2017 was exhausting to say the absolute very least.
This year drained not just me but majority of the people in this country. It’s like we entered the upside down world and the demogorgons have officially taken over. But this post isn’t about that. Or him. And yes, he receives the “He Who Must Not Be Named” Harry Potter treatment from me because I honestly cannot function any other way. This is about so much more.
2017 seemed to be the year of stepping into the light. Coming into your truth. Growth. Bossing tf up. Maybe it’s because we’re witnessing the crumble of the patriarchal system as we know it in America or maybe because 27 is the year when things finally start to make sense (3 different people told me 27 was thee year in a woman’s life when everything comes together.) Although I learned a lot from this year, the biggest lesson I learned is that I’m not going through any of this alone. Hopefully, from my experiences and lessons someone reading this will find comfort and clarity in their current situations and go after a prosperous, light filled 2018 because we all deserve it, right?
The bounce back is always stronger than the set back
I think one of my biggest accomplishments this year was openly discussing my battle with breast cancer. July 25, 2017 officially marked one year in remission and I was finally able to speak out loud about this tragic experience without breaking down. Me battling cancer shook my entire world (I’ll be sure to share that story in full one of these day) and I was partially ashamed. All those times I ate fast food instead of fruit, all those times I skipped the gym to be lazy, all those times I wore underwired bras because they looked good with a particular outfit. You begin to question every single thing you did “wrong” before that diagnosis. But cancer, like many things, can happen no matter your lifestyle, race, gender or age. Unfortunately, It chose the wrong b!%#h to mess with and got its a$$ kicked. (As you can see, new year, same potty mouth.) One thing it did teach me was I wasn’t truly living life but going through the motions. Before BC, I was merely existing not really living. I was working a job that I didn’t love, I was living in an apartment I hated, I was stressed beyond belief all because I thought I was doing the right there. BC made me quit that job, give up that apartment and leave that stressful lifestyle all behind.
It made me slow a l l t h e w a y down.
Recovery gave me the opportunity to rediscover who I am as a woman and what I wanted out of this lifetime. All those goals that seemed unreachable, were going to get done one way or another. Cities that I’ve always wanted to visit, I finally booked those flights. Companies that I’ve dreamed of working at, I did just that. I was placed on platforms and in positions to share my thoughts, opinions and expertise on various topics I hold near and dear to my heart. Everything good that happened to me this year, I made it happen with patience, faith, prayer and persistence. Was it easier to sit in bed and feel sorry for myself? Of course. But was it making me happy? Was I fulfilled? Absolutely not. We tend to accept things for how they may appear, allowing fear to hold us back from the things that we want. Not anymore. I challenge you to leave your fears and doubts along with the darkness that was 2017 and step into the light that will be 2018. Just wait and see.
I had to stop seeing everyone’s success as my failure
Now on the flip side of battling BC and having to put my entire life in pause, there were many days that I would scroll on social media feeling like everyone was moving forward without me. Was I happy for my friends? Most definitely. But I’m human and I couldn’t help but wonder how far I would be if this demon didn’t put me back. At the same time, we tend to forget that people only share the good on social media. That’s the whole point. Would you double tap a photo of someone exhausted from working overtime 300+ hours or them stunting in the newest Tesla? Exactly. You never know what people are going through and what they had to sacrifice to get to that particular image or status that they’ve decided to share. At the same time, it's important to remember just because we’re all people living similar walks of life doesn’t mean we go through life the same. One of my favorite quotes from Zen Shin is “a flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Apply that to your daily routine and you’ll see that you’re no longer subconsciously living life for others but for the one person that deserves it; you.
Be mindful of the company you keep
Friendship played a vital role in 2017 for me. One key personality trait I have is that I’m loyal to a fault. This is a gift and a curse especially when some people tend to take advantage of that. At times, it does get difficult for me to seperate people being a piece of sh*t from people not being aware of the effect they leave on others with their actions. I’m still not 100% sure if I learned the difference yet but I do know that people will only get away with what you allow them to do. In this day and age where everything is instant and superficial, you tend to hold onto people that come across as real. Family. Ride or dies. Even if they’re only good to you some of the time and terrible for the rest. I’m here to tell you that holding on to relationships due to time invested doesn’t mean anything! The same way you change from year to year, so does everyone else and it’s not always with your best interest in mind. And that’s okay! Sometimes you have to divorce those friends you grew up with, those that are secretly jealous of you, those that want your support but never return the favor, those that will take and take and take but never give, etc. Should I keep going? We all know these people and we tend to let them linger a little longer than they should due to endless reasons. If that friend, family member, bae, etc is taking more energy out of you then they’re giving, c u t t h e m o f f!
On the flip side, I also met and reconnected with a lot of great people. New people that allowed me to see myself through a fresh set of eyes. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. I reconnected with those old friends that life got in the way but when we saw each other, it’s like no time passed at all. Those are the people you want around you entering into the new year. A wise friend once tweeted, “God always sends the right people at the right time. It’s our job to value them and be present when they come.”
Learning to love yourself is hard but completely worth it
Throughout all the ups and downs of the year, one thing that was the hardest was learning to love all of me. Not just the good and successful parts but the bad and the unwanted as well. The same way we will hit the gym or diet to get our physical healthy, why don’t we do the same when it comes to our mental state? We’re living in a world where the generation above us has learned to suppress their feelings, dismissing them and a generation underneath us that are self medicating excessively into addiction before they even hit 21. The moment society decides that mental health is no longer taboo, we will continue to live in this grey space where you’re just going through the motions instead of addressing the issues head on. If this sounds like you, be glad to know you’re not alone. If you’re ready to get a handle on that depression, anxiety, self doubt, etc, here are a few tips that helped me.
Have real conversations with those around you. People aren’t mind readers. Half of the time, we get our feelings hurt due to our expectations, not the reality of the situation. Remember to stay present.
Have accountability partners. People that will check up on you just because. Whether its money talk or pillow talk, it should be discussed in a safe, judgment free space.
Therapy is a life saver. Same way you’ll spend that money to get a trainer or a haircut, invest in your mental health as well. And thanks to technology, we don’t even have to do the traditional sitting on the couch, pouring our feels to a stranger. You can receive treatment right through your laptop/phone. Check out Talkspace if you don’t believe me.
Remember to spend time on bettering all of you. And it will involve a lot of high and lows but it’s the best investment you’ll ever make.
I’m no life coach or a new Brooklyn yogi but I’m all about everyone living their best life. Deadass, we only get one of these. ONE! When you reach your final days and look back, will you be satisfied with the outcome? So why wait until your final days to reflect and repair when you can put your thing down, flip it and reverse it right now? In 2018, I’m wishing everyone success, happiness, peace, wealth, and love. May your edges be stronger than ever and I hope you secure every single bag you deserve. It’s our time!