27 things I learned in my 26th year

14 days ago I turned 27. Twenty-SEVEN?!! I can’t believe I’m closer to 30 now. Like I’m really really getting older. I’m blessed to see 27. 26 was a hard year. I don’t know if you’re 26, past 26, or approaching 26, but 26 brought a variety of everything for me. This year has been full of a lot of s#it. No nicer way to say it. Man. It was hard. Heavy. Draining. All while offering me one of the proudest moments of my life. Now to avoid word-vomiting and spoiling an upcoming blog post (hint! hint! It’s an overdue life update), let’s get into tradition of the 27 things I learned while 26.

As usual (~*LoNg POsT AlErT*~)

  1. Time isn’t promised. 
    Being a black woman. Dating a black man. It’s been hard to live in the moment and not in fear of the what if. As a black woman in America, I have always have had a small form of the fear of Aaron and my safety, but this year (Hopefully you can connect the dots here and save me from listen all the black people who we watched get murdered) This year my small fear turned into a crippling, paralyzing fear. For a few months I bugged out. Maybe I’ll talk about this in more detail later, but it got so bad that I was nervous of small tasks like Aaron going to the post office. I didn’t leave the house for months, barely talked to anyone. It was wild. I’m feeling “better” now. (I haven’t analyzed if better is just numb which is why I put it in quotes.) But if I learned anything from 26 it really is that time isn’t promised. How can I maximize my time? Really enjoy my life. That’s what I want to do from here on out. 
  2. I’m lucky to be doing life with Aaron
    It’s a bit cheesy but true. I don’t know if I would be where I am without him, his help, his energy. You may think I’m weird, but I know my angels sent him. I won’t spiral into a whole Aaron admiration post but just know he’s empowers me daily to do things I never imagined. Love me some Mista Sista.
  3. Give yourself grace first.
    A couple years ago I wrote that I needed to be gentle with myself. This is a form of that. Only different. I honestly still haven’t learned it. But I am trying to allow myself the room to make mistakes, grow, learn. I am human.
  4. Time isn’t promised. But there are no timelines.
    Y’all. Yes time isn’t promised. But why am I rushing. For what?! For who?! I’ve put timelines on everything. Aaron and I’s next steps, work promotions, blogging achievements. For what?! Society?! The Joneses?! I realized this year it’s not worth the stress. Better to save myself from the disappointment and anxiety that occur when everything doesn’t happen as I originally “planned.”
  5. Makeup has an expiration date.
    Wow. Exposing myself that I just learned this, this year. But I didn’t know. Makeup expires. There’s an icon on the packaging that says how many months you have from opening. Get rid of all the old-ish in your makeup bag.
  6. Eloping is a really great option you should consider.
    I used to be such a brat when it came to *~weddings~*. Like I knew I wanted the biggest and the BADDEST. With what money T?! Who is going to pay for a flower cascades and multiple photographers? haha! How sway?! I honestly took off the rose colored glasses this year. Aaron and I are actually considering eloping. I mean not even a fraction of the price. And we could save SO MUCH money. This deserves it’s own post for sure. I’m not getting married anytime soon (I don’t think) but when I do better believe I’m leaning towards eloping now.
  7. What’s yours will be yours. Just put yourself out there.
    This year I got a lot of opportunities by putting aside my nerves and introducing myself as the woman I imagine myself to be. Don’t get me wrong this is hard for me as I struggle with imposter syndrome HARD. But that Loft party I hosted earlier in the year came from me sliding in their dm and just saying hey I’d be great at this.
  8. Find your dream. Define your legacy. And be relentless in your pursuit.
    This one is a word. For so long I have been just pursuing goals thinking they were my dreams. Especially when it came to my career. Like I thought a life in advertising is what I was meant to do. I was relentless in getting to where I am now in my career. (Skip to #8 if you are a coworker of mine) And I look around and 8/10 days I am actually miserable. Now don’t get me wrong I’m miserable but grateful for sure. But quarantine accidentally ended up teaching me that working in pharma advertising isn’t my legacy. And that’s okay.
  9. Your goals and plans can and will change. That’s okay.
    Ya’ll if you would have talked to me 8 months ago, I would have told you my goal was to be a creative director in advertising. Make some bomb commercials, win some awards, and to be the best manager. Now. My goals are totally different. I want to use my art to help women see themselves as art, to help inspire other artist to share and create their art, to share my journey as a plus-sized black woman, and to work for myself eventually. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be seeing out my original “plans” and going with the doors that are presenting themselves to me.
  10. Speak up.
    It’s okay to have an opinion, have people unlike you. But always. ALWAYS. Speak up for what is right.
  11. You don’t have to do everything.
    Wow. If you only knew the amount of things that I felt like I had to do. It was too much! This year I have learned the importance of delegating, and vending out. Life changing. I’m unstoppable now! haha. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot more and gotten more sleep by trusting experts and not trying to do everything.
