thank u 2018, next

I know I am not the first to say this, but this has truly felt like the longest year, ever. We are days away from its end, but so much has gone on since it began. For reference, Black Panther and Beychella both happened within the first four months of this year. Apparently there was even an Olympics at the beginning of this year. No seriously, there was. There was even a World Cup. As you can tell, I do the sports thing really well.

In this post, I want to write about the pop culture and personal ups and downs that carried me through this year. 2018 has been a year of reconciliation. I reconciled many things within myself. I began making peace with things I didn't think I would ever make peace with. I learned to claim things and name the things I wanted this year. I started imagining a life where I did things despite fear and anxiety. And look what it has brought me:

  1. I took steps to sprout despite doubt by launching this platform to grow into my identity as a writer.

  2. I joined a book club in my neighborhood dedicated to the writings of women of color (shout out to the founder, Beatriz!)

  3. I traveled to new places and made new memories.

  4. I got comfortable with rejection and setbacks and learned to move through them.

  5. I *actually* committed to many of the goals I set earlier this year

It wasn't all glamorous, though. There were a couple of failures including rejections from jobs and fellowships I wanted. Some friendships were strained and repaired. All of these were lessons. I shocked myself a lot this year. The biggest shock has been a purposeful change in my behavior towards my goals. Full disclosure, I didn't accomplish all of my goals. I'm okay with that. By not achieving all of my goals, I discovered what my priorities were. Instead of being more outward and external, I focused on developing myself and working internally.

Because of anxiety and depression, I struggle with locating my feelings most of the time. I usually know when I'm feeling irregular or unhappy. The harder feeling to recognize, however, is happiness. I think I get scared to acknowledge happiness because I don't want it taken from me, but also because I'm often led to believe there is something wrong with my own happiness. This year was one of the first years where I was able to locate some of my happiness in the moment. Admittedly, it felt irregular at first. It is certainly not constant. But it is here and when it is here I will live in it and be present.

Overall, 2018 taught me that:

  1. Just because I am prone to cynicism does not mean I can't believe. This year, I embraced the phrase being "cautiously optimistic." Carrying the insights from past hardships as well as understanding the realities of the difficult times we live in easily conditions me to expect the worse in spaces where hope is required. Hope, however, does not make me naive. On the contrary, hope has allowed me to start feeling beyond the realm of possibilities and stretch out to see if I can surpass the boundaries placed on me by myself and society.

  2. Progress doesn't need to be exponential in order for it to be continual. This one has been the hardest lesson to learn. Regression has often gotten in the way of building habits

  3. Know when to keep that same energy and when to change. This is directed more towards the pressure to hold the "new year, same me" stance on all things new. As someone who does not always set aside time for goal setting, this year's productivity has been largely because I've allowed myself to be okay with inner change.

Next year will be a continuation of the work that I began. In order to build upon the lessons I've learned this year, I've decided that in 2019 I will focus on redefinition. In my next post, you'll learn more about specific goals and plans of action.

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