Let’s face it: 2016 was a hot mess. We lost a bunch of honored and admired celebrities. Our childhood heroes were being challenged, alleged and infamously uncovered. The black community suffered again and again and again. Our FB friends showed they asses and we had to block, unfollow, delete, curse out, etc. It took a toll on our characters and values. You’re not one to respond to a Facebook thread in all caps for someone to get your point. Don’t worry, I know.
Cuffing season came and went and you are still single. Relationship goals turned out to be a scam for Netflix and chill. And, to top it all off, in November, we can finally and unapologetically admit that people are stupid—or, maybe, easily manipulated. Let’s stick with stupid, though. Life came at us fast, beloved. It was a shit show. No one signed us up for this. No one prepared us for any of what we went through in 2016. The life actually chose us, unprepared. Our nightmares became reality. It sucked.
But then, just like Jesus’ resurrection on the third day, we made it to 2017. GLORAY! And so far, we seem to be doing OK. I am doing ok. It was just January 1st that I reflected and realized I really did not accomplish anything in 2016. Like, where did that time go? Wtf was I doing? Work??? ONLY?? (bills and breakups in between, actually. But they not the point. So moving on…) Disappointed and surprised, I made a list of new year resolutions to keep myself accountable; so, when December 31st, 2017 comes around, I can say I have arrived. I have become. I have conquered. I am me.
That journey is beautifully progressing, b.t.dubs. I am walking and standing in my truth. And God has been faithful.
Speaking of God: I think our relationship is headed in the right direction. You may be able to relate. Yanno, that direction that knows him as a friend after Saturday night turn ups with three drinks (because you’re a lightweight) and a designated driver (judge me but I go out once a quarter) and you are praying in your heart of hearts, making false promises and useless confessions for Him to get you home safely? Then on your sober morning you admit, AGAIN, “I gotta get my shit together. God is not pleased.” Ya, that friend. God is giving me the freedom to choose him. He has all the time in the world (like, literally, ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD). I, on the other hand…this aint about me though. Let’s continue.
Although the past year has challenged us far removed from our comfort zones and shattered our worldviews and our paradigms into pieces, I think we entered these first few months of 2017 with a duty to self. And it makes sense. We are encouraging yesterday’s fighters and tomorrow’s heroes to unplug to take care of themselves. We are rallying together to support women on our tiresome quest for equality (on the job—and in the home, if I might add). We are admitting that words do hurt and cause chaos like sticks and stones break bones. Yet, in the same breath, we are pausing to sort ourselves out, brush ourselves off and rise up. Beloved, we are in the season of self-care.
In this season of self-care, I have learned that the most important person to me is myself. I cannot obey the commandment to love others as I love myself without loving myself. And the only person that is there in those times of dark despair and terrible trauma is myself. So, why don’t I have a chat with me, eh? (Hey, stay with me here. I have a degree and scholastic friends. I am smart. Trust me when I say you are not crazy.)
So, here are some insights into how I am getting my shit together: (I call them “Tawanna’s life hacks”):
- Always be kind, always. We are social beings who feel and we prefer good feelings, not bad ones. So be a good feelings giver. A smile is kind—maybe, start there?
- Always express gratitude. Even though it might be someone’s duty or responsibility to do for you or give to you, they are choosing to do it. Thank them. Choosing to adult everyday is hard. Thank your parents. Thank your friends. Thank the janitor when he comes to pick up your trash at your cubicle.
- Honor your struggles—remember what the pain has taught you. It was real. Remember, but do not go back. It ain’t gon change, dear heart. He ont want you, sis. Let it go, bro.
- Believe in yourself: you can become whoever you want. We got Asahd making beats with his dad (DJ Khaled) out the womb.
- Stick to the plan, follow your dreams and do not give up. Do not be fooled, however, because as the honorary philosopher Buju Banton once uttered, “it’s not an easy road. A many see the glamor and the glitter and think it’s a bed of rose…”
- Keep rising: you will fall. Patent how you respond to the shits so it propels you to the smiles. Keep getting up.
- Just do it: Nike was on to something, here. Put down that damn phone and go workout. Eat an apple. Drink more water.
Seven is enough. I think you get the point. Affirming ourselves gives us wings. And you’re not crazy, trust. There are tons of psychological studies on self-talk. You can google it (I did). Or ask your follower on twitter who only post threads on positivity, peace, energy (not that horoscope stuff. REAL LIFE STUFF). HECK, ask Iyanla Vanzant how she been fixing those people’s lives.
Listen, honey, Beyoncé is pregnant with twins. Issa Rae started on youtube now she on HBO. Kendrick Lamar launched a dope album. Millennials are challenging traditions—we are going beyond the border. The future is bright. The future may well be female (because we are magical beings who birth nations and nurture humanity. We are golden.) So, stand in front of your bathroom mirror and affirm yourself until you believe it. Fake it till you make it has been proven to be successful. We aint got time fo doubt. If Drake can be a Canadian, Jamaican, British rapper who found his start up in a wheelchair on a teen drama, so can you. Train your inner voice to root for you, not against you. (please see a psychiatrist if the issues are deeply rooted much more than a few words can change. Also, the people are still working on getting the church to pay for your copays instead of having them say they are praying for you. We getting there. Hold on)
At the end of the day, personally, thankfully, proudly, I truly believe God is raising up a generation who walks in his light. And it is not going to look like a GYC convention (sorry non-Adventists, it is an Adventist inside joke). Or, it is not going to be filled with the pious liars and devoted betrayers. It is going to be filled with those who have learned that love is the answer. You do not have to fight for it. You do not have to cry for it. You do not have to beg for it. It has already been given. Revel in it, you unicorn, you. (PURSUE YOUR HAPPINESS, QUEEN. TALK YO SHIT, KING)
OK, Back at it. Sorry if all that God stuff makes you uncomfortable. But if you made it to this sentence, I would like you to know that you are powerful. Your words create. You are beautiful. Your life is a gift. You are a force. You can be whoever you want to be. I hope you choose to create that which is good. But, first, do not neglect yourself: positively affirm who you are to reveal the good that is. You can bet on good. It will win. It has already won.
(Oh, by the way, don’t come looking for me December 31st 2017 to ask how things worked out. Learn to stay out of grown folks business. Blessings)
Tawanna is passionate about self-care and living freely within ones’ own truth. She has created a public twitter @t_nicollette to share her insights about life and eventually save a life through her story. You can keep in touch with what is going on in her life through her blog at www.tawannanicollette.com and feel free to follow her on twitter. She hopes to start a youtube channel, soon.