Q: Looking back on all the highs and lows of growing up. If you had the chance to rewrite history, to either avoid making things more challenging for the present you, what would you tell your 15-year-old self about the following;
3 Being a leader and not following the herd
Ah man, when I was 15, I thought that I knew so much more than my peers and older siblings. The amount of trouble that I would get into from boys, friends, school antics amongst others is what led me into experiencing what I now like to call my life.
Nonetheless, each lesson taught me that mistakes are what makes us all human and that we cannot run away from our past, even when we thought those mistakes were swept under the rug.
Having sex before you are emotionally and mentally prepared
Looking back, I can honestly say that I was more curious about the physical act of having intercourse and what it would feel like more than the emotional and mental aftermath of. Growing up, the “birds” and the “bees” were never discussed openly due to a number of things. 1.) My mother wasn’t too keen on discussing “grown folk” business in front of children and 2.) It was too many of us running around the house for my mom to actually have a minute to have “the talk” before puberty hit.
All and all, everything I knew or thought I knew about sex came through repeated trial and error.
As a young girl, nothing properly prepares you for the emotional or mental rejection that you feel when having sex for the first time. Everything you see in romance movies is a damn lie, and nine times out of ten the person in which you are losing your virginity too is either as clueless as you are or in my case was too damn old to be having sex with you in the first place.
The part that many sexualized publications leave out when appealing to sex and young people is the emptiness that you may begin to feel if exposed to it at an early age. For me, the connection of emotion and sex never “clicked” because I never quite understood the importance of emotional intimacy and how to translate that into a mental space. The two are very much important when trying to build and maintain romantic relationships.
If I can go back in time, I would have waited…
The importance of building good credit and saving money
I started working at the age of 15 so this question is perfect! Back then I use to do my family members (sisters, aunts, cousins, etc) hair way before bundles was a thing and I would get anywhere between $30-$60 a head. I would then take that money and get my nails done and partake in ratchet activities with my friends. I did not know a thing about saving money, but I always knew how to make it.
By 17, my dad helped me open my first bank account and since then, he’s been teaching me about money ever since. One of the many things that pushed me into becoming literate in finances was the lack of responsibility that my family had with money. Bills were always getting paid late, necessities were being shut off, and I’ve always known that I did not want to live that struggling lifestyle for my entire life.
During my sophomore year of college, I became obsessed with my credit or lack thereof. Prior to enrolling, I took a course in financial stability and that’s where my knowledge of currency and income flourished.
I now think of credit as an invisible shield. We may not be able to physically see it with our own two eyes or physically touch it, but credit is there and if it is not properly protected or crafted (building a positive score) then when the time comes to use it, you won’t be properly protected (buying a home, care, starting a business, etc.) The same holds true for a savings account.
Many people believe that starting a savings account is pointless if you do not have a surplus of income being generated. THIS IS FALSE! If I could go back in time, I would tell my 15-year-old self to start off by saving in small increments ($5-$10/week) and to NEVER touch those savings unless of an emergency.
Getting a new weave does not count as an emergency…
Being a leader and not following the herd
Growing up I use to be a tremendous follower! You know the saying “if such and such jumped off a roof would you do it too?” my answer “you damn right!” especially if that person was my older brother Tranere. Even though he was a male, I wanted to be just like him! I’m proud to say that I carry on some of his traits. Anyways, I was down for whatever wave was going on at the moment, but all that changed once Tranere passed away.
I wanted to be free…
The thing about following after other people is that you are always searching for someone else’s approval. Always looking for an answer that you can’t find within yourself because you don’t know who the f*ck you are! My search for finding myself came shortly after his death. I no longer wanted to listen to my parents, I quickly withdrew from my group of friends during that time and I took on life as “experience will be my teacher” mantra, I was 14…
Ten years later and being the first person in my family to graduate college I am here to say that being a leader is lonely af! Having confidence at such a young age was lonely af! My thought process back then is what led me into doing all of the things that I am doing now, what I will continue to do for years to come.
It’s funny because I always described my upbringing as coming from a herd or litter of family so I think it’s ironic that you used this word when asking the question.
One thing I’ve learned about being a leader is that you lose your identity when you are confined in a herd or large group of people. For the longest time, all I knew was what my parent’s wanted me to know. It wasn’t until that pivotal moment of losing my unwaveringly brave, confident, stubborn, brother that I wanted to live my life for myself and pave my own way.
May his soul continue to rest in peace…