2017 came equipped with copious amounts of razor blades, lemon juice and coconut oil. Here I lay out the highs and band-aids that was and at this moment still is 2017.
I started a podcast. Who in 2017 didn’t start a podcast? My dogs have a joint podcast and that’s why the living room is a mess every morning. I jumped on the bandwagon flat-footed with a small idea in my pocket: make mental health woes funny. I talk almost ad nauseum about my battles with both depression and anxiety, the two hoes that ghost follow me on everything and comment at the worst possible times. In my mind during those hardest moments, there is no solitude. There is no laughter. The year before I lost someone who completed their attempt. More and more friends and family came forward to share how they suffer in silence. Me, being the most transparent in this area, set out to create a space to lay our burdens and share a laugh as well. I lovingly call it My Depression’s Got Jokes. It’s on SoundCloud. Eight episodes down, more healing to go.
Road to Dasmascus for that ass. As the story goes, the Road to Dasmascus is where Saul becomes Paul. A blinding light blocked him from continuing his reign of persecution and aintshitness. Mine was more of a resounding boom. Picture this: I’m driving down Hull St in pieces. My chest is tight. I can’t stop crying. My eyes are red. I then hear the whistle of a bomb about to detonate inside me. Then I explode. It’s deafening as I hear a voice through the rubble cascading down around me. The voice is calm but stern. I hear bones break and my chest crack. The tools I kept hidden deep within burst forward. I could smell color. I could taste sound. I could see visions of the past, present, future and live to tell the tale in real time. I, my own tower, imploded to reveal who I truly am meant to be: a healer, a reader, a discerning spirit meant to help and embolden. I am the hippie cousin who drinks nothing but alkaline water and tea. I am the black vegan whose body had enough of the shit and kicked me in the right direction. I’m the one who does/reads/asks/tells/sows/breathes/is the things that old church lady told you not to look into as she gathered her bingo sheets. I was reintroduced to Hov, the One upstairs and the one who is me.
I gave up being a daughter and focused on being a mother. As I wrote about previously, I gave up trying to be Joyce’s kid for my own safety and sanity. I, in turn, saw how my damaged self was now inflicting my child. So I got her into dance class and apologized. For all my shortcomings. My temper. My standoffish way of loving her. I had mothered her with my own understanding of motherhood and it was broken from jump. I told her I was wrong. That I’m not perfect and I was wrong to expect perfection from her. That I pray she doesn’t grow up to hate me. From that moment, this little jerk became my protector. I say jerk because my child is a Taurus. Take that how you will. She became my light, illuminating my pain points to finally do something about them and stop calling them badges of honor. I also learned I suffered pretty badly with abandonment issues and postpartum depression after having her. It doesn’t erase or excuse my actions but it does help to better understand them. #LilBootstheRuler became my child for the first time in eight years.
I sold out my first solo event. I came up with the bones of You OK Sis in May 2017. The goal was to create an interactive safe space for black women especially to emote, release and ask the question, “you ok sis?”. Those of us dealing with spiritual upheaval, grief, loneliness, mental illness, all the above or just in need of more like-minded sisters could come together for three hours to let it all go. In the city I currently reside in, there isn’t much room allowed for black new ageism or progression. If you’re not doing a conference at TOO-MANY-TOO-COUNT Baptist Church of the Pink Envelope, good luck getting a huge turnout on the spiritual end. The week of my event, after weeks of posting and sharing about what we’re doing, it sold out. I created 30 tickets and each was claimed, a couple were gifted and the room was packed. I stood before them as someone who didn’t have all the answers, but was willing to share what I’d learned to this point. Since then, we’ve held another in Richmond and one in Washington, D.C. I’ve been asked to speak on how Journahealing, a practice I created to help the healing process along through shared writings, can be added to any self-care routine.
I created a lifestyle brand. Similar to You OK Sis, ReFeel & Co. began as meeting a need I didn’t know I had. I sucked at self-care. I tended to initiate it well after I’ve hit my emotional bottom. Self-care had also become a buzzword, a fluffy feel-good word vs. a word of action. Still recovering from my road to Damascus implosion, I needed something more than a nail appointment. My journey began with a subscription box idea. I put the prototype and soft launch out there to little bite and those who did immediately wanted to know how they could get paid selling within the box. So I went back to square one and educated myself on how to deliver multilevel self-care. Three decks, a name change, updated packaging, boxmates, four shelves in the Femme Fatale Pop-Up Shop and some apparel later, ReFeel & Co is continuing to expand. Thank God for not giving up.
I found out how I tick. The most important lesson of all this year. I came face-to-face with me. At my darkest, at my most ascendant, at my most real. Friends told me hitting 30 would kick off the decade of no longer taking shit lying down. Since hitting 30, my knees have ached more but my insight has gotten sharper. I have little patience for anyone coming at me any kind of way. I recognize projection and call it out. I let myself grow in the ways needed and not just wanted. I express my desires openly and fluidly. I eat breakfast, sing affirmations and expect the universe and my ancestors to come together to surprise lil ol me. I now recognize the cake mix, eggs, butter and oil handed to me is for me to create my own way out, not a reminder of all I have to do to survive. I get it done because the feeling of completing tasks outweighs the “break” I unjustly hand myself. I got to know the mirror and the woman holding it on a much deeper level. And I let her prosper. I let us prosper. The universe continues to let us prosper.