If you’re my friend on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or in real life, you’re well aware that my birthday was a couple days ago. I kicked things off last Friday with a fancy, intimate dinner with friends and closed things out on Sunday (my actual birthday) with a nice brunch and some quality time with the fam. The entire weekend was the perfect combo of class and ratchetness, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In the midst of my bday festivities, Queen Bey somehow managed to flawlessly frolic her way into the equation — all the while slaying in a canary yellow Roberto Cavalli dress and smashing cars with Hot Sauce, which we now know is the name of her handy-dandy baseball bat (just when she had y’all thinking carrying around Frank’s Red Hot in your pocketbooks was cool.)
Now let me explain something real quick. I am in no way, shape or form a member of the Beyhive, Beygency, Bey-613, or whatever the heck they call y’all crazy folk who will literally cut someone with a dull spoon for spelling Beyoncé’s name without the lil accent mark at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I got mad respect for Bey. But the large majority of her fans are just too doggone crazy for me, so I simply admire her from afar. But after watching/listening to this new “Lemonade” album, I MIGHT have to go and sit in on a local Beyhive chapter meeting. Might.
The album was a masterpiece. It was a remarkable ode to every woman who has suffered, endured and survived heartbreak. It was an unapologetic tribute to Black women of the past, present and future generations. It was the perfect metaphor for the unyielding strength and resilience that we as Black women exemplify in the midst of hardship and adversity. “Lemonade” was real, raw and hella relatable. And for me, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time — the day before my 26th birthday. Because 25 was most certainly my year of lemons. And to make lemonade, I had to go through a process of pain, healing and growth. One that took me through every single ingredient of emotion that was artistically portrayed in this visual album.
- Intuition: In Bey’s case, intuition was associated with infidelity. But in my case, intuition was simply telling me that it wasn’t healthy for me to be in a relationship at that point in my life. Deep down I knew that I needed to be on my own for a while in order to discover who I truly was.
- Denial: I fought myself constantly. I didn’t want to believe or listen to what my instincts were telling me. I was praying for all the wrong things — my will over God’s will; my selfish desires over my needs and well-being. I was afraid to be left alone to sort through my own flaws and insecurities. But eventually I had to remove the mask of denial and face my own truths.
- Anger: I was angry. A lot. Mostly at myself for being so vulnerable all the time — not just in my relationship, but in my friendships and family as well. I was sick of exposing my weaknesses for everyone to see, so I became resentful and eventually shut down.
- Apathy: My built-up frustration and resentment turned into emotional numbness. I became totally withdrawn and isolated from everything and everyone around me. I was drained mentally and emotionally and literally had nothing left in me to give.
- Emptiness: I never realized how empty I actually was until I became single. I had a huge void in my life that I thought could be filled with the love, comfort and security of a relationship. But in reality, God was what I needed in order for me to learn how to be truly fulfilled within myself.
- Loss: I had to lose my relationship in order to ultimately gain my identity. There were a lot of things I had to let go of for new blessings to flow into my life.
- Accountability: Eventually I had to get all the way real with myself. There were (and still are) areas in my life that needed to be addressed and improved upon. I had to realize that being hurt didn’t make me the victim. Because ultimately I have the power to control my emotions, actions and responses in any and every situation. I had to learn how to be woman enough to hold myself accountable for my own actions and decisions.
- Reformation: Once I learned the importance of self-accountability, I began to make some serious changes for the better in my life. I learned to seek God in everything I did and to trust His will for my life, even if it didn’t always align with what I wanted.
- Forgiveness: I realized that I needed to forgive my past in order to move forward with my life. I owed myself that spiritual, mental and emotional freedom.
- Resurrection: After finally breaking free from the past, I felt rejuvenated and full of new life. I finally felt like I was evolving into the woman God created me to be.
- Hope: My faith in love, my dreams and God has been completely restored. It gives me the motivation to be a better woman for God, myself and others.
- Redemption: Realizing that I am not perfect but am still worthy of salvation and unconditional love is a humbling and empowering feeling that I carry with me daily. It fuels me to strive for righteousness over perfection and to continuously walk by faith. I am a constant work in progress, but damn, I’ve come a long way.
At 25, life handed me a bunch of lemons that I eventually would have to slice, squeeze and mix into a bittersweet concoction. And now, at 26, I’m finally confident enough to take my first sip.