2017: A Year of Triumph, Setbacks, and Life-Altering Experiences

I’m not perfect So I try every day and I grow a little bit. Read a little more so I can educate my fears, reap for my soul and cleanse my spirit, pray cus I’m ready for the bloom of the sea, peace and serenity is all that I need. 

– “Why Don’t You” by Cleo Sol


It’s that time of year – where we all take time out of 2017’s remaining days to reflect on the past 12 months. We find ourselves reflecting on the pleasing and displeasing moments, our self-improvements and upsetting setbacks. Below are lessons that 2017 taught me:

2017 Lessons

Love Yourself, Be Strong in Your Character – I entered 2017 drained from my past relationship – emotionally damaged from the aftermath of the breakup. Although I was able to get out of my bed and live through my days without thinking about it, it was still daunting me somehow. Sometimes I would be minding my business and the waterworks would just start at the most inconvenient times. Witnessing the person whom you love the most move on to love someone else is pure emotional torture. But I learned something valuable from this disheartening love affair: to decipher between “seasonal” and “lifetime” people. We yearn for those whom we think are “suitable” for us and we do everything in our power to keep them in our lives, ignoring subtle hints that they are only supposed to be temporary staples in our life timeline. This time in my life taught me to be responsible for my emotions; to evaluate my person-of-interest not only physically but characteristically as well. It goes to back to the saying my mother used to say to me: “Love of yourself is the basis of all things.”

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NOLA, Louisiana | Jan 2017 – When I participated in a community service trip to rebuild houses for Hurrican Katrina victims with SBP.

Forgiveness – Forgiveness is a quality that is often overlooked by the mass. A situation happens and we just “move on.” We say, “Oh yeah, I forgive that person” or “It’s over and done with” due to the passing of time but it occupies the deepest part of our conscious, creating a heavy burden on our chest: an unintentional grudge that builds up over time. This year, I had to come to terms with the true meaning of forgiveness, dig deep into my inner-self to free myself from the harmless grudges that I held against people that hindered my well-being, which affected my center for a long time. Forgiveness isn’t an easy task; it could take months or years to forgive someone for the harm that they have done to you. Think about it, when you don’t forgive, you prevent yourself from advancing to your fullest potential. You let that person encompass the most vital factor in your life: you.

Take Risks – Risk can be freedom in disguise. It can be mentally stimulating, emotionally enriching, spiritually touching, and of course, physically changing. Risk is deemed as an exposure to danger which is why we tend to avoid it at all costs. I took a breathtaking risk this year. After losing an opportunity that aided my parents to afford my college tuition, I made an impactful decision: to study abroad for a year. It wasn’t my intention to, but like I mentioned in my previous post, life has a funny way of working things out. I took that mental risk to not only redeem myself but to fully embark on a self-discovery journey. I also took the risk of creating my own website and bring my own personal journaling to digital life. It’s been a hobby that I kept personal for years. If it wasn’t for my close friend Anthony, I wouldn’t be writing this today. He blogs about his passion for music, providing a platform for music lovers to connect. To read more about music on Anthony’s blog, click here. I’m here to inspire others to do what they envision themselves doing in the future. Did I think I would ever get featured in the Huffington Post along with other dope black women bloggers? No. But I never would’ve known if I didn’t explore the possibility, or in other words, take that leap of faith. To read my feature and other black travel bloggers on Huffington Post by Nasir Fleming, click here.

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Purchase, NY | April 2017 – Nasir and I when we hosted and performed at Manhattanville’s annual Drag Show.

Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You’re Lonely – This was a very valuable lesson. Following the breakup, I was deliberately scared to be alone. I thought I would be alone forever, causing me to be desperate and searching for attention in unpromising places and people that I knew wouldn’t last. I attempted to fill a void – I was scared to be completely by myself. As time passed and I steadily grew weary of the constant emotional dissatisfactions, I came to terms that I needed to be alone in order to gain clarity and mentally reset. Being alone was refreshing for me; I learned new things about myself, I had much more time for me, my friends and family, and my lifestyle became much more proactive and productive. Detox yourself from toxic people, traits, and surroundings and watch how much you grow. It’s riveting to witness.

Move at your own pace – I’ve come to the conclusion that comparison is mental torture. We scroll through our social media timelines and we become irritated at our current position when we see others literally living their life and getting paid for it without penalty. We become irritated with ourselves because others have “everything figured out” and we don’t. I’m a victim of it as well. The truth is, we all don’t have everything figured out. We are simply moving at various paces and we must acknowledge, trust, and believe in our own life processes. Instead of being envious of others, let’s support each others growth. Let’s provide encouragement, reassurance, and upliftment while at the same time working at a pace that is healthy and beneficial for us.

 

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Paris, France | November 2017 – Me and my waffle posing in front of Place de la Concorde

 

As you can tell, 2017 was an eventful year. I started off at my lowest point and ending it much stronger than I anticipated. So keep persevering, your blessing is almost here. For those who like to create New Year’s resolutions, don’t put pressure on yourself to complete them – pace yourself. You have a full year to check off the boxes on your list.

Until 2018,

~R

 

 

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