Every year people make declarations about who they will be and how they will be the best at it, my declarations are usually more along the lines of giving my year themes to give it some sort of focus. At the top of this year I labeled 2013 the year of love. And not solely the romantic kind but the whole gamut - love of self, of life, of another person, of God and my path. I’m pleased to say that deeming my year with a theme proved positive, I was not focused on achieving some goal like the hottest summer body or finding the greatest job ever but instead on finding love in what surrounds me. When I chose love as a focus I had just gone through a very rough year and knew that even with all the things lacking visibly in my life was something deeper was broken. It is easy to focus on what’s missing at the surface but it is the behind the scenes that will tell you what is really going on. I honed in on what that seemed to be for me; a lack of love.
Love is a word that people throw around aimlessly or hold onto so tightly it never gets any use. I would say I tend to be somewhere in the middle, I love hard but not easily. I consider myself to a great friend to others, someone who will take care of you, listen to you, console you but I’m not that kind to myself much of the time. I give a lot, not begrudgingly but willingly and in turn I forget I need a little too. When I sat and reflected on the hurts I had suffered, the position I was in and the emptiness I was feeling all roads were pointing back to that four letter powerhouse. Love doesn’t just affect you in a romantic sense, which is why I think it was hard for me to acknowledge it as my issue at first. But the lack of love in every area can throw you off track. I identified four areas of my life where I wanted to see a significant change. Over the course of the past twelve months just opening myself up to the idea has changed me and life for the better.
“I declare this will be the year of love; love of myself, love of God, love of another, and love of my journey and destiny.” This is what I wrote in my journal minus the intensely personal things. If you’ve read any of my writing you know I decided to spend the last five years of my twenties letting go of things that could potentially keep me from going into my thirties anew. My self-esteem issues have riddled me since I was a child and I’m glad now that I with each passing day and year they dwindle away. Choosing to love myself as the first focus for this year was huge; mainly because I had been wallowing in a state of disappointment and anger. I was still upset about finishing college a little later than anticipated, not having a job, still living at home and raising a child alone. Typing that even sounds like a pile of the sads but here months later with everything changed, that has subsided. There was a time when getting out of the bed last year was difficult for me because I felt there was no reason to rise. Why get up? To face the day? I’ll pass. But I did something that helped me another time I had a severe change in my life - I chopped all my hair off. While this time around my reasoning was different the relief was still palpable. I could see my face, I couldn’t hide behind my mountain of hair thinking that without it the pretty would flee from me. Lo and behold I discovered my forehead is a little big, my eyebrows needed shaping but I looked pretty good under there. Facing yourself is a huge thrust into loving who you are. When you can’t hide from what you look like you embrace it. Now I am ready for my hair to grow back but not to cover up my mug but to shine on with a bigger head of curls. I’ve learned to appreciate my face; it’s curves and lines. My beauty marks, the depth of my eyes and the pudge of my nose. This is who I am. I will not change but only develop more. Like a polaroid showing more and more as time goes on of what I truly am. I look forward to aging gracefully watching my black become more and more beautiful.
After learning to love me more I really had to focus on loving my path. Spending months reading books about how to have the career you want or snagging the dream job one thing continued to arise, “think about what you loved to do as a kid, that will help you find your passion.” I thought about it, as a child I wanted nothing more than to write and have my own business. Yet twenty years later I was trying to shove myself into the rat race by applying for job after job instead of recognizing who I was. I’m not the get up, get dressed and head to the office type. This doesn’t mean I don’t like to work or my ethic is shotty what it does mean is that I am self-motivated, full of ideas, and possess the wherewithal to make them happen. After being relieved of the daunting task of finding a traditional 9-to-5 the load of bricks that fell off of my shoulders made me three inches taller. It also let loose my creativity. I was given an amazing opportunity by my friend Issa Rae, who trusted my talent enough to give me a chance to write and perform, to develop a web series. I started two other businesses that are growing and more importantly I enjoy waking up and working hard at everything I do. I had placed myself into this box of expectation because I was worried about what people would think. “She’s a mom, she’s doesn’t have a “job”, what is she doing with her life?!” Though none of these people provide for me or my child their concerns concerned me. But thank the Lord for freedom and love. I accepted my desires, I opened myself up to the idea that I was meant to be my own captain, my own boss and direct me. I am more than comfortable with that. I am now learning let go of the notion that if I don’t have a desk in a cubicle that I am unsuccessful. Success does not look the same for everyone and when we attempt to fit ourselves into shoes that don’t fit there will be no happy ending.
I don’t fancy myself a hopeless romantic or a princess who waited to be swept off of her feet but there is no denying that when cupid shoots his arrow toward you there’s no dodging it. Love has come into my life and it is positive, affirming, warm and constant. There is no shame, no ridicule, and no cruelty. True love makes you proud, it makes you content, and it unlocks a smile that is powered from within. This is what I have been blessed to find. After letting go of my preconceived notions of what my great love would like and deciding to stay away from and out of situations where I wasn’t respected I totally opened myself up for something great. At the end of last year I was lonely and afraid love wouldn’t live here anymore. I was wrong. I have spent the year being loved by an amazing person who understands me, makes me laugh, and appreciates every facet of my being. I trust him, I’m proud of him, and most of all I’m not afraid to give my love freely. It’s a blissful experience to be in relationship where you don’t feel condemned or villainized. I forgive the previous cats who have done me wrong, I hope they forgive me for offending them if I did but I am grateful for the chance to see what kind of things weren’t for me. Their presence in my life at the time served as lessons and now the learning has prepared me. The love of another is ever present in my life and I’m excited because it’s a forever thing.
The last place I wanted to bring love in my life was my spirit. It is amazing that even if we have everything else in our lives together there can still be a gaping hole somewhere existing. We can try and fill it with good times, libations, sex or whatever else we think will close the space but the truth is that like our physical bodies our spiritual bodies must be fed. My relationship with God had become strained. I was disappointed, sad and felt neglected. I didn’t feel the love coming from within or from above and only felt alone. I think when you spend much of your life trusting who God is based on what other people tell you it is easy to get lost. There comes a time when you must figure it out for yourself. You have to find out what you need to feel complete. That wholeness does not come from another person, from the perfect job, or the best living conditions; you need more. I figured I had heard about this great God for years it was time I got more familiar with his goodness, his ways and his abilities. I opened my Bible not going into it with the mind I saved for church but instead with the mind I used for school. When you want to learn knowledge will come. I learned that the God people tried to serve me wasn’t exactly who they said. I learned so much more about this person in seeking Him out for myself. I now feel equipped to speak about him even more than before. But most importantly I think I gained more of an understanding.
As the year closes and we come into another, I will be in the last year of my twenties. Next year I think an appropriate theme is transition. Transitioning from a twenty something year old person to a thirty year old mother, most likely wife and business owner. I want to transition to where I am financially, even more spiritually, and emotionally fulfilled. Twenty eight brought me many joys and new beginnings. I am looking forward to 2014.