Chapter 31

Witness the joyous reclamation of her own narrative.  

By Raena Boston

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Halfway through Chapter 30, I'd realized that I lost consciousness while writing my story. 

My eyes danced around the page and sent a signal to my brain; the paragraphs were coherent, yet I absorbed none of what I’d been writing for at least three years. In my haste to get to the next paragraph, the next page, the next chapter, the next level I’d forgotten to look up: I didn't know whose story I was writing anymore. 

Every good story requires a conflict, and I had arrived. I could press on and hope that my circumstances would change, or I could reverse course and pay attention to how the discomfort was trying to guide me. The force of will to brush past feelings of inadequacy, victimhood, and discomfort had been exhausted. Maybe it was literal fatigue from not sleeping in 10 months thanks to a new baby. Or perhaps, and more likely, I was just sick of my own bullshit. It was time to assume my heroine’s journey of self-discovery.  

I flipped the pages until I landed on the entry I last remembered. I read it, paused, and looked up from the page to reflect. At best, I didn't know who this woman was anymore; at worst, I didn't like her. I chased context clues within the sentence, hoping they’d reveal to me how I had somehow managed to end up as both the protagonist and antagonist in my narrative. It was this realization that snapped me back into consciousness. It was time to wake up and see where self-awareness would lead me.  

Where had I left off in my personal narrative? Black. Woman. Black woman. Wife. Mother. Boy mom. Working mom. Employee at a prestigious company. Overachiever. Perfectionist. Christian. Breast feeder. Hipster neighborhood dweller. Little sister. Twin sister. Good twin. On and on and on. I'd spent my life unconsciously collecting labels which all auto populated little invisible scripts that I had never bothered to question. 



The resounding theme, though, was one of “not good enough–ness”: not a good enough mom, not a good enough wife, not a good enough employee, not a good enough person, and the list continued. When you're never enough, it's hard to show up as your best self. As long as this attitude reigns, the "never enough” prophecy will continue to be fulfilled. 

The one area in which I thought I had nailed the façade of being somewhat enough was the professional world. Achievement was a high I chased for as far back as my memory could travel. Achievement had always worked for me…until it didn’t. A few months ago, after a few rounds of performance feedback left me feeling less than, I found myself deflated. My achievement usually acted as a salve for all the gaping not-enough wounds, but not this time.  

Gaining awareness into that unconscious narrative was the first step toward dismantling the bullshit stories I'd been telling myself for so long. All of these stories were steeped in lack: it was time to flip the script.  

As an enlightening Chapter 30 concluded, I decided to wake up and write Chapter 31. Its title? Creativity. Chapter 31 will be all about consciously creating a narrative in which I step fully into my power as the author of my life. The story will no longer focus on my circumstances; rather, it will depict how and why I show up fully as myself despite my circumstances. Through a radical, unwavering commitment to my mental health and personal development, I’m reclaiming my narrative. The next year will be spent dedicated to self-care, with particular regard for reading, learning, reflecting, and growing. I’m doing a deep dive into all things personal development in order to reclaim and rewrite my narrative with a focus on the following: 

Marriage. Take responsibility for my own emotional well-being. Observe where and when my anxieties come out. Let go of what doesn’t serve this partnership. Approach the day-to-day with intention. 

Mothering. Help my children grow into their own full selves. Focus on imparting empathy, resilience, and a growth mindset. 

Money. Be conscious, confident, and adept at handling and growing my finances. 

Minimalism. Buy and consume only what brings me joy. Focus on experiences and not things. 

Mental Health. Before I can be present in my marriage, in mothering, and with my money, I must be totally invested in my mental health. This year will also focus on creating rituals and routines to simplify my life: More reading. More journaling. More therapy. More coaching. More physical movement.  

And most importantly? Impressing my own damn self.  

I’m sharing all of my musings, book reviews, introspection and more via my Instagram @raenasjoy. If my journey resonates, then I invite you to follow along.  

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Raena

is a 9 with a 1 wing on the enneagram. When she's not consuming personal development content like water, she's the chairwoman of the Yancey Frat House. Her hometown and home base is Tampa, FL. Find her @raenasjoy.


The Rich, Warm Nectar of Phat Fudge

 Portable snack power. 

It doesn’t taste like carnival fudge, so don’t expect it to taste like carnival fudge, because it does not. This is something else entirely. Chocolatey but serious.

Even with this clarification, you may still say, “This doesn’t taste like fudge!” And I will close my eyes and shake my head, gently.

What’s in the package is fudge, though: chef Mary Shenouda’s Phat Fudge. Fudge, all grown up and asking after your well-being. The ingredients list: organic grass-fed butter, tahini, cacao, ground coffee, turmeric, cinnamon, sea salt, maca, raw honey, vanilla, and cayenne. (See? It is more serious.) The taste? Buttery, chocolatey, tongue over coarseness, satisfyingly so.   

Personally, I slather it onto apple slices, or eat it straight out the squeezable packet with a tiny spoon meant to stir sugar into an espresso. FYI: Shenouda swears it works as a hangover cure, too.

Available in Original, Coffee- and Honey-Free, and Spicy Vegan formulas (the last of which makes great use of sesame butter, coconut butter, coconut oil, and coconut nectar) at over 30 retail locations across the United States, or at PhatFudge.com.