Thoughts on 24

Walking1

I’ll be 25 in six months. I read somewhere that when you turn 25, that’s when your brain transitions more into adulthood, or something along those lines. And I can kind of see that. I feel like I’m at a point where I’m still wanting to experiment, while also looking for constants. The truth is though, being in your twenties is hard. I see this as a decade of my life that’s one big experiment. It’s filled to the brim with failure, and it’s filled with the illusions of what you think your life should look like.

By 24, lots of people in the boomer generation were married, buying their first house, and having babies. At least, that’s how it seems. If my math is correct, my parents were 25 and 27 when they got married, and less than a year later I was born. So, by that standard, I still “have time” to figure things out. Right?

Honestly, by thirty I’ll probably be single. If I’m lucky, I’ll live in a shoe box apartment in Brooklyn, and if I’m really lucky I’ll have a cat.

The thing I hate about being in my twenties is that this is the youngest I’m ever going to be, while also being independent and old enough to do anything I want. But I can’t even enjoy it because I’m too stressed about having a career, AND a relationship, AND a car, AND exercising/ eating healthy, AND earning degrees, AND having an apartment, traveling, etc. Not to mention wanting to be happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ll be the first to admit I get stressed because I try to do everything at once. But maybe the truth is, we can’t expect ourselves to do and have all of those things at the same time, can we? In high school and college, the only thing I really truly had to worry about was school. There may have been jobs and skills to build on the side, but school was the one thing that was really important. It was the top priority for my time.

After graduating, it’s like everything becomes the top priority. At least that’s how I feel. Suddenly, work, relationships, and everything else needs to be number one. It’s like everything you want in life is part of a Jenga tower, and if you don’t get one thing quite right, the whole tower (i.e- your whole life), will come crumbling down.

Of course, that’s not really how life works. People I know in their 50s, 40s, and even 30s are either married or not, they have kids or they don’t, they live in their own house, or they don’t. I’m not saying people don’t stress when they’re older, or that they don’t get bummed out about not having things they want, but I do feel like there’s less pressure.

In your 20s, people want to know how you’re using that degree you just got. They want to know if you’re dating if you’re single, or if you’re gonna marry the person you’re dating, or if you and your spouse are gonna have kids, or if you’re gonna breast feed the kids you already have, etc, etc, etc. It’s endless. If you don’t have a job, people want to know if you are looking. If you’re earning a degree, they want to know what you’ll do with it. It’s like being a young adult gives everyone permission to watch you under a microscope, and to make sure your decisions and answers align with whatever can make them the most comfortable.

I always thought my twenties would have a sense of adventure, but instead, it just feels like a long climb toward stability. Now that I’m halfway to twenty-five, it just makes me think. I don’t want to spend the rest of this decade feeling stressed and sad and inadequate. I don’t want it to pass me by while I’m drowning in job applications or worried about being “forever alone.”

But unfortunately, as much as I want to live my life to the fullest, I don’t really know how. I want to do what makes me happy, but it doesn’t always feel that simple. I’ve learned the hard way that no one but you cares if you’re in a lane that makes you unhappy. You have to fight for that on your own. And sometimes that fight is exhausting, or it has to wait.

The past five years have been transformative. I’ve been through a lot, accomplished a lot, and learned so much. It hasn’t all been failure and sadness, but it can feel that way at times. I remember the anxious times more than I remember the good times.

I want the next five years to be better. I hope they are. I hope happiness can be less elusive.

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Your Gender Won’t Stop Me From Loving You

If you’re a woman

Then I stand with you in solidarity

You’re free to embrace your feminine

And masculine energy

You can express yourself how you choose

Only you own your body

No one else can tell you

The kind of woman you should be.

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If you’re a man

You can be strong and together

Or you can fall apart in a puddle of tears

There’s feelings that flow through us

For all these years

So of course let them go

Without holding onto social fears.

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If you’re nonbinary

I respect you

And I want you to always live your truth

And if you think the world sees you

As a little too much “he”

Or a little too much “she”

Give it time, I know you’ll make them see

Who it is you really want to be.

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If you don’t know what your gender is

Or if you’re confused or lost

Or afraid to find the truth

Because you’re worried about the cost

Don’t worry, I’m here

And many others are, too

You don’t have to have it figured out

Either way, I’ll support you.

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Your gender is a part of you

It won’t stop me from loving you.

