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I woke up to the combination of grease, chocolate, and sulfur, from the saliva released throughout the night, swirling my taste buds. Quickly, I head to the bathroom releasing a massive somewhat impressive piss in the toilet. As the fluids flowed, my stomach toned up. I lifted my shirt midway to view the results in the mirror.
After brushing my teeth and wiping the red washcloth that removed the remnants of coconut oil from my face, I took a moment to study my reflection. The observation became judgement as yesterday’s attempt to seal my youth resulted in coming in before ten o’clock laughing at a situational comedy about being old. With a nasal exhale, I raised my inner white flag, accepting that I and the universe royally f*cked me.
“Hey, my son!” a text stated. “Call me soon. I know you’re excited for your birthday!” my mother concluded. Rather than lie, I decided to call. “I’m going to be 30!” I said in a dramatic tone. If anyone would understand my exhaustion, my mother would. “Oh, me too!” she replied. I raised my eyebrows and released an exhale silently. “What’s wrong? You sound bad.” She added. My mother only allotted me five minutes of pity with groans and discerning exhales at my current anguish.
“You’re my child. I claim you. You’re the spitting image of me and thank GOD for that.” her confident tone sent alarming vibrations in my mind. The words “spitting image of me” rained out my drought of cynicism. At the age of 32, my mother returned to finish her college education, obtaining her master degree within a few years. Moreover, she graduated with honors. The passion my mother had for law was eclipsed by her newfound love for teaching. Thus, before 40, my mother became an asset to the education profession winning accolades for top standardized test scores and innovating methods of motivating her students. My mother’s timeline was my checkpoint.
“I love you, Mama!” I responded with my words dipped in sap and mushy feelings.
“I know!” she ended the conversation with a hearty laugh.
The fear of my thirties wasn’t removed. However, rather than being a detrimental fire to my existence, the fear became this unknowing warmth fueled from motivation and experience. I didn’t have all the answers but intrigued with questions, such as what if and why not. Maybe the attractiveness of twenty-somethings was playing with the gift of possibility while building a confidence from consequence.
The lights were up and my twenty-something themed party was over. Instead of Time bouncing me out of the fabulous land of make-believe the twenties offered, I was being happily escorted to the upper level of the authentic thirties. A party where the guest was learning how close one can fly to the sun without melting their wax wings or getting over their reflections before drowning in it. And unlike the previous decade where I had to fake it till I made it, at this party I was enough.
Happy 30th Bday, Herb!
26 was a huge year of personal growth for me. There were several life lessons I was taught throughout it. It was the year where I truly had to boss up and become the adult my parental unit prepared me to be. I had to learn how to take charge of my life and be the bold, determined, and resilient woman that I say I am. In honor of one of the biggest years of growth for me, I decided to list the top 5 takeaways I gained during year 26. Be sure to view the post below.
#1. Stop Questioning Your Gut.
My mom always says “Two things that will never leave you astray are God and your intuition,” those words couldn’t be more true. I’ve always been very in tune to what was right for me, and had a great sense of assessing everything and everyone. However I would find myself constantly ignoring my intuition. I would tell myself I was over-reacting, which would lead to giving everyone (and thing) the benefit of doubt, knowing they were usually undeserving of that. It wasn’t until last year that I learned to stop being this way, and to trust what my first instinct told me. Your instinct, first mind, gut or whatever you choose to call it is the most accurate and comes for a higher being than yourself and should be listened to.
#2. Patience Is Truly A Virtue.
I was always one to say things like “my patience is very thin,” or “I don’t have patience at all.” However, during the duration of 26, life taught me patience was something I needed to to have if I intended on being a successful creative and businesswoman. Nothing good comes from rash decisions, and greatness takes a lot of time. I had to learn to stop wanting to just get things done, but get them done within my standards, and my standards are not something that can be met in one, two, three.
#3. It’s Okay To Admit You’re Not Okay.
