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close-up on woman's hands holding a cupcake with birthday candle

I am turning forty in July. A tingly sensation creeps into my thoughts as I embrace entering a new phase in my life.

A couple of months ago, my sister and I were chatting in my car on our way to the grocery store. We laughed as we remembered the times when we would have sibling talks of the future. We all agreed that Quinten would have a baby first because he was a lover boy; my sister was too shy and reserved–we thought she would never have kids; and everyone thought I would have children well into my 30’s because I am ambitious and explorative.

As my sister and I sipped our coffee, replaying memories of when Q was with us, an awkward silence entered the car, and reality hit. We NOW were those WOMEN we talked of when we were children, and our dreams and wishes have not played out the ways we expected.

I thought being an adult would be “fun” and “easy” as long as I had money, but no amount of money would have prepared me for my journey. Who would have imagined getting a call notifying my mother that my brother had suffered burns on 90 percent of his body? I never thought I would be masking the shame I felt in having a baby, at 23, with someone I’d hung out with just twice. For years this hurt stabbed at my self-confidence. But I went to work, paid the rent, took my daughter to tennis, and smiled during the times I was in despair. Stepping up to be a single parent, working from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm to have money to support a growing child exhausted me, and the sadness of the loss of Q depressed me.

There have been times when I would have a grown-up temper tantrum and scream, “f*ck it! Life is some bullsh*t!” And, “damnnnnn life, this sh*t hurts!”

Unlike before, now I can pinpoint the triggers of my depression and  I have the tools to navigate my feelings. I felt abandon when Quinten died. When I felt less and rejected, it crippled me, and I lay in bed for hours stewing in my thoughts. I have always felt the need to prove to people that I am something when, in fact, I did not need to prove anything to anybody. More than proving something to others, a longing to prove to myself that I am somebody has plagued me the most. Luckily, I loved myself enough to know I needed help.

In therapy, I am learning to become transparent with setting boundaries and reevaluating my expectations with myself and others.

I finally understand that the terrible “sh*t” in my life does not define me. I’m still in therapy, processing it all, working on it, making peace with it to put it behind me. From now on, I am focusing on positive, nurturing relationships, understanding that the number one positive nurturing relationship I need to develop is with myself.

I have spent too much time feeling hurt and helpless about my pain throughout my 20s and 30s. I want PEACE! I am going to find it, and for all of you who are reading this, I hope you are trying to find it, too.

For breakfast, I had had an omelet and sausage.

Author: @tiana-brown

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