December 7, 2018

“Becoming 30…”


I’ve been gone for a minute but I’m back! This year I turned the big 3-0 and I must say, this year has been so many things. The good and the not so good have really made me who I am today (cliche I know). People always told me that I’m going to love my 30’s when it comes and only 4 month of being exactly 30 I’m in love. I have learned so much about myself in 2018, 29 and 30, traveled many new places, met many people, left many people, and so much more. We have a lot of catching up to do but I’m going to give you as much as possible without babbling, lol. 

Annnnnnnnd HERE WE GO……!

On February 28, 2017, I was terminated from my position as a Leasing Consultant with Bozzuto Management. I recall my Regional Manager & Vice President asking me at the end of our conversation “Do you have any questions?”, quickly I responded with a bit of joy & relief “Not at all, have a good day.” As I left that building, Union on Queen Luxury Apartments in Arlington, VA, and walked to the train station to head home I felt so much relief. The sun was shining, it was pretty cold though, the wind was blowing, my music was playing, it was an experience. Mind you, I got to work at 8:15/8:30 that morning and was gone by 9:00, lol. 

Previously, I had starting thinking and researching more about how to start my own official business. With the way my schedule was working with Bozzuto and being that I was opening and brand new build apartment community, I had no real time to focus on starting my business. When they called me into that meeting, not knowing what as really happening but I had a sneaking suspicion so I was prepared, I knew then it was time for more to spread my wings. Within 10 days of being terminated, I had made my company legal, Semaj Brandon, LLC. A few weeks later, I started working with my mom’s hair stylist as his Salon/Shampoo assistant, a couple months in decided to start my apprenticeship in cosmetology. 

Months go by and I’m receiving unemployment for about 3 months, working at the salon and just living. Money was tight but I made it happen. July comes and I start Bartending at my favorite local bar, The Hideaway, a bar close to home that I have been frequenting since I turned 21. Another happy moment because I absolutely love being a Bartender/Mixologist, at the time I had been in the game for 8 years. I knew this place would be great for me, and it has been nothing but. Do you have any idea how good it feels to be in a position to do whatever the fuck you want to do, make money, be happy and LIVE?

This is when I really started to recover my financial habits, my sanity, my peace & my happiness. Bartending and learning to be a cosmetologist was all I ever really wanted to do after being laid-off from the government/contractor world and it was finally happening. BLISS! I began to travel a lot more, many road trips to Jersey with the cousins, car shows with mommy & Uncle Donny, just on the GO! Mommy retired the year before so we had many a days when we’d just wake up, hop in the car & drive to god knows where. I was finally LIVING!

Come 2018 little did I know what the year had in store for me. I will definitely say this, the transition from 29 to 30, for me, was a life changing experience all around and I am truly grateful for the path that I was guided on. I truly began to find and figure myself out. I learned how amazing of a person I am and have been all my life. I also learned how fucked up I am mentally and emotionally. 

Reflecting on how far I have come over the years, especially the 3 years since relocating back to DC/MD after 2 years in Georgia, I really prided myself on my success level. I also really began to see and get in touch with events in my past that were still affecting me deep down, and really began to make peace within myself with a lot. Years of hurt that I was still holding onto, I found my peace and forgiveness. Years of being unclear on who I truly am, I found me. I’ve always been “me” but there were moments, now that I look back, where I didn’t truly accept who I truly am and it showed because I would go against my gut and follow what society wanted me to be. Transitioning from 29 to 30, I fully accepted ME!

Now, in the mist of all this finding me and what not, there are many moments that could have wiped me out completely and I wouldn’t be able to write this story as I am right now. The most life changing event for me was when I struck a young lady on an ATV 1 block from my house, driving drunk on Easter Sunday, and I was aggressively assaulted. The person that I became that night, I became the hurt from my past. The anger, the frustration, the guilt, the affection, the concern, it was all in me that night…and I could have lost my life behind all of that. 

Now, I’ve mentioned in previous stories about my step-father and how much I hate him and how much of a dick he is. On that night, that dick saved my life. If it wasn’t for him being home, awake & able to get to that front door in time, I may had been a goner. My entire family, on that night, came to the hospital in the middle of the night and stayed ’til the we hours of the morning to ensure I was okay and to be by my side. On that night, I changed within a moment. But until this very day, I do not recall anything between leaving that bar and me going into a rage while bleeding profusely from my torn ear lobe. 

While drugged up on morphine and coming down from my previous night’s high, something clicked inside of me. Something spoke to me and said, “You need to change, and you need to change this very moment.” And I did just that. I stayed home on bed rest for a couple days, my phone was stolen so all I had was my MacBook to communicate with people. I was missing in action, seriously. Couldn’t talk to anyone, didn’t want to see anyone, didn’t want to leave the house. But of course, mommy picked me up and we started hitting the road.

