When we are blessed to celebrate another year of life, another chapter begins. We learn things that help us in the next chapter of our life. Today I am celebrating my 40th birthday, my journey, accomplishments, and failures because they all made me who I am today.
Every year on my birthday I reflect on where I've been and where I'm going. I want to share what I learned during chapter 30-39 and what I am looking forward to in chapter 40 and beyond.
Every day I make it a priority to work on myself because I never want to go back to the broken person I was.
One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Letting go of hurt, disappointment, and failure. Holding on to all of that stuff had me in a broken place. I’d fallen so many times and wanted to stay down. It hurt too much to get back up, show my face after failure, and keep going. The worse part of it all is that I held on to that hurt, disappointment, and failure instead of letting it go.
I am not ashamed to say that I stayed in that place longer than I should have. It took me 5 years to figure out that I was broken and five years to put myself back together. In my brokenness I was pushing through, living for everyone else, and always saying Yes. Now, every day I make it a priority to work on myself because I never want to go back to the broken person I was.
I lost pieces of myself when I became a mom at the age of 15, got married, had more children, lost my house to foreclosure, and experienced infidelity in my marriage. I reached my breaking point and knew I had to do something to save myself.
I had to learn how to love myself - the good, bad, and the ugly. I had to learn how to forgive myself and others for the hurtful things said and done.
Reiki, therapy, and journaling helped me tremendously. A co-worker recommended that I try a foot detox. While my feet were soaking I picked up a brochure about Reiki Readings. If you've never heard of Reiki it is a healing technique used to channel energy through the body by touch to restore emotional well-being and activate the natural healing process. I was skeptical at first but after speaking with reiki practitioner I decided to give it a try.
Let 👏🏾 me 👏🏾 tell 👏🏾 you....after that reading, I was in tears. Other than the foot detox, I had never seen the reiki practitioner before. She knew nothing about me yet during the reading she was spot on with what I was feeling and going through.
She told me that I was giving others more than what I was giving myself, that I was praying for God to reveal my purpose when I already knew what it is but nothing was going to go right until I start taking care of myself first. She said I was holding on to pain from past hurt and need to release it.
After reiki, I started therapy. I knew my pain was deep enough that I wouldn't be able to pull it out and get better on my own. I needed help. After a couple of sessions with the therapist, she began to ask me thought-provoking questions. We talked about forgiveness. How I was able to forgive others. Then asked if I had forgiven myself. I had to sit and marinate on that question because I was unsure what I had to forgive myself for. After further discussions I realized that I needed to forgive myself for losing my virginity at such a young age, having a baby at 15, losing myself in trying to have this image of being the perfect person, being afraid to fail, and always trying to do the right thing.
I had to learn how to love myself - the good, bad, and the ugly. I had to learn how to forgive myself and others for the hurtful things said and done. Forgiveness was not for them…it was for me. So that I could be free and let go of my past.
I feel so blessed to be in the space I'm in right now. I find myself smiling and nothing is going on. I just raise my hands and thank God because I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for Him.
Along with therapy, I started journaling more. Writing down my thoughts and feelings. I also wrote down my prayers and letters to God. Reiki, therapy, journaling, and prayer helped me to love myself and my journey because everything I went through made me who I am. It helped me figure out who "Jennifer" is because I was lost.
I learned that I am an introvert, a homebody, and I stay to myself. I am like an onion, you have to peel one layer at a time to get to know me. I am slowly stepping outside of my comfort zone and walking in my purpose.
I learned that I did my best with what I had and what I knew.
I learned that I had to be mentally and emotionally ready to enter a new phase in my life. In order for me to do that I needed to admit that I needed help and take the necessary steps to get it. By doing so I was able to clear my mind and my heart, move forward in life with no regrets and accomplish my goals.
I learned that my story matters. That there is power in sharing my journey - the good, bad, and ugly. I feel so blessed to be in the space I'm in right now. I find myself smiling and nothing is going on. I just raise my hands and thank God because I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for Him.
I am not the same woman I used to be. I don’t tolerate the same bullshit. I’ve realized that some situations no longer deserve my time, energy, and focus. I am excited to be entering a new chapter in my life. In May, I graduated from Regent University School of Law with my Master's Degree in Law. My first book All Things Come to an End will be released 7/20. I am walking in my purpose, writing, sharing my story, motivating, and inspiring others. And I look forward to keeping on doing just that.
Here are some things that helped me on my journey and I want to share them with you.
Be careful what you tolerate. You are teaching people how to treat you.
Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.
The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.
Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself.
You may be under construction right now but think about the finished product. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching your goal.
Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.
You have to forgive yourself and others because not forgiving will hold you back.