Black Hair Magic

[This story is taken from a book I’m self-publishing called ‘Impossible Things.’ The genre is magical realism. Thanks for reading! Full book coming soon. ❤ ]

A short story

By: Ashley Tiara Lilly

Black Hair Magic

It was a hot summer day but the air conditioning was cool. Abigail sat on her bed, flipping through a copy of her favorite magazine while eating from a pack of peach-flavored mints. She was wearing a new pair of denim shorts with her favorite white top that was decorated with lace.

She paused when she saw a picture of her favorite popstar, Daphne Moon, and circled it with a blue pen. Daphne wore red lipstick, a golden, glittery dress, and her smile was bright. What really stood out, though, was her hair, slicked back but still showing off her beautiful curls. Abigail snapped a picture with her smart phone and sent it to her best friend, Jayla, typing,

“Ugh she’s so perfect. Why can’t my hair look like that????”

There was a knock on the door and her mother walked in, carrying a brown box. She shook the box to get her attention, its contents rattling inside. As soon as Abigail heard it, she knew exactly what it was. She hopped out of bed and took the box in her hands, holding it to her chest like a long lost treasure.

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Like this story? Read the rest of it here 🙂

I See You

My dear women

Who are worried their health rights

Are threatened, I see you

My dear trans kids who are worried

They won’t be protected or accepted

I see you

My dear LGBTQ community

Who feels scared or discriminated against

I see you

My dear Muslims who feel unsafe

Or judged, I see you

My dear people of color, who feel this world

Does not love them enough, I see you

My dear misfits

Who feel judged for being different

Who feel the brokenness of a system

That leaves them feeling not good enough,

Not heard enough, not cared for enough

I see you

I care about you, I Am You

Our ancestors before us fought for equality

And we will continue that fight

Because we are here, we matter, and we belong

If you feel invisible, powerless, or scared

I see you

I love you, and I have hope.

Why I Need Feminism

It’s no secret that feminists are often trolled on the internet. If someone discusses women’s issues, there will be an unhappy person in the comments section equipped with insults and bigotry. There are entire blogs dedicated to disliking those who speak up for gender equality, and I just always think, don’t you have anything better to do? We each have the capacity to add something good to this world, whether it’s advanced technology or a silly drawing. A voice is special, it’s a gift, it should be used well.

Not everything I post or say or share is sunshine and rainbows, but come on people. Who has time to put so much energy into being negative?! Anywayz, I wanted to make this post because I’ve seen people post comments on other sites that basically suggest they think women’s issues aren’t real or that they basically shouldn’t be talked about, or they just say mean things to vloggers or bloggers who usually want to make the world better.

I’m not the first person to make a list like this, and I certainly won’t be the last. It’s not original, but talking about these things still matters. Here’s why I need feminism:

  1. Because every time I walk down the street I have to be aware of the fact that my gender alone makes me vulnerable to potentially dangerous people.
  2. Because several of my female friends in college carried protective items around campus, such as a self-defense flashlight or rape whistle. And those were considered normal, if not necessary precautions to take.
  3. Because victims of rape are still asked what they were wearing
  4. Because many women dislike being catcalled, feel uncomfortable and even unsafe because of it, and that dislike is pretty much always ignored
  5. Because women in other parts of the world, who I may never meet, are not safe in their own homes, communities, or countries.
  6. Because sexism still exists in STEM fields, and there are still people who say discouraging things to girls who are interested in science and tech
  7. Because trans women are given a hard time for wanting to use the restroom (seriously, can we move past this already?)
  8. Because trans women of color experience high rates of discrimination, violence and murder.
  9. Because television and magazines are filled with ads that sexualize the female body in order to sell anything from perfume to candy.
  10. Because if I ever have a son, and if he wants to play with dolls, I’m going to let him. And I’m going to be judged for it.
  11. Because women who don’t want to marry or have children are judged for it.
  12. Because having a vagina puts a variety of social pressures on me, from wearing “girly” clothes, to shaving my legs, to being told to smile, to a variety of things that have nothing to do with having a vagina.

The list goes on. People are often criticized for being vocal about women’s issues. But I also think that if you’re being criticized, especially when it is accompanied by ignorance and bigotry, you are probably doing something right.

There’s a lot of negativity out there. I hope you add something good to the world today. Because you have gifts to share with others, and you matter.

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#MyThoughts