I’ll be the first to say that 2016 was completely trash. From mental health battles, death of loved ones, poor academic performance and a host of other issues, I am glad to see this emotionally taxing year go!
However, I gotta admit: 2016 was not actually all that bad. It was a year like any other year, full of highs and full of lows. If I didn’t do anything else this year, I grew a hell of a lot, stepped out my comfort zone, and persevered through some really tough times.
Because I was so focused on the negativity, all this year I never really took out the time to fully celebrate myself so I decided to write about 16 of my personal treasures of 2016.
16. My relationship with God grew. (Note that I said relationship.)
I started of this year on shaky faith and started seeking spiritual counseling with one of my favorite pastors. In our sessions, I learned the importance of building and maintaining a relationship with God that goes beyond the walls of a church. To be honest, Jesus is my home boy and while I am FAR from your next evangelist or prophet, I am just grateful to have something to believe in when the lights get dim.
So, I didn’t write that much this year, but when I DID write, the responses I got from it was mind boggling. My 3 favorite things I wrote this year was the #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge, my For Colored Girls post, and my most recent post, How Do I Get My Magic Back? did really well with my readers and felt good to write. My favorite accomplishment with my writing would have to be when a friend of mine texted me 1 day this semester and asked if she could use my For Colored Girls post as a topic of discussion her natural hair group she was the President of AND I was invited to be a guest facilator!
14. I celebrated my friends!
This was a MAJOR year of wins for many of my close friends and I was mostly front and center for it ALL! From graduating from college with bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D’s, to crossing Black Greek Letter Organizations and many other personal accomplishments, I feel blessed to witness my friends conquer this year!
13. New friends, Genuine connections!
Although I have my original crew of friends, I’ve never been one to stick to just one friend group and I’m glad. The length of time you have known someone means nothing when the friendships and connections are organic and pure. I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to connect with a loyal few and I can’t wait to see where our friendship takes us into the New Year.
If 2016 was good for nothing else, it was one hell of a year for great music! My favorites include LEMONADE, A Seat At The Table, Anti, H.E.R., Rae Sremmurd, Future, Childish Gambino and soooo much more. The music of 2016 was unapologetic AF, and I couldn’t be more proud of various artists going hella hard!
11. I attended my first NABJ Conference
I wrote about that experience both here and here but words honestly can’t explain how empowering that conference really was! If you are thinking about doing anything media related and especially if you black, PLEASE GET INVOLVED with your local NABJ Chapter!
Originally planning to be in Miami alone for my 22nd birthday, two of my best girlfriends surprised me on my birthday!!! I literally cried because I was so happy and if I could I would relive that moment, that entire trip over and over again.
9. I got to travel!
In addition to Miami, I also had some quick getaways to St. Louis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. Though it didn’t seem like a big deal then, I now realize that those small trips were just as special and beneficial as any big one.
8. I Gave Back As Much as I Could
7. I won some scholarships!
I had plenty of financial burdens at the beginning of this semester, but thanks to my lovely Black Alumni Group and Nubian Connection group of my school, I was able to get my bursar bill to zero and my graduation dreams closer and closer!
6. I had the opportunity to write for other publications!
Major shout out to What’s The Word Tv, I love them so much and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to create content for their site! You can check out everything I’ve written for them here. Another major shout out I would like to give is to Simone, creator of Ugly Red Sweater and someone I truly admire. She let me post my For Colored Girls post on her site which you can read here.
Those two sites are ones I would definitely like to continue doing work with in 2017 and beyond so stay tuned!
5. I Got Awards For Simply Being Me!
I downplay myself a lot (bad habit but I’m breaking it) but apparently I’m really impactful on my campus! In March the ladies of the Zeta Chi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc surprised me with their Woman of Courage award at their Women’s Empowerment Dinner. And in October, the Mu Delta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc awarded me with the Most Scholarly Student trophy at their Soul 4 U Awards banquet. Also unexpected, but extremely flattering nonetheless. Shout out to all my friends in both organizations for shining a light on me and my accomplishments even when things are too dark for me to see it myself.
4. I learned the importance of protecting my energy
Everybody doesn’t deserve access to you.
Everybody can’t come with you.
Bad energy wit literally drain you to the point you feel dead inside. Always trust your gut instinct, it never fails you. Having a positive mindset may not change the outcome of something, but it will change the response you have to it. Protect your energy always and don’t be afraid to purge if necessary.
3. I learned to set affirmations and intentions each month!
When I noticed that months were becoming too sucky too often, I knew I needed to get my mind right, I just didn’t know HOW. Browsing around on Twitter one day I finally got my answer, and read up on affirmations and intentions. Things only have power if you speak them into existence and work for them. For the last few months at the stroke of midnight on the 1st I carefully write down all that I’m letting go of from the previous month and all that I am looking forward to for the new month. It’s a great exercise and a great way to stay focused & positive.
2. I started doing the work to make myself feel better.
I knew I had some issues that I no longer wanted to keep bottled up inside. So I started seeking professional counseling. I discovered that self care and self love is MORE than taking a personal day or buying yourself something nice when you feel down, it’s also about doing the dirty work too. It’s tough. It’s hard. And counseling is not the only key either. It takes WORK, but I’m proud of myself for taking the initiative and that’s definitely something that I will continue in 2017 and beyond.
1. *drumroll please* I rediscovered my passion and purpose in life.
If I don’t do anything else with my life, let me just write! All year I was searching for different ways to feel complete, to hope and fulfill my dreams again. I thought I lost my spark, I thought I lost my magic.
The truth is, everything I was searching has already been inside of me all along! I just had to tap into it, manifest it and stay consistent. This is the mindset I’m going into 2017 with. I may not know which path I’ll take to accomplish all that I want to do in my life, but I do have vision.
I can’t really tell you how 2017 is going to be, BUT I’m determined to do all I can to make it great.
I actually have to thank you 2016. I made plenty of mistakes this year but everything I learned this year is priceless! I felt like I was in the darkness for a while but that time was really just propelling me towards the light!