Life After 25

The REAL Mary Jane: Having It All and Still Coming up Short.

By: Gia Robinson

First let me start by saying, I’m just a small town girl from the country. Simply just making it “out” was a huge accomplishment.. but I did more than that. Among my family, I was a first generation college student, first to pledge the most elite and finest of all sororities.. 😉 and first to go on to receive my masters as well. In the midst of all of that, I also managed to get my own place, my own car, date a few guys (was even engaged once), and remain childless without a ring.

I go out, I love to dance, have drinks, and basically enjoy myself. I live life the way I want to, keeping God first (because that’s important), family second, and everything else third… you could say I have it all. Young, Gifted, and BLACK! You couldn’t tell me the world wasn’t mine.. hell, you can’t tell me now.. But every now and then I can’t help but wonder what it all really means. Can you have “everything” and still feel empty? Where does this emptiness come from?

Well, let me tell you. I grew up in a fairly strict Christian home. Raised by both parents (they later split when I became an adult), the only girl raised with two brothers. I managed to keep my virginity until I was 21 years old, I was trying my hardest to do everything right. As I got older, my circle of friends got smaller, and my family became more distant as I kept getting “smarter”.

No one tells you that if you keep on this certain path that everyone else may not make it with you. You see, I thought everyone was going off to college, I thought everyone got their masters, spoke proper English and “did the right thing.” I never thought anything I did was extraordinary. Yet even still, I enjoyed being able to do “ratchet things, with my ratchet friends.” I didn’t have to worry about fitting in or saying the right things because they didn’t care. But why did it feel like they were holding me to a much higher standard than themselves, or why would they push me to do the craziest things just to see if I still had it in me… I’ll tell you why.

I was on this journey of finding myself. I just didn’t know it. Nobody tells you that you can be Godly, crazy, ratchet, sweet, and holy all at the same time. When you’ve reached a certain level of success, you and the people around you often feel like you have to change in order for things to be the way they are.

Sure, I’m not the same girl I was growing up.. but I’m also not too far removed from her either. You start feeling empty when you try to measure your success with who you really are. Sometimes they don’t add up. Sometimes you can be overly successful but yet enjoy eating at the corner store downtown. That doesn’t make you less successful, and that shouldn’t make the people around you feel differently either.

As a black woman, I take pride in carrying “us” on my shoulder, but that’s not my job. My job, your job, our job is to be the best US we can possibly be. The best me, the best you, the best we! Why am I sharing this? Well, most of you already know this, but somewhere there’s this young, beautiful, smart, funny, creative, slightly ratchet, yet God-fearing black girl that feels alone.

She feels that in order to truly “have it all” you have to give it all up. She doesn’t want to be “too smart” because she doesn’t want to appear as a “know-it-all”. She doesn’t want to be “ratchet” because she doesn’t want to appear too “hood”, and she doesn’t want to be too Christian because she doesn’t want to appear “holier than thou”. The purpose of this article is to let you know that the type of girl/woman that I described earlier DOES EXIST.. and CAN EXIST, but we’re not existing until we’re our true authentic self.

So yes, you can be professional, educated, God-fearing, hood, or anything you wanna be type of woman and you can actually have it all. But first you have to HAVE YOURSELF. The real Mary Jane realizes that in order to have it all, you have to be ALL to yourself. Sometimes you have to let people and things go in order to maximize your potential, but one thing you can’t let go is yourself. If not, you’ll end up sitting alone, feeling alone, feeling empty with all of your accomplishments and achievements not realizing that you have a new soul full of growth waiting to be shared and explored. Start that journey with yourself today.. be the REAL MARY JANE!

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