23 was the year of reflection, but there was also some deception and depression. For every lowest low we hit, we can either be defeated or empowered by it. We can look past the valley and be inspired, or we can wallow in the depths of where we are and waste away.
Half-way into 23 I found myself at this crossroads of perception. Trying to understand if life was really what I thought it was, or if it was the dystopia that my broken spirit painted it to be.
In season one of Being Mary Jane, when she told her mother about her affair with a married man, her mother simply responded "cry about it now, and fix it in the morning." There was something about those words that truly struck me. From birth we are told not to cry, to suck it up, and to be strong - leaving us with no space to feel. Cry about it now gives you the flexibility to be in that moment, to feel, to let it out, and space for that "I don't need this" lightbulb to click. But on the back end, fix it in the morning is solution oriented enough to help you look forward with chest high. So now when I need a renewal I cry, and try to fix it in the morning.
Through these solution-oriented eyes have come my three greatest lessons of 23:
I believe that at the root of many self-reflective moments for Black women lies a fuck boy who she was too much for. Though there's the thought of I hate what you did, for me at least it's always overshadowed by, but I love who I've become. Taking self-inventory is one of the best ways to work towards becoming your best self. But a part of taking self-inventory that I often forget is celebration. While you are taking corrective measures by owning your faults and working towards fixing them, you must also celebrate yourself and have gratitude for where you currently are. Given that there was a time when you wished so badly to be where you are right now.
At 23 I am so grateful to have the discernment to integrate perspective into my life. For me, perspective within myself has allowed for me to not only think more positively, but to truly understand why things are what they are. Beyond my internal perspective though, I've come to the conclusion that it is completely asinine to assume your perspective onto other people, the way they live their lives, and the decisions they make for themselves. In case this is your first time hearing this, everyone thinks and views life through a different lens, which is their perspective. This perspective is built through the experiences that one has taken in throughout the course of their life, and because no two stories are the same, neither are two perspectives. What I've come to do is focus more on the why and not the what. When listening to people, seek understanding of their perspectives and draw out a middle ground that you can both walk on.
Most importantly as I head into the journey of 24, 23 gave me the platform and the space to liberate my mind. We don't ask enough probing questions in this life, nor do we seek enough understanding, and the flip of that, is taking things at face value which can be dangerous. In 23, I found myself asking why and says who so often. Breaking down my understanding of the world up until that point, and seeing what it really was/is behind the smoke and mirrors. Through this, I've learned that I am not to be under anyone's "control" mentally, emotionally or professionally. Of the amazing things I imagine to come in 24, liberation is what I look forward to most.