Written on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 12:33am

When I turned 30 I was so depressed. Not so much because I was turning 30, but because I used the occasion to lay all of my cards on the table with the man I thought I was supposed to marry – and he politely picked his up and walked out the door….crushing.

But really I was okay, I was kind of happy to be officially in my “thirties”. I thought it validated me as a parent and made me more socially acceptable as a “know-it-all”. It was cool to me…..but ooooh, I was not ready for the next four, err five years. They have been so interesting to say the very least. Mind you “interesting” is my catch-all phrase for when I can’t quite capture the exact wording to describe what I’m really trying to say.

The prospect of Thirty-Five has been daunting. I have 3 other close friends who are ’73 babies and the first one was born in January. So, from the beginning of the year I have been on 35 alert. The next birthday was in April and then August and now….me. September. When my best friend turned 35 in the spring I spent hours on end just staring at her (for real) until she wanted to fight me. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it all. This last week has been no different. I don’t think I’m depressed…actually I KNOW I’m not depressed, but I am a Virgo – so I tend to freak out a little bit about some things.

Now having said – ALL of that…in an effort to calm my own damn nerves and gain some perspective at about 2AM this morning I made this list (on the back of my daughter’s trip permission slip – but oh well) and I am going to share it with you….

(Disclaimer: those of ya’ll that know me, know that “everyting from me mout’ is slut!” Those of ya’ll who don’t know that…shouldn’t really be on my damn blog anyway.)

Okay, so here it is –

I have learned how to:

1. Apply mascara and eyeliner.
Maybe not major to any of you Cover Girl types, but a tremendous feat for me. I am not a make-up person and the fact that I can do this without stabbing myself in the eye or wiping it all off as I dab away my tears – is huge.

2. Dress.
Age appropriate, body conscious, stylish, classic – my closet is finally (very, very, very close to…) where I want it to be. Who the hell wants to be “forever 21” anyway? The only thing I would go back to 21 for is my credit.

3. Negotiate for what I’m worth.
Another major accomplishment. I spent years taking other people’s EVERYTHING into consideration when being compensated. But now I take no shorts and my mantra comes directly from the immortal word of Henry (played by Ray Liotta) in GoodFellas: “You need board approval before you can do that? Fuck you. Pay me. – You need to come in under budget or you’ll be in jeopardy? Fuck you. Pay me – You really wanted to squeeze out some more money but you can’t until this grant comes in? Fuck you. Pay me. Works like a charm, try it.

4. Flirt
For years flirting for me involved me tossing around the word “pussy” at some point in the vicinity of a man I was interested in and letting nature take its course. Over the last several years I have refined my skills and developed a real knack for flirting with brothers – even just for sport. It almost always starts with a smile and a friendly comment…

5. Do my hair!

"Haha!" Nuff said.

“Haha!” Nuff said.








6. Travel light
This goes for through the airport…and through life. I almost always over pack. It’s insane with the bag of shoes, the bag of jackets…ridiculous. I can now go to Paris for a week with just two bags. (that is an open invitation for anyone that wants to take me) But also, I now travel “people-lite”. Don’t need an entourage. Don’t need the bullshit in my life. I divorced the drama, got rid of the riff-raff and now I make moves easily. I LOVE my friends – all 5 or you. (Syke, I’m playing you know you on the list too.)

7. Tell someone off.
This is distinctly different from cursing someone out. I mastered that skill in the fourth grade – really. I, as you all may well know, can curse anyone out – at the drop of a dime – no questions. However, as the mother of a ten-year old girl, who has to sometimes play hardball with principals, store clerks, cashiers, cab drivers, etc…I have had to round out the hard edges and figure out a way to get my whole (muthafuckin’) point across with out people looking at me like “some (fucking) mother she is”. Example: Recently, a gentlemen was quite rude to my baby as she was trying to be a “big girl” at the supermarket and “pay the lady” – at which time I had to step in and inform him that although I play about a lot of things – this little muff wasn’t one of them and seeing as how she is a human being – I would kindly ask you to treat her like one, bc at the end of the day you really have just two options: quietly watch her learn to be responsible by counting her little change and making sure she has all of her purchases…or watch me take out my clown shoes and politely invite you to an ass whuppin. (Yes, I used “ass” but that’s in the bible and you get my point. I’m evolving.)

8. Navigate my mother.
It’s amazing. I love her soooo much (I mean I always did – but you know) Now I miss her when she’s gone and she doesn’t aggravate me – much. This kind of just happened though life experience, time, motherhood, who knows. I just woke up one morning in a love affair with my mommy!

9. Bend it like Beckham.
“I don’t want to toot my own horn, but…beep, beep!” They say our libido increases with age – and it must be because we finally, or at least I finally feel like I have a complete grasp on the whole art of luuuuvmakin’ – and I’m good. Whatever, I just am.

10. Appreciate a good man.
Good men aren’t exactly as hard to find as they are hard to “de-fine”. All of my girls describe this supposed anomaly differently. By my own definition, I have run into quite a few and although they weren’t my soul mates or husbands…I did (and do) appreciate them for who they represent in the world. Learning to appreciate a good man has definitely prepared me to be appreciative of my own – when he comes. And chile’ he’s coming.

11. Pursue my dreams vigorously.
I think most of my angst around thirty-five (like most people) is directly connected to not being in the place I want to be in life. I did the whole “I shoulda been here, I shoulda did this, I shoulda made that…by now” thing – yesterday. And then I got up this morning praising God that my eyes opened and so did the eyes of my beautiful baby girl – and realizing (seriously) that my life has really, really just begun. Life lessons are something else – but they are invaluable. I am so grateful that I know, what I know – and would not trade a minute of my three and half decades – and I am not shooting you the shit. I really would not – not the tragedy, the heartache, the disappointment, (not even that scandalous night during freaknic ’95), absolutely not the birth of my daughter (after which so many people wrote off my dreams…) not my time in Alabama or my move to Philly.
If I had to add one more thing to this list it’s that I’ve learned and now know how to – not just like myself, but deeply appreciate myself or the “me-ness” of it all. I love Tarana for who I was, who I am and who I am on my way to be.

Love, love to you all!

Happy Birthday to ME!