23 Things I Learned This Year

So, I turn 24 very soon. As I look back on year 23, I have lived and learned so much. I feel like I’ve transformed so much in the past year. From my first heartbreak to my first real job to my first solo trip, 23 has been a roller coaster. To commemorate this year, I curated a list of 23 things that I learned this year.

  1. Nobody owes you anything.
    • I had to learn this one the hard way. No one owes you love, time, or even respect. The only person who owes you anything is you.
  2. I am capable of loving someone romantically.
    • I honestly did not know if this was possible. Until I met this guy, I did not know if it was possible for me to love anyone romantically. I found everyone boring and predictable, so I couldn’t even begin to really like someone.
  3. It’s okay to be vulnerable.
    • Emotions, in general, are something I rarely show. This is because I feel everyone’s emotions, almost like an empath. Therefore, I used to shut down emotionally not only because I feel everything, but because being vulnerable opens you up to being hurt. Do you know what’s worse than being vulnerable? Opening up to someone and giving them the tools to hurt you. However, I’ve learned that vulnerability can also lead to amazing, beautiful experiences.
  4. I am enough.
  5. I love me.
  6. I love me more than I thought.
    • No really, almost narcissism, but not. It’s a “very selfish, responsible, able to give and receive, I know what I want and I will work to get it, keep positive people around me” love.
  7. Don’t confuse love with strong like.
    • Which is easier said than done. We want and desire love so much, that we attach ourselves to anything that slightly resembles it. In my experience, I liked someone so much that I genuinely thought I loved him. Maybe I did *shrugs*.
  8. Just because he said he wouldn’t hurt you, it doesn’t mean he won’t.
    • People lie. People give you false promises. Sure, he didn’t intend to hurt you, but he still did it anyway. Intentions don’t mean shit when all you can do is cry because the pain is so deep. Remember that people are flawed and things will get better.
  9. Learn from your mistakes.
  10. This one is similar to #9. Forgive and forget, but always learn.
    • When I was wronged by someone that I trusted, I held onto the pain caused by their actions. Once I forgave them, remembering what they did triggered all the hurt that I “forgave” them for. It was like I was hurt allll over again. However, once I re-assessed the situation, my actions, their actions, I could learn from the experience and grow from it.
  11. You, even you, can fall for bomb dick.
    • It happened. The dick was great. I latched on longer than necessary. There will be more bomb dick, hopefully with a bomb ass person attached to it.
  12. It’s okay not to be okay. *Cue “Who You Are” by Jessie J*
  13. I fell in love, not nearly as quickly as I fell out of it.
  14. Closure is a made-up concept. Stop expecting it.
    • It’s time we let go of this thing called “closure”. The relationship is over, for whatever reason, and you’ll just have to deal with it. I remember wanting closure so bad, that I waited for him to come back to me, just to figure out why he left me. I wait for no one. When I finally got his answer, I was livid! His reason was such bullshit. I could have come up 25 better reasons as to why he left me. I might have to write on this topic another time. For now, closure is dumb. Get back to loving yourself and move on.
  15. Transform your fear into confidence.
    • I learned that energies could never be destroyed, only transformed. Think of it like this, you are miserable and you hate your job, but you need it. So either you go find a new job or you make the best of your time there and find new ways to enjoy it. This is how I have been approaching fear, or at least trying to. Literally taking the very feeling of fear, in my case fear of failure, and using that feeling to motivate me to do the very thing I fear. What’s the worst thing that could happen if I do what I fear? I might fail. I might not. But you never know unless you take that leap.
  16. Traveling every few months keeps me fulfilled.
    • Taking some time away every few months keeps my skin clear and my soul enriched.
  17. Saving is a necessity.
    • What’s worse than being broke? Being broke with bougie ass tastes, but also being broke with bougie ass tastes and a desire to be financially savvy. My little rainy day fund has come in handy not just when I was in a financial bind, but also when I saw something that I really liked that was also a little expensive #treatyoself.
  18. Stay away from sugar.
    • About a year ago, I was diagnosed with prediabetes which meant ending my love affair with sugar. It was hard, but VERY worth it.
  19. Who you are is who you want to be with a little tweaking.
    • Sometimes we want to change or be different people, but we fail to realize that the person we desire to be is already here. We just have to do a little soul work to be him/her.
  20. Happiness is a choice.
  21. Love yourself first, before you accept the love of anyone else.
  22. It’s okay to explore your sexuality. Own your sexuality.
  23. Listen to the voice inside of you. You know yourself better than anyone else.

Finally Writing My Way Out

About a year and a half ago, I met someone who changed my entire perspective on relationships. I would dare say that at some point I fell in love with him. Just when I fell in love with him, he betrayed my trust. When he came back to me (as I expected), he was half the man I fell for. The trauma of the situation he was in changed him. He didn’t trust me anymore and made me feel like I wasn’t enough. See, before that, I was half the person I am now and he made me feel safe, beautiful, sexy…… I’d never felt sexy before him. Sexual? Yes. But sexy was something entirely different. It took some time for me to realize that he was gone, but I didn’t want to let him go. Along the way, sex confused what I really had for him.

