“you brought silence to my violence.”
Yesterday I asked some very special people to help me commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the20-20/20sfor20s by simply sharing what it has meant to them. Every response left me speechless and even brought about some thug tears. They said more than I could ever and epitomize all that I’ve ever wanted from anything I produce. So, I’ll let them tell it.
“Well for one, the site is a constant reminder that with a second chance you can persevere and truly elevate your life. From pain comes gain…you escaped death and still remain…a “G” to me (the G stands for Gosalyn.) DarkWing Duck out.”
“So when reflecting on the two years since the birth of the blog I have to think about how this site has saved my daughter’s life . The site has provided an outlet for my daughter to discuss the many things that 20 year-olds endure . The site has served as a journal so to speak for my Sharifa to feel free to express some of her trials and tribulations throughout life . I am grateful for the birth of 20s for 20 something because not only has it inspired my daughter it has also inspired so many others and created a vehicle to drive further writing opportunities.”
“You have truly outdone yourself! You continue to create pieces that all people and walks of life can relate to themselves. Thank you for being transparent because it allows you to share your unique gift with others. Even if you touch one person – in actuality, you are moving a sphere of people. Congratulations on 2 years, shawty! Or shall I say, 2 years and counting? I know there is more and I cannot wait! #booksooncomeorlater #butitscoming”
“Everything … you document the thoughts of 20somethings around the world. Your blogs remind me that I’m not the only one [tryna be the only one] thinking the way I think & feeling the way I feel. & for real, going through the shit I go through! Thank you!”
“20s for 20s has gotten me through some shallow ass times when I thought going to jail for murdering a nigga was almost ok and has also let me know that I am not the only one dealing with modern-day love(??) and all the trauma that comes with trying to find your happily-ever-after in this get-it-while-its-hot ass generation. and watching it (and you) grow has allowed me to understand that it’s ok to not always have everything figured out and that…maybe some shit falls out of place so new ventures can take its place. you a bomb ass bitch.”
“Knowing I’m not alone in fighting these demons known as mental health issues.”
“Happy 2nd anniversary!! Your site is important to me because it openly shows that we are not the only beautiful, intelligent and amazing black queens dealing with real life stressors from depression to wanting to fuck Rico ass up!”
“Its been a joy watching you grow over the past two years. As a writer and as a woman. Telling your story. Sharing your pleasures and your pain. Being real with us and yourself. I admire that. Thank you and Happy Anniversary. “
“Who knew two years ago we’d be here? Who would’ve thought such a beautiful thing would come from such a drawn out place? Sharifa I am so proud of you! It’s crazy I was just pubbing your blog to my coworkers yesterday. Your work has grown so much over the years! From seeing you talk about taboo issues like suicide to sending nudes and writing post I don’t understand until reading five times over ( I was so glad when you broke that one down for me) you’ve talked about it all. I tell you all the time but this is just the beginning of something amazing. I love you so much! I feel like a proud auntie watching her niece take her first steps lol pretty soon your baby will be running over EVERYTHANG!”
“Listen, on a monthly basis I spend endless hours on the phone with Rif . Not talking about anything particular, but just bouncing ideas and thoughts back and forth. So every time she drops a new post , it gets me so excited to see her put her ideas on paper and out on a public forum for everyone to see . I love to send 20sfor20s to my females friends because she be giving they ass the truth ?. When she writing the shit I don’t even have to say it . Congrats on two years sis , Love you.”
“I started reading 20sfor20s when I was going through a breakup. It showed me I wasn’t alone, I’m not the only who entertains dadas longer than I should, also not alone in getting a little too drunk and regretting those 2am “you up” texts. Most of all I laughed, I cried, I learned to believe in my black girl magic, and I found the beauty in not having it all together. Congratulations on your two years boo!!! You’ve inspired me in more ways than you know “
“Let me tell you what 20sfor20s means to me. It’s gotten me through some tough times. From breakups to depression. It’s helped me see things through a different lens. To have someone relate to me like that. It’s a gift. Rifa, sis you have a true talent. Love “
– K. Chere
“Your site means so much! I’m so proud of where you’ve taken it in such a short time. Your posts have helped me realize there’s nothing wrong with being emotional and actually FEELING something. And that’s so important in this age where everyone is competing to show how much they don’t care or how unaffected they are. You’ve helped me to be more transparent. Keep doing what you’re doing! Love you.”
