I scrolled through Instagram stories of my followers. Read through the daily motivational quotes people post on their stories early in the morning. Tapped through people’s workout accountability reposts. I stopped when I got to my homegirl Tyra’s Instagram story. Tyra’s story was unusually long. She never really posts a lot unless it’s someone’s birthday, the anniversary of her becoming an AKA, or the AKA’s founders day. So, seeing multiple dashed lines at the top of her story indicating that she was posting a lot, intrigued me.
I clicked through the pictures she was posting of former versions of herself. With the pictures came captions that talked about how during the time when she took said photos, her hair was unhealthy. Her written narrative about the reason as to why her hair was unhealthy was because she was not minding her business and drinking her water. She talked about how she was constantly in other people’s business or in some mess. Her main message was to release yourself from toxicity and focus on yourself, the business that pays you. She then posted recent photos of her hair. She described how her hair was healthier, longer, and better managed because she let go of negativity and began taking care of herself…and of course, drinking water was part of her total transformation.
She posted this story a few months ago. It resonated with me but it didn’t fully resonate with me until recently. Right before the new year, a series of unrelated events happened to me seemingly back to back. Some were good, many others were not so good. I feel as if I went through multiple life changes in a span of two weeks. As I sat with those changes and their outcomes, I became emotional and being the cryer that I am, allowed the flood gates that are my tear ducts, rain down onto my cheeks and neck. I was crying because the outcomes of all the bad were outcomes where I had to choose me. And that shit was hard.
After I calmed down, I realized that Tyra’s “mind your business and drink your water” mantra was the metaphor for the outcomes of “choosing me”. Let me explain three different situations to paint a better picture for you…
–> In 2019, I was working two jobs, my full-time role, and a few hours a week job at a clothing store. When I interviewed for the clothing store position, the store manager and I chatted about what hourly rate I wanted to make because I had previously worked for the same company in a different state, so I had experience. I told her the rate, she agreed, and we went about our business. Now, silly me for not checking my pay stubs and essentially they were paying about 4 cents less than what we talked about when I started. 4 cents isn’t that much of a difference but it adds up if you think about back pay. I’d been working there since February of 2019. One day, I asked the store manager for a raise (before I knew about the 4 cent thing) and she said she would talk to the district manager. Word came back from the district manager and I was told that the raise would go into effect in mid-December. During the waiting period, was when I noticed my pay stubs. I inquired about that and about my raise. Long story short, I was told that they weren’t going to give me back pay and I couldn’t get the raise I requested unless I take on other roles at the store.
I decided to mind my business (choose me): I told the manager that it wasn’t worth staying at the company, and I resigned that day. I didn’t deserve that. But resigning wasn’t the only way I chose myself. I went home and started thinking of a plan. I would be fine without the part-time job but it was time for me to make some moves. I had already purchased an LLC, so it was the perfect time to map out a plan for it. My LLC focuses on training in diversity and inclusion special topics AND I will now be making waist beads. I am taking control of my own money and destiny.
–> For too long, I surrounded myself with toxic relationships. At 30, you would think I had a handle on which people were toxic and who were not. And I do. But not when it came to my heart. When I had feelings for someone or cared about someone deeply, I put up with things that I knew in the back of my mind that weren’t good for me. I had feelings for one of my male friends. I honestly don’t know how to describe our relationship. It seemed like he had feelings for me, especially by the things he would say, or how connected I felt we were when we were around each other. A few months ago he told me he wasn’t “ready for a relationship” and I accepted it. Even after that point, there were still signs that contradicted that. Because of this, I kept part of my heart open to the possibility that there would be something in the future. It wasn’t doing me any good. Along with the signs, there were also signs that he really wasn’t interested in a relationship. Weeks and months would go by and I wouldn’t hear from him. When we did talk, he never really asked about things I had going on outside of him asking how I was doing. Before the new year, he hit me up asking to come see me.
I decided to mind my business (choose me): After I sat and pondered about my response to him, I drafted what I was going to write back. I wanted him to come because I missed him. But the other part of me knew that if I said ‘yes, you can come’, it would have continued the cycle. I wanted more and he didn’t, so when I responded, I was honest about why he could not come see me. I told him that I didn’t want to make our relationship more messy because I had feelings for him that he did not have for me. It was hard. I knew that saying no would alter the situation that we did have and I was afraid to lose the connection we shared. But again, I wanted more. Because we weren’t on the same page, I had to step away for my own healing to be ready for the actual person God is preparing for me. I love myself too much to continue going down a path of nothingness.
–> Reflecting back on the last decade, I thought about all of the things I missed out on because I was scared or I told myself I couldn’t do something. I allowed negative self-talk and my mental health to hinder me in many ways. For example, I started making myself waist beads in 2015. Why did it take me over 4 years to decide to turn it into a business? It was because I was too scared to take risks and try something that was outside of my comfort zone. This last decade, I didn’t manage my money right. I was never to a point where I didn’t have anything but I could have saved more. I was too busy spending and not investing…trying to keep up with the world around me.
I decided for this next decade to my mind my business (choose me): Although some of the examples I mentioned in this post happened very recently, I’ve also been making slow changes for a couple years now. So, moving into this next decade of my life, I’m going to be smarter, take risks, and not hold myself back from the things I want to do. I already have a plan on how I’m going to run my businesses, finish my Ph.D., travel more, and live my life without limits. The first thing I did was get a financial planner. I met with him a few days ago to talk about my goals and it was super helpful. I recommend everyone getting a financial planner. Do this sooner, rather than later. They really help you get a sense of how you’re managing your finances and will assist you in planning for the future. I’m also working on being a better friend to the ones who are in my circle. I often find myself centering our conversations around the things I have going on so I’ve been more intentionally on providing my friends space to center the conversations around them. My friends are some of the most important people in my life and I want to continue to mold myself to being the friend they need.
Be selfish going into this next decade. Remove toxicity from your life, take risks, and learn from the good and bad mistakes of those risks. I’m not going to lie, choosing you is going to be uncomfortable. But bask in the uncomfortability because that means you’re growing. If you’re never uncomfortable, then you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t evolving. So, please, mind the business that pays you and drink your water and watch the seeds you’ve been planting sprout into something beautiful. Trust me, the process and outcomes have been fulfilling.
…And if you don’t believe me, just look at how my locs are flourishing in the photo for this blog post 🙂
❤ Queen T
P.S. Since November 2019, I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day 🙂