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

Cocoa Fly Gets Some Natural Hair Love on

 If you told me 15 years ago, when I was daydreaming in my carnation pink bedroom, that my face would land on for a natural hair section--I would have called you crazy. Then I would've tuned you out, hit "play" on my walkman and listened to a TLC tape.  Why? Well, I wouldn't buy that the adult-me stopped straightening my hair. I wasn't into Afros back then. Plus, I wouldn't believe that people in the future were reading magazines and newspapers on computers.

The photo was from the Beautiful Textures-sponsored event I covered a few weeks ago in San Francisco. The room was filled with black women who put down the hot comb, got off of the creamy crack and rocked gorgeous hairstyles. Photographer Ashleigh Reddy walked around asking to take people's photos. She approached me. I said sure. Afterward she told me it was for

The other day I stepped back and thought about why I was excited to see this photo. One of my childhood dreams was to see my name in Essence, mainly as a writer and editor. Then-editor Susan L. Taylor was (and still is) someone I looked up to.  In my teens, I didn't always love what I saw in the mirror. To reach a place in my life today where I not only love the skin I'm in, but my God-given hair texture is an indescribable joy.  And the fact that my kinks and curls got my picture on at this time of my life is no coincidence. God is trying to tell me something.

I heard through my family's grapevine that a relative who saw this picture asked another relative, "So, she likes wearing her like this?" Ha! Years ago I would've felt self-concisous by such a comment but today I find it ridiculous. Obviously I like sporting this style because I've been natural 1 1/2 years. LOL.  My hair is convenient, spa friendly, manageable, affordable (I've saved so much money), liberating and fun. If my relative ever asks me if I like my hair, I'll tell her I don't like it. I'll tell her I love it.