Chapter 25

Today I am 25 years old. It’s been a wonderful ride.

I’ll never forget my 20th birthday, which I spent in a cabin in the mountains of Pipestem, WV. It snowed like crazy but all my people still managed to drive more than an hour to celebrate my special day.

The cabin was cozy and spacious and provided all the space I needed to enjoy the night with my family and friends. As the snow piled up outside, I watched the the cabin fill up with those who loved and knew me best.

Mommy also stayed in a separate room in the cabin and took care of all of the food and drinks and also handled anyone who got too rowdy. We drank too much and danced the night away.

This was the first year that I subconsciously started my “red” theme. I wore a red crop top with black leggings and high heels. I think this was the first time members of my family realized “wow, she’s not a kid anymore.”

I woke up the next morning to find everyone scattered all about, as everyone fell asleep wherever they could. Chapter 20 was off to a great start.

My 21st birthday. What a time to be alive.

I got invited to a New Year’s Party in South East DC.  What’s crazy is that the person who invited me didn’t even end up accompanying me to said party. Still, that night, I ended up meeting people who were connected to people I knew in North Carolina. It’s a small world after all. Me and my good friend, Dez, who I met that night, are still close to this day.

The food was great and this was the night I realized that every girl, no matter where they’re from, loves Jacquees. Still, I was a little reserved that night and it had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t know anyone at the party. Mommy had just been diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time and I had just gotten out of a controlling relationship. I didn’t know what was next for me but I knew having some fun couldn’t hurt.

Everything was cool until suddenly it wasn’t. Suddenly, I couldn’t stand. Then I couldn’t move. It was as though I was experiencing a paralysis of some sort. Everyone thought maybe I was just hungover but this went on for days.

On January 2nd, my new friends transported my life-less body to a different part of the city. I remember looking out the window and watching all the tall buildings pass me by with a quickness that made me dizzy. I remember wondering if I would be okay and how I had gotten myself into this mess just before my birthday. Still, my new friends were determined to make this birthday special.

The loft was nice and I climbed right in bed. The girls went about their business throughout the loft, occasionally checking in on me. They didn’t know me yet still showed me so much compassion. I didn’t know what had happened to me but I knew I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.

My mysterious condition got better as my actual birthday rolled around. I enjoyed the company of my new friends while taking in the marvelous views of the city from the loft.

I continued my “red” theme again this year, only this time I was more in tune with what the color red actually symbolized. Red depicts passion, romance, fire and desire, all things I wanted to embody as I entered my womanhood. This year, I wore a red blouse covered by a white fur.

The girls took me back to Maryland the next day, where Mommy waited with cake and ice cream. And no, I didn’t tell her about my New Year’s shenanigans.

My 22nd birthday was my last birthday with mom. We spent that Christmas in the hospital but she got released the day after. That holiday season was bleak but she still found a way to make my birthday special.

Mommy got my nails done and talked me into getting a dominican blowout for the first time. She also bought me a cake. Her and my sister, Meisha, sang happy birthday to me that night.  I still have the recording.

I wore a black jump suit with a velvet red shawl.

This is also the first birthday I did spiritual preparation for, zeroing in on the vibration of the number 22, which symbolizes the precision, balance and the power to achieve anything.

For my 23rd birthday, I decided I wanted to end my then long-term relationship but still ended up going to Maryland to stay with this person and their family. The energy was off but I still wanted to have a good birthday.

I started my birthday at Imagine Wellness Center in Maryland. I meditated with several women and had a little reiki healing done for the first time. Afterwards, the owner gifted me with two crystals; amethyst and I can’t remember the other one. This warmed my heart.

I went back to the family home and rested before getting dressed in a velvet red dress bandage dress and going down to the Baltimore Harbor, which was a memorable place for me and my mom. I just wanted to feel her spirit.

My 24th birthday was very confusing. My career was flourishing yet I still felt like something was missing. I knew at this point I needed a change. I knew I had to devote my life to following my heart’s deepest desires. I knew I was destined for so much greater than what I was settling for in love, career and friendship.

I was in DC with my ex. We went out to eat, went to the bar for a few drinks then smoked with some of my girls. Everything was cool until it was not. My ex’s car battery died during the session. It was mid-winter and the windows were stuck down. We froze until a friend’s dad came to save us.

This was also the one year of my early twenties that I completely forgot to incorporate the color red into my outfit, which I think is a testament to just how much I had lost myself that year.

I woke up the next morning desiring change more than ever.

Today I am 25 years old and better than I’ve ever been. I’m living in my truth and following my dreams. I love life and I’m working in my purpose. I am aware of all of the possibilities.

With my nails painted red and armed with the knowledge all of my years gifted me, I know I am infinite.