22 Things I Learned The Hard Way Before I Turned 22


My Uganda Family

For those of you who kept up with me on social media…know that I spent the last two and a half months in Uganda, conducting summer research. I could go on a banter here about the incredible things I learned in global health along the way…or how my ten weeks made me question my “black” identity….or how I became a goat mommy in the matter of four weeks. I won’t. Instead, I want to share a few things…well 22 things…that I meant to share on my birthday. But, hey…better late than never. The 22 BIG things I learned the hard way before I turned 22. I can image this isn’t everything….But, I tried to recap from as long as I can remember…which goes back to about five or six years old. So, listen to me….These are lessons. Hard lessons derived from strife, derived from grief, happiness, joy…and pain. Enjoy.

  1. No…means NO.
  2. Every door of opportunity that opens…doesn’t mean you have to walk through it. Sometimes…it’s just a door.
  3. It really does take a village to raise a child.
  4. You are not “acting white” for liking things out of the ordinary…or reading….or writing….or wanting a good education.
  5. On the contrary….you are not “more black” by trying to subscribe to the hood, hip hop culture, or acting “ratchet”.
  6. Words do cut deep…but remember…they’re just words.
  7. Having a boyfriend is NOT everything.
  8. There’s more to life than being pretty.
  9. What good is popularity when the people around you have no loyalty.
  10. Loyalty and kindness…are everything.
  11. You can “inspire” a change in people, but you will never change someone who is not mature enough or does not want to change.
  12. Some things and some people….are actually worth dying for. Choose wisely.
  13. If you’re lucky enough to go about this life with at LEAST ONE true friend…hold on and never let go.
  14. Life is and can be a party. Show up, dress up, and don’t leave the party too early.
  15. Don’t confuse a soul mate with a sex partner.
  16. Furthermore though, the worse thing the world can do is raise girls to believe in a “soul mate”, or “the one”, or “prince charming”. Love is intentional…and a decision. It comes…and goes. And sometimes “your one” is not meant to stay forever. Pick wisely….and indulge when you have it.
  17. The road to success is YOUR road…no one else’s.
  18. College is literally the best four years of your life. Don’t rush it. Stay out late….AND graduate.
  19. The transition to “adulthood” ain’t no crystal stair.
  20. The harsh reality is…what my grandma loved to tell me. Some people DON’T love you. Or as she liked to say, “People don’t care about you.”  They love and care about the “idea” of you. Once that idea is shattered….once you’re left with imperfection, that’s when you see what’s really real.
  21. Feelings are only temporary. You let the bad feelings in for too long…you’re in for a hell of a ride.
  22. “Beautiful”….is just like happy- a state of mind.


BONUS: It’s okay…..to walk away. 


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