I was so regretful and ashamed of myself. All the times over the years that I had issues driving while drunk, I obviously didn’t learn my lesson until now. Aside from being drunk, being drunk while tired, stressed, depressed, angry, any negative emotion, is not a good combination let alone to be behind the wheel of any machinery. I had stopped drinking for a little while, maybe a few weeks, it was time to detox. And honestly, I felt great, of course after I stopped limping & poking around slowly and feeling ugly because of my stitched up ear lobe. 


December 9, 2018

Ok, I’m back. The last 2 days were a lot of things but I’m here!

During my recovery period, I really began to see who I was becoming and how I was finding my peace with life in general. I began to really let go of a lot of built up frustrations and emotions and negative thoughts. It was important for me to make peace within myself with things because until I did, I would continue down the same road of random lash outs and dumb decisions. I also began to really think about my father and I’s relationship at the time and how distant we had become from each other. Its quite frustrating, also heartbreaking because of built up emotions about our relationship over many years now.

At some point, I simply just stopped caring, about a lot. No, I’m not saying I don’t care about life, I stopped caring about the many things that would trigger negative thoughts and stopped letting things get me in a negative place. Life is entirely too short to allow ignorance and bullshit get you down and out. Admitting to yourself that you’re depressed then taking the steps necessary to alleviate this depression. This is the year where all of this came to surface, and the journey has been amazing though it’s not over. 

Even the people I was frequently hanging with had suddenly changed, and I’m glad that it did. Not saying I’m glad that me and those persons don’t hang out anymore but glad that I fell back to really focus on me and put my hard earned money to things greater than a drink at the bar. In this separation I reevaluated some “friendships” and removed myself from people who never gave but always took or people who just had negative energy, I had to remove myself for my peace and my growth. “No” had become my new favorite word and it feels amazing every time I say it. It was time to really stop allowing people to take advantage of me and my kindness & my connects. 

With all the traveling I’ve done in 2018, I didn’t really have the time to hang out with people. Event invite after the next but the events would always be on a day I’m scheduled to be out of town, but I honestly wouldn’t have gone to some events because they were in the city and I had fallen back tremendously from driving to the city unless I absolutely had to. I had stopped supporting people so much that never supported me. I was always the one to bust their ass to make people’s events, showcases, visit them at their job, see their performances, even volunteer to help them with their events, I had to stop. Why am I jumping through hoops to support these people and they never once have came to see me behind a bar or attended something I invited them to?

……speaking of traveling, lets see where all I’ve been in 2018.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
  2. New York/New Jersey (frequently)
  3. Deep Creek, MD
  4. San Antonio, Texas
  5. Miami, Florida
  6. Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  7. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  8. Cozumel, Mexico
  9. Cancun, Mexico
  10. 10.St. Maarten, USVI
  11. 11.St. Thomas, USVI
  12. 12.St. John, USVI
  13. 13.Nassau, Bahamas

Let’s just say I’m earning my flyer miles, lol. People often say, “Where you going now? You’re always gone. When is your next vacation? I wish I had your life. You got money cuz you always on vacation.” Well…as I said previously, I redirected how I spend my money and I redirected it to traveling. I love it! The people I’ve met and connected with on my vacations/trips have been phenomenal. There really are other people in the world who have the same beliefs and outlooks on life as me. I guess this is what turning 30 feels like. 

I am pleasured to announce that my mother & I finally have our home to ourselves! We are rebuilding ourselves together. She has her issues, I have my issues, but were side by side supporting each other on our journeys and getting our peace back in our home. I made it a point once I moved back in with my mother almost 3 years ago after my apartment building caught fire, to ensure that my mother started to be herself again and make herself happy first. Many a days we hit the road casino hopping, many lunch and dinner dates, many bar conversations, just getting back to us. And I must say that I’ve done a pretty damn good job.


December 11, 2018

Becoming 30 has been an experience and a blessing. This morning while getting ready to leave work, I get a call from Shaila (Ex-Girlfriend) and she said that Tiara (our little sister) had just passed. 27 years old with 3 young kids, heartbreaking. I cried so hard and so much for hours between leaving work and trying to fall asleep. So many emotions ran through me. The Love-Applewhite family has been a major part of my life since my senior year in high school when I first met Shaila, through her cousin who is my best friend/brother Tim. They were there during Shaila & I’s relationship, our break up, me coming out, they were the only family I had when I moved to Georgia, it’s been a good 12 years being apart of that family. Losing a loved one is never easy but within the lose, you have to see the positive light and I thoroughly live by the saying “You only live once”.

I’ve come so far, yet have so much further to go. I’m excited & ready to see what the rest of 30 will bring. My entire outlook on life in general has completely shifted and I’ve learned the value of patience. So many things I want to do, places I want to go and goals I want to accomplish. And best believe I’m going to live my life each day as if it were my last…LIVING MY LIFE MY WAY!

……This Is “Becoming 30”

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