Alternately titled: 2013: Bye, Ashy!
2013 was a shitty year, yo. I began the year unemployed, (& semi-homeless) PLUS one of my favorite people passed 19 days into this fuckass year. The majority of this year has been about picking up the pieces of a shattered life and trying to make some sense of it again. Through all of the fuckery though, I’ve learned a few lessons that I’d like to share with the 1.5 people who aren’t me that happen to read this blog every now and again.
1. Clear communication is *Jay-Z voice* SO NECESSARY!
You would think that this would be a common sense type of thing for most adults, but I’ve had the most kerfuffles this year due to a lack of clarity. In some cases, intentions and expectations were not effectively laid out to me, so I ended up offending and eventually losing some folks. In other cases, I did not clearly and efficiently lay out my expectations, leading to one disappointment after another. In order to not bring this mess into 2014, I am pledging to do two things. 1: Use language that cannot in any way be misconstrued; basically being as direct as possible. B: Ask questions when I am unsure of what is really expected of me.
2. Self-preservation is key!
Can we all agree that selflessness is overrated? In the aftermath of the loss of my aunt I tried to be everything to everybody. I put my own grief on the backburner as I consistently tried to be there for her children whenever they needed. In doing so I essentially burnt myself out. I was so wrapped up in making sure everyone else was appeased, that I rarely took time for myself. When I did, I felt guilty and ashamed, then resentful. As we’re coming ‘round the bend of the year’s end, I’ve achieved a better sense of boundaries. I still am there for my cousins and will drop (most) things on a dime to ensure that they are taken care of, but I will no longer neglect me in the process. I know that in order to be the best for them, I have to be the best for myself. Coming to this conclusion was not the easiest or quickest thing to grasp, but I am finally there. Thank God.
3. I can do this writing thing.
I know my way around a word or two. For years friends and acquaintances have said I should write a book, but I never quite felt like my work was good enough. I never even used to share it with others for fear of ridicule. This year, however, I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined a writing critique group. While I have fallen off like bad dope in the past couple of months, the group has been an immense joy to be a part of. For the first time, I had people outside of those who are nearest and dearest to my heart telling me they liked my writing and wanted to read more. Strangers! I had a little Sally Field moment quite a few times when reading feedback. In 2014, I want to rededicate myself to the written word. I plan on immersing myself in literature, my Macbook, and every now and again, le pen & moleskine. My goal is to finish at least one major work/idea that I’ve been stockpiling and possibly self-publish. Quite the undertaking, but it’s time. Hell, truly it’s overdue.
4. Asking for help is not showing weakness.
I’ve had a chip on my shoulder for quite a while when it comes to asking for help. After much reflection, I’ve realized it stems from a desperate need to prove my independence to others. As a kid I got teased quite a bit for being “spoiled”. This teasing dragged all the way into my undergraduate years because, though I worked part-time while attending school w/ an overloaded schedule, my parents still gave me a monthly allowance. I always said that as soon as I got a “big-girl job”, I’d never ask them for anything else because I didn’t want to get more shit from people about being spoiled as an adult. My, oh my how stupid this line of thought was. Living in one of the most expensive cities in America coupled with shitty salaries, this line of thought left me hungry many a day. In the aftermath of my layoff, I eventually had to move back home with my mom. I’m still there as I try to rebuild. The shit is SO humbling. BUT I don’t feel like a charity case and am not putting myself in dire straits just to prove some shit to someone else. I’m taking my time, thankful for the help, as I rebuild my empire—knowing that when it is back in tact, I’ll be able to send all the help right back to those who helped me.
5. Time is of the essence, live in the moment.
I blogged about this recently, but all I will say on it further is that life is too short. Losing my aunt at 42 definitely taught me that. It’s such a cliché, I know. Whatever dream you have, act upon it…barring it being harmful to yourself and/or others. Take that vacation. Kiss that guy/girl. Quit that job (if you’re financially stable). Live your life in the way it is truly meant to be lived and be damned what anyone has to say about it. It’s YOUR life.
6. Don’t let the standards of others dictate how you live.
This kinda intertwines with a couple of the others, so for the sake of redundancy, I’ll just say—self-explanatory.
7. Love fiercely. Laugh frequently. Cry when necessary. Yell if needed. Let your emotions run free.
Do not be afraid of the intensity of your emotions. Take the time to let those whom you love know it often. Say it with words. Show it with your actions. Be a human manifestation of love. Embrace being a beacon of light for those who may be in shadowy times. Bask in the glow. Do not be afraid to parcel out your love to those you deem worthy and snatch it back from those who do not appreciate. Do not hide from love. This is not to say that you should be overruled by emotion, though. Know when to keep them in check and when to just let them be.
8. There’s no room for apathy in my life.
There’s a lot to be said for necessity as it relates to things in one’s life. If I can’t even be bothered to expend energy toward someone (thing) why the hell should I keep them (it) in my life? NOAP. As Auntie Sweet said “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Okay this is turning into a Martha Beck penned; Oprah sent newsletter so I’ll wrap this up. All in all, I’m grateful to the people and things that have survived this turd of a year and I look forward to 2014 and whatever it has to bring. It certainly can’t get any worse than the “bird shitting on your head after you just got your hurr did” 2013 I just experienced.