As I approach my 40th birthday, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on my experiences when I was in my 20s. After graduating high school in 1997, I went straight into college. When I was 20, I transferred to Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, which is now Stockton University. I am originally from Philadelphia, so I lived on campus while I attended Stockton. I majored in Sociology as my mom told me that it was an easy major, although people in this profession don’t make much money and spend the rest of their adult years working at least two to three jobs. However, I listened to my mom and majored in Sociology and minored in Dance. I joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc which is a historically black sorority founded in 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

I graduated from Stockton in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. My first job out of college was working for Northeast Community Center in a mental health day program. My first paycheck was $650.00 bi-weekly and to me that was decent money because it was my first real job. When tax season came around the following year and I filed my taxes, my mom (who is an accountant) told me that I would be receiving an earn income credit. I asked her to explain what that was and from that point on I promised myself that I would try to earn as money as possible.

For the next 9 years, I worked both full-time and part-time jobs. I even earned certifications as a personal trainer, bartender, Zumba Fitness Instructor, among others. Also, I started two non-profit organizations and I was very active in my sorority. However, I realized by the age of 24, that there was something missing in my life. I had undergone a toxic relationship with my boyfriend at the time, who cheated on me with another woman and fathered a child behind my back. Initially we met when we were both 20 years old and taking summer classes at Community College of Philadelphia. He attended college in Upstate Pennsylvania. We are both African American, he was also a member of a historically black Greek organization. and both of our mothers were Accountants who attended Temple University in the 70’s. In my mind, it was the ideal relationship for me. But he eventually became emotionally abusive and jealous, so I ended our relationship on December 26, 2007, to be exact.

Newly single at the age of 27, I started to learn more about myself and at the time that is all I wanted to do. I believe in God, but at that time in my life, my relationship with Him was very lukewarm. I would only call upon God when I needed something from him. During the first 6 months of 2008, I became strong and asked God to be at center of my world. I started reading the bible and praying more. The more I started praying, the closer I wanted to be to God. I wanted to dedicate my life to God, so I decided to become celibate at the age of 27. I made this vow to God one night at the beach before working the overnight shift at a local hospital in New Jersey. At the age of 28, I became a member of a Baptist Church in Newark, NJ.  

I soon realized that the people I was working with people seemed to be always complaining about something or saying negative things about other colleagues behind their backs. Meanwhile, my own spirit and energy were becoming more positive and I was noticing that my coworkers were very negative. I started working for this hospital in January of 2007 and thought I was only  going to be there for 5 years. However, I ended up working there for 10 years and 10 months.

With my newfound gift of having a positive spirit, I only wanted to be around positive people all day and everyday that including family and friends. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible or realistic for me to do this, as I eventually noticed how negative my family was too. For example, by the time I reached my late 20’s I was making substantially more money than what I made when I entered the workforce. But I still was working two to three jobs and I had accumulated a lot of bills. Unfortunately living with my parents, especially my mom, didn’t make my situation better, but worse. My mother was charging me $600.00 for rent per month for the room that I had for free when I was a child, but since I made double than what I

originally when I graduated from college, she decided to charge me rent.

I lived with my parents in Philadelphia, but worked in Long Branch, New Jersey, which is about 90 minutes away without traffic. Sometimes it would take me two hours to get to and from work. I would have to pay three tolls, but often I didn’t have the money for tolls, so I’d take a longer route to commute, which avoided the tolls. My mom knew the distance, the cost of maintenance and wear and tear on my vehicle, but she just didn’t care. At the time my mom was working for the City of Philadelphia and my dad worked for the Post Office. The arrangement that I agreed to was that my mom would charging $600 per month, but half was supposed to be saved for me, but she didn’t. She was spending the other half of the rent money, so when it came time for me to move, she told that I didn’t have any money saved. Additionally, I couldn’t eat the food in their refrigerator, so she said that I needed to go to the store to purchase my own food. In addition, when I would do laundry, she would tell me that it wasn’t included, so I would need to go buy my own laundry products from the store.

Then, when my sister graduated college with her master’s degree, my mom had planned and was paying for a graduation trip for my sister. My mom told me that she was going to pay for my dad and sister to go to the Caribbean, but if I wanted to go, I would have to pay for it myself. This made me extremely upset and depressed. I felt that I had become the black sheep of my family and it hurt my spirit badly. However, this experience didn’t make bitter, but better. I thank God for allowing my mom to treat this way. I eventually moved out of my parents’ house two years later in 2010 when I was 30 years old.

I was now ready for my 30s – and I had no idea what was next for me. To Be Continued… 

Check out my next blog post on Saturday, August 24 at 11am ET. 

About SATUR-Your-Day
SATUR-Your-Day is an interactive blog where I invite readers to engage and go in-depth with me as I become transparent about personal and professional obstacles that have had both negative and positive impacts on my life. I want you to learn that we are all experiencing trials and tribulations in life and that no one is exempt from these life hurdles. As long as you have breath in your body, you are going to go through “the storm” of life. I sincerely hope that you will find lessons from the SATUR-Your-Day Blog, and discover that we can all learn and grow from each other’s experiences, which ultimately make us better people for our families, friends, colleagues, community, and the world. I feel your pain and know that you need time for you to just be you and that is the purpose for SATUR-Your-DAY.

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Ayasha Roberson started Urban SociaLites, LLC in June of 2010, she holds a bachelor degree in Sociology from Richard Stockton College and Masters Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Every 3rd and 5th Saturday check out her blog Social Media Saturday as Ayasha provides you with helpful tips of how to make your brand cool, hip, and colorful.

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