And so, we’ve come to the last day of 2021. Wow. I’d say I’m at a loss for words but below is an entire blog post full of them!
This post is more of a public reflection on what I’ve learned this year because this is an online space where we share our insights with each other for the purpose of collective healing and support on our mental, emotional and spiritual journeys. So, here we go.
If I had to pick one lesson I’ve learned in hindsight this year, it would have to be I am proud of myself. I am proud of fighting through every day I wanted to sink into my bed and drown in negative intrusive thoughts about my weight, my life choices, my relationships, (or lack thereof) my family dynamics, my finances or my spiritual hygiene.
I am proud of myself for following my intuition. For taking the road less traveled. For choosing to grow beyond my insecurities, and push myself to be more, and do more, than the limitations I put on myself.
I’m not going to list the things I did, because this is not intended for any of you to compare yourself to me, or anyone else. You know you better than anyone else knows you. So you know where you need to push yourself. You know your weaknesses and your strengths. You know where you’re comfortable and where you’re afraid to travel to even though you KNOW you want to go there. So no, I’m not going to give you an idea of the things I did to make me proud of myself because I need you to be proud of you for the choices you made this year, even if that choice was to survive. Because surviving, especially in a world like this, is a feat to be celebrated on its own. So congratulations, love! You did it. And this, if nothing else, is what I need you to take away from this first insight.
A second insight is that there is no such thing as too much self-care. I deserve care and attention every second of every day that I’m alive, and I’m not going to wait any longer for anyone to give it to me. As Black Womxn, we’re socially conditioned to put our needs on the back burner. It’s just true. I’m not saying every Black Woman has an issue with this, but for me, properly — radically—, loving myself, is something that I’ve just begun to uncover this year.
And when I say self-care, I’m not just talking about bubble baths and face masks. I’m talking about emotional check-ins. Asking yourself “What’s wrong?”, “What happened?”, and “What do you need?” when you feel your energy off. My form of self-care is making sure I meditate. If it’s one way that I can really explore and release emotions, it’s going inward. Closing my eyes and taking deep breaths over a period of time makes me feel so filled up with love. Because I’m taking time for me. I’m showing myself that I’m worth the time. I’m worth the time to figure out what’s got me down, or feeling ungrounded, scared or anxious. I’m worth it.
Ya know, one way I’ve crafted some self-love practices is by thinking about how I’d want my partner to treat me. When you daydream about your dream significant other, what do they do for you? Do they buy you flowers? Plan elaborate dates for you both to go on? Take you on all-expenses-paid vacations? Sit you down when they see you’re having a bad day and wait for you to open up? Hm? How long are you going to wait for someone to swoop in and give you the love you crave? The love you fantasize about until you fall asleep at night? Or cry about not having because you feel like you’re the only one without it? That shit is over. I’m so over it. I’m not saying I’ve given up on romance, or that no one will love you until you love yourself; what I am saying is that I’m stepping my self-love game ALL. THE. WAY. UP. I’m not waiting anymore. I deserve to be loved right now, always and forever. And so do you.
Finally, this one comes from Sierra: Give yourself some credit and trust yourself. Stop comparing your journey to those of others. Stop looking to others’ decisions for confirmation on the decisions you make, or if your decisions are right or wrong. Stop basing the value and progress of your journey on what you see on tv or on social media. Maybe you don’t meet a huge celebrity on your college campus and get flown out to work with them in a foreign country, that doesn’t mean your projects aren’t valuable. And maybe your artwork doesn’t go viral on Twitter every time you post, that doesn’t mean you should stop making your art or not open your online store.
It’s normal, (yeah I’m using the “n” word) to have your own journey that doesn’t look like anyone else’s. You are one human being on this planet of 7 billion +people. I know social media makes it seem like everyone is connected and everyone should have the same thought processes, be in agreement with each other and have the same standards of success, else you’re going to get publicly shamed/humiliated, but that’s exactly why social media is really for the birds. You were given a brain, an identity and a personality shaped by the very unique experiences you’ve gone through in your life since you were born. You’re not meant to be like everyone else. You’re meant to be you, and you should trust the decisions you make.
What insights have you gained this year? Insights that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life? What was so life-changing for you that you want as many people to know it as possible? Sierra and I would love to know, and I’m positive that everyone else in this community would love to know too.
Happy New Year’s to all!