When I say 26 was an emotional roller coaster of a year, it definitely was. Between the craziness of my life changes, to what will go down as one of the most historical elections in our country, last year was a lot. For the first time, I couldn’t just quickly process what was happening, pick myself up, and get over it. I needed time. Time to grieve, time to just be, and time to be alone with my thoughts. A lot of days I couldn’t be that girl people depended on to put a smile on their faces, I had to fully experience all of the emotions I was feeling even the ones that were downright ugly. I had to openly admit I was not okay and I needed to do something differently before I found myself in a sea of depression. I began to focus more on my mental health and take a self-care day at least once a week to insure my wellness was in order. If you are not at your best, you can not be your best.
#4. Sometimes You Have To Cry It Out.
From the moment my short film production didn’t go as planned a few days after my 26th birthday, I knew my need to control everything around me would be greatly challenged. I found myself in many predicaments last year that simply could not be helped. I had to go through them to gain the wisdom that I have now, but when you’re going through it the last thing you can see is hindsight. Crying, and I mean that ugly boohoo crying is what got me through a lot of tough times last year. It released all of the frustration and sadness this world can cause. After a good cry I would feel so much better and more capable of figuring out my next step.
#5. It’s Okay To Ask For Help.
I’ve always been a very indendent person. I rarely ask for help, and if I do I still try to make it the most minute of task. Last year, I began to really brand myself, and whenever you expand anything in this life you can not do it alone. When I first began my production company last year, I tried to run everything by myself, which started off well but quickly went left. Between that, and still maintaining my other endeavors I began to drown. I was trying to be all great things to all situations and it was hard. I eventually had to delegate certain tasks and trust that I was putting them in capable hands. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for my mental health.
26 taught me a lot, and I am looking forward to putting everything I learned into practice in year 27. I’ve always known I was a strong individual, but I now know the magnitude of what I can handle and still come out on top.
I pray 27 will be a year of prosperity, happiness, and all of my dear dreams coming true. So here’s to surviving 26, and cheers to welcoming the beautiful year of 27!
Until Next Time,
*Be Sure to follow the DATC’s IG: @thedevandthecity
I can remember being an adolescent dreaming of this current phase of my life. You couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t be driving my dream car and living in my downtown penthouse at this time. I envisioned by 26 I would be living my dream (at the highest level), traveling all around the world, and not have a care in this world. I guess you can say adolescent me wasn’t enitrely wrong, my dream job is actually my career, and I do travel often, however I work in retail to make ends meet, there’s no penthouse…yet, and my dream car has drastically changed, and on top of that, life has thrown me several curveballs within this last year.
I started year 26 on a high note, I brought in my Birthday partying the night away with all the people near and dear to me sipping on cocktails and smoking hookah. Then, on my actual birthday, my parents treated me to a relaxing massage followed by a family dinner at one of my favorite New Orleans restaurants. I just knew 26 would be filled with nothing but fun and fabulosity.
A few days after my birthday, I was scheduled to embark on my first journey as a filmmaker. After months of planning every single detail of my short film project I felt ready to take on this task head on. Well filming began, and it did not go to plan, if anything the plan became obselte and shxt went left. It was the first of the many times I would have to adjust within this new year of life.
As I mentioned earlier I work in retail to make ends meet, early part of last year I took on a management position at a job I had been at for 3 years, it was more money still part time, perfect right? Wrong. Between the film, working my main retail job, working my second retail job, running DATC and still trying to maintain my life as an actress, life became extremely difficult to keep up with. I found myself drained and anxious all of the time, because being all great things to all situations is not an easy task. In fact it’s the opposite of easy.
It was pretty obvious life was telling me I needed to scale back on something but what? Certainly not being a creative, the goal is to turn that into my only career so it would be stupid to scale those endeavors down. The only other choice would be to step-down at my main retail job but that meant cutting some of my money flow as well. After alot of prayer, that’s the decision I made. I went from being a manager, with a nice pay rate and hours, to working 20 hours a week with both of my retail jobs combined. I knew it would be an adjustment but oh how it was an adjustment.
Ultimately, making the decision to cut my retail hours forced me to really hustle, and build the hell out of my brand. I had to put my creative endeavors to the forefront. I could no longer view my creative work as a part-time career because the livelihood of my life depended on it. I live a pretty cool life, and I’ve become accustomed to living it that way; I wasn’t going to slow it down because I was too scared to boss up and put in work.
