Year 36: I CHOOSE ME

Accepting this package called Leah Lynette Lakins hasn’t always been an easy choice. I spent many years window shopping outside other peoples’ lives, wishing that I could take home their merchandise instead of choosing the treasures that were already inside of me. I can’t begin to tell you the hours I wasted trying to fit my fierce and funky fabulosity into someone else’s dream, ideal, or expectation that didn’t even look right in my display windows. I was already equipped with a deluxe, two-floor, Super Target with an unlimited RED card and here I was lusting after someone else’s dusty leftovers in a broke-down bodega.

But somewhere over the course of this past year, I started picking up my weekly circular and seeing the incredible deals that were just waiting to be uncovered inside my own soul. As I grabbed a cart and started going down the aisles of my life, I recognized that all the prayers, dreams, hard work, and tenacity had created shelves upon shelves of invaluable life staples that have carried me through my darkest nights and led me into my brightest days. I discovered that I had my own unlimited stockpile of toilet paper, milk, and bread that not only could carry me through life’s toughest storms but I now had enough stock in my warehouse to freely share my bounty with others. As I learned how to maneuver my cart with more mastery around this great store called my life, I could begin to choose the Leah that had been waiting there for me all along.

I began filling up my cart with my deep belly laugh and the snort that follows when a jokes gets really good to me

I reached up and added my affinity for bright colors, bold flavors, wicked-awesome make-up, and rock-star fashion

I decided that I would add in every roll on my belly, every dimple on my thighs, every tightly coiled curl on my head, and every blemish on my toes

I added in my father’s frugality and photographic memory and decided that it would go really well with my mother’s beautiful heart and warm spirit.

I asked an angel disguised as a clerk to get the key to open the case around my soft heart that beats hard and loves harder and to set it down in the cart gently beside my creative Piscean spirit

I couldn’t pass up the deal for my inner nerd who loves trivia, pop culture, and great American literature

I saw a great two-for-one special on a Baltimore attitude with a freshly minted Brooklyn flair that was too good to leave on the shelf

As my cart became fuller with top-notch goods filled with my special blend of wit, humor, spice, fun, spirituality, and charm, I realized that I didn’t have to spend any more time shopping in anyone else’s stores—I was having too much damn fun exploring, celebrating, loving, and cherishing every single item in the aisles of my own life.

Learning to choose me for who I am, who I am not, who I’ve been, and who I will be is the continuous, soul-stretching, character-building work of my life. As good as someone else’s display window might look or as tempting as someone’s half-off clearance sale may be, can’t nobody top me at being…ME. Choosing me just as I am, right where I am, at any moment is truly the best gift that money can’t buy.

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