About a year and a half ago, I was a barely employed, recent college graduate with the billion dollar loans to prove it. I had just lost my best friend of 6+ years and I was so unhappy. He was funny, interesting, and physically just my type (with the dick to match). I swear those first few times we had sex were almost magical.

About three months into our time together, I knew that I should have cut it off, but I enjoyed having someone who made me want to give a shit about them. I actually planned to end things multiple times and didn’t. He always said or did exactly what I needed him to say or do. That time period where he betrayed my trust and we weren’t talking was one of the most trans-formative periods of my short life. You would think that I would get my closure and leave, but I felt like I needed to prove something. Or maybe it was my ego. I stuck around, because I liked him in my life more than I didn’t. As crazy as this sounds, I didn’t want to see him happy with anyone else. During that rough patch, I learned to love myself in ways I didn’t know possible. I handled some health issues that I had going on, I was losing weight, my skin was clearing up, I got a really good job that was exactly what I needed. When I began to love myself more, everything started to come together for me. I was seeing clearly. My relationship with my friends drastically improved, because they were the people there for me. They let me cry and bitch for hours and then handed me my favorite bottle of wine. Through all of this, I naively yearned for his touch.

We came back to each other as different people trying to have the same relationship. At least I was. I was quickly learning that I would never be the #1 woman in his life. Our time with each other ended and we (I) were trying to stick together. Through this, I was never his “girlfriend”, but I thought I was given VIP access to the parts of himself that he didn’t share with anyone else. I was wrong. I also learned exactly what I want in a man, partner, and a relationship. What we had looked nothing like my desired relationship, except our friendship.

From the time we got back “together” to around Christmas, things were very rocky. I made a lot of realizations about myself. I even asked him multiple times to let me go if he didn’t want anything further with me. He didn’t let me go. He had zero intentions of more. I began building the wall back up between us. January was a wonderful place for our friendship. I feel like I learned more about him in one month than I did in the six months prior. I started cutting off my “hoes”. I thought we were moving in a more exclusive direction until he told me that he met a girl who changed his life completely.

This is going to sound fucked up, but I knew he wouldn’t find anyone better than me unless it was God himself who did it. Apparently God did. Excuse my pride, but I’m pretty, goal-oriented, gainfully-employed, have a great personality, my ass is fat, and my pussy is bomb AF. ONLY God is pulling you away from me. I was hurt, because he could have told me before he was calling me every day. Before he was telling me that I was irresistible. Before he was becoming better than the man I met a year and a half ago.

But if I’m being honest, I was waiting for him to tell me about this girl. For months, I felt him slipping from me. It felt like the more he emotionally slipped from me, the more he physically started showing up for me. If we’re being even more honest, though he was becoming a better man, he still wasn’t half the man that I need. I’m not just a strong, black woman. I’m more powerful than even I can imagine. He never fit into the life I saw for myself. As a friend? Yes. But not as a partner. His emotional wounds are what pushed him to his calling, but his calling and my calling do not align. Still I stuck around. When he finally told me about her, I was angry because I felt like he was telling me that she was better than me, a more malleable version of myself. Like if I gave in to him when we first met, we would have never ended up here. I’m not that girl.

I was once told that I was too much for him. I know that now, but it doesn’t stop the tears from forming. I truly believe he was sent to me, maybe even a soulmate. I feel him. I feel his hurt, his happiness, his confusion, his love. I feel like I’ve attached myself to someone who can not care for me in the way I care for him.

He, we are so easy. He’s one of my favorite people. He’s one of my best friends. He’s the best friend I lost and let sex complicate things for us. I do not, not want him in my life. I’d also be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt to see him happy with someone else. It means coming to terms with the decision I made to continue to deal with him after I made a resolve not to deal with him romantically. It means knowing that I don’t occupy his mind anymore. That means I won’t get a text message at 3 am saying “I was thinking about you” and knowing that I was dreaming about him at the same time. It means not kissing him. It means the unresolved sexual tension between us will go unresolved. It means limiting what I say or know to be true, so that he doesn’t think I’m jealous. It means pushing him away and not being able to share his accomplishments with him.

It means knowing that while I am MORE than enough and my next man will be better than I can even imagine, I was not enough for him. If I’m being REALLY honest, he was not enough for me either.

So that’s my truth. I loved and lost and found a friend in the process. It feels very simple, but it’s also super complicated.

What If I Told You I Saw This Coming?

So it’s Saturday and, yes, Donald Trump is the President Elect of these United States of America. No, this isn’t an episode of The Apprentice. It really happened. Crooked Hillary Clinton lost to Idiot Donald Trump.

