Why this journal? Why now?
My 2013 opened with the death of my biopaternal grandma.
In the moment, I was strong: I cooked and fed her her very last meal. Did the things she had long pulled me aside to tell me to do in this moment that she knew was coming. I designed her funeral program. I eulogized her. And then I watched them lower her into the ground. I was the last one standing on that frozen dirt… and suddenly, I lost my strength and wailed. Wailed for the woman who helped raise me, living only a couple houses away. The woman who taught me how to cook as I sat on her counter and who fed me tirelessly. The woman who saved pennies to take me to every circus, every Septemberfest, and Peony Park every year. The woman who believed in my every. waking. dream. She took me seriously, and that’s extremely important for poor black gurls with inconceivable dreams. And equally important, she always, always, told me I was beautiful.
And then she was gone.
They call me the little version of her… I know why, and I am not ashamed. You see, she was bold. Mouthy. Quick-witted. Bluntly truthful. She was a big woman; she took up space, without apology. She was… herself. I want to spend the next year the same way… being wholly, fully, unapologetically, me.
The end of 2013 closed with as much heartbreak as it began. I built a friendship and fell in love with someone who ultimately walked away from our friendship- understandably so, after I walked away from a friendship with his partner. There have been very few moments in my life where I’ve felt such pain. There was something there that…is extremely hard to find. I love him dearly, and as time goes by I recognize through his apologies and his actions that walking away from me was truly the most loving thing he ever did for me. It was not what either of us wanted, yet he had the courage to make the best decision for me over himself. I will always respect him for that, even when it’s hard to see his love though the carnage that remains.
Considering all the life that happened between those events- incredible highs included- I understand why I’m emotionally exhausted. Truly, for the first time in my life, I know what people mean when they say, “just give me peace of mind.” I have had reasons to be mentally unsteady in the past, but my mental fortitude has never actually failed me. But this year, sitting in my brand new therapist’s office, there came a moment where I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. Numb. She asked me what I wanted. My response was, “to breathe”. “Excuse me?” she said. I felt the beginning of a new panic attack and choked out, “To breathe, I just want to breathe.”
Apply your own oxygen mask first.
So this year, the focus will be on me- the choices I made and didn’t make, the gut-checks I ignored, the shit it cost me, and what I intend to do about it now for the sake of my healthy future. This is an exploration of what I want, what I need, and why. I realize I’ve been haphazardly/circumstantially single for a couple years now. This year I’m making a conscientious decision to be single for one year. No searching. No hoping and wishing. Just me, myself, and my shit, for better or worse.
Why do this publicly?
- I write more consistently when I know people are reading… it provides a sense of accountability.
- To not feel isolated
I, and other black women, risk a lot when they write… when they dare to speak. I have had people take the life experiences I share and spit them back at me with more venom than I knew possible. I stopped writing. I stopped sharing. I stopped talking. Then? I asked myself, who the fuck are they?
So, welcome to the year of self. I hope you read and comment if you feel so moved.