Finding And Thinking For Yourself: What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Life In My 20s

December 11, 2012  |  


Sometimes I scroll back through my tweets and statuses, and I wonder if I’ll ever get the hang of 24/7 political correctness. Especially now, since I’m amidst what I have coined as “a personal renaissance,” or a “renewal of life, vigor; rebirth…” as describes the word ‘renaissance.’

I learned that very little about me was politically correct years back when I was just 22-years-old. I didn’t even know my little renaissance was beginning as I decided to take the road less traveled and try out this new “mind of my own” I had been told about  – the exact opposite of my homegirls at the time. I felt like a mindless drone, following in the shallow, Forever 21 shod footsteps of a few lost young women with no real character, only painted-on facades that came off in powder rooms. I was lost, following the lost.

I knew that at my core I wasn’t a “mean girl.” I knew I wasn’t a glam girl who wanted nothing more than to peruse fashion magazines and spend the bulk of my sad little work study checks on makeup and club wear. I knew that Rihanna and weaves and high heels didn’t fulfill me. And isn’t that always the way? We come to the realization of what/who we aren’t before we can get to the heart of who we are sometimes.

And the truth is… I had no clue. All I knew was that I was different and I was sick of following. Pretty soon everyone knew it. I was 22. An age that at 16 I longed to reach, thinking I would have it all together by then. Surely, I would have a topnotch salary-paying job lined up by the age of 22, my own place, and a fairy tale romance with a good man who would surely marry me by at least 26.

Why did I want those things? Was it because deep down that’s what I truly believed my path to be? Or was it because between the lines of my favorite television shows and in the sharpness of some distant auntie’s questioning about my life’s timeline, that’s what I was being TOLD I was supposed to want?

What I didn’t realize at 22-years-old was that my 20s weren’t meant for patterning my life after what looks good in other’s lives or “getting it all together.” MY 20s were meant for figuring SOME of it out, getting to know me and my passions and purpose. I was figuring out that I was different and dealing with that absolutely amazing albeit frightening reality. I was understanding and accepting who I was NOT.

What a lot of people won’t tell you for fear of  individuality being birthed, is that it’s okay to not know what the heck you’re doing and to be a mess in your 20s. The cool reality of our 20s is that we get to learn about ourselves. Life reveals our authentic selves to us, toughens us up and teaches us to simply be all that authentic goodness. Life begins in the midst of a beautiful mess. Path-defining questions rise from a mess. Revolutionary thoughts swell in the minds of beautiful messes. Heaven cracks open from the soul felt prayers in the middle of beautiful messes. The beginning of the rest of our lives always starts from some sort of mess.

As I grow older, I’ve lived just enough to grow the beautifully ugly guts to fight opinions and ideologies and stupidity to get totally naked and free and begin stepping into my own skin. My own skin, porous enough to allow new experiences to saturate and do me some good, yet tough enough to scar and keep it moving despite the wounds of warfare. Whatever/whoever I AM, I live to be her now. Not hide her away behind a society-painted mask. My 20s have taught/are teaching me that.

So, even though every now and then I still wonder if I’ll ever get the swing of being politically correct 24/7, I always end up shrugging and smiling as the beautiful mess in me says that now, that’s just not who I am and it’s quite all right.

La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check out her blog: and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

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