About the Author

Dana Vaughn is a creative, energetic storyteller with a passion for inspiring young women. In her free time, she enjoys art museums, traveling, writing, and tennis. Dana received her BS from Florida A&M University and her MBA from Texas Woman’s University.

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Reader Interactions


  1. That was so beautiful! So many of us fall into that trap of people pleasing and shape shifting. It’s both a superpower during a crisis and an abyss that deepens the longer we stay there. I love that you found yourself, and became a better partner in relationships.

  2. I can really relate to your statement regarding how long it took for you to understand that you weren’t meant to fit in. I was well into my 40s (closer to 50) when I understood that fact! It was really freeing! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing such a great post!

  3. What an incredible and insightful story. Young Dana sounds like so many of us. Thank you for sharing your journey as an inspiration to all to be our authentic selves. The real Dana is an amazing person that I am grateful to call friend.

  4. I love your story and so grateful you shared it and stepped into your authentic self that made it possible for you to build those beautiful lasting friendships.

    I am the campus pastor and executive director at the FAMU Wesley Foundation and would love for you to share your story with my students because they are struggling to socialize and make friends. Your story could make a difference.

  5. Dana I understand because I could easily be and have been you. I thank God I found Jacki. I like her so much more at 74 than I ever did at 13 through 50. Your story could easily be my story. Thanks for sharing our story. I even like the Jacki I have blossomed into!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, Dana. I identify with young Dana so much! I think a lot of women spent our childhoods trying to figure out where we belong. I’m so glad young Dana has found her authentic and genuine self—a Dana I’ve known and loved for years. And the woman I’m so so glad is my sister-friend!

  7. This is true for oh so many young ladies! We are all (most of us) mostly playing a role or character to match the narrative in our head. Years later, at the reunion, we learn we should have just been ourselves. 😉

  8. It is a true blessing when we come into and learn to love ourselves. Then we are truly able to become a friend. This is a wonderful tale of your journey. Thank you.

  9. What an authentic, self-reflective and powerful story about growth, maturity and above all, sisterhood. I am beyond honored to walk this journey called life with you. Our friendship timing was divine- we started growing up together starting at 22 and our growth as women still continues on. This article was a testament to our sisterhood and I love you deeply. Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your journey, sister!

  10. Lady Dana…this is by far one of the most epic of reads…I am smitten by your intentionality of transparency…This is definitely a story I’ll share with My Girls…as well as my students..How absolutely fantastic…You are by far amaaaazingly adorable…Congratulations on finding YOU…
    Adorable…Inspiring…Just all-around unique… : )

  11. Thank you for being so transparent, Dana! What a great read! Some of us find our way to true friendship in other seasons of life and nonetheless it’s all a beautiful journey. #grateful #foreverfriends #ilovemyself

  12. Dana, thank you sharing your journey. It is, unfortunately, a story that I resonate with and have seen repeated in the lives of many family members and friends. I realize that there are some things that people assume are innate to living; moral compass, great fashion sense, rhythm in black women (:, parenting skills, and how to be your authentic self. What a misnomer!

    Education, training, and experience are needed in these key pieces of life. Otherwise, we flounder, sometimes indefinitely, most times, needlessly.

    Your words are a spark to a flame that I pray moves and touches those who need it in the right ways to heed it. I have forwarded it to my amazing daughters as a love letter. I challenge them to rise above this curse of generations and overcome through the power of The Lord all fear, feelings of isolation, inadequacy, rejection, dejection, imposter syndrome, and all that other ish! Be who you are women of God! Like Grannie always said, eat the meat and spit out the bones! What is for you is for you. The key is knowing who YOU really are AND being okay with YOU!

    Now you know the problem. Go defeat, fight, WIN! …and call me later, I enjoy our visits. ~ Love me, and Edna Mode

    *PS: Thanks again, Dana

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