I turn 40 TODAY! You read correctly...40. #teamAquarius.
I'm thankful that I've had a full life. I've checked off so many of my boxes and accomplished several goals. I've lived in 3 States, two of which I consider home. Before 40, I've graduated two top universities, bought my first property, created programs for the youth, performed on top stages nationally and internationally, been signed to a label, worked bts on albums that became Billboard #1's, lived in one of the most expensive cities in America as an entrepreneur for over 10 years, independently executed my performance piece with 20K of my own capital, won numerous music awards and recognitions, won not one but two State Championships- (my old gym is being named after my coach), became a proud Auntie and most importantly I feel loved and am able to love unconditionally. I'm thankful, I'm honored, I'm happy, I'm fulfilled and I am blessed.
But that was not always the case! I had a lot of hurdles, struggles, internal gripes, external forces, roadblocks and obstacles to overcome in the process. As a queer black woman from the South, and late bloomer, I really had to take time to find myself before finding my joy.
I had to learn that I was the nexus of my life and that God was my nucleus. I began to understand that while you can't control what happens to you, you can always control how you react. And that with faith all things are possible. Further, I began to see myself in the control room of all of my life's decisions. Once we as humans understand our ability to control energy and destiny- we become powerful beings.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a few sayings, mantras, quotes and words that I hold close on my road to 40. I hope to do enough of these entries that it'll eventually be a total of 40- but for now. Here are 4:
#1 L is for Love
GOD IS LOVE AND SO ARE WE- Dorothy Mae White
If you call my mother's answering machine, the message will likely start with that quote. I believe in God, the Creator, Yahweh, the Universe and that which is greater than us. With that in mind, the Bible plainly states that "God is Love''. Therefore, love is the greatest emotion, and there is nothing greater than Love.
I'm always careful when I speak about God. I think far too often people weaponize religion, and in turn misrepresent God. Church buildings and church culture have been mistaken for spirituality. And religious practice, which often contains judgment, has been considered law.
I had a co-worker mention once that it's silly to believe in a "Wizard in the Sky". I had to catch myself before telling them that God dwells within, around and through all of us, so, they had sadly been misinformed about God. I refrained because I knew that the conversation stretched beyond a secular belief system and came more from a place of trauma. The church has been outcasting gays and enslaving blacks for centuries; so unfortunately, people have taken their anger out on God, and not the white patriarchal practices that run the sect.
The moment I began to look beyond religion, I truly found God. At that point, I knew that the best way to live my life was to follow the mantra of Love.
Love is patient; Love is kind. Before I make a decision, I always check my order of love:
Love for God
Love for Self/Family
Love for my fellow Human/Nature/the Universe
If my actions, language or thoughts express anything outside of love, I try to reevaluate my approach. And I'm not perfect, I make mistakes- but it's great for checks and balances. For instance, if I truly love myself, I'll be mindful of how I eat and what I consume; if I truly have love for my fellow human, I will want everyone to share the rights that I have regardless of their culture, gender, sexuality or ability; etc.
So I say to all you youngins'...
Let Love Be Your Guide. As a rule of thumb, I only operate on a higher frequency - I've made decisions and said no to opportunities because of the human that I am, not for the sake of others. Ultimately, if I can't explain to God why I did or didn't do a thing at the end of my days, then it isn't worth it. And if it is- I won't have to explain anyway.
#2 God is Change
“All that you touch, You Change.
All that you Change, Changes you.
The only lasting truth is Change.
God is Change.” -Earthseed
(Octavia Butler Parable of the Sower)
GOOD, BETTER, BEST. LET YOUR MIND NEVER REST UNTIL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR BEST.
I know what you're thinking...Fay just said "God is Love", but now, "God is Change", which one is it? Well...I'm not wrong. What if you wrote it as "Love is Change"?
Change is the ultimate path to higher self. And higher self puts us closer to God.