Now that, that’s out of the way.

Tuesday night, I turned off all notifications regarding the election and went to bed. Around 4 am, I jolted out of my sleep, probably from the energy shift. Around 5:30 am, I woke up, checked Twitter, and saw that Trump had indeed been elected. Scrolling through my timeline in disbelief,I was shocked that hate, corruption, sexism, racism, misogyny, etc. had actually won. I was also genuinely afraid for what might transpire on my commute to work (I work near Wall Street). Trump, himself, is not the problem. American presidents are mere puppets and status symbols of free democracy. The hate of Trump’s supporters is what worried me. This win meant they won as well; it justified their prejudices and -isms.So I decided not to go to work on Wednesday. I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of verbal harassment at the mouths of Trump’s supporters and I needed some time to process and mentally prepare what the next four years may look like. Spending the day binge-watching my favorite shows and positive movies, I stayed off of social media (with the occasional Twitter check-in), meditated, and created my own world at home. On Thursday, I was mentally prepared for work and to look at all of the white people who could not fathom how such a problematic man is our next President when white people were the ones who put him there anyway. Sure Trump won because of the outdated electoral college, but slightly less than half of the people who voted, voted for the man.

When Trump first announced his candidacy for President, people laughed and mocked him. The media gave him every bit of the attention he desired. Every time Trump said or did something outlandish, the media was there to cover it. Even with all 30 people on the Republican ticket, we talked about him the most, like we do celebrities (Kardashians, anyone?) The majority of Trump’s supporters are small-minded. I’m referring to all classes here, the rich to the working class. They love reality TV, whine when they are called out for their wrongs, and appropriate other cultures, like it’s their job. With too many people on the Republican ticket and Trump’s hyper-visibility in the media, voters were forced to support the loudest and most visible candidate. It would be remiss not to point out Trump said everything these disenfranchised (read: racist) white people have been wanting to say for the past eight years. That type of hate and inability to see past your selfish desires is what this country is built on. Trump and his supporters appeared to be almost emboldened by every public figure who attempted to shame him. As for Hillary, I’m very anti-establishment, so I wasn’t fucking with her from the jump. Hillary is a career politician who has benefited well. She and her husband are responsible for the crime bill that created so many private prisons which lends itself to the mass incarceration we have today. Her pander to black people was cringe-worthy and embarrassing from Mary to Beysus. I’m glad it’s over.

I blindly trusted that the world isn’t as fucked as it appears, but clearly I was wrong. I’d hate to be one of these “let’s give him a chance” people, but I’m 80% sure Trump will get bored and we’ll have to deal with Pence (deep eyeroll). The real question is “If Hillary had won would my life be better or worse as it is, or will be, with Trump?” I honestly don’t think so. Just pray for us as we get through next four years. If anything, I have been motivated to step up and maybe even get involved in politics myself.

I love my dad, but…….

I was raised in a very Christian home. I don’t remember not being in a church or discussing the Bible in some capacity. In the mornings, my father prays for the family. Unfortunately this practice has become more of a morning drill, since we’re still half sleep from our morning nap. Typically I stay awake for the prayer out of respect and fall back asleep. However one morning I heard my father pray that I lose weight, as if my weight was an inconvenience to his life. The first time I heard him say it, I ignored it and didn’t respond. The second time he added the request in his prayer I realized that this had become a part of his daily list of prayer requests. I did tell him to stop, but the emotional damage had already been done. You can’t pray the fat away. I don’t think it works that way. But you can use your faith to attempt to manipulate the actions of others – this is what my father did. I’m 23 years old. There are multiple things occurring in my life that I could genuinely use some divine help with. Let’s list them:

  • I recently went through an emotionally rough, sort of breakup
  • I could use a new job
  • Niggas try me – everyday
  • My twist out refuses to come out perfectly
  • The security guard in my office building reminds me of every gross man I’ve ever encountered

I love my father; I really do. Adding my weight to his daily prayer request really made me question him. This isn’t about me being fat. This is about how my relationship with my father has affected my approach to relationships. They say that a girl’s father is her first love. I can tell you right now I have fallen out of love with my father more times than I will ever admit. From the way he put his students before his children to the way he puts his mother over his wife. I always questioned what were my father’s priorities. I wonder if the one of the main reasons I am adverse to love is because I have seen that men have a poor way of showing it. My father is literally the nicest person you will ever meet, but behind closed doors he is known to be vindictive and dismissing. No, I am not bashing my father, but I am being honest. He is a great provider and father, but when I needed to learn how a man should treat a woman I was not given the best example. If I am ever to meet someone that I would want to marry or even take seriously, I would not introduce him to my father, I would introduce him to my brother first. I honestly do not feel like my father would do the necessary work to determine if the man is “good enough” for me. My father would spend more time trying to prove that he is a good, instead of if this guy is good for me.

As I