Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Goodbye Black Pearl

The Black Pearl was my first car. She was a coal-colored 1999 Honda Civic gifted to me from my family in the Bay. I am a huge Batman fan and wanted to drive a Batmobile since I was a kid. I'm not a billionaire, nor a resident of Gotham City. So the closest I could get to having a Batmobile was owning a black Honda Civic. I took two driving tests before I brought her down to San Diego my junior year in college. I loved the Black Pearl. She wasn't a luxury car but I didn't care. The Black Pearl was an answer to my prayers. No more waiting at the bus stop and having to rely on people for rides to the grocery store. Finally, I could hit up the college parties of my choosing and leave when I'm ready. As Shanaynay from Martin would say, "Heyyyyy." It was on like popcorn.

I couldn't complain. The Black Pearl got me from point A to B. She didn't ask for much so the high gas prices weren't too hard on my wallet. My girl rarely broke down. And she always kept me dry in the rain.

A few years later I moved to LA. For Angelinos, our cars are like second homes because we're in them so much. So my car was more than four wheels. Some days it was my favorite lunch spot. Other times it was my prayer closet when I was out in public and needed a space to chat with God. If I had cramps and wanted to recline on my breaks, the Black Pearl became my bedroom. I cried, laughed, jammed, chilled, you name it, in my car.

A few weekends ago I was coming home from a play in Hollywood. I was two minutes away from my apartment when I was driving through an intersection and BAM! I wont go into details but let's just say somebody ran a red light and it wasn't me. Michael Jackson had just died a few days prior. As much as I love his music and Luther Vandross, I am in no rush to see them perform at the big concert in the sky if you know what I mean. By God's grace no one was killed. Unfortunately the Black Pearl didn't make it. She was totaled. My car was in such good condition it probably could've lasted another five to 10 years. She didn't even have 50, 000 miles.

After the accident my pearl was unrecognizable and undrivable. I had her towed away to a salvage yard. while cleaning out my car I spotted a dead red rose underneath the front passenger seat. I have no clue where it came from. I laid it on the back seat. I'm unemployed and this accident couldn't have come at a worse time. But I looked at the rose with thanks. Thankful because it wasn't resting on my headstone. And thankful God blessed me with a good car that lasted 10 years.

The next day one of those big, long, two-level trucks used to transport cars came for my pearl. She stood on top of the steel bed of the truck blacker than midnight and glistening in the sun. Just like the first day I got her. I stood on the curb and watched the truck tow drive away a piece of my youth. My Black Pearl.


  1. Your story about your car makes me want to cry, but it's a car after all. I'm happy you survived, and the only thing that was laid to rest was the metal.

  2. As a fellow Honda Civic owner, I feel your pain. I've had my baby for 7 years and intend to keep it for at least 3 more (assuming it isn't the victim of the same kind of tragedy as the Black Pearl). I agree with Anonymous though. The most important thing is that you are okay.


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