My 25th birthday meant two things to me: responsibility and rationale.
I turned tweny-five two months ago. But what had happened was I had to republish, recreate and re-edit all the posts I could recover from when I lost my original website and wanted that old content up first. But now I wish I just would of sprinkled in some old with new but whatevs. So yes, it took two months to do that because it just did.
24 was a year. A year I vividly remember like it was a year ago. I stepped out on faith three days after my 24th birthday, packed up my car and headed north…to my uncle’s house. I didn’t know what to expect, had absolutely no game plan, and was unemployed. But I knew there was more outside of the city I called home and that meant I was growing up and outgrew home. So, here I am 25 in 2017 and I’m happy.
Do I wish I didn’t have to pay student loans without suffering federal repercussions? Abso-fucking-lutely.
My 25 birthday was completely spontaneous. I had absolutely no plans, nada, zilch and it low-key made me upset as I looked at the calendar and thought “What the hell am I going to do for my 25th birthday?” So to commemorate my big 2-5 I will do a self-interview about it.
*Disclaimer: You will read some real shit ‘cause shit is real.
What do birthdays even mean to you?
Up until about 23/24, birthdays just meant fun and having the most attention in the room. When I wasn’t financially able to have the fun birthdays I wanted, I had time to reflect on what a ‘birthday’ truly meant for me: reflection. Who was I a year ago? What has changed? Three-hundred-sixty-five days of growth, what is the result? Although I still think birthdays are celebratory, reflection is the true meaning.
You speak about reflection, can you reflect on a memory from when you were 24 that was a part of transitioning into 25?
Goodness, so much emotion was felt in that year. One day the coolant indicator light in my car came on. It seemed like every time I would drive to and from Savannah, a service indicator light would appear on my dashboard. I am completely clueless when it comes to car maintenance; my knowledge stops at periodic oil changes. But when that light came on, I didn’t know why. I pulled up to a car parts store, bought some coolant, popped up the hood and filled the container. The light went off. Sounds trivial but I felt so empowered. It made me believe I’ll be okay in life just in general. How can pouring coolant in your car feel powerful? It just made me think how sometimes, well probably many times, you’ll face situations clueless but you got to roll up your sleeves and go right in. Do what you can. You’ll be alright.
What made you want to go to LA?
I’ve never been to California. New York was too cold. Miami just seems overrated. And I didn’t have enough time to go abroad. I needed a quick trip.
Why did you decide to go to LA by yourself?
LA was spontaneous, but to go alone was a very conscious decision. After I made the travel arrangements I asked around in case someone could go. Every single person I asked couldn’t go. Had I based my decision on other’s schedule I would not have done what I wanted to do. It’s great to celebrate huge moments with the ones you love but a part of me just wanted to take the trip on my own. Honestly, I enjoy being alone; it’s easier to get shit done. Every time I go on a trip with people at some point I would wish I was alone; I wasn’t putting up with anyone’s shit on my birthday.
So did LA symbolize anything being that you did decide to do the trip solo?
LA was something like a rite of passage for me—a coming of age if you say. I’ve never done anything really extravagant for my birthday and this trip starts that change. Last year I had the time but no money. This year I had the money and made the time. I’ve never been to the west coast before and for someone who considers herself adventurous, I wasn’t doing much exploring. Whether it was a group of 10 or 3, I still would have had to book a flight and hotel. I also think going solo gave me the option of going sorta clueless. I started making an itinerary and said fuck it I’ll figure it out when I get there. You can’t do that in a group. There needs to be some sort of structure. I booked first and planned later. That may not sound like the most strategic plan, but like I said, going alone made it easier for me to just wing everything.
You’re 25 now, what does that even mean for you? How does it feel to say “I’m 25-years-old”?
Twenty-five is the year of responsibility and rationale. I often times react first to later deliberate, which isn’t always the way to go. Twenty-five is that for me. I’m changing what I don’t like about myself because I have the power to make that change, no one else but me. To have the capability to fix something about yourself that can make you a better human is the most entitled you can feel about yourself. You have to look at yourself with those same eyes we judge one another and really critique who you are and what can make you better. What can help me not make that mistake again? What can help me be a better person to the people around me? Twenty-five is that year for me. I’m not getting any younger.
