That's the first word that comes to mind for me too.
It's been exactly six years since I sent my first tweet to someone, anonymously, to remind them they're not alone, that they will make it through this.
Part of me is terrified that all of that time has passed and yet, most of me is excited. I mean, six years of getting to love on people and heal with people and choose a bigger family.
Six years of tears, laughter, figurative confetti cannons, mistakes, dance parties, and group chats.
But, what's so great about making mistakes?
For those who don't know, my name is Cydney Irby, you can call me Cyd.
I am known for being a type A perfectionist, an overachiever, and I hated making mistakes before I started Dream On Youth. But you know what, DOY taught me what failure looks like. It looks like quitting without giving yourself a chance and giving up without showcasing all you've got. DOY has taught me that I hate firing people but I love watching them realize they need to put themselves first sometimes, chase other dreams, go another way. I'll write more on that another time.
After all, DOY cannot be everyone's lightbulb moment but it can be your safe space to find what you're looking for.
Dream On Youth taught me that going against the grain is scary and you're bound to fall down quite a few times in the process. Get tripped up by trends, apps, and fail at trying to be like someone else. Find what works for you, what makes you the most alive, and live in that.
For example, I actively tell my team when I'm off my game or when I forgot something. I don't hide it. I know quite a few bosses are cringing but I'm not going to lie. Why would I lie to people who want to be where I am or look to me as a role model? But, I found that if I don't open up and act like everything is fine, or simply just don't say anything, my team does the same. That's not okay. We cannot have collaboration without communication.
I quickly found out that comparison is a dirty liar and slowly came to terms with the fact that just because you're good at a lot of things doesn't mean you need to try to do them all in one sitting. As in, I have done an entire rebranding within 19 hours in two days and made myself sick before. Don't do it! Take care of yourself. Your body, especially your back, will thank you later.
Look, I know, I'm a chronic multitasker and do-it-yourself type of lady. I like to have my hands in the mess and figure out how to make what we do better. I don't apologize for that but I do apologize for not listening to my body because my dreams don't work without me.
So, what is Dream On Youth?
We are a non-profit organization dedicated to being a platform for social change and emotional education. We are catered to young women who want to build their networking skills, dig into the depts of being well as a whole, and make an impact for the better while doing what they love. However, we are an all-inclusive community so whether you're bi, trans, straight, lesbian, queer, non-binary, whether you believe in a higher power or not, we welcome you to enjoy this space as your own.
We stand for causes such as the #MeToo movement because we believe that feminism will pioneer equality and boys will respect women. We believe that mental health matters because we lose too many people to bullying, depression, suicide, eating disorders, etc. Just because you don't look sick doesn't mean you aren't. We fight with #BlackLivesMatter because as a black-owned business and growing up as a young, black woman, the senseless violence against blacks in America has to end. I shouldn't be terrified to bring children into this world and we shouldn't have to have conversations about why our children cannot play like the other children of the world. We cheer on the students and adults advocating March For Our Lives because enough is enough. We do not need to arm our teachers. We need gun control.
We are a platform for having hard conversations while we get our glow on. Don't say we didn't warn you. After all, being the most bad*** social empire takes gumption and determination. Like I said, we're not for everyone, but if you're willing to open yourself up a little, we want to help you. We want to give you the tools and resources you need to make those moves.
Okay, what's your advice?
No matter how young, you can do incredible things and achieve anything you set your mind to. Do you because nobody can do you better.
The road to your dreams may be long but it'll be worth it. Just remember to be thankful, work hard, and never forget where you started.
Take risks. Write more. Make new friends. Create new memories. Speak out and stand up.
Our biggest problem is deciding whether we will let fear defeat our passion. Don't your dare let your dreams slip away.
You can tell me it's cliche but if you can't see the beauty in someone, inner and outer, open your eyes. You're probably missing out on someone phenomenal.
There will be a time when nobody will listen and you have to decide how much you want this. How much this truly means to you. But I promise, once you stand in your passion, your heart will become full. You will realize that you are something special and a force of nature. So stop, take a deep breath, and stand.
Just think of me as your fave auntie who can throw down in the kitchen, breathe life into your office, and has a thing for that boho bougie life.