I could sit up here and rehash the “ups and downs” of the year as it now comes to a close – but that’s pretty obvious. We all suffered some, cried some and sailed through the heavens on a life-sustaining high a few times. I’m sure we all failed at something this year and also completely killed the game (even if on a small scale). This is life. Always.
But 2015 specifically brought to light three major life lessons that changed who I actually am as a person. Three things no other year of my life could have possibly offered, and I am so beyond thankful for these things.
ONE | GO COMANDO (WITH YOUR AMBITIONS)
This year marks a lot of firsts in the writing world for me. I started writing for three publications on Medium which opened up the world a bit wider in so many different ways. I have gotten to know some incredible writers, publishers, editors and movers & shakers of the Black literary world. One of my pieces was shared thousands of times on Facebook alone. I remember reading through reader responses with teary eyes. People were praising my literary voice, my convictions, my ideals. Things that have at one time or another been hushed by those who didn’t know quite how or where to place me. It was a freeing experience. It taught me to truly trust my own nakedness, to own it and to frequently force myself to feel uncomfortable. In short – it taught me to go ahead and be full of myself on occasion, despite my humble accomplishments. They’re dope to me and therefore I’m pretty much dope as f*ck in my world.
TWO | RUN WITH OTHER UNICORNS, ALWAYS
I looked up one day and realized that everyone I held close and dear was doing something amazing with their life. Whether it was academically, in travel, business, creative ambitions…the people I considered to exist in my intimate network were also so inspiring that thinking about it took my breath away. I thought about all the friends in my twenties I had let slip by the way side or cut off altogether. How I felt so weird about feeling like they were becoming more and more irrelevant or in some way holding me back. I realized that cutting the fat in your life is nothing you should ever apologize for. At the end of the day no one is going to put you before their own success (part from maybe your spouse or significant other – and even then, your success is in many ways theirs as well). No one is going to hand you all the things you want in life – those are things you claim yourself or lose altogether.
THREE | LOVE IS…
This was huge. Life altering. I came to a sharp understanding of what love is. I realized that love is simply something you fill yourself with. I never understood this because the concept was so basic (and sounded kind of selfish). Loving yourself daily allows you to have love available to give others. Not just your life partner or your children – but those annoying coworkers that you have to collaborate with or that lady who stands to close behind you at the grocery store. The reason this is so hard to do is because most of us (all of us?) walk around feeling like somewhere along the line we were cheated or deprived. We convince ourselves that we are owed something and that someone better hurry up and fill up all our holes. In reality accepting yourself is the beginning of your truest journey. But you have to accept it all. So I accepted that my father was never there, that I wasn’t happy with my career, that I wanted to accomplish more, that no one ever showed me how to be ambitious and stay sane. I accepted all the things about myself and my life that were so much easier to pretend were OK.
And in the silence and the rubble – I started over. I started better and I made a conscious effort to be my own ally, always. I made a conscious effort to forgive myself constantly. I decided to love myself unapologetically and something incredible began to happen.
I had more patience. I had more energy. I had more endurance and more trust. I was able to consistently love people in my life (in new ways) when before I was just trying to please them. What’s amazing is that I used to think love was something that took a lot out of you and so the people I loved were required to return the favor and fill my voids. But now I understand (and strive to remember daily) that it’s no one’s job to make you happy or content.
That’s my job and I’m the best person for the gig.
Wishing all warm and spirited holidays and an incredible New Year.
To see what else I’ve been up to this year – head over to www.ashleysimpocreative.com