parents could see me at all times. 17 with a 7 p.m. curfew type life. Back then it wasn’t even curfew, it was, “if you want to live here we close the doors at 7 and you will never get a key…”
I however feel that coming out of your shell is necessary for everyone. You must test the limits of the boundaries you’ve given yourself and challenge your fears in order to grow and find out who you are. Nothing really happens in our comfort zones. But if we push past that we may encounter something we like, find a person we can love, or recognize that something isn’t even worth fearing.
For me this has been a deep reckoning with who I am, and all I had to do was dip my toe into the shallow end of the pool. I just had to make one attempt to not be so conformist and wait and see if the sky would fall on me. It didn’t.
It’s important for me to be my whole self so that I can find my place in this ghetto world. If I pretend to be someone else or be half of who I am then I will never really be happy, and I’ll never find my tribe, my career, or purpose. I can never find what really suits me if I’m not really being me. I could never attract what is for me if I’m pretending to be someone I’m not—the fake me will get all she wants but the real me will remain unfulfilled.
The difficulty with being ourselves is that we think other people won’t like it, it’s not socially acceptable, or it’s not Instagrammable, so we bury things. And burying is sometimes an indication that you’re ashamed. While I don’t think it’s necessary to throw your whole life online or share everything with everyone you meet, you should still be exercising authenticity. First with yourself, then let it filter out from there. I don’t owe anyone anything, but I owe it to myself to be keep it 100.
And at this age, I always keep it 100 with myself. That has led to this new revelation. I just recognized that I’ve spent all my life being a coward. And I think facing my cowardice will be an interesting journey. All work and no play has led me to feel like I’ve really missed out on a lot.
I know you don’t have to “do it all” and you should never let society peer pressure you into thinking otherwise. But I think doing what you want when you want is as close as I can get to my own version of “it all”. And that is by my own rules on my own terms with no regrets, and at this point—no age limits. In that way I can assess what matters to me and keep my own integrity. No one should be able to define my integrity. That’s personal and what I do is intentional even if it doesn’t look that way. And you know what, even if it isn’t.
Thankfully I have a very insightful husband who supports me letting lose. It’s so beautiful to grow with someone but that personal journey is everything.
Short dresses and free titties are one thing, but the sexiest thing of all is truly not giving an absolute F what anyone thinks. Like not at all. Zero. Especially if these people don’t add to your life.
Sexy to me means not asking permission for anything, knowing that no one can check me, and realizing that I have absolute control over who has access to me.
Its sexy to get dressed up and have a full beat; its sexy to go bare face and cherish everything that’s just about perfect and everything that’s not. Its sexy to take care of your body—love it when its firm or soft and never feel shame—its yours.
Its sexy to wear your name with pride. Own it. Say it loud.
Its sexy to know your worth, and not settle for less.
There’s way too many sexy things I could name here. I bet you thought it was all about the clothes and hair…but since corona has taken a lot of that away, we can realize we’re even sexier under it all.
Sexy is your pride and your vulnerability. Its you!
I would love to hear what makes you feel like your sexiest self, sound off in the comments below!