Obligatory Year Review

I went back and forth about writing this. Then my wonderful fellow bloggers did and I felt like I had to as well. But honestly I probably would have anyways.

I like to think that I do a lot of internal reflection throughout the year. Reflecting and adjusting as necessary but New Year’s is obviously a time to do that a little more extensively.

What’s working? What’s not working? What should stay? What should go? Did I do all the things I set out to this year? Where did I succeed? Where did I miss the mark a bit? What are my hopes for the year to come?

I think the biggest lesson I learned this year is that I am enough. Just as I am. Right now. Today. Tomorrow. If nothing were to change. I am enough. Does that mean I don’t need to improve? No. That’s not what I’m saying. There is always room for improvement, but I think it’s important to focus on where you are, where I am, and be proud of that too.

I have spent a long time, not just 2017, feeling like I wasn’t enough. Wasn’t good enough for someone to Love, wasn’t cool enough, wasn’t a good enough friend or Mom or therapist. Just less than in all areas. This thought guided everything I did and definitely encouraged the way I interacted with people.

But I told y’all, 29 years and 9 months was the exact moment I became too old for this shit! Too old for doubting myself, minimizing myself, and treating myself as less than. Too old for allowing people in my life who do those things. Too old for not standing up for myself. Too old for not loving myself. The world is going to do that enough, I don’t need to join in.

Honestly, it’s hard. Sometimes I feel like I’m being cocky, or selfish, or crazy, or thinking too highly of myself. But I think that’s just old ways of thinking creeping in. There are many moments when I still feel less than or like I’m not enough. I work hard to make those moments smaller. They will always be there but my goal is not to live there anymore.

So to all of you who read this, to my lovely blogging friends who I adore and thank for this outlet, to my family, to my co-workers, to my daughter, my hope for you for 2018 and beyond is that you believe and live a life knowing that you are enough!!

( I also hope you make/save all the money, pay off all the bills, lose all the weight, get all the gains, kiss all the people, have all the laughs, cry all the tears and feel all the feels!)

“New Year, BETTER Me”

I’m such a hater of the phrase “New Year, New Me”.

This mantra invades our Facebook posts, and Twitter feeds and it’s always a show of how possibly someone’s life was so bad, that they get to press the “reset” button at the end of one year and beginning of another. As if you’re able to just do a 360 twirl and start brand new.  As if the problems from the year prior can no longer penetrate your environment.  As if everything in your past life led you to this moment.

Yes, striving to be better is great.

But don’t forget where you’ve come from.  Why does the new year have to bring a new you?  Why can’t we strive to be a BETTER us?  Every moment in life is a teachable moment.  And yes, life is not perfect, but that’s the beauty of it.  We learn from the imperfections of life and build upon those experiences.

Those who do not know history are bound to repeat it.

This is not only true in social, political, and historical context, but also in personal context as well.  Give yourself hope, that where you are currently, is no longer where you were.  You are enough.  There’s no reason to undo who you’ve been this year, just to most likely repeat these actions in the upcoming year.  Striving to be better is one thing, but pressing the reset button completely is another.

And if you seem to think that maybe life is bad enough where you need to press the reset button.  I hope that you find your base platform from which you need to build from.  But at the end of this year, I hope that you aren’t posting “New Year, New Me” but “New Year, Better Me”.

 

 

 

 

Reflections of 2017

It’s New Year’s Eve, and for me this is a day of reflection (and later, celebration). I truly believe in the power of reflection as a learning and growth tool, that is necessary for humans to really understand their lives. And so, as I sit on my brother’s couch (who the hell told him he could grow up and have a whole apartment and wife by the way?), I hope to try to make some sense of a pretty rollercoaster of a year and share my learnings with you.

1) I learned that I equate suffering with “goodness” in myself. I am sure this stems from a very conservative religious doctrine that characterized much of my early religious experiences and also from some complex traumatic events. It is unhealthy and damaging no matter how I look at it though. Staying in situations, jobs, etc to prove to people who do not value my well being, that I am worthy or “strong” is damaging. It kills my soul, ups my anxiety, and deepens depression. It also reinforces a faulty idea that I hold that I’m not good enough. It literally kills me. I am still working on how to combat that, but I took some brave steps against that belief this year, and have at the very least, realized that martyrdom won’t make me happy or make others see my worth.