Twenty-five is about me getting my shit together. I’m not saying I need the dream car, dream house, dream job, dream life, but more a responsible and rationale life direction. Am I walking in the path that will allow for me to explore my dreams and perfect my reality? Am I making my relationship with God stronger? Am I working in a field for longevity and passion? Am I working towards paying down my student loans, realistically? Overall, am I getting my shit together? I think 25 is a fair age to ask yourself that question. I’m not saying we need to be millionaires by 30, but if that is a life dream walk in that direction. If no one else’s has their shit together but me, I’m good. I focus on me and moves are being made. I move in silence.
So you’re secretive?
Not really, I just turn down my life’s volume level. It’s really low—meaning that unless you’re really close to me (like if you were to television), you won’t know what the fuck I got going on. So many people didn’t know I moved to Atlanta until I was home visiting. People didn’t know I went to LA until I posted it on IG. Social media is not the place to keep up with me. That’s what this blog is for.
You have never been to LA, everyone talks about Cali, what did you do while there?
Unnecessary shopping for one. I bought this pass that gave me a choice of six attractions and you choose four. I went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and a city tour. The wax museum was actually the only time I wish I had someone with me. I had all these dope poses I wanted to do with the wax figures but didn’t have someone to take the photo. Ripley’s is the most touristy thing you can do. It’s a museum for two-headed animals and maybe some actual historic artifacts, maybe. But if you’re a tourist you got to do the touristy things. The city tour bus ride was my favorite. I sat on the top which is open and it totally killed my ‘fro with the wind and I was freezing but it was dope. It takes you around the city and gives you the option to get off and explore. I got off on Melrose and was low-key underwhelmed. Every time a cool stop came up like Beverly Hills Drive, the LACMA and other museums and Grove Park I hesitated. When Melrose came up I was like, Kayla, get your ass off this bus and explore. When I was ready to go back my phone died and I forgot where the bus stop was. I was freaking the fuck out. I’m basically Californian now.
I explored Hollywood which is dope AF. You can spend all day on the strip, so much is there. I was going to go back after the bus tour, but when my phone died I just wanted to get my ass back to the hotel. I thought about doing it anyways but figured it wouldn’t be smart to be by myself in a city I don’t know with a dead phone.
Omg how can I forget. I went to my first drag show! It was a reenactment of two Golden Girls episodes and a fun fact: I’ve seen every single episode like five times. It was everything. I did feel bad because I was falling asleep during the show and it was only the first episode. My east coast internal clock just wasn’t having it.
What did you do on your actual birthday?
Well, midnight I was having dinner with a friend, but I did the most exploring like the wax museum and city bus tour during the day. It was a very chill day which reflects my vibe at this point in my life. It didn’t have to be anything major because me just being LA was a big deal. Later that day I had an amazing baked crab hand roll at a ramen restaurant close to my hotel (all alone btw). Then I ended my night with my favorite cupcake from Sprinkles and crashed at the hotel.
What are the takeaways? Would you do it again?
Absolutely. It was a three-day escape for me. The week of my trip I felt like bullshit just kept popping up. First, I had to replace my windshield, $165. Second, my car was booted AT THE COMPLEX WHERE STAY, $75. I just couldn’t believe the day before I was leaving for LA I spent over $200 on unexpected issues. For three days Atlanta problems stayed in Atlanta. The trip was needed, at that point I deserved it. I definitely plan on going back, why not. My only regret was not bringing warmer clothes.
Worst part of trip?
The fact I had to leave in 3 days was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to stay longer.
The best part of the trip?
The freedom. I literally went out there with no idea how to spend my three days. But knowing I could do whatever I wanted when I felt like it and have no concern if a group would enjoy the activities was the icing on the cake.
Advice for anyone second guessing traveling alone.
Don’t get me wrong going anywhere thousands of miles away from home– especially for the first-time, can be scary. The world is crazy, people are crazy, but it’s a genuine experience. You don’t have to travel alone all the time, but if the risks are low consider it. It’s the little things that make a big difference. If you would like to get up at 7 a.m. to start the day but it’s too early for everyone else take that into consideration. Don’t go anywhere sketch, stick to the tourist hubs like downtown and well-populated areas. Let your people back home know where you are and send pics. Talk to/text someone throughout the day to keep that communication open. Whether is domestic or abroad your safety should be your first concerned and fun comes second.
Where to next?
New York for the summer. If I get my two-week vacation I’m going out the country for sure.