#XD30-one-Dear Thirty

Dear Thirty,

Here we are, face to face. In all of my dreams I’d never thought we would meet this way. You have always been seen as something foreign, to me. A year and experience that would both be life altering and staggering. By the time I turned twenty five I had enough foresight to see that fear rested in thirty. I had remnants of the same fright at twenty five then twenty six and twenty eight. Feelings of unworthiness, disappointment, and loneliness.

I was relieved when you brought me something different. I spent a week joking about age and how being a year older, thirty, changed everything for the worse, but in all honesty I feel the opposite. There is power in you. Like, a spark that’s been ignited that in so many ways has been the erasure of anything that may have come before. I feel invincible.

My twenties were all about the idea of finding me. From all of the hair experiences to wearing make up and being gay- navigating gay friends and gay culture in Virginia, to unreal romantic experiences and all the responsibilities that come with learning to be an adult.

I have literally spent thirty years learning to be myself. When you look at it that way it is easy to see how thirty is just the beginning. There was so much time spent pretending to be someone else, living for so many other people, to the point that I am ready to cement myself in you. I know who I am and who I want to be and you, dear thirty, are the catalyst to such a greater experience.

I received an email yesterday confirming that I am an official graduate of Norfolk State University and in that moment I realized just how successful I have become. It took me eleven years to graduate from college. I started in 2006. To see that dream deferred, complete, is enlightening. Also, it is so telling of life’s experiences. You really are the new twenty. You come with a new set of challenges; operating on discipline, facing mortality, and cleaning up all those petty insecurities that still lie within me. However, you are a shield to it all.

You give me the next few years to be free. You are the experience that we all spent all of our lives waiting for, freedom. There is no more noise or cloudiness. I can do whatever I want.

#THEOVERTURE: The Year of 29.

tumblr_myyn8iEn8d1qakh43o1_500Let me just preface this by saying that I have been listening to Barbra Streisand, The Broadway Album, for about a week when this birthday theme was so revealed to me. You see, I have spent no great amount of time thinking about experiencing, or reflecting upon my 29th birthday. Probably because it’s a year considered to be inconsequential and transitionary. Its not one of the bigger moments one considers in a lifetime and I think more often than not it is a year that is seemingly overlooked.

Well, not for me! I can remember turning twenty five and having the crisis of my own mid life. I was unaccomplished, unfulfilled, unsatisfied and there was this enormous pressure, a longing to be greater than what I was that left me stranded, miserably. Then, at twenty six it was worse. In part, because I had to sit with the fact that all that pressure was still applied and I was nowhere closer to achieving any of my own greatness. So by the time twenty seven and twenty eight came I had found ways to release the whole idea of pressure. I felt okay about life and where I was. I still looked ahead to the establishment, not just of position or growth, but the establishment of self that I believe comes with being thirty years old.

That’s when it hit me. An overture comes at the beginning of the musical. The stage manager calls the house lights to half, then there is a fade to black. I like to consider that moment of silence. There is a brief turnover when the audience quiets itself and prepares to willingly suspend every bit of disbelief, accepting the world of the piece. In that moment the orchestra begins. It’s so fluid. The orchestra plays, incessantly so, every piece of sheet music to be heard over the nights engagement. They turn from song to encore and even reprises. The audience is left with an impression of music they will find to be familiar as the musical presents itself.

Just like 29. There are so many things I have learned in an effort to be greater. I have read great books, challenged my own thinking, my beliefs. I have been shaped my past experiences. I have been tested by my own will to succeed relentlessly and even by my spirituality and personal relationships. 29 will be the test of it all, and at the same time, the arc of all that I have yet to experience and garner.

The year of 29 is my own personal overture. It is a set up, a welcome invitation to all that I envision to be fulfilled with by thirty. I definitely intend to live out the last of my twenties doing exactly what I want! Honing every bit of my talent and believing in my dreams more than I may have ever imagined. #THEOVERTURE starts in Washington, DC, a place I’ve spent so many birthdays, Memorial Day weekend ,and it will end in the Dominican Republic, lord willing, May 2017, at 30.

Cheers to another year, may this be the best year of your life.