After the past two years, I don’t want to focus on what’s wrong with me or how I can be different. I want to enter the new year accepting myself for where I am at, taking care of myself, and having less shame about it all in the process.
Gift-giving during the holidays can cause more stress than joy for many people in our lives. The holiday season can be complicated and put us in an awkward position based on our life experiences- are these gifts acts of love, acts of obligation, acts of control, or all of the above? We don’t all have the same relationship to gifting.
A piece of my heart broke this week with the announcement of the loss of bell hooks. It is comforting to know that I belong to a sacred collective of mourners who felt a shift within themselves- Black women, femmes, and writers whose lives forever changed when they held bell hooks’ work in their hands.
Autumn marks the season of transformation and the start of the holidays. With that comes an expectation to maintain traditions and express gratitude, a desire that is not universal for all of us. You don’t have to accept and find goodness in everything. You can be grateful and acknowledge you need change.
“You give the best hugs” and 20+ different compliments to shower the lovely people in your life when reconnecting during the pandemic.
My “best” looks a lot different right now. It’s not an old friend I recognize in a crowd. It’s a new friend, one that I am weary of, one that I am questioning, one that feels conflicting. My new best arrived during an incredibly unprecedented tumultuous time, one that my system has never experienced before. A time that does not have a clear end in sight.
I may not have been able to travel this year, but I found myself exploring places in my mind that I had not ventured before.
As a therapeutic exercise, I wrote a letter to my younger self, offering career advice and kindness on the long, professional road ahead that would await them. It was a reminder to myself to be compassionate about my choices and to keep my mind open to the possibilities we have yet to encounter.
This year, as chaotic as it’s been, has allowed me time for introspection. Today, 7/27, is my birthday; I have a lot to say to my younger self. They should be very proud.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of words of thanks and gratitude, I know I do. I want to make a more conscious effort to freely let others know I appreciate them, whether I know them well or not. You never know who needed to hear those words the moment you said them.