Success? Life? Obstacles? Overcome? Hmmm….
I became a mother on June 5th, 2005 when my daughter Arionna was born. Just a little less than a month before that, I had celebrated my 17th birthday.
I walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma three days after delivering her on June 8th, 2005. My mom and I breathed a sigh of relief, I had managed to graduate a year early as planned.
In August of 2006, I started school at Temple University, where I was able to bring Arionna to school and have an apartment on campus. I majored in Journalism and worked multiple part-time jobs, all the while thankful for the opportunity, and unsure of what lie ahead of me.
After having to go on welfare and struggling beyond my own belief, I took a year off from school and moved to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2007. The stress had left me feeling beaten, worn and fighting off depression.
After returning to Philly from Pittsburgh, I enrolled back in school, in August of 2008. I refused to back down from life and give up my dream. Oh, did I mention that I was pregnant again? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Some of us take a little longer to learn.
I gave birth to my youngest daughter,Gabrielle, on December 31st, 2008. It was right before the start of spring semester. I continued with my studies while working at the Louis E. Harris Center for Youth Development via State Rep. Dwight Evans office. They let me bring my kids to work. The women there were determined to see me succeed; I’ll forever love them for that and more.
Over the next few years in college I co-founded a student org, became an advocate for non-traditional students and student parents, started SincerelySyreeta.com and began freelancing for EBONY.com, while continuing to work and maintain my studies.
I graduated with my Bachelors of Arts on May 10th, 2012–the day before my 24th birthday. By that time I had secured off-campus housing thanks to Section 8. That same day I got a call from the United Way of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey offering me a job through the AmeriCorps federal volunteer program.
I started at United Way on June 15th, 2012 and throughout the next year I expanded my knowledge of the non-profit world as I simultaneously built the Sincerely Syreeta brand up.
On June 15th, 2013, my time at United Way was officially over and I decided to go full-time with Sincerely Syreeta.
In September of 2013, I was able to raise over $2k through crowd-funding therefore enabling me to revamp SincerelySyreeta.com and start my consulting business, Sincerely Syreeta & Co.
On Dec 31st, 2013, I received the LLC status for Sincerely Syreeta & Co.
Since then, the Sincerely Syreeta brand has continued to grow and thus expanded its reach.
If you were to look at the statistics…I shouldn’t have made it this far. I grew up in a single-parent home, struggled with my self-esteem, and although I was a high achiever and smart girl, I still got pregnant at 16. In fact, some people may think that I have yet to be declared a “success” story and will argue that I honestly shouldn’t be considered one [no really, a woman said that in the comments section of an article EBONY.com did on me].
But if you ask me whether I’m successful, whether I’ve been successful in building a life and brand worth being proud of, I say yes.
I’m a success because of what others were gracious enough to pour into me.
I’m a success because my daughters can look at their mother and SEE that you can do all that you put your mind to. They can look at me and see love, hope, faith, determinations, intelligence and a woman who takes accountability for her actions.
I’m a success because I did every single thing that I said I was going to do to move myself and my little family forward in life. And I did so far beyond what I could envision thanks to God.
I’m a success because every lesson that I’ve learned, every experience or “mistake” that I’ve made, I’ve used it to become better and to hopefully help others accomplish the same.
I’m a success because I know what I sacrificed to get here; my ends justify my means. My failures serve as testaments to my success.
So when it came time to formally present my company, brand and story to the world, via the official SS launch event, I rejoiced like never before. And so many others–supporters, sponsors, artists, and the likes–rejoiced with me. Just about any and every request that was made for the event, they answered with loving hearts and recognition of where I was at in my professional and personal journey.
Do you know how much of a blessing that is?
I originally hesitated to go with the name, “Success is Sweet” for the event.
In my mind, there’s still so much more to be done and I definitely didn’t want to come off as being boastful. I ultimately went with the title because personally, this current state of success that I’m experiencing IS sweet. When I tell you I’m living my dreams…my love, I’M LIVING MY DREAMS. After all that I’ve been through–none of which has been a cake walk–YES, SUCCESS IS SWEET, and I now have my cake, eat it and share it with all whom I can.
My life could have played out differently; I could have been a lot of things, I could have emerged from it all a very different person.
Just like you probably could have too.
I can look in the mirror every single morning and be proud of myself, love on myself and give thanks for it all–the good and the not-so-good. Why? Because I chose to become what I WANTED to become. I hope that no matter what any of you are facing–no matter what the statistics say or what your current circumstances reflect–that you never lose sight of the greatness in your potential. I hope that when the time calls for overcoming an obstacle, you do just that: OVERCOME.
That, my love, is what will ultimately define your success.
So whether you were able to make it to the event or not, I hope that you’ll take a moment to raise a glass and toast to the Sincerely Syreeta journey and the power of your own potential. All I ever truly desired in this journey, both for myself and others, was to: Empathize, Empower and Evolve…because I truly believe that we’re all in this together. Whether we like it and accept it or not.
And by God, I’ve been accomplishing this and will continue to.
A special heartfelt THANK YOU to the following:
Whitney Thomas (beautiful venue) | DJ G33k (MC and DJ) | The SS Team (Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown and Asante Prophet) | All event volunteers | Jimmy Davis Catering and S & B Events (delicious food) | Tickled Pink Events & Styling (amazing candy bar) | SaBria Rogers (powerful spoken word performance) | Jacqueline Constance (awesome musical selections)
And thank you to all of the sponsors who contributed to the charitable raffle:
Take a moment to check out photos from Success is Sweet courtesy of Creative Mind Productions:
That’s all loves! Stay tuned for all that is to come from Sincerely Syreeta & Co., SincerelySyreeta.com and SiSy’s Here. As always, thank you for believing in me and supporting me; I couldn’t have done this without your love and support. God bless!
– Sincerely Syreeta
P.s. We still have a few charitable raffle items to giveaway for you loves! Stay tuned to SS via social media for announcements!