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

The Freedom of Being Yourself

One of the greatest freedoms one can ever have is the freedom to be their true self.  If you look throughout history many people have fought and died for that freedom. The freedom to be gay and walk hand-in-hand with your partner. The freedom to wear your hair the way you want without people judging your beauty or political beliefs. The freedom to practice your religion. The freedom to be a young black man walking down the street without someone harassing you and assuming you're a thug (Justice for Trayvon). And the freedom to not be judged for having a mental health challenge or a disability and be labeled as helpless or worthless. 

For a long time I grappled with accepting myself. The nerdiness, managing my depression, being called a white girl because I spoke proper English, having dark skin, etc. But the day I got tired of beating myself  up and decided those who don't like my true self can kick rocks was life changing. What I have learned, especially since wearing my hair natural, is that sometimes people hate on those who are "different" because they're envious and wish they could be their true selves. Think about it. Look at people like the ministers Eddie Long and Ted Haggard. Both were publicly anti-gay, but men have come forward and said privately they weren't practicing what they preached. And I've had sistas tell me they wished they had courage to wear their hair natural, but they stick to the creamy crack because straight hair is more acceptable. 

I recently recorded a short op-ed about this topic called "Freedom and the Mental Health Movement" for my show Mental Health and Wellness Radio. It's about mental health, but pertains to all of us because we all have brains. Therefore we all need to take care of our mental health. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. In the meantime, be happy being yourself.