On Beauty and Living

For a long time, I had very real questions about my beauty.

I've questioned myself almost daily, for my entire life.

I've judged my "pretty" on other people's opinions and how I compared to those whose aesthetics I thought more appealing than my own, and determined my worth to the world on the basis of how long my eyelashes are naturally.

Meanwhile, I have kept tabs on several women who helped raise me and arrived at a question: What is "beauty" worth at 30?

(it still hurts to type that. i miss 29.)

And, what the fuck is aging if I will only grow to slay more?! 

When I was 12-13-14, they were 25-26-27. They were young and beautiful and had careers and apartments and dated people and did all the shit that seems sooooo cool when you're 13 and 26 is an impossible lifetime away. I wanted to be them, or be just like them, because 26 was exactly the age at which fun and living happened and that's all I was trying to do.

(allow me to take this moment to reflect on their importance in my life and express gratitude to God and the universe for placing real ass role models all throughout my life)

These women are 37-38-50 now, and I am amazed. 

Many of them have pursued really dope careers and degrees that allowed them to do really dope shit. They have moved and traveled and married and divorced and had children and quit jobs and bought homes.

They have glowed up to slay.

I spend time scrolling through Facebook albums and Instagram feeds sitting in awe of their beauty and their #blackgirlmagic, taking in all I can from the wordless exchanges I'm having with who they have become. Usually moments after I decide I've seen enough, I have a good deep sigh and some reflection time. I  check on myself and make sure I'm not trying to compare my apples to somebody's oranges (because I will do that).

Instead of inadequacy, in this space, I've found a Barney Bag full of my own confidence.

The age gap has allowed me to use some inference about who folks might have been in their younger years. 

For all of the mess that I was in my 20s, it is not unreasonable to extrapolate that other folks were also being a hot hell mess, and they turned out completely fine. 

Better than fine, even. 

Good enough for me to not feel like shit about not being who I thought I would be by now. Good enough for me to understand what "50" looks like, and how young 40 really is by comparison. Enough for me to know that aging is not about losing time, but rather about learning the best uses of all that you have, and being better able to maximize an opportunity.

I have baby fever, and that's ok. I'm not always the best partner, and no matter how bad I beat myself up about my shortcomings, that's ok, too.

The thing about living is that as long as you wake up, there is another chance to be better at it.

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