Birthday Boy

Truth - everyone gets one special day out of the year that is dedicated to them, their birthday. Today is my 22nd birthday and I cannot believe it. I'm telling you time absolutely zooms on by and all of sudden another year has passed. In the blink of an eye it seems that the annual celebration of my coming to this world has returned. For one day it gets to be about me and me alone, but you know what I've come to understand ... I'm not me without everyone around to support me. This birthday isn't just mine it's for all those that have been part of getting me through this year. I may be the birthday boy, but it's everyone's day.
"We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be" Lauren Hutton

 
As someone who highly values reflection and tracking change I love rereading my old birthday posts (check them out here: 21st  20th 19th 18th). It's uncanny how much I've changed over my college years and come into my own in the person I recognize. I am oh so very proud of who I am and who I get to be. I like myself and thoroughly enjoy the kind of person I've become. After so long of searching for myself I finally feel more confident and sure of myself. I know what I stand for, who I belong to, and what I want from life. I may not have all the answers to life's questions but what I do know is that I'll figure it out as I go with the help of my family, friends, and others who promised to love my unconditionally. I haven't arrived (I don't think I ever will) but I'm well on my way.

This has hands down been the hardest year I've ever had. The amount of turmoil and anguish I felt was almost too much to bear. There was so much uncertainty in so many aspects of my life and the larger contexts of the society I live in threatened to overwhelm me as well. I had to cutoff some toxic friends, figure out what I was doing after college, and power through my toughest academic year. On top of that were long running family storylines, and the outrage and heartbreak with tackling institutional racism, police brutality, and the dehumanization of people of color. I'm pretty sure the past 6 months have seen me crying every single day for some reason or another. It was so dam hard. At some points it was too much with the recurring all-nighters, emotionally exhausting interactions both online and real life, and my impending graduation. I am overjoyed to say I did it and by I, I mean me and the legion of people behind me propelling me forward. I would have never thought I could accomplish so much in a year or known how drastically my life could change. I have pushed my limits and even went past them to know that I am sincerely capable of extraordinary things. I am overcome with emotion just thinking about all that I went through.

This was also the best year of my life - period, point blank, end of story. I was blessed in so many different ways. My beloved niece was introduced to the world and continues to serves as a beacon of pure benevolence to all who have the honor of even laying eyes on her. I made a heck of a lot of new friends, and was able to develop long lasting relationships that I know I'll carry with me for the rest of my days. I decided on a career path with higher education and will be starting graduate school just under two months. I freaking GRADUATED COLLEGE! I had my first date. I did stuff that mattered to me like speaking out against systems of inequality across various marginalized identities namely, sexual assault, racism, classism, ableism, and religious intolerance. I used my voice and wrote for my school paper as well as some articles for USA Today College. I spoke in front of crowds and was invited to do workshops and programs for students, faculty, staff, and community members. I made my parents and family proud. I made myself proud. I am the happiest I have ever been. I'm a birthday boy who has it all - love, joy, peace, and hope.
This year I have nothing but thanks to share for the year that was given to me. I am a strong believer that we are put on this planet to find our gift and use it to fulfill our purposes and help other people. I know now what I was meant to do, albeit I'm still figuring it out and I know I have a bigger destiny than I can even comprehend but for now I have my beginning. For this next year of my life I hope and pray that I am able to use my full potential to benefit others, demonstrate awe-inspiring love, and to change people for the better. I want to be a person not only inspires but empowers and aids others in realizing their latent potency. I want to find love and stay in it with my family and friends. I'm apt to conquer my first year of graduate school and to find meaning in every day I live. Most of all I want to express gratitude to all those who I take for granted, overlook, or may not even see. I'm sure that this year will be another memorable one.
 
I've said it once but I'll say it again. Thank you to all who keep me going. I am only allowed to be who I am because you all make it so. I wouldn't be the person I am or where I am without your love and support. I hope that I am not only fulfilling but exceeding your expectations for my life. I am humbled immensely. My college story may have ended but my larger life story is just about to take off. Stick around for the stories and I promise you will not be disappointed. This is one birthday boy who had his dreams come true. X

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