26 forced me to become a real adult. I had to learn how to effectively cope with all of the ups and downs that come with adulthood (and there are a lot of downs that occur). The moment you realize you are a functioning, able-bodied adult that is expected to efficiently contribute to society, shxt gets real. The important thing is to remind yourself that you can do this, and you have been prepared to handle adulthood (well hopefully).
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy chapter 26 has come to a close. It taught me A LOT. I was constantly reminded that I am a resilient woman that can successfully handle anything thrown my way. I often speak on the type of person that I am, but 26 taught me I am everything I say I am, plus more.
Until Next Time,
*Be sure to follow DATC’s IG: @thedevandthecity
It was the end of an era. Events on the social scene would be an annoyance than a priority, requiring numerous pep talks on reasons to attend. Although, I would hit gay bars like 700 Club , Good Friends, and GrandPre’s, my fatigue would set in around midnight As an expensive drug that made me broke and forgetful, Cocaine lost its glamour. Moreover, white liquor became a foe. My latest dance moves were ghost on present dance floors of clubs. Lastly, whether great or grim, I was the future for late teens and early twenty-somethings. As Time was purging me from the party of youth and possibility, a question was plastered in my brain: When did I become fucking 30?
Terry McMillan had Stella reconnecting with her groove at 40 but I was adamant on sealing my youth within me. Though I had a 30 waist, I zipped up a pair of 29-waisted, denim shorts that cupped my ass and stopped at an inch above my knee. Next, I paired a white cotton and linen blended tank top which draped my upper body like a semi-transparent curtain. After applying a dab of coconut oil to my left palm and rubbing my hands together, I massaged my face and neck. In addition, I thoroughly applied coconut oil to my exposed body parts particularly to ankles, knee caps, and elbows. I smeared some lip gloss, checked for deodorant, and blow a kiss to the mirror. While in the mirror confidently mouthing incorrect lyrics to Azealia Banks Licorice, I built an armor of glamour.
‘Your Uber is here” flashed on my screen. After five minutes of riding, the driver wanted to make casual conversation. Questions about sports, music, destination, and other advances for small talk threw rocks at my armor. I was only interested in being the “IT” boy of Christopher Street flaunting loads of a glowing personality, utilizing comedic wit, and effortlessly having a strong presence. However, with slight traffic and his questions chipping at my armor, politeness got the best of me.
“I’m originally from New Orleans.” My first response, that strayed away from yes and no, raised the driver’s eyebrows. Luckily, the street signed read Christopher Street and Blecker. I got out.
After walking a few blocks passing a sea of side-eyes and obnoxious conversations on the cell phones, Christopher Street wasn’t becoming a place to retain my youth but kill it. Thankfully, I found a small bar that was decorated with rainbow flags. Inside, the size of a dining room, older men with sleeveless shirts stood or sat within their respective corners. Some sipped mixed drinks while most held onto their beer. Doing what the Romans do, I ordered a Jamison and cranberry cocktail.
“May I see your ID?” the silvered- hair bartender asked. It was an ego boost.
I grabbed my drink and found a free space on the wall. I stared at the rainbow-colored streamers that hung from the ceiling. At that moment, I was convinced that the streamers were the most interesting thing at this bar. Next, my eyes scanned the bar hoping for a friendly invitation to conversation. Though I caught eye contact with a few, my impulse went to my phone and check Facebook. The connection was lousy and no wi-fi. I felt like I walked into a member’s only club and I was the janitor. However, my ego wanted to stay clutching the fact that I was the youngest at the bar. After five minutes, my ego released that notion and I left.
There was a moment of relief unzipping my shorts that became a constraint on the train ride home. Now, with my upper body spread on the bed and feet on the floor, turning 30 felt worse. I was desperate for attention and bloated from alcohol.
Eventually, I got a burger, fries and chocolate shake from Five Guys and watched a marathon of The Golden Girls.
$2.75 was a luxury that I couldn’t afford. An emotional mixture of anxiety and embarrassment bolted through my veins. $2.75 was my ticket home and I had a Negative balance of -14.69.
