Yesterday, I turned 37. I’m grateful for another year on earth. My birthday is a day I use to reflect on my previous year of life and a time to set goals for the future. This year, I have decided to continue being bold and brazen and to be this way in every aspect of life. Times are changing, and I pray it is for the better. I want to be my authentic self. It is hard to be authentically you when you fear you will not be accepted or your truth and your reality as a Black person are not accepted. Despite that, I still want this to be one of my goals during my 37th year of life.
My second goal is to hold fast to my boundaries. The day before my birthday, my crown came off of my tooth. I spent Saturday, Sunday, and most of today in a lot of pain. I even took off today to get the situation fixed. My first response was to go to work. Then, I reflected on the death of Chadwick Boseman.
I 100% respect his choice to keep his cancer diagnosis to himself. When you share that you are ill, people can treat you differently. Opportunities might not be there. Also, people tend to want to tell you what you should do. I respect that he wanted to keep making movies and bring to life the stories of notable Black men.
It was only in recent years, that I began talking about the chronic pain I have had for two decades because of endometriosis. I got a three-year break from the pain until this year which is why I’m biting the bullet to get this hysterectomy in December. I could have gotten it sooner. There was always another project, or it wasn’t the right time. I thought about my husband, my kids, my parents, etc. This pandemic has made clear that you might not have as much time as you thought.
Although education is my passion, I know I need to take care of myself. I decided to take the entire day off. I’m glad I did. It was easier to deal with the pain without having to manage work tasks. Apparently, people didn’t get this despite the fact that I put my vacation message on my email, and the message stated I would reply to emails upon my return on September 1.
People actually thought I was going to hop on Zoom. People were acting texting me. Nope, it wasn’t an emergency. Yes, it could have waited. In these situations, I had two choices. Say nothing and complain or establish my boundaries again. People treat you the way you allow them to treat you.
One thing I made absolutely clear at work is that my family and my health come first this school year. I also made it clear that my cell phone is my personal item. The bill is not being paid for by the school, so if you want to contact me, my preferred method is work email. Also, I am a fierce documenter. It is easier to keep track of situations you need to reference later through email.
I reminded people of what I said at the beginning of the year, and then I went about my day. This may seem small, but this is important to me. For too long, I have worked hard putting myself and my family last. At the end of the day, all that stuff could have waited that I put before myself and my family.
As I enter 37, I will be bold, brazen, boundary-bound (look I needed the alliteration here; go with it).
I encourage everyone to think about what they need to reevaluate when it is their birthday time.
Now, all I need is for my eyelashes to stop turning gray. Who gets gray eyelashes before the hair on their head turns gray?