I’m on revision 7.6 of my MS. I’m CPing three other manuscripts. I’m coloring in the lines (although sometimes out) with my daughter. I’m making low-carb dinners and running to appointments. I’m drinking pots of tea and eating little chocolate cookies, and dreaming of worlds and people beyond me.
This is my third day back to quiet after my husband and daughter were on long holiday vacations, and what should we do on Sunday? Adopt an adorable dog! So in between the walks, the cuddles, dropping my daughter off at school and then picking her up, my life has become full. And it got me to thinking about how I got here and what I’ve learned along the way.
Now this list is nowhere near complete, but it’s a start.
20 Things I’ve learned in my 31 years:
- No matter how hard you try, Germans will stare at you. Is it something you’re wearing? Is it your skin color? Is it intentional? I don’t know.
- The internet is riddled with trolls. 6 year-old me would have been delighted because I LOVED trolls (think 220 troll doll collection), but 31 year-old me is so over it.
- Black people don’t get the luxury of calling things “unfair”. If we do, we are playing a race card, or we are making someone uncomfortable. Ask any black mom, and she’ll tell you this: one of your biggest jobs will be telling your black/mixed kids that yes, it’s unfair, but you need to push through it. And don’t you dare say it. (I can see my Grandma and Mom nodding in agreement)
- Some of your friends will have supported DJT. It will upset you.
- Revisions, critique partners, beta readers, and polishing that MS is nothing short of emotional. It will test your endurance, your determination, your talent, and your time. And even after that, the querying, rejections and biting your fingernails when an agent has your full MS, will make you doubt your decision to put yourself out there.
- As you get older, your need to call out stupidity reduces a bit. However, when you do call out stupidity, you are careful and precise. You’re not trying to hurt someone’s feelings, you’re trying to show a different perspective.
- Nothing and no one is above or beyond criticism. And there is no such thing as perfection.
- Everything you disliked about yourself as a teen will become something you love and accept about yourself as an adult.
- If a celebrity chooses not to shave her underarms or wear heels, you should clap your hands and go back to living your life. At the end of the day, women are held to very specific and often ridiculous standards. And if someone chooses to stand up for that, bravo!
- Living abroad teaches you more about yourself than it does about other cultures, and that is extraordinary.
- It’s not enough to say you accept the historically and recently marginalized and their stories. You have to champion for them too. I could slip into my biracial, straight, married with a child, bubble OR I could make sure that when I see bullying, and trolling online or in person, I say and do something about it.
- If you have to convince someone that you are amazing and worth their time, they aren’t worth yours.
- The path to success is built on a lot of broken dreams and bad ideas, which you’ll have to step on and crack into millions of irreparable fragments to keep moving forward.
- For some people, you hit your 30s and you decide, I need a house. For some people (like me), you decide, I need to see more of this world STAT! And both are reasonable.
- I am 67% sure of what I’m doing, but only after having a bit of chocolate. Before chocolate it’s more like 42%. I think that’s ok.
- Parenting is tough. I mean mentally, physically, all the ly’s, kind of tough. But there are these beautiful moments when you know you’re doing it right.
- There is nothing wrong with being a creature of comfort. People will discount you for your experiences one way or another, so enjoy yourself and your life.
- If you have trouble learning something, try another way. Try, try, try. Don’t give up!
- When you’re a biracial parent of your biracial kid, you will look at racism in a new and scary way. Suddenly things you’ve learned to overlook come back in your peripheral and you have to decide how to go forward.
- People are going to dislike you, your work, your life. And there is nothing you can do to change that. Move on. It doesn’t matter.
What have you learned?