I proceeded to try my card anyway hoping the universe would be kind. Insufficient funds popped on the screen as I felt my dignity evaporating through my pores. Suddenly, I remember the MetroCard tucked in between miscellaneous business cards in my wallet. Finally, I exhaled. I slipped my MetroCard into reader awaiting access to the subway. DENIED! With My lips caved into my mouth and my eyebrows crept lower making wrinkles on my forehead , I quickly maneuvered through the impatient bodies.
I was back on 23rd street. High stress morphed into a numb state. People and cars shifted shapes until all I could see were complexions , yellow, blue, and reddish brown. The inner soundtrack of my breath masked the lively sounds of 23rd street. Suddenly, the buzz from my phone brought me back to reality. It was an email from chase bank informing me that I received $20 with the message: ” friends do for friends!”
As I got on the semi- crowded subway, I was filled with relief. The guy playing an original song an acoustic guitar didn’t annoy me. Instead, I actively listened. I became aware of numerous positions people held while riding. SENATOR MCCAIN WILL VOTE was printed on a newspaper adjacent to me. Mocha skin with a faint rose tinted cheekbones lingered of floral nodes a strong musk came from a man with blotched peach skin and brown beard.
I was going home. It was the first time in awhile I was grateful for having enough.
How many times have you heard the phrase “Well someone has it far more worse than you.” I’m sure you’ve heard it on several occasions, right? As if, that’s the first thing you want to hear when you’re in a bad space. I’ve always found it weird that as humans we’re taught to compare our pain instead of just dealing with it than moving on from it.
Lately, I haven’t felt like myself. I would be lying if I said I was “Happy Dev” all of the time like I used to be. I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason that has me in this bit of a funk, but it’s not necessarily just one thing that has me feeling this way. It’s a multitude of things. Between trying to solidify my career, the bullshxt taking place around the world, and people constantly trying my spirit on a daily it becoming increasingly harder to remain a pleasant person 95% of the time.
I honestly can’t explain the emotion I’m feeling but I do know it’s not myself. The Deveney I know never allowed outside influences get to her, but the more I become empathetic to the world around me, the more I don’t feel like myself. So what’s the solution? Do I tune out the world around me, and escape back into my self-asorbed bubble I finally freed my inner-self from? Or do I continue on this journey of being conscientious of the world around me, sacrificing a bit of my inner-peace as well?
I haven’t quite figured out what the answer will be, but I do know who to turn to for it. No matter how I’m feeling, or what my current state is I know there is a higher power that will always guide me through it. So I’m going to lean on my faith, as I was taught to do as a child. I’m a firm believer in God and the universe, and one thing I always know is that everything will align in my favor to see me through.
Well until next time,
Photo | pinterest.com
A few days ago a friend and myself were discussing what our younger selves saw our lives being at this current age. After sharing stories and a few laughs as well, we quickly came to the realization that neither of us were where we thought we would be at this stage in our lives. The conversation sparked me to contemplate on the idea of success, and what exactly does it looks like. More importantly would I align the state of my life with the word successful?
Let’s rewind to Dev from 6 years ago, I was a junior at Dillard University, convinced I would have become a forensic or clinical psychologist by now. I had my life all planned out and according to my plan I would have graduated from UCLA’s dual program last year and would have probably obtained a position making six figures a year. I would be the epitome of success (or what I thought it was at 20 years old). Well God had another plan for me and it had nothing to do with psychology.
It become clear to me my last semester as a junior in college that psychology was not the path for me. And for the first time in my life I had to ask myself the hard questions. I had been committed to the idea of me being a psychologist since I was the age of 14, but after praying and doing some soul-searching I realized I was more committed to the idea of what being a psychologist was than me actually being one. I knew if I would have gone through with that career path then one day I would wake up and hate my life. I refused to do that to myself, all because I didn’t want to steer away from my perfect plan.
Fast forward to now, I’m a 26 year-old creative, that dabbles in a little of everything from filmmaking to acting to (of course) writing. I’m blessed to have my passion be my career. Am I making 6 figures a year by doing so? I wish. Am I the happiest I’ve ever been in my life? Absolutely! I can honestly say I love my career. It’s not perfect by any means, but even the cons that come with it I turn into pros. Being a creative gives me a purpose on this earth. When I’m creating art it just feels right, it’s one of the few things that I don’t have to think about, but just do.
