Growing up life was not hard but I made it hard on myself because of the path I decided to take. All of my life, I always wanted to be the center of attention. So I did what was necessaryto have all eyes on me--the good, the bad, the funny and the ugly. Living in a single parent household was definitely challenging because there were just some thing’s a mom could not teach her daughter that only a father could. That is where I went wrong. I started looking for love in all the wrong places instead of loving myself and appreciating my mother’s love. I always thought that to be loved I needed to be liked by everyone. In reality, it was the complete opposite. On June 4, 2014, when I walked across the stage, I thought to myself “Yes!” I was finally leaving the nest. I was finally grown. But in Augustof 2014, I realized I was not as grown as I thought. My mom always told me not to fall in love with the first dude I met andwhat did I do? Exactly that. I felt like I landed in a romance novel. I was on my own, I found the love of my life and I did nothave to answer to anyone. As I started to maneuver my way through “college life”, I began to lose focus, and ultimately I ended up losing myself. A’s turned into F’s and friends became enemies. Before I knew it, sophomore year was approaching andjunior year crept up right behind it. Where did all the time go? Why am I not experiencing the “Drumline” movie vibes here? That is when I realized I had been bamboozled. College is not really like those movies you see on TV.
Oh, and that relationship I spoke about earlier, the one I swore Icould not live life without, yea that didn’t turn out as planned. Ifound myself struggling to maintain my relationship, battling mental and physical abuse. I also found myself having difficulty in my relationship with my father. I asked myself “How could he just leave my mom to do all the work with me?” “How come he never took me to a Daddy’s Daughter Dance?” I carried that hurt with me for 20 years. For 20 years, I hated the person that helped create me. I felt like he was never there for me. Until one day, I made a phone call. I called my father and told him exactly how I felt as he listened and took it all in. Days turned into months and months turned into years and now at the age of 22 I can say, my dad is my best friend. But it did not come overnight. The journey to better our relationship was not always easy. At times, I knew we wanted to give up but God brought us back together for a reason and I will never look back. On April 17, 2018, my life drastically changed. That was the day I wasbaptized. I honestly did not know what was ahead of me but I trusted in God and kept my faith. During this season, I cut off all my hair and found myself understanding the true definition of natural beauty and self-love. I started giving back to my community with my first ever sock and blanket drive. During my last year of college, I wanted to see a change; I wanted to be the change. I refused to leave college the way that I came. I started doing care packages for students and random acts of kindness such as: buying late night meals or even giving rides to students in need. I even hosted my first ever college event “Girls Need Love” and had a great time giving my personal testimony.
Ladies, self-love and self-happiness will take you very far in life. My message to you today is to be unafraid of letting go of anyone who is not contributing to your growth and well-being. Be your biggest motivator and your biggest critic. Change does not come overnight because I am still going through it. My story is still being written. I want to leave you with this verse: Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Be grateful for life, your parents, those who truly love you and appreciate your time because you will never get it back.