Last night I sat out back enjoying the drag of a good cigar. A year ago, I would not have freely shared my love of cigars. I would have kept my guilty pleasure tucked inside out of fear my habit would be seen as unladylike. But, as I continue to settle comfortably into my own skin and enjoy the awareness of my grownwomanness, I could care less about what others think or feel about me. I am more focused on how I feel about myself. This is not a statement of arrogance, but an expression of my own truth. I have learned you can tap dance while twirling a fire baton in a pool full of crocodiles and people will still ask if that’s all you’ve got. So, these days my time is spent less on approval from others and more on being a better human, friend, daughter, cousin, sister, niece or whoever I am to those that accept me as I am.
When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait to be grown. My teenage years were spent walking around reciting the rebellious chant, “When I get grown.” By law, in America when we reach the age of eighteen we are legally recognized as adults; grown women and grown men. In some cultures, womanhood is recognized earlier according to sacred customs and rituals. Although we are considered adults at the age of eighteen most of us have not emotionally, mentally and in some instances physically transitioned into adulthood. As my aunt would say, we are still young and dumb; we have only earned the right to say, “I’m grown.”
Now, I am a woman in my forties and being a grown woman has transcended far beyond a number. It is an awareness of self and the acceptance of my own unique ability to evolve into a better human each year, day, hour, and second I breathe. I have learned I do not have to accept things and people that challenge my peace out of fear of rejection or loneliness. Maintaining good mental health is vital to my existence in this world. Self-care is not selfish it is a necessity. Peace of mind is priceless. I cannot afford the cost of being in relationships, situations and self-inflicted circumstances that penetrate the walls of my sanity. I think the most valuable lesson I have learned on my journey into my grown-womanhood is the importance of authenticity and being myself.
There was a time in my life when I wanted to be “normal”. I wanted to fit in and be liked until I read the one phrase that changed my life, “You Are Not For Everyone.” In her book, “Light is the New Black”, Rebecca Campbell slapped me in the face with an “ah ha” moment. Now, I am happy to be quirky, random, creative and bold enough to take the road less traveled. The sobering truth is I will be too much for some and not enough for others. But as a grown ass woman, I am just enough…period.
25 Ways to Own Your Grownwomanness
- Your flaws do not define you. You are perfectly imperfect and it’s okay.
- You are bold enough to live authentic. You’re not afraid to stand out and let your light shine.
- You celebrate and encourage other women.
- You understand that you are not for everyone. You don’t have to stand on your head and turn flips to be noticed or liked by everyone single person on earth.
- You understand the word “no” is a form of self-care
- You understand your vision for your life is a deeply personal and spiritual experience, you don’t need permission from someone else to dream big.
- You spend less time with people who gossip and more time with people who engage in life-giving conversations.
- You understand your happiness does not revolve around a man. You believe you must be happy with yourself in order to be happy with someone else.
- You understand it’s okay not to be okay. You are comfortable with your emotions. You don’t wear the mask of strength while breaking on the inside. Your breakdown can sometimes lead to your breakthrough.
- You understand the power of gratitude.
- You understand perfection is the greatest lie ever told.
- Your confidence is not based on how you look, but how you feel inside. How you look on the outside can not mask the emptiness you fee on the inside, so stop trying to put pretty bandages on your emotional scars.
- You begin to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
- You stop making speeches; a grown woman knows when she has had enough. She makes a quiet exit and does not double back.
- You understand who you are is more than enough.
- You understand it’s never too late to get your shit together.
- Your past does not define you.
- You take responsibility for your own growth. You continue to rediscover and reinvent yourself.
- You are focused on your physical, emotional and spiritual health. You understand the concept of self-care
- You take responsibility for your financial health. You understand the importance of educating yourself on financial wellness. Saving, preparing for retirement, investing, proper money management can all be accomplished while you’re living your best life
- You understand forgiveness is a lifeline. Forgiving yourself and other will save your life.
- You protect your peace at any cost.
- You understand silence is the most profound answer.
- You are not afraid or embarrassed to enjoy your own company
- You have learned how to speak life to your soul. You speak to yourself as though you love yourself and you understand you are extraordinary.