I choose the word, “HEAL”, for 2017. At the time, I had no idea what I was asking the universe. 2017 was the year that broke me all the way down, revealing the cracks in my foundation. I don’t remember a year like this; full of so many highs and devastating lows. In my professional life, I flourished, achieving things I never imagined. I advanced at work taking on new roles and positions of leadership and authority. I’m even up for a promotion! As a writer, I grew. The two websites I launched grew threefold. The Sum of Many Things grew into a group, “Safe Spaces of Sisterhood” where women are connecting and forming bonds and relationships. My other website, Black Widow’s Web, a site dedicated to house and dance music grew by leaps and bounds and I even released a new song the last quarter of the year and launched a line of merchandise for that site. I’ve served as a guest blogger for other websites, been interviewed and profiled by fellow writers and bloggers and was chosen to become a Co-Regional Director for Black Bloggers United Chicago. My writing, my words, and my thoughts were being heard. Professionally and creatively, I flourished.
My personal life was a completely different story full of loss, tears, confusion, heartache and financial hardships. I had no idea healing would require so much loss for me. It’s left me with an endless roller coaster of emotions. Truth is, this year I took a lot of "L's"! I lost many relationships this year; Intimate relationships, friendships, and even acquaintances. As the saying goes, “my circle is now a dot”. These losses, some back to back, hurt me to my very core. I learned this year that people I loved, trusted and confided in considered me disposable. I learned you could save someone's life and it would mean absolutely nothing, they would still lie and be dishonest. I've been mocked, talked about, had my pain and heartache made fun of and gossiped about by people who only know me one-dimensionally. It came from people I never anticipated it from so it all caught me off guard and I felt myself change. I became harder, colder, more introverted and mistrusting.
Hurt and loss changed me.
Healing required me to allow people to leave my life instead of begging them to stay and be cool with it. The acknowledgment of that reality hurt in words I don’t think I can fully articulate, especially since some of these losses have been recent. I am a woman who loves hard in all of my relationships and when that love isn’t reciprocated or is tossed to the side like trash, it cuts me deeply. I often internalize it then bury that pain and the emotions that come with it deep inside. Healing broke me down and revealed my flaws and forced me to come face to face with some hard truths about myself. Experiences this year became a mirror and as I took a long look, I saw how angry I was and how much pain and grief I had been holding on to for years!
I was wearing this "I'm Ok and Happy" mask when in truth, I was really pissed off at some people and some things that happened to me.-D. Sanders
I spoke about the masks we wear and the importance of removing them but had yet to remove all of mine. I got rid of some but there were others… these were deep-rooted and harder to remove. It took an incident in October for me to finally say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I was so tired of the lies, disrespect, and manipulation by others, I finally snapped in a fit of rage. Years of anger, hurt, pain and sadness poured out of me in the ugliest way. It scared me because for that moment I couldn’t control it. I was completely ruled by it. In my ugliest moment, I finally saw the very thing I needed healing from. In that moment, what I needed to get rid of in order to heal was revealed to me… hurt and pain manifesting itself as anger. Over the past few years, I’ve held in so much, looked past so many things, accepted things I should never have; I had no idea how much was buried deep inside of me. Years of hurt, anger, frustration and pain were inside of me and I didn’t even realize how deep rooted it all was.
I was too busy surviving it all; trying to deal with my life instead of dealing with my soul and spirit.
Self-Care wasn’t just detox baths and facials; Self-care was making sure your spirit remained clean. I felt like life was hitting me so hard that I didn’t have time to “break down”. I didn’t have time to deal with pain, betrayal, hurt and the after-effects of toxic friendships and relationships. I did what so many of us do, I kept it moving. The sadness, hurt, and betrayal transformed into anger and I became toxic. I hated how cold I had become. I hated the fact that I allowed hurtful and negative experiences with people change me in that manner. For the greater part of the year, I was focusing on healing but I wasn’t sure what I needed to heal and how I needed to heal. The 4th quarter of the year revealed where I needed to perform my soul surgery. My heart needed healing; it was on life support, exhausted from years of being mistreated by people I once cared about. It was time to really deal with some hurt and pain. This year taught me that healing will hurt. It wasn’t a peaceful and tranquil process. It required facing the ugliest parts of myself. It meant taking the most damaged and hurt pieces of my soul and removing it. Soul Surgery hurts and the recovery period isn’t pleasant either.
Have I healed?
No…not completely. I still have work to do and it’s an ongoing process but one I’m committed to 1000%. I spent months trying different approaches but I never had any clarity until the past few months. Now I feel more equipped and slowly but surely, I am removing the layers of scar tissue caused by an abusive marriage, toxic friendships, and a narcissistic intimate relationship. Anger was merely my hurt made visible. As difficult as my life is right now, I’m confident I am finally on the right path and that I am indeed…HEALING. 2017 put me on the path of becoming the woman I am meant to be.
I wish I could write how awesome this year was but it wasn’t. I cried so many tears this year, I’ve argued with God so much this year, I’ve struggled to make ends meet more than ever this year and I have beat myself up emotionally and mentally more than I should have this year. And to add to the weight of it all, my family was just hit with something major that will require a supernatural faith that I'm not sure I even have. The truth is, this year was hard as hell! Even now as I write and reflect, the tears fall freely. It’s been a lot y'all…like FOR REAL!
It doesn’t mean that it was all bad because it wasn’t. It was only the good that helped me endure the bad and for that I’m thankful. I needed things to hold on to in order to allow me to keep moving instead of hiding under a rock or under my covers indefinitely. My websites are growing; I put out new music, launched a t-shirt business and grew my professional network. My dream of creating a community of women who desire to uplift, support and encourage was realized with the birth of the group, “Safe Spaces of Sisterhood”. My children are thriving and in spite of the struggles, they are joyful. My family is strong and united in love and I have a circle of friends who know my value and my worth who love and support me no matter what. In spite of it all… I’m still here, I’m still healing and I’m still blessed.
2018 Word of the Year
That leads me to my 2018 word. This year, I chose the word, “FREEDOM” to define this year for myself. This year I want to be free…
Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government; The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved; The state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily; the state of not being subject to or affected by a particular undesirable thing; The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
I want to be freed…
…freed from negative thoughts
…freed from toxic relationships
…freed from the shame of my past mistakes
…freed from the heartache of failed relationships
…freed from self-doubt
…freed from fear
I claim the freedom to be authentically and unapologetically me and to walk into this year with the expectation that the freedom I desire shall be given to me as long as I continue to do the work.
So there you have it…2017 reflections and my 2018 word! Happy New year everyone!
Are you participating in the One Word Challenge? If so, share your word with me and why you chose it in the comments below! May 2018 bring new blessings, experiences, opportunities and abundance in every area of your lives!
Until Next Year…
Take care of yourselves and one another