Filed In: wisdom
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.
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,
Do you know how hard it is to complain about your problems when people feel like you have everything? Well I’ll tell if you don’t, it feels horrible. People constantly dismissing you, because they think you’re being overly-dramatic, or listening to what you say but not actually hearing you. Truthfully, it’s disheartening and it sucks.
I’ve always been one to that know life isn’t perfect nor will it ever be. Life is riddled with various emotions, some great and some not so great. I’ve often found myself not really speaking on my problems, and handling them with a well that’s life attitude. Something that has affected me for more that I care to admit to. Unfortunately, Black women are taught to dismiss our problems, because we are strong and there is nothing we won’t be able to get through; but that dismissal can lead to depression and anxiety. Two things that black women often silently struggle with.
Recently, I’ve had to come with terms that I’m at at this crossroads in my life. I’m at the phase of life when you either risk it all to gain everything or keep what you’re doing and gain nothing. I’m used to having a plan, but for the first time I don’t have one, and there is no back-up plan either.
I would be lying if I said these recent decisions haven’t caused me some anxiety-filled days and nights. I’m sure i’m experiening what a breakdown feels like. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with myself, with God, with God and myself. A lot of pacing back and forth, and forcing myself to be at ease. It hasn’t been easy at all.
This space I’m in has come with a range of emotions, and for the first time I can not just dismiss them of overlook them. I’ve had to learn how to adequately process this uncomfortableness that I’m feeling.
I have to keep reminding myself I’m entitled to expressing this uncomfortableness that I’m feeling. It doesn’t make me overly-dramatic it makes me human. It’s okay to feel like this sometimes, especially if you experiening the emotions that I am. Keeping everything bottled in just isn’t healthy. We all have problems and none are greater than the others. If they are affecting your emotional well-being you have the right to speak on them.
This life thing gets hard. Acknowledging that doesn’t make you ungrateful for all that you do have. I know that I am a highly blessed individual, but I still have my problems as well. We all do. No matter how big or small, problems are still problems. Life isn’t perfect, and it’s okay to admit that.
I can remember when I was twelve years old and about to turn thirteen, I was so excited to become a teenager. I could hardly contain myself. When I finally had my birthday, I thought that I could stay up late, go to parties, and wear what I wanted. WRONG !!! My parents set me straight. I never forgot that birthday and how I thought everything would change.
When I turned eighteen, my parents gave me a little more responsibility. My sister and I were allowed to go to dances, parties and date. Of course I was to scared of boys to even date, but at nineteen I met a guy at my cousin’s wedding and we started dating. We even wound up getting engage, but I broke the engagement. At twenty-one, I got married and the marriage lasted 1 year. At twenty-five I met my future husband, and married at twenty-eight. I remember thinking to myself , wow! I am almost thirty, where did the time go ? When I made thirty, I was fine with it, I didn’t get all depressed like some women, I was still sexy and did not look my age. I had my second daughter at age thirty-one. I was a stay at home mom and loved it, with my oldest daughter in kindergarten and my youngest in pre-k, I went back to school at age thirty-four. It was a crazy time, going to school, taking care of my husband and two kids. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Southern University at New Orleans, in nineteen ninety three. I was thirty-seven years old and felt twenty five.
I have always wanted to go to Las Vegas, and at age 64, my niece called me and informed me that we were going to Las Vegas for her mother’s (really my sis) birthday. We had a ball. I felt like I was twenty-five again.
I say all of this to say if you really want something in life don’t let anything deter you, not even your age. There shouldn’t be any fuss about getting older, because actually it is a blessing. If you don’t get older, you’re not here anymore. It is a fact of life, and in this life you have seasons. I am now in my what’s called the elderly season. Even though I turned 65 this past December, I don’t feel my age. Age has never held me back from anything, and it never will. I do things I didn’t do when I was younger. I have a smart phone, and I never thought I’d give up my flip phone; I learned how to text, I even purchased a tablet and learned how to use it. I exercise and do a lot of fun things with my grandkids. I am even thinking about taking swimming lessons.
Remember, age is nothing but a number. So go for it, you don’t want any regrets. Embrace life, don’t be depressed or sad because you are not twenty-one anymore. Each day is a blessing, and you should thank God for every birthday that you have.
Well signing off until next time,
When my mom was first diagnosed with diabetes, she shared with me that she cried like a baby. Eventually, she accepted her fate and learned to live with it.
I now know how she felt. I had no symptoms and was surprised when I was diagnosed with diabetes as well. I didn’t fit the stereotype. I wasn’t overweight, nor did I overeat. I will admit however, I was a lover of sweets, pasta, breads and coca-cola.
After my diagnosis, it was clear my eating habits had to change. I became a healthier person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could give up cokes, bread, dessert, pasta and everything I loved; But I did. My diet began to consist of brown rice, whole grain cereals, wheat bread, and sugar free cakes, pies, and cookies. I also learned to embrace diet drinks as well (they are not that bad, as a matter of fact they taste pretty good).
I was proud of myself, but I have to admit sometimes I missed some of my previous foods. I would get this overwhelming urge for potato chips or upside down cakes. So I consulted with my doctor and she informed me I could have a cheat day once a month. So I would take a little piece of birthday cake, or a couple strands of pasta every now and then. I remember being shocked after my follow-up appointment, when the doctor was still pleased with my progress and even commended me on it. It made me know having diabetes wasn’t about giving up what I loved, but having it in moderation.
I don’t want ya’ll to think that I now say with a smile “I have diabetes,” that is just not the case. However, I am happy that I was able to reconcile with my condition and a stop feeling sorry for myself. Now when I go to the grocery store, I stock up on whole grain crackers, cereals, croutons and a wide variety of whole grain and sugar free items. I’m still in awe that there is so much food that caters to diabetics, which wasn’t the case when my mother was diagnosed 15 years ago.
Truthfully, I will never be happy about my diagnoses, but who would? I’m just glad to know being diagnosed with diabetes is not the plague it used to be. Progress has been made in an effort to meet the needs of diabetics by having a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods available. From time to time, I still wonder “why me?” but I’ve accepted my fate just like my mother did all those years ago.
Remember no matter what life throws at you, you can accept it and move on. Well, I’ll be signing off now, my sugar-free vanilla ice cream is melting.
Until next time,