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I am naturally introspective — it's the heartbeat of my writing and part of the reason I can retell, relive and re-share some of the most poignant and insignificant aspects of my life. The series of late-20s revelations I’ve written have been a side effect of being quarantined with nothing but time to reflect on life, or perhaps cause I'm jumping into a new decade with my 30s pretty soon.

Who is in my life, who is not in my life, the people, places, mentors, coworkers, friends, foes and everything in between has shaped me to be the exact person I am at this point. None of this has been more true and real than when I think about my love life, and all the peaks and valleys I've walked in with different partners over the past 10 years. With the sounds of Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, SZA and Bryson Tiller crooning about the exes of yesteryears with some of their most recent drops, anyone can be driven to flip through the photobook in their brain. In my case, my photo book is full of men who have influenced and shaped my romantic life, whether by who I was as a partner, who I am now and, most importantly, who I continue to grow into in the future. They have all been a part of the growing pains and even been the catalyst for some of my most meaningful transformations.

Those men will never hear me say thank you, but in the spirit of kicking my 20s to the curb, let's revisit lover's lane and what I learned during the journey.