I spent 70, 979 minutes listening to Spotify this year. (They be coming through with all the stats.) This was probably because I spent a lot of 2018 commuting 3 hours a day from McDonough, Ga to Athens, Ga and back (about 1 hr and 40 minute ride [one way]–although I did get it down to 1 hr and 30). I listened to music, sermons and podcasts during my commutes. Sometimes I would drive in silence. Sometimes I would spend the commute crying, frustrated with life. I spent time in my car praying and worshipping. I spent time in my car eating all three meals of the day. Sometimes, I would have to pull over because I was exhausted: a 15 minute nap here, a 10 minute nap there. I slept for an hour in the Walmart parking lot. I knew things had to change when I dozed off and veered over into the median. God’s grace was abundant, as I just drove into grass and a few bumps, but that was enough for me. Something had to change…
Why was I commuting?
In August of 2017, I decided to not renew my lease as I was in the final round for a job in another state. When I didn’t get the job, I was sure I would find something else in a few months. Ha! Life didn’t work out that way.
So 2018 kicked off, and I was a nomad. Crashing at friends’ houses if I got too tired to drive. Always with clothes and bags in my car. I didn’t get a chance to do a 2018 vision board because I didn’t feel any clarity or goals about what I wanted out of the year… well except for one thing (I will get to that later). I, at first, did not think that I could write a reflections piece because there were many moments of confusion, but over the past few days, a few reflections did come to mind out of the cloud. So below are my top reflections. I hope they touch those who read this post. Seasons of transitions are hard, but not impossible. You have the tools you need to get through them.
“I am making room for God to manifest miracles and blessings in my life. Ase and Amen.”
Sister Scholar Joan sent me this mantra and I would recite it to myself everyday or share it on my Twitter feed. It’s funny how this mantra manifested in my life. The idea of making room at first meant having an open heart for God to bring about miracles. Nice concept, huh? In reality, I literally had to make room– throwing away bad habits, releasing bad thoughts about myself, walking away from people, leaving jobs and setting boundaries. There were things I had gotten so comfortable with that I had to throw away in order to have enough room for God to work.
Speaking of scraping everything, I started to reflect on love a bit more and what I desired in a partner. I was truly transformed this year when I read bell hooks “All About Love: New Visions” Below is a dope quote from the book:
“To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love — admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do no know what that means.”
I think we have to start all over when it comes to love and create our own meanings and ways of practicing it. In the book, love is defined as, ‘the will to extend one’s self for the the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.’ Love is as love does. Love is an act of will–namely, both an intention and an action.”
Intention!! I want to be in love that is intentional with intimacy, has integrity, and goes beyond my wildest dreams and aspirations about it. I am nowhere close to any romantic love, but the love I share with my friends is amazing. I am looking forward to the day when I see that and more in and with a partner.
G & C 2018
I went into 2018 with a motto of “Girth and Consistency.” Ya’ll know what I am talking about. I truly wanted to be able to explore my sexuality. What did I like? What did I need to speak up about?
I got new toys (I have suggestions if anyone is interested). I did a boudoir shoot, where I got to explore my body and my scars. G & C became more than just a motto; it was a form of sexual liberation. I talked with friends about this exploration and some of them have adopted their own version. Some of these conversations led to discussing sexual health. I walked away from a selfish partner who was just not about pleasuring me. I made the decision that my pleasure was greater than their company.
I found a sexual partner who loved using Tumblr and we would exchange messages there. It was a beautiful thing to share what I desired via images and words. We would connect and then give feedback about what we enjoyed about the experience and what we wanted more of. Needless to say, I was distraught when the new Tumblr regulations occurred.
G & C has run its course, as I have achieved what I set out to do, and I want to focus more on intimacy in 2019. I am thankful for the exploration.
Building a Culture of Transparency
There is not a badge of honor for hurting others. You have to be accountable for the impact of your words and actions. Transparency is a bit more than honesty, to me. There is integrity in transparency. A good friend of mine vented to me about how I hurt her feelings with actions I did. I listened and apologized not only for how I made her feel, but also for not communicating what was going on. On the opposite end of that, I experienced hurt by a friend and there has not been a “debrief” convo about my feelings and the impact their actions have had on me. I need to follow up on the debrief, but I want to do it in a way that is fruitful for moving forward. I want to give grace to this person, and today, I don’t have the words that will reflect such grace. In building this culture, I believe there is room for that. This year has taught me that I have to speak up when it is needed, learning when it is best to share, communicate frequently and just be mindful of my words and actions. Again there is no badge of honor in being an ass.
In 2018, I had some very low points, and most of the year, I buried them inside and kept them to myself. It wasn’t until I became vulnerable and opened up to my mom, my aunt, my friends Joan, Kristi, Casey, JoJo, Emmanuel and Brittney (and others but I don’t want this to be long lol) that things took a turn. I did not have to carry those burdens alone. These people prayed for and with me. They gave me space to mourn, celebrate and vent. They affirmed me when I was in doubt. This year showed me that it is ok to let others show up for you. I have always been the friend who people came to for advice, prayer, food etc. I felt that I had to keep that up and not show when my energy was down or when I literally couldn’t show up for myself let alone anyone else. This year, I learned that I needed to allow others to show up for me. So, thank you to my tribe. Ya’ll are everything and then some.
Oh to Dream
Creativity for me this year was up and down. There were moments where I got a burst of energy and I would be writing down poems, ideas for scripts and just projects I wanted to get involved in. Other times, I would be so overwhelmed that I didn’t pick up a pen. Over the summer, I had this idea of getting artists together to create with no boundaries. The end result would be a series of shows that would incorporate music, theatre, poetry, dance and visual elements. I named this piece “Oh to Dream.” It was inspired by a lot of things. I am still working out how it will all come to together, but, in generating this project, I am jumping out there to take the risk. My mentor, Jamil, said that I shouldn’t say no to any opportunities so I volunteered with 5 theatre productions this year. I went to concerts. I found a part time job at my dream theatre (The Alliance) and quit my job to get rid of that commute. A week after I sent in my resignation letter, I received an offer for a new job. It is a newly created position with so many opportunities for me to dream and make it my own.
One of the anchoring scriptures for this new project is Isaiah 43:18-19, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” This year God showed me a path in a wilderness of doubt and fear and made rivers in a desert of hopelessness. On the other side I am dreaming bigger. I am excited about this new year as I will be turning 30 (ow ow). I am thankful for the journey 2018 took me on.
70, 979 minutes of music on Spotify in 2018, mostly experienced in my car. I remember how I would look at the sky and thank God for His creation. I would thank Him for the view and the beauty I was seeing before me. Even on mornings of rain and clouds, I said a prayer of thanks. The opportunity to see the view was enough. 2018 was a good view.