“Simply put 20sfor20s is raw and realistic. I feel as if pages of my diary are posted for the world to see. I enjoy how every day issues are discussed with the “around the way girl” swag and some humor. Congratulations Sharifa on your two year anniversary; I wish you and your website much success and growth.”
– Minimah R.
“To see My big sis create a blog has been very inspiring. Her writing style is unlike any other. Reading her blogs is like seeing my daughter walk for the first time… breath-taking. She is Phenomenal and her blog will open many doors for her. Happy 2nd birthday 20sfor20s “
“Your writing, the breath of air we’re all too scared to take, is more than writing. It’s hearing a voice that knows way more than you sometimes about what you’re going through. It’s a familiar voice that relaxes stressful situations while you’re laughing at yourself for being so naive at times. Your writing has opened up minds and I appreciate not just what you write but how you write. You create stories and scenes with your words that can make a man understand how some women think while keeping us ladies in our own sense of self improvement and importance. You’ve grown tremendously over the years, from a speedy worker that alphabetized the shit out of law files to a beautiful graceful intelligent woman that isn’t afraid to make mistakes and share those mistakes in hopes of helping someone realize before it’s too late. I want nothing more than to have the chance to read more, and be apart of your growth as a writer but more importantly, a woman.
Thank you, Rif.”
“From the moment that she took ’20-Somethings-for-20-Somethings’ away from tumblr and gave life to this website, I knew that Sharifa would influence, connect, and grow both personally and as a writer of the community (with a great following, if I might add). I am SO happy to have seen such a relatable and return-worthy blog build from the ground up and share in the delights of Rif’s many accomplishments that have spawned from its creation. Happy 2 years to you, 20sfor20s.com!”
-your cousin with the ghetto nickname, Bookie (or Steph or Smulaaa, whatever fits the format that you use. Lol)
“Watching 20 somethings grow from a blog to a website meant more to me than you may realize. For me, it signified one of my best friends grow into something she never even imagined she could be. It meant getting closer to her again and being able to strengthen our relationship. 20 Somethings was the rebirth of Rif or what I like to call “the birth of the new Rif”. I was anxious for the ride from the beginning and I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.”
“I appreciate 20sfor20s so much because it is more than just a blog, it is a literary work of art that transcends the click-bait we experience daily on social media. It has given me the opportunity to watch you grow, and has even aided me in confronting emotions of my own. I appreciate you for always being raw and honest with us, the consumers, and sincerely wish you more success, more growth, and more light in everything you do. Thank you for putting your truths into the universe for us all to get a bit more comfortable in our own. Happy Terrific Twos!”
“Wow!! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already. I remember when the site got launched. And after reading for the first time, I’ve consistently told Sharifa that she seriously needs to write a book. She was SO against it, said she would never do it and now look how far she’s come with her writing. (I’d like a small dedication in your book for being tenacious about this book idea lol). This site has affected me in so many positive ways, more than I can really speak on (we’d be here all day). 20sfor20s has given me so much insight not only as a human being but also as a woman. I’ve gained insight on issues that I personally thought I dealt with alone in the dark but in reality, from the feedback and responses I’ve seen, we ALL deal with it. Reading every post, I have laughed, cried, and even taken the time to self-reflect.
As the site grew, I grew along with it. This site has taught me to love myself unconditionally (still working on that lol) and to just live life with no regrets! None of us are alone in whatever we go through. Sharifa and her writing is nothing short of amazing. Her words and thoughts contain so much SUBSTANCE, RAWNESS, & AUTHENTICITY. Where else can you get that? The transparency of her posts shows that just like us, she is human and she is not afraid to share that with her readers. I truly admire the person she is and although she’ll mention how she’s full of flaws, I think she is absolutely perfect and I love her for bringing this site to life. I know that 20for20s will continue to grow significantly and be great and I look forward to seeing how many people it will impact in the future.”
