Life is full of experiences. We find ourselves in sometimes dramatically different places and circumstances today than we were this time a year(s) ago. I wrote this compilation of thoughts that capture and document exactly this. This was a moment in time.
Overstaying My Welcome is an introspective journey of the thoughts, vibes, moods, feelings and general well-being of my trip to New Orleans, LA. A place I’d never been before. A place I had such a good time with linking with a friend. However, these are not about those memories. The writings included, document the moments following my unexpected extra stay in the city (courtesy of an abomination for an airline that won’t be mentioned).
Join me as I share these pieces of me.
I was recently inspired by a friends post celebrating 15 women she knew and who are all amazing. I’d like to do something similar. I realize that growing up I never really had a lot of strong female role models. I mostly looked up to men. My father, my favorite teachers etc- all men. However, I have almost always been surrounded by amazing women. Now of which I can honestly say I look up to and am inspired/made a better person because of them. With that said-I’d like to highlight through story telling 10 phenomenal women that I know who have been amazing and integral in my personal and aspirational life. So here goes:
1. Robin Adams
“You are resilient,” Robin encouraged me one day in the privacy of her office. This was one of countless heart-to-hearts about my trying to figure things out in this world and her guiding me while assuring me things would always be alright. I have always looked up to Robin. I will never forget the first time I saw her during my summer enrichment program (STEP) and I was intimidated by her piercing eyes and firm voice. Watching her speak or work in general has always stunned me. She’s the sort of woman I’d hope to further develop into one day. So giving, fearless and passionate. Intelligent and wise. Robin inspires me to truly pursue my dreams and to never stop fighting the good fight. She’s helped me to believe in myself and my future.
2. Shakila Carroll
I remember I used to shy away from the term “bestfriend”. It took my friendship with Shakila to learn the true meaning of friendship. To learn what it meant to not only have a good quality friend but how to be one in return. Our friendship has evolved tremendously over the past 9 or so years of knowing one another. And I must say through the ups and downs of our friendship, this woman inspires me to be the best that I can be and to build the strongest relationship with God that I possibly can. She’s so supportive and so relatable. A genuine spirit who is so motivated that her story makes me want to work harder. Mostly, Shakila has taught me that I don’t have to fit into just one box. She’s pursuing many dreams. From dance ministry to med school to traveling, I am inspired to pursue my own after watching how eagerly she pursues hers.
3. Felicia Jackson Wright (Aunt Dee Dee)
Aunt Dee Dee is shakilas aunt who has developed into my own. Blood could not make me any closer to this woman. She is the epitome of the kind of woman I’d love to mature into. She has a way of relating to people and building significant bonds that make you feel so loved. It’s a love that has changed me for the better. Her faith reminds me of my fathers in that her love and belief in God is so strong and real that you can see it when you look at her. She has the brightest light not only in her smile but in her presence and I know that’s a reflection of Him.
4. Lauren Babb
Lauren is one of the hardest working people that I know. She is a go-getter. She lets no person or thing stop her from living the sort of life she pleases and I truly admire that. Lauren has been a sort of rock in my life. A sense of comfort. I know that she has and will go to bat for me whenever I’m in need and she has proven that near or far true friendships transcend distance and time. Lauren continues to teach me to never let things or people knock me down and to really just enjoy the one life we do have.
5. Sharice Davis
Sharice is the sort of person who you can always count on. Sharice inspires me through her daily regular life from her job to her traveling experiences to just memories we share. I think it’s very rare that you find people in this life that you feel you will know until the end of your time. But I know Sharice and I will forever share an unbreakable bond that we’ve developed and maintained ourselves over the years. I can only hope to be the sort of friend to others, that Sharice has been to me.
6. Tonya Stewart
Mommie. My mother is one of my biggest motivations in life. She would always say that her biggest accomplishment in life are her kids. And making her proud has always been a goal of mine. My mother taught and continues to teach me to give love and love hard in this world. She has the smallest body but the biggest heart. And we are more similar than I think sometimes as we are both walking, talking, breathing and living testaments to the love and grace of God. I look up to my mother and her ability to love despite all she’s been through. I can only hope to not allow my heart become hardened by my experiences and still genuinely give love.
7. Nana Bamfo
Nana is one of the strongest people that I know. She has been through so much and yet still manages to shine brightly. Everybody that I know who has met my sister, loves her. Sometimes I’d get jealous because she just so naturally draws people to her but I realize that this is a gift of hers (and she has many). She is so smart and talented. I look up to my little sister because she teaches me to have more of a back bone and not just take anything from anybody. Though we argue and fight like sisters do sometimes I know she always has my back and we push each other to become the best versions of ourselves.
8. Cheria Funches
Cheria is a dear friend of mine. I remember our freshmen year of college she had just went through a break up and we shared a moment and even took a pic to capture it. And it was in that moment that I knew I had found a true friend at American University. Cheria is one of the few women I look at and hope to incorporate some of her characteristics in my own life. She is such a joy to be around because our bond is so effortless. Cheria taught me that you can be everything you want to be if you work for it. She taught me to embrace all the things that make me different and rock with it. Also laughing and killing the dutty wine on the dance floor has worked wonders for our friendship. I am so blessed to call her a friend.
9. Christina Stewart
My older sister is hardworking and compassionate. She works hard so that her daughter can have better than what she has and she puts family first. My older sister has always been my protector. And she still is. We can talk and laugh and chill for hours and I love her for that. What makes Christina phenomenal is that she takes nothing from anybody and she would give her last to me if I needed. Christina and I are tight not solely because of blood but because we have an unbreakable bond. She has a hell of a story and has been through a lot but she doesn’t let that stop her from grinding and it’s that grind and work ethic that I look up to her the most and hope to incorporate into my own life.
10. Shehariah Johnson
My dear friend Shehariah. Very soft spoken person with the kindest spirit. Since meeting Shehariah we have always been tight. Sharing jokes, singing and being silly. I love Shehariah because of her perspective on life and she truly practices what she preaches. I was always drawn to her because she’s just so real and so nice. I look up to her the most because of her perseverance and determination. She has one of the strongest spirits I have ever encountered and I know no weapon will ever prosper against her. What makes Shehariah the most phenomenal woman is because she is so forgiving and understanding. One of the hardest things in life is to forgive however she teaches me regularly not to hold on to bad energy and to only spread good and positive energy.
Now. I know unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick. But anger. Anger is not something I’m familiar with because I rarely get angry but what I noticed is that when I do… I really really get angry. And I let it build up and up because my tolerance level is so high.
So after virtually blowing up last night, and reaching out to my dad at like 3am, he shed some brief but serious light on me. Anger does not solve anything. God says we should be slow to anger and I know that but I assumed since I wasn’t angry often then that still would count right? No. When I look at the advice he gave me it made so much sense. It was just like the poison analogy. I was the one to go to sleep angry and make all these angry snapchat stories and even had a dream about letting out my anger on the person in the situation.
Then I woke up to a beautiful quiet morning. And I found clarity. I realize that while I’m mature there are moments like these where I feel my rationale is that of a person more my age. Because I mean, I’m young and I’m learning. I’m learning and practicing, I guess is a better way to put it, how to deal with situations as a woman. I appreciate this experience for taking me 0-100 but then realizing shortly after that it doesn’t have to be all that. You should never let the actions of others impede upon your happiness. And me, I protect my happiness with a passion which is why I guess I’m shocked I blew up like I did. But again, one person can only take but so much I’m just glad I came out of this having learned something.