It was the week before my 40th birthday and I wasn’t quite sure how I was suppose to feel.
I was the cross between a bride preparing for her long awaited reception and a teenage girl who had just gotten dumped for the very first time.
Heeeey, I have truly become my own kind of woman.
Oh no Lord, my life is half over!
My cousin, Alisha had requested to meet in person. Broken text logs and child-volumed phone calls just wasn’t allowing us to freely brainstorm my milestone photo shot.
For three hours she graciously listened as I poured out (with very few pauses) my four decade journey of who I was becoming. We went at least three rounds on Stumptown coffee at a local cafe.
“…..I guess what I want you to capture is me. Like all of the “me’s” I am striving to be.”
She nodded with a confident smile and her thousandth, “ummmmhum”.
Alisha repeated back to me in one sentence conclusions, my over-stuffed brain dumps. I was intrigued by her youthful, yet laser-sharp discernment of what I processing as I was processing. As a teacher and mentor I was use to being the guide in a conversation. It was humbling not to be giving out morsels of wisdom.
But something about not knowing all the answers was liberating. The kind of freedom that let’s you live in the moment-not above it.
A few days before she would transform her upstairs into the Next Top Model set, she sent me the poem below.
Alisha, what a precious and unexpected gift you’ve given me and I don’t even remember you taking notes! LOVE YOU COUSIN…YES WE ARE KINDRED BLOOD AND KINDRED SOULS!!
As my 41st birthday draws near, and I feel the same anxiousness of insecurity trying to rob me of the gift of getting older – I pull out my her poem today and filled up again.
It’s a little long, and worth every word. She had to capture all 40 years y’all. LOL!
How are you dealing with each aging year?
Did you do something special for your 40th?
What do you enjoy most about growing older?
What do you want to be remembered for?
In my Own Skin
In my own skin
dwells within me a
a confidence and a courage that
compells me to seize the day,
the minutes and moments in between,
a humilty that keeps me humble,
but not humiliated by life’s circumstances
and the consequences they often bring
I no longer bear the pain of prentending or
the weight of what ifs and wondering why-s
but the courage to ask “why not?” and
the freedom to finally let my SELF live rather than just survive
I’ve found a sexy that’s still saved,a silliness that still embodies sophistication,a hunger to be better, not bourgeoise,a care and concern for my own well being,that’s not without compassion,
and a spirit that strives to be an agent of change
in a world cripled by complacency
In my own skin
lies the legacy of a people whose suffering,
survival, and strength allow me to
soar to heights only heavens knows,
aspiring to have and live the abundant life,
to tell the story that has yet to be told,
to be faithful and fearless,
to be the woman who dares to different,
to be bold.
I’ve found a hope in my heritage,
a bravery and a beauty unmatched,
a respect well deserved,
a smile that’s soothes the soul
like a much needed hug,
a will triumphant over tests and trials,
forging from struggle to success,
a poise and a powerful presence,
a perseverance that will last a lifetime and more
on this journey of self awareness and love
In my own skin
I’ve reclaimed a wealth and a worth,
God appraised, self approved and appreciated
I’ve found wife and mother,
among many other things
Teacher, author, poet,
mentor, advocate, but
upon a mirror’s gaze
I proudly see QUEEN!!!
I’ve traded my girlish ways
for womanly deeds,
my worries and wreckless thoughts for peace of mind,
insecurity for assurance and safety
in the arms of my Lord and Savior
I’ve found a gratefulness for the ONE
heaven sent me, here by my side
a man that’s patient, loving and kind.
In my own skin
I’ve found a place, a warehouse of creativity,
where my words go to work,
mixing, mingling, and making sense,
fully marinated in preparation to be the sizzling
soultry sound upon salivating ears,
and the substance that would sustain hungry hearts
A place where dreams live and visions thrive,
passion and purpose participate in a partnership with God,
where the fulfillment of my destiny resides,
where I feel right at home, never missing a beat
cause that’s where my heart is and will always be
In my own skin -ALISHA HOWARD