Today is my birthday and I am 30 years old. Yep folks, it happened, it’s real, it’s here. I am a grown ass woman. To quote Beyoncé “I’m a grown woman. I can do whatever I want.” I am taking the Beyoncé attitude and fully embracing this next chapter in my life. Saying goodbye to the ride of the past decade and hello to a new one with a wiser, fuller heart. What I want for this next chapter is to keep growing. I want to be present in each moment of my life. My hope is that letting go continues to become easier. I want to be braver in this next decade than I was in the last. I want to rejoice in my imperfections instead of trying to fix them. I want to trust and love myself to the fullest capacity that I have to offer and may it feel never ending. When the storms of struggle arise, the way they likely will, I hope I continue to walk through them instead of away from them. I feel so calm walking into this age. I feel happy to be this age. It has not been the easiest journey to the person I’ve become but it was worth it. Like all good things it took time.
I remember being a young girl and wishing so badly to be older. Mainly, I wanted to be able to wear makeup, have a purse and dress however I wanted. I use to think that when I was older I would understand everything and it would be wonderful. I seemed to be wishing time would speed up so I could get to this magical place of wonderful. Having been adult for some time now, my simple request being fulfilled; I wear makeup, have a purse and dress however I want to ALL THE TIME. The thing is, it isn’t always wonderful. For a good chunk of my adulthood, I didn’t feel wonderful. My early twenties were rife with insecurity that I clung to and my later twenties with walls I had built to protect it. I was fearful of risk, change, of anything I thought that could deeply hurt me. I yearned to be a risk taker but felt safe in comfort. I let my fear steer my course until I could no longer take it.
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” – Brené Brown
Two years ago, after having lived in Los Angeles for 4 years, I decided to leave and move back to my hometown in Orange County. This decision devastated me and liberated me. I’m not going to go into all the details that led to this but lets just say I was not experiencing wonderful. The mounting frustration of my life came to a head and I was coming undone. Before I left LA, talking to my mother one day, more like venting or spewing, she finally said to me “Janelle, you know life doesn’t need to be this hard.” Those simple words struck a cord and that was it. I decided I needed a change. I was exhausted. The decision to leave made me feel utterly lost and I crumbled. I didn’t know what the future held for me or what I wanted to do or be or even who I was anymore. I was terrified. I felt as though I was standing on the edge of a cliff looking down with nothing to ground me. The thing about edges, fear and feeling lost is that it usually is when you are ready to listen and do something about it. So I surrendered to my heart, let go and took a leap off my edge with the hope I would land safely. I left, walked into the unknown ready to find my way out.
What arose was a very uncomfortable time period that led to a very freeing, open, loving one. My path slowly unfolded. I started a yoga practice, meditating (it will change your life), met an energetic healer, read some fantastic books and tried whatever my heart was calling me to do. I just did it. It led me to some interesting experiences but ones that were integral to the woman I feel I am and the one I hope to keep growing into. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from becoming a grown woman is vulnerability. To own who I am and be that woman at all times, flaws and all. I’m finding acceptance in my imperfections. I learned to let go of what people think of me because the only opinion that truly matters is my own and the people that love me. I can’t control life or anyone else. The truth is I am not always the best at all of these things, nor are they easy. I am human and I make mistakes but I never want to stop trying to grow into the best version of myself. To live a life with my whole heart means without walls. It’s to be exposed in a world and time that so badly wants us to be scared. I am going to do it anyway.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”
– E.E. Cummings
You always have a choice to close your heart or to open it. In truth if you choose to open, the lesson with rise and your capacity to love will become greater. That is what I wish for the most. May my capacity to love become greater. May I never stop growing. May I choose love, to be brave, to be vulnerable and fearless. Will it be perfect? Absolutely not, but I have hope it will be wonderful.
I am full of gratitude. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”- Maya Angelou
The works of Brené Brown “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly” have helped me immensely. Also, Michael Singer’s “The Untethered Soul” will change everything. I highly recommend all three.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, RMS Beauty cream eyeshadow in Solar, YSL Baby Doll mascara in Black, MAC lip liner in Cherry, Sephora Rouge Shine in No. 32, MAC brow pencil in spiked
Photography by Mary Claire Roman