Courage.

It’s four minutes past 8 AM and I’m hiding in my car. I’m sitting in the parking lot of my job waiting until the absolute last minute that I have to go inside to make my meeting in time. My windows are tinted so it should be okay — I don’t think anyone can see me just yet.

Today, I’m taking a big step. You see, I’ve always been afraid to let people see the unfiltered and natural side of me. The girl who has thick voluminous curls or “ethnic” hair as some would call it. I’ve long lived in fear of being accepted for my natural hair, and frankly, for how society sees African American women. I feel like sometimes people forget that I’m a black girl. I’m always so poised and put together; hair is always styled and neat. I’m educated and I speak clearly. But underneath what they think that they see, I am a black girl. No different than anyone else but I carry burdens for this identity. But today is the first day that I am redefining who people think I am and embracing my Black Girl Magic. As I sit in my car, my hair is curly and natural, and I’m terrified to step outside and show myself. But this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. From this day forward, I am going to embrace my beauty and own who I am. Unfiltered and unafraid.

But wait. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me rewind a bit.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Paige. To the outside world or even for someone who scrolls through a few pages of my Facebook, I seem to be a pretty cool chick. Some would even call me inspirational. But look a little deeper. There’s so much more to me than meets the eye. My friends and family would tell you that I’m 22 years old and weigh no more than a loaf of bread. I’m a midwest girl from Columbus, Ohio with a mom, a dad, and two younger twin brothers. I’ve been dating my first serious boyfriend for about a year and a half now. Google could tell you that I just graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in both Sociology and Communication. A homecoming queen with a full-time job at the largest advertising agency in the city of Phoenix — the entire world ahead of her. While all of those things are true, I want to share a little more with you. An inside look if you would. What my social media channels won’t tell you is that I may look like I have it all together but really, I’m still trying to figure it all out. Some would say that I’m lost, but I’d call it discovering.

I’m at a pretty confusing place in my life right now. At only 22 years old, I’ve managed to graduate from college and land a real “big girl job”. I live on my own and am completely independent of my parents. I am so proud to say that I’ve made it this far but honestly, it’s pretty scary. I’m ONLY 22. I still feel so young. I still have friends drinking their livers to death, while I have other friends that are married, own a home, and seem to have it all together. But where do I fit in this picture. I don’t really know..

There are so many stories to share to fill in the blanks so I’ll start now. Welcome to my blog. To me, it’s more than just a site full of me blabbering on about who I am and the day-to-day that I call my life. This is my personal journal and the story of my life as it’s unfolding. I want to take the courage to display who I am, how I think, and share my journey for all who care to share these moments with me.

So without further ado, let’s take a little trip to the past so you can get a better understanding of the things that make me Paige Herbert. I’ll stop you from getting too excited; I’m no hero nor am I uniquely interesting but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

— Little Miss Sunshine

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