2) Love did not knock on my door this year, but actively dating did teach me a lot about myself. Dating was an integral part of my journey this year. I further refined what I want, who I am in a relationship, realized patterns, and continued to try to understand how to balance doing enough with too much. I learned that no matter how wonderful you are, if a man isn’t on the same wavelength as you, he won’t come around to you. I learned that I bathe in self loathing and blame when rejected, and that destroys my soul. And so I learned to reframe the self loathing a tad more so as to protect my soul from that damage. I learned that I am jealous that I have friends who can easily make men love them, and seem to find beautiful men who are interested, even if short lived or forever. I learned that I hate being jealous, but it is hard. I am not sure if I am anyone’s cup of tea to be perfectly honest, and I also realize my standards are high. I realized that first dates are exhausting and to trust my instincts more, because my intuition is hella good.

3) I learned about loneliness – again. Living in NYC has been one of the most thrilling and loneliest adventures of my life. I’m perfectly comfortable being alone, eating alone, exploring; I actually quite enjoy it! But I’ve missed true and deep human connection, which in all of my travels, I’ve never seemed to lack in. But in NYC, connections seem fleeting, sometimes superficial, and often non existent. I am not used to not having close friends and coworkers around. I have learned or perhaps, deepened, my understanding that introversion has nothing to do with not wanting real relationships and connections, but instead means that in order to effectively reach my full potential and happiness, I must engage in meaningful relationships. I am still really not sure how to do this in a city like NYC, but I’m working on it.

4) I learned a lesson that constantly replays in my head. I am not perfect, can’t be perfect, never been perfect, and shouldn’t be perfect. This lesson is one that I’m always in a constant state of learning. I saw a beautiful quote that said “self care is… learning to forgive yourself for not measuring up to your impossible and damaging standards of perfection.” This is totally something I need to master in 2018. Expecting perfection in work, dealing with my emotions, my body, my health, as a daughter, friend, sister, relationships, and mentor is literally the most insane and hurtful thing I can ask of myself. I am literally asking myself to live in a constant state of shame and depression. I am torturing me. So now that I have learned that, the hard part is learning to extending grace to myself.

5) You get older. The years fly by. You develop aches and pains, your genetic lot of diseases, you have to eat better, move, manage past trauma, parent your parents, pay bills, plan for the future, hangovers get worse, and learn to live with it all. You also get wiser, more confident, develop more fuck it in your system, drink better wine, become more patient, and your sex drive and game gets stronger. Getting older is a blessing and privilege, not extended to all.

6) My siblings are amazing. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I’m so blessed. I learned to lean on them more. So happy to bring in 2018 with them.

7) I am really, really, really angry. Maybe I’ll write a post about that one day. But I learned I have a lot of pent up rage in my body and mind. I am afraid to express it because it is so strong. I’m hoping 2018 will help me express and manage that.

8) You can be loving your job and career in one second, and the next, be in a state of exploration, trying to figure out what is next? I also learned that my worth is very much tied up in my professional success. I often feel that is all I am good at, and when that part of my life isn’t fulfilled, I feel like a failure. I have spent a lot of 2017 feeling like a failure. But along with that lesson, I learned, you can always make another decision to transform your professional life (or any life). And people will judge you, and that has nothing to do with you.

9) I learned to turn off the news and social media. That there are people who hate me because of my skin and gender, but I cannot indulge in that all the time, as it will kill me. That the world is scary and heartless, but I don’t have to be. And that to be black (woman) and conscious in America is truly being in a constant state of rage, but I have to learn to take care of myself if I want to help others.

10) I only have so much emotional energy to expend. Spend it wisely. Turn off your phone. Spend your time with people who fill your energy account as much as you fill theirs.

11) Despite all my flaws, I’m a badass in my own right. My flaws are not even flaws actually, they are me and what makes me glorious and human.

I plan to to into 2018 with these lessons in mind and do my best to build upon those, while also fully aware that I may have setbacks. But my hope is next year, I can write about a further step I took, a new lesson realized, and a little happier.

May peace and love follow you into 2018.

Happy New Year!!

Boring (A Poem)

No one knows how to be bored anymore

People are constantly looking for thrill and excitement

In the next adventure, the next drink, the next hit, the next person

No one wants to just…be

Especially if that means being bored

When I was little this was my favorite quote

“I’m bored”

And in true Dad fashion I would hear the response

“Hi bored. I’m James. “

My aunt once told me that I would never gain weight because I couldn’t stay still even when I was bored

I wish I could be that kind of bored again.