I learned early on in my life that I am my own competition. My biggest enemy and my best ally stares at me in the mirror daily. When I was in high school, I played for a basketball powerhouse team. I was the "6th man", meaning that I wasn't part of the starting 5; but I played just as much if not more than key players- swinging in various positions whenever someone needed a sub.
I may have started 10 games my entire career- but I still went to a Division I school to play basketball- a feat that some of the starters didn't achieve. And why is that? I leaned into change.
I wanted to be a part of the starting 5 so badly my senior year. Actually, all four years of high school, I was hoping to be selected as one of the top 5, but to no avail. Quite honestly, my coach knew that I played better coming off the bench, and secondly(which should've been my first point), one of the top 5 point guards in the nation was our starting point guard. (Yeah, imagine playing against the girl version of Steph Curry everyday since y'all were 13 years old. You're welcome!)
I had two options...I could go through the motions, get an academic scholarship and not focus on basketball. Or I could spend my sophomore and junior year on every court, gym, playground, camp, and AAU in Carolina. Not to mention, spend some time training with Brady Patterson (of AC Flora) who was also one of the top point guards from our State. (SHOUT OUT BP!!!)
I changed, I evolved and I challenged myself. I was the first player from our team to sign with a Division-I college.
Since I was 15, I've had that mentality- God is Change. Growth is key- "if your mind can conceive it and you firmly believe it, then you can achieve it." And no one can stand in your way. I've applied the thinking to my music, to my business, to my lectures and to my career.
Change can be terrifying- they don't call it "growing pains" for nothing. But all that fear, fight and fury is worth it when you evolve to a better place.
(This voice of change also applies to social justice movements, in which I would quote Maya Angelou: "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.")
#3 Let Your Light Shine Bright
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." - Matthew 5:15-16
"A woman should not have to bend for a man to stand."
We all have light and darkness that dwells within. I think the more that you seek light and surround yourself with other "light-minded" people, the brighter your future will be. But anytime, you jeopardize your light or your shine- there is a danger of being engulfed in the darkness.
I used to be a people pleaser. I really didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or have anyone dislike me. What I found was that I was constantly shrinking myself to make other people feel better, feel comfortable or feel safe. Eventually I shrunk so small to where I almost disappeared.
And what happened? Those same people either violated my safety, took advantage of my vulnerability or still didn't like me for whatever reason they could conjure. The moment that I realized it wasn't my business how someone felt about me; nor my responsibility to cradle everyone's insecurities- I immediately broke the chains of anxiety, self-doubt and imposter syndrome. (Well, I still deal with imposter syndrome from time to time.)
My confidence has been called arrogance, amongst many other things- but if I were a man (black or white)- it wouldn't come up in conversation at all. So, I decided that I should not bend for anyone to stand; nor should I have to "puff up" to claim my space.
I'm here- I'll be heard- and like me or not, you will respect me.
#4 Manifest, Manifest, Manifest
What's the first thing that you think about in the morning? And what's the last thing that you think about before going to bed? I discovered that those two times of day are the best time to reflect and manifest.
Not only is it a great space to meditate in gratitude but it also gives you time to reflect and dwell on what you've accomplished and what really matters.
Every major gig that I have played, every tour that I've worked on, every career move, every "dream feat" - purchasing my dream car and my family home with my baby sister,... every accolade, resulted from doing this one single exercise. (Coupled with hard work, dedication and perseverance, I should add.) That's the definition of FAITH.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence not seen. Sounds like manifestation to me!!! Anytime, I've taken one step to stand on faith; God has taken two steps towards me.
It's true! You can do it!
As I've matured, of course my manifestations have moved away from tangible items, and even checking boxes on my resume- right before 2020, I began manifesting spending more time with family; those I love and those who truly love me.
And would you know it? Today- I am blessed to say- I am standing in that space. <3
Thank God for these 40 years, and looking forward to another 40+.
Always forward, never backwards. #forward40
Honorable Mention: Be a Life Learner
Only a fool knows everything.
"Never let your schooling interfere with your education." -Mark Twain