Five years ago, I thought I reached my mark when I turned 18. The world was opening its doors to a young women. My concerns were having the ability to enter: a car dealership, a couple of mature concerts and college. Of course, when one door opens it leads you to the path of another closed door. Out of nowhere it was as the age limit gradually rose overnight just to prevent me from fully developing into a young woman. 18-year old clubs ceased to exist and nothing could be done without legal proof of being 21 or approved by someone over 25. Reaching 21, was my next mission. October 2, 2016- I was finally 21. Alcohol and partying magically became limitless . It was indeed the greatest time of my life. I lived it up all October 2016, travelling back and forth from Vegas and ordering drinks everywhere that served. Everyday was a celebration for jumping that last boundary that separates the kids from the adults. When I turned 21, my friends and I were dedicated to partying all month. Why, because we knew after turning 21 their is no turning back.
The celebration ended approximately November 2, 2016 and then reality kicked in. Bills, graduation, senior projects, altered relationships and friendships- with all of these added obstacles I began to realize why turning 21 and legally drinking alcohol became the norm. Drinking became less about partying and more about coping. 22 opened my eyes to things that I never saw before. Though, I'm not positive whether or not these things were already there but, I just couldn't see them. Turning 22, gave me a new pair of see- through goggles, a higher view of the real world or even a slap in the face from life. Life hits harder when you're 22. There is no longer a peak to achieve that feels achievable without your control. Everything good that was to happen to you is no longer based off of age but, off of how you handle things. I also learned that the next thing to look forward to when you're 22 is either turning 25 to legally rent a car or turning 30 ( which honestly no one is excited for turning 30). This age sucked and then things no longer made since in my life anymore. I no longer had to wake up at 8:30AM to prepare for my morning class, which wasn't a bad thing. However, I did have to wake up around 9:30AM to make it to the job that I couldn't stand and couldn't cancel on. 22 brought responsibility, reliability and rehabilitation.
As a kid I remembered thinking that 20-year olds had it all: the car, the boys, the clothes, and the ability to be in "grown folk's business". Every black person understood the importance of the last ability. As a kid in a black family you weren't really exposed to the family drama or real world trauma, and it was frustrating. You always understood that even though you never knew the exact problem, there was something wrong and no one had the right to tell you because you're a kid. Turning 20, opened your eyes to not only the reality of the world but the reality of your own household. All of those juicy family secrets and knowing past what you were told, was the thing I envied the most about 20 somethings. Now that I'm finally here I would like to return my 20 something membership and cancel my "grown folk's business" status. Between understanding the hardships of the world and finding out who's my cousin versus the freeloader who always ask for money- I realized that I no longer wanted this lifestyle. I craved to sit at the adult's table for the holidays and never understood patience. I watched from the smaller scale table and admired my older cousins and their 20-year old abilities. Now looking at it, I should've just waited patiently. Now at this age I realized that 20-year olds looked so happy because they've trained themselves to. Entering the house you prepare yourself to be asked about this fabulous lifestyle of yours after college and the amount of job offers you have received. Even though you want to shout to the rooftop that "college is a scam and my job offers include several of none paying internships", you've learned how to hold it in. You take a deep breath and respond with "I'm doing well for myself, I'm currently in between jobs but I'm utilizing this time to focus on my spiritual well being." Great answer right? I had two years of practice.
Playtime is over kids, and it's time to put your "20 something face on".
It's safe to assume that 22 wasn't really my favorite year. As much as I would like to dive into the tunnel of why, I realized that I can't. One of the biggest lessons you learn when you turn 20, is that there is no point in dwelling on the past. Looking behind you slows you down from the fast paced reality of your 20s. When you miss payments. get into it with your co-worker or even get your heartbroken- you have no other option but to move forward. Excuses were for the teenage years, and frankly no one gives a damn on why you couldn't handle society for the day and decided to skip work. You must simply show up and show out! Let go of the failures of the previous decade and move into a new one. Entering 23, I am utilizing the statement "23 and counting". I am professing my optimism on 23 being the year where I do better. 22 hit me like a truck, but now I got the hang of things. I'm no longer in a rush to get older. Turning 22 humbled me and prepped me for the continuity of my 20's. I learned that time moves fast, and our emotions can't handle it, but can hide it. After admiring the other side and utilizing the "grass is greener" spectrum, I wish I could go back to the kids table and take my sweet time.
"23 & Counting"
Facing the greater fight of the world is me, Autumn Indigo. I understand the magnetic obsession with social media. As a wanna-be blogger I am glued to my phone observing other blogger femmes. Checking out how many followers she has and how much money she is making. When did talent become based off of what the next girl was doing?
Social media can be both your greatest friend and enemy. A helpful tool indeed that has given many people the opportunity to connect with one another and gain opportunities to grow. The development of social media sparked like an invisible asteroid hitting the earth. The spark spread so quickly that we were not even aware of the changes in our world. People had the key to everything in one click or search engine. They are able to find friends, jobs, food and inspiration. Social media's written purposes are to develop connections, garnish opportunities, check out inspiring content and finding the need to knows. Thus trumping the yellow book and computer. Almost meant to be a motivational tool, the service has also proven to be well, intimidating.
In 2008, I was a 10-year-old girl entering my 5th grade class in a grey and pink detailed plaid set. Yes, my love for style came from my OG stylist, my mom. A plaid skirt set reminiscent to Clueless , black ankle boots and a suitcase, I was killing the game. I expected the oohs and ahs of my fellow classmates the minute I stepped foot into the classroom. Unfortunately, I received a simple meh. This was due to the other stylish girl in school wearing the black Baby Phat jacket with the fur trimmed at the hood. She turned around wearing a black pleated skirt and boots with the same color fur as the jacket. Back then, that was unheard of. A full Baby Phat outfit at the age of 10 was riveting, rebellious and ready for everything thrown at her. Therefore, I was defeated. Well defeated, for the moment that is. After the first 25 minute break of the class, I got over it and I continued living my life. As a 10-year-old, I understood the concept of being intimidated by someone else for a minute and moving on. Now, it is not so easy.
Back to the present day, Instagram has developed the most genius and creepiest tool of all, the saving tool. Instead of screenshotting a stranger's photo onto your phone, you can just save it on Instagram to look at later. Confession time: I have over 500 photos saved onto my Instagram of girls with amazing body's, sense of style, gorgeous hair and make up. I am not ashamed to admit that I worship these style sirens. This is when social media is powerful! But, there is a thin line between inspiration and self defeating.
As a blogger, I am reminded of everything that I have ever struggled with about myself. My insecurities with my body, self and career come into the light and steal the shine from my success. Why, because I'm always comparing it to what the next girl is doing. Being in media, I see all the opportunities other girls are receiving such as: tv shows, massive followers and money. Of course these are one of the things that comes with being a blogger. My first year of blogging was difficult and involved a lot of changes based off of what I saw everyone else was doing. The changes continued and my followers progressed slowly. However, I was still not happy with the results. I continued subtly trying things on the blog that was more of my flavor and ultimately decided that even though I wanted the perks of those shiny hair couture flowing foreign bloggers, I am not one of them.
I'm a young African American girl from Los Angeles and I know there are other girls like me. Girls who are not in the location they would love to be but they make the most of it and still represent where they are from. Those girls that believe in going against the norm and trying a career that they once saw on tv and became obsessed with. I am transforming my blog to be the voice of those girls. The best part of doing this transition is that it takes zero effort because I am just being me. I am living my life to the fullest and being recognized for it. And I'll take that over 50k followers any day.