Lord, please don’t let me grow up to be a real life version of Joan Carol Clayton; a woman who is so obsessively driven by career and desperately seeking male attention that she settles for whatever comes her way. Do not let me be motivated solely by the clothes, shoes and bags that will make me look fabulous on the outside, while I’m raggedy on the inside. And Lord, please…do not let me forget that above all else, it is your love that sets the example for all relationships; pure & unconditional. Amen.
– From my journal.
Art imitates life, and when I watch television, I find myself picking out traits I have in common with the characters. I’m not sure if that’s the writer in me, or if I’m just analytical in that way. Whatever the case may be, one day as I was watching an episode of the now defunct show “Girlfriends,” I found myself nervous. I started seeing way too many similarities between myself and Tracee Ellis Ross’ character Joan Carol Clayton. If you watched the show, you know that Joan was the mother figure of the group, the advice giving attorney that was extremely successful professionally but a complete failure in her personal life, which eventually led to a breakdown that led her to working at a fast food kiosk in a mall. Apparently I am not the only one who noticed our likeness, as my friend recently revealed that she had been calling me Joan behind my back in regular conversation. (LOL)
As I watched, I thought to myself… “hmm, now you could end up like that if your motivation is only money.” Much like Joan…I have an unwavering interest in being successful on a professional level. At 22, I’m extremely excited about the possibility of my future, and I will not let anyone stand in the way of my success…and especially not a guy. My rationale is, if you can’t understand the grind, then you really don’t understand or support me. I have always been an independent kinda girl, in the sense that I don’t need to be connected to a guy at all times to feel validated. Now that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to have a boyfriend. I have had friends, I have dated, but I don’t run across too many guys that “get it”…and I will not allow myself to settle.
That may sound corny…but it is the truth. I refuse to apologize for striving for my dreams, or put them on the back burner because someone else is insecure… can I be faulted for that?
On the flip side, what I have learned, and now understand after having a number of conversations with people that I deem admirable, is that the keys to being happy and successful both personally and professionally are prayer, balance and never settling for less than what you know is God’s best for your life. It’s important to take time to enjoy the view on the journey to success. I don’t want to wake up ten years from now and regret anything, so I’m making a conscious effort to make time for fun, and leaving myself open to experience life and quite possibly love while I’m in my 20’s. I’m sure that the old adage rings true, “all work and no play makes [Andrea] a very dull [girl]”
Though it may be scary, letting yourself enjoy life is a faith move. You never know what will happen, but if you never try it, you might miss out on something phenomenal. Even if you find that you or your relationship is unsuccessful, you can take the mistakes and grow from them…or you could end up like Joan Clayton. You choose.