This post is inspired by a recent conversation about joy, celebrating milestones, and the resilience of first daughters. Being a first daughter and first child at the same time in an African home is an experience. That is my story, being the first daughter growing up in a low-income and later middle-income household, I had a unique yet very challenging position that shaped me into the woman I am today.
The challenges were so burdensome that I developed some unhealthy survival traits and I have held onto them, even when there is a visible path to self-sustenance. I have held off celebrations because I would rather use the resources to support others, I have said yes in many cases where the answer was no.
Acknowledging my Journey
Being the first child means I always think of things in forgone alternatives, with people’s needs taking priority over mine. I did all this as a call of duty and was appreciated for it. However, as the sun rises with a different shade of hue this summer, it marks a turning point in reclaiming ownership of my needs and wants. It means allowing myself to say “no,” “maybe later,” or “let me sort myself first.” To be fair and honest about the people in my life, the ways I’ve shown up as a first daughter were not as an act of forced compliance, but as a religious duty to my role. I just did not know when to stop and how to create more space for unbridled joy. But it’s never too late.
I have heard more times than not this year, “Grace pause and celebrate your milestones.” While I wish it is something I can just do, I will only find fulfillment in it if my whole being is content with it. And that is what I am unlearning, a space where I can choose myself without guilt.
The Process of Freedom
I look forward to the process of freeing myself from the burden of being the first daughter while still embracing my role. As Toni Morrison once said, “freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of my freed self was another.” In claiming ownership of that freed self, I still want to hold the respect and grace of my position as a first daughter… to be continued.
Girls’ Time Out & Muted Tones
Recently, I had a wonderful time at the Alexandria waterfront for a girls’ day out. Virginia has a way of making you feel like your taxes are being put to good use. There are countless recreational, relaxation and outdoor spaces open to the public for free. It was a much-needed break from the challenges of adulting, especially for my friend, who has two kids, and myself, as I juggle grad school and work.
We took a moment to pause and chat about mundane things, get seafood, and laugh over ice cream. I also had oysters for the first time and I really cannot say if I appreciate the taste or not.
Capturing the Moment
Although I didn’t bring my camera, my iPhone 14 pro max truly impressed me. I applied some editing tips from my mobile phone editing book and have recently found myself embracing muted tones. It’s funny because I initially thought this year would be all about vibrant colors, but my outfit choices tell a different story.
A Picture-Perfect Outfit
Today, my outfit resembles something straight out of a Pinterest board. The last time I wore these pants, I shared about them in a blog post. I was wearing a Gafasandals slides too because it is my favorite accessory for summer. I feel like I’m dressed like those Scandinavian or Italian influencers who enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like chilling outdoors and eating grapes. With that being said, I hope you all have a wonderful and memorable summer.
Love after Love
“The time will comewhen, with elation,you will greet yourself arrivingat your own door, in your own mirrorand each will smile at the other’s welcome,and say, sit here. Eat.You will love again the stranger who was your self.Give wine. Give bread, Give back your heartto itself, to the stranger who has loved youall your life, whom you ignoredfor another, who knows you by heart.Take down the love letters from the bookshelfthe photographs, the desperate notes,peel your own image from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life.“