“I started reading 20for20s to gain insight on life’s ups and downs from a young black woman’s perspective. It is an effort to learn about what women go through in 2016, and grow into a better “less of an ain’t shit nigga” version of myself, as women’s voices and experiences have long been ignored. In two years, the writings have become cathartic for both Sharifa and the reader. While many of the posts are personal and reflective, they are relatable even for a young man trying to figure shit out, too. “
“Rif’s site has been wonderful in discussing topics I think are relevant to a young woman such as myself. If I had the time, dedication, and skill to write a blog, I imagine it would be something like this. It always feels like my thoughts are being translated to paper. Many of the posts sound like a group chat between close girlfriends. The posts are authentic and Rif’s voice shines through in every word. I hope she continues the site for years to come.”
“If you follow @yearifsaidit on twitter like I have for the past 3 years, then you know that she’ll go from teaching you about the African diaspora to telling you that you and ya momma ugly as hell. Her blog, 20s for 20’s is similar to her tweets. It’ll teach you some real shit, but will also have you cracking up laughing. I’ve been an active follower since day one.
As an artist, I know how hard it is to be transparent and to put your feelings out there for an audience to criticize. This is why I appreciate how raw and relatable this blog is. Sometimes when reading it, I feel as if I’m reading my own thoughts. I can tell that she writes from personal experience and I love that she doesn’t hesitate to give her unfiltered opinion on topics people usually stay away from.
In this generation we have a bad habit of comparing our lives to those on social networks. We tend to forget, most of what we see are illusions. 20’s for 20’s will bring you back to reality. These posts consist of things that we think but are ashamed to talk about/admit publicly.
We sometimes go through egocentric trips where we think that “this type of shit only happens to me.” But 20s for 20’s will reassure you that it doesn’t. Through this blog I realized that we’re all trying to find the answer, we all get played at some point, we all made the mistake of giving the pussy to a “Dae-Dae”, shit, we ALL might be a lil ugly to somebody and that comforts me. Not in a misery loves company way but in a “Damn, I thought I was the only one” kind of way or a “ I knew I wasn’t crazy, cause Rif felt the same way” kind of way. Again, relatable. These posts make me feel better about situations that I had to deal with privately because I’d been too embarrassed to talk to about it with anyone. When I simply didn’t have the words to express how I felt, this blog put those words there for me.
Not only has this blog been entertaining, but for me, it’s been therapeutic.
Thank you Sharifa and HAPPY 2ND ANNIVERSARY 20s for 20’s!!!”
“20s for 20s….. where do I start? Shall I start with the writer or writings? Let’s start with the writer. I remember a year ago I used to harass and tweet the author of these posts and tell her to hurry with the next one lol. It was something uncanny about reading the words and realities of a woman my age candidly and unapologetically sharing her experiences. The tone in the passages were as if a homegirl or close cousin was speaking to you. The author also wrote from a place of not proclaiming to have it all figured out (which a lot of authors usually proclaim). The humility she showed through her writings made it an easy read. Not only does the author write these posts for others to read, she is also there when the passage is done. Several times between her posts I reached out for advice and dialogue. Not once did she stand me up! She would even give a heads up if her reply was going to be late (which is a courtesy not most people give). The author is an amazing and fearless woman. She lives her truth and I totally respect it. By being so open with her truth, she has helped others embrace theirs (me being one of those people). For that, I’m grateful!
Now about these writings… they are aways spot on and on point! I find myself thinking about them when I’ve finished reading or when situations arise.
Some of the writings have prompted laughter, while others have prompted tears and self reflection. The sincerity in the passages can be felt. The feeling I get while reading them lets me know they come from a place of love. These writings are not only an outlet for the author, but passages that are meant to help and heal others. Here’s an excerpt from a message that I always refer to:
“…bottom line is, you have to start doing things that you make you happy & know that happiness is not a destination. you don’t arrive to this beautiful island called happiness & stay there forever, it’s something that has to be maintained once it is achieved. I fight for my happiness every single day. & the only way that I’ve done that is by learning to let go of things when they no longer feel good”
As a reader and loyal follower of this site, I’m so happy to see it’s success these past 2 years!! I will continue reading and following!! CONGRATS 20 FOR 20s! And to the author: THANK YOU “
You have invited me to your table time and time again. Never asking that I be anything but myself and I thank God for you all everyday. – Rif