If I’ve learned anything over the years is that life is too short not be living your best life. You want to reflect over your journey of life and say I lived my most honest life and there is not a thing I wish I did. It is important to remember that your life is just that, yours. You are in total control, you have the power to do whatever it is you want in this life. I promise you, if you put your trust in God and pray for the universe to guide you, you won’t be steered wrong.
So stop worrying about if you are successful enough, and just go out and live your life. Once you become the happiest version of yourself all variations of success will follow. Success is one word we all define differently, but one thing we all can agree on is that if you are genuinely happy then you are successful in this life. So go forth and find your happiness. I’m a true believer that once you attain that, you can achieve anything in this life. Yes, even success.
Well Until Next Time,
Do you all have any pet peeves? Well I do. I hate when you are in the drive thru, there is always someone ahead who does not know what they want to order. They ask all kind of questions and make the line snake around the building. You should know what you want when you go to the drive through. Um let me see they sell fries, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, salad, ice cream, sundaes etc. It’s not like you’re getting all dressed up to go to the drive thru and order a leg of lamb, scallop potatoes and vegetables. Hell, I wear my jammies sometimes (well most of the time) but I do know what I am going to order when I go. Another peeve of mine is after they have held the line up for six hours (well not really, but it feels like six hours) they fumble in their wallet or purse trying to find their money. I mean they give you your total after you f-i-n-a-l-l-y order. I have a message for you guys, stay home and cook something, please.
Have you ever went to the store to pick up something and the person in front of you is holding up the line trying to decipher through her millions of coupons (well not really but it seemed like a million). I am tempted to get out of line, but I’m next and the other lines are overflowing down the aisle. After arguing with the cashier because some of the coupons had expired, the customer is finished. I watch as the cashier licks her fingers because the paper money keeps sticking. I look at my items, bread, cold cuts, my sugar free cookies. Uh oh, another pet peeve, cashiers who lick their fingers and touch my groceries. I grab my stuff and stand in the long line at self check out.
I am at the mall, I go to grab a snack at the food court. I find a nice seat in the back, I am relaxing enjoying my food, when a lady with five kids sits behind me. They kick my chair threw food at each other, fought each other, ran around the table. Meanwhile, the mom, said nothing to them, or me. I got up and moved to the front so I could eat in peace. Another pet peeve? People who let their children run wild and don’t do anything about it.
I have a lot of pet peeves. When people walk right in front of your m-o-v-i-n-g car. When you’re ready to check out at Walmart and the lines are snaking in the aisles because they only have three checkout lanes open. When you are in electronics and the person working in electronics tells you he can’t help you because he knows nothing about “electronics”. When you are sitting quietly in the mall reading, waiting for your daughters to finish and a chatterbox sits next to you and starts talking, interrupting your solitude.
I know I shouldn’t let these little things get to me, and I am working on it. It’s important to remember just because something is small doesn’t mean you don’t have to overlook it. Talking about even the smallest things that annoys you helps you to feel better. It is so good good to have people to vent to, yes even about my pet peeves. Which brings me to another pet peeve…me discussing all of my pet peeves. You know what I’m done. I’m officially signing off now.
Until next time,
I have known for a long time that I didn’t want kids…and then I met Eliot. On August 4th my big man makes 1. He is my godson and I couldn’t be happier that he ran his way into my life. I’ll never forget the first time I met him. I served in the navy with his mom (an amazing friend of mine named Janae) and grew to love her ideal husband Sean (this man is beyond supportive and a great dad). A few months back I asked them to make the 8hr journey to come visit me. I said show up and I’ll take care of the rest. When they arrived, they just put him down and he ran to me. It was an experience I can barely put into words.
I am a strong believer that people should not have children before they are financially, emotionally and professionally ready to. I also, now consider the validation a child can bring into your life and I am slightly more lenient when discussing parenthood with people. If nothing else, the one thing I learned from my week with Eliot is that you are almost never READY to have a baby. I wanted to talk about this because it was such an experience to see how people reacted to me having Eliot with me as I did my normal taskings.
I live alone and do a lot of home repair and contract work so as I would go to different stores to make groceries (real New Orleans right? lol), or buy supplies people would always comment on how nice it is to see a black man with his son. I started to consider if it was the stigma that black men do not spend time with their children in this day and age, or if it was because of the age of the child. As I considered it more and more, I can notably count the increased number of times I will see a mother alone with younger children engaging in daily errands in comparison to fathers. This is not to make an assumption on the action of the fathers but just an observation.
I noticed a lot, me and Eliot both have a pair of Croc’s and it’s interesting to me how a man wearing crocs is only adorable when his (god)son has a matching pair. You find yourself realizing you have skills that you wouldn’t instinctively think a man would have. Changing my first diaper was a breeze and every one after that was too, even the really messy ones. Another example is making a bottle at a restaurant and feeding him while trying to eat my own food. Enfamil is…amazingly convenient and nothing short of the devil at the same time (it smells HORRIBLE). I have learned to multitask unlike any other and now that he’s gone, I miss having to do the stuff I’d have to do to keep him entertained. It’s an amazingly fulfilling experience.
I’ll end with this, I was in Lowe’s holding Eliot and he kept saying “say ahhhh” so I did it as a sales associate walked up. I turned my head for one second, and Eliot plants a fist full of spit in my mouth. He thought it was hilarious and I, disgusted, couldn’t do anything but laugh at his little smile. This is what I meant when I said it was an experience.
P.S. Make sure you keep a cold pack handy. Moms don’t take sick days, and (God)Dads don’t either!
*Dev and I somewhere in Brooklyn.
On the morning flight, I had my new life figured out. I was going to become the next best thing New York had seen. The city would fall in love with my vibrant personality and acknowledge my talents. A revolving door of opportunity would present itself as I audition for various shows. I would be a standout because I would be myself. I can do the work; I needed the chance. Then, the plane landed.
Upon arrival, an ocean of bodies surrounded me filling any pocket of personal space. With a stuffed green, military duffle bag strapped on my back and black backpack hanging in my right hand, I headed to the taxi station.
After a several minutes wait, a driver of African descent pulled up to the curb.
“Where you going?” The driver asked with a strong West African accent.
“125th and Lenox’ I replied with confidence which hopefully conveyed to the driver that I was a native. Truthfully, I only knew three locations in NYC by memory: 125th and Lenox ave., 116th and Park, and Sadri’s, a famous restaurant where Broadway actors would attend.
A car ride that should’ve taken thirty minutes lasted for an hour. Eventually, the driver admitted that I was his first client in America. Overall, I was on 125th and Lenox and lost. The restaurant I wanted to attend was close for renovations and since it was around 11:15am other places were still closed. So, I walked.
After four blocks, I decided to catch a taxi to the Upper West Side and found an eatery on 86th. It was a breezy day with a kind sun; Therefore, I sat outside. Everything on the menu was free of something, (gluten, diary, soy, sugar.) I decided to order two items an eatery can never mess up, water with lemon and grilled chicken with vegetables.
As I waited for my food, I took a big breath. From there, I noticed the beige apartment building across the street with fire escapes that zig-zag along the side. Then, the various shops among the street covered by construction happening above. The soundtrack were car horns, various conversations, and ambulance sirens. I was overwhelmed.
I landed in a city where survival was daily life and anything above that was considered glamorous. Stress seemed to be spiritual breakfast. People walking oblivious to one another. Concrete overpopulated grass.
To give myself some time to grasp this urban ecosystem, I canceled any auditions I planned for the next few days. I was at an awkward place. I didn’t want to go home; but I wasn’t ready for New York.
“Chicken with vegetables!” the petite waitress said as she placed my food on the table. “Heading to the airport?” she asked.
“No, just landed a few hours ago. I moved here.”
Suddenly, a bolt of energy shifted her mundane personality into excitement. “ YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT HERE!” I politely smirked.
As I ate my food, her words resonated. Then, my outside smirk became an inner smile. Suddenly, the ten year old version of myself who proclaimed that he would move to New York City possessed me. My cynicism was tucked away.
Through it all, I was living my dream.