  12. Your art is art. You are an artist.
    Starting a shop helped me finally realize this. And I do think it was partly due to selling and receiving what I feel like to be honest feedback on my art. But this year I realized that I am an artist. And that is nothing to be ashamed of or look down upon.
  13. There’s no time limit on healing.
    It will take time. I brought this one back from a couple years ago. Healing is still happening.
  14. A Reason. A Season. A Lifetime. (Left from the past TWO years. STILL RELEVANT.)
    *claps* See earlier blog post here. I left this one too! Iconic. Everything, person, experience has a purpose.
  15. Starting a small business is hard, but so so rewarding.
    Would have never thought that I would be able to say that I have a business. That Stylish Sista would have grown to what it is. So thankful. One of my proudest accomplishments is this. Thank all of you for coming along for the journey and supporting me through my journey. I’ll be forever grateful.
  16. No one will think less of you for saying no.
    It is so hard for me to say no. I want to help people. Be apart of everything. The FOMO is real for me. But I’ve started turning down opportunities and trying my hardest to not feel pressured to explain myself. Whether it be stickers or sleep, or I just don’t feel like it, those are all valid reasons to keep my sanity and prioritizing myself first.
  17. Showing up looks different for everyone.
    At the start of protests, I started to feel bad that I physically, mentally, emotionally couldn’t participate in-person at the marches. I felt like a fraud. How could I support without being there?! Aaron was like no way you are going in the state that you are in, in the state the nation is in. Which pressed me to come up with another way to show up. I created one of the coolest pieces of my life, and together we donated thousands of dollars to the BLM movement. The movement that will change my kids, and their kids, kid’s lives.
  18. That follower count doesn’t mean s#it.
    Over quarantine, my account grew by almost 4,000 followers! And as awesome as that is. The truth is I have moments where I obsess over gaining and losing followers. As if my follower count defines me!? Wild. I know. I’m actively working on it. Every day I have to remind myself that followers aren’t everything. I’m not going to be for everyone. *insert shoulder shrug, followed by a shimmy*
  19. Manifesting is real.
    Ooooh wee don’t get me started on energy and manifesting. That’s a whole Taelor TED Talk. Setting intentions and believing that those things will happen has brought the most beautiful experiences, opportunities, and people into my life. (Yes. People too! My manifesting has no chill 😉)
  20. All aspects of your health are important.
    Not just physical. Mental, emotional, spiritual. Protect you at all costs.
  21. Never stop learning.
    I signed up for Skillshare during quarantine and it’s been one of my best purchases of 2020. I’ve learned a lot but have so much more to learn.
  22. Your journey is yours alone.
    I find so much inspiration from other people’s stories and how they find “success”. But it’s reminding myself that my journey is my journey when I find that little voice in my head begin to compare.
  23. I have a shopping addiction.
    Wow. Really exposing myself. I love clothes. But lately I’ve started that when I’m stressed if the right clothing ad is served to me then I’m buying it. And that is not going to get me my dream house and a sticker studio LOL. So I’m working on pitching Stylish Sista to more brands so I can get my love of clothes sponsored. Manifesting it!
  24. It’s not going to happen overnight. Enjoy the journey.
    Anyone else a future person? Like I find myself think and fantasizing about what will be when I ___. For example, how awesome it would be to build Aaron and my dream house with a whole art studio space?! But I’m trying to live in the moment. Not wish I was years ahead.
  25. You are worth it.
    Aaron reminded me of this one. Ya’ll would be proud. I’ve learned my value when it comes to brands and negotiating my worth. I don’t know why but I’ve *almost* mastered negotiating when it comes to my career. BUT when it came to blogging I would cower and accept little to nothing for work. Glad to say this is no longer the case. Realizing my worth in blogging as well. I’m excited about what’s to come.
  26. You are stronger than you realize.
    26 held a death in the family, strained relationships, a health scare and procedure, turmoil with bosses and coworkers, financial hardships, corona-virus quarantine, depression and still somehow I have managed to pick up the pieces and find myself stronger. I look back and I honestly don’t know how I made it through.
  27. Black Lives Matter. Wear a mask. VOTE.
    Self explanatory. I’ll scream it from the roof tops. It’s time for a change.

So, here are the 27 things I learned in my 26th year. I hope that in some way I can help you by sharing where I’m at in my journey, transparently. I’m blessed to see 27! I can’t wait to see what’s next on this wild journey of mine. Thank you guys for all the love, support and birthday wishes. You all have continued to help and support me in more ways than you may know.

I’m ready for year 27, I’ve got even more confidence, a sense of purpose, and my style is impeccable (if I do say so myself😉).

The Year of T still has a nice ring to it.

With exactly 14 hugs and 13 kisses,
T

Here’s links to my birthday outfit below!

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