When I was younger my sister used to make up the most wonderful games to distract us from our boredom

Can’t touch the floor,

Barbie games that took longer to set up than to actually play,

Walking on clouds,

And her favorite

Mushed bananas. Where she convinced her bored little sister to smother her feet in lotion but some how we always ran out of time the moment the roles were to reverse.

I would quickly become un-bored the moment my mother reminded me there was always something that needed cleaning.

Boredom

No one knows how to be bored anymore

Constantly seeking the next great adventure

The next drink

The next hit

The next person

You bore me, swipe

You’re boring, swipe

Oh you don’t want to go out every weekend and get totally wasted

Boring

Swipe

No one knows how to have boring conversations that lead to tears and catharsis

Me and my friends recently spent hours that felt like seconds at a Mexican restaurant showering each other with love and praise

Lifting each other up

Allowing each other to be vulnerable

Allowing each other to…be

In these moments that passed too quickly I was not bored

My hope however is that the next time either of us feels boring

The next time either of us feel less than

The next time someone tells me I won’t find love sitting at home knitting and being boring

The next time one of us looks in the mirror and doesn’t see the fierce goddess that she truly is and just feels boring

The next time one of us considers that life might not be worth living due to loss, or feelings of less than

The next time one of us is bored

My hope is that we remember this night

That it brings a smile to our face

Tears to our eyes

Hope to our hearts

Joy to our soul

Life can be boring

But I…I am not bored

Why I Sometimes (Often) Don’t Answer My Phone

Anyone who knows me, knows that I use my phone for a lot of things, but using it for a phone call – that is much more difficult for me. And I am aware it pisses lots of people off. What’s funny, is that as a teen, I could not get enough of the phone… spent countless hours talking to friends and love interests. So much so, that my mom would take the cords to work so I could get housework and homework done. I pretty much died a little every time she did that. And by died a little, I mean threw a major tantrum and had a meltdown and/or bought spare cords from the dollar tree.

But now, not so much. And although, I’m entitled to use my phone how I wish, I’m going to give you a sneak peak into why I don’t always love phone conversations.

1) I’m often doing things. I live in a city that requires you to walk everywhere, haul your groceries and laundry up steep hills, be alert to oncoming traffic and rude people, and check your phone to see where you are going. It’s kind of hard to take a call when doing those things.

2) I am not good at multitasking and phone calls. I spend hours on the condiment aisle looking for ketchup when I’m on the phone, only to hang up and realize I’m on the cereal aisle.

3) I am often not sure when to end the call and if 75% of calls could be done in 15 min or less, I would be ok. But instead, I’m confused about when to end the call so I can go find the ketchup.

4) I have anxiety. This probably plays into #3 a bit, as I’m so anxious about how long it will last, what is wrong, if I’ll run out of things to say (especially with a new person I’ve never talked to). I’m just anxious about it all.

5) I’m often doing nothing. Not to be confused with I am bored with not a thing to do. I am restoring myself. I’m easily affected by others emotions and lives. This level of empathy is a gift, but also a curse (perhaps another blog). I’ve noticed that phone calls tend to be a place where people inadvertently like to drop a load of emotions. I love helping people, but I can’t be on like that all the time. I am protecting myself.

6) I just got off the phone with someone else. I need to recharge now. #IntrovertProblems

And the biggest one of all…

7) I’m not ok. This is a huge one. Probably happens more than I’d like. But if I’m not ok or struggling, the chances of me picking up the phone are slim to none. When I’m not ok, I’m not ok with others having to sit with that. I like myself much better as cheerful, supportive, and loving Lee. I am often uncomfortable when others support me. I feel like a burden. I don’t always know the “why’s” and so when people ask “why,” it makes me feel ashamed. I am also often exhausted and cannot carry a conversation. I don’t want to be the person who makes everything about her. I am snappy at times like this. I am usually not a snappy person, I hate being mean. So I withdraw.

I want you to know that often, I get on a call, and really enjoy myself. There are times I even actually seek people to talk to and sometimes, I’m wrong, and that call is EXACTLY what I need. Please don’t stop calling me either. I’ll feel left out. This is similar to that thing of “I want to be invited even if I don’t want to come.” It’s selfish, it’s an introvert problem. I know.

Please don’t take it personally if I don’t answer. Please don’t.

I promise. It’s just me.