I woke up this morning, on the last day of 2018, and cried. If I was to be perfectly honest, this surprised me more than anything, because first, I like to think I’m stronger than that emotionally.😂😂😂 And secondly, I’m happy. I’m unshakably at peace. I’ve had a very calm and relaxing week, one that I desperately needed, given how rough fall semester ended up being. Yet here I am, on a couch in Atlanta Jijorjia, an unnecessarily dramatic and silent mess of mostly happy tears that I’m tempted to just laugh at, but honestly can’t really explain.
This has been my motif for 2018, friends:
I can’t really explain it.
Real talk: this year has been long and exhausting. Black Panther was released this year. The Spongebob breathing out meme? 2018. That atrocious song that was played everywhere called In My Feelings? 2018. (Also if I hear that song one more time I will scream.) You would think saying that I am not a fan of unnecessary pain every chance I get would mean that somehow I would escape it but nooo. Any review of this year would be remiss if it didn’t also include the not-so-happy tears. The doubts. The uncertainty (God, especially the uncertainty). The losses from the cruel hand of death. The fights I have had to engage in to recalibrate and protect my mental, emotional and physical health. They are fights I haven’t always won. There’s an undercurrent of just how much I have lost this year for any celebration of how much I’ve gained and how much I still have.
This year has also been beautiful. It has had the most joy, the most laughter, the most peace. I met so many phenomenal people this year. If you are the only stranger in town, I even met Michelle Obama. I have grown in ways that encourage me to stop looking over my shoulder, afraid. I have learned, loved, and lived out loud. I have consistently done the things that scare me. I had the pleasure of staying in and enjoying my own company for an extended period of time this summer (everyone should try this, tbh) I have been intentional with looking out and being ready for what is meant for me.
I have learned to constantly speak up and advocate for myself. To be more present in my giddying moments of joy, to savor them, write about them, and take pictures so that I can actually look back at them in the future. To not take failure personally; it’s never that serious, and will it matter five years from now? To stop reading boring books. It is my spicy, hitherto hidden opinion that what literary canon calls the classics are boring, lacking in imagination, and only famous because their mediocrity was upheld by power structures of the day, and that’s that on that. I’m not doing it anymore. Any time I spend reading a boring book is simply time I could have spent reading a good book.
For all intents and purposes, I have largely done what I keep harping on about here. And I’m almost certain that when older version of me looks back, she will recognize 2018 as a foundational and groundbreaking year in many respects, whether academic, professional or personal.
And so the word I think defines this year is set-up. First, because it was a scam.😂😂😂 But also because I’m choosing to believe that all this weirdness is actually a set up for big good things in 2019.
And so seeing this day is a blessing.
I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m here, pulse beating under my skin, air filling my lungs, muscles imbued with life and fire, laughter caught in my throat, love into and from the universe, I’m here. I’m here and I’m grateful. And the picture above is exactly the kind of ear-splitting, eyes-closed, dimple-showing, last-teeth-out, light-all-around-me, spicy-level-10, infectious joy I’m hoping I take into 2019.
This year, I hope I laugh often. I hope I continue to love myself and those around me out loud and in ways that are liberating and honest and vulnerable. I hope I redefine strength for myself. I hope I do things that lift my and my loved ones’ hearts. I hope I only do things that give me the most fun. So, with all the love and joy I can muster, happy new year. May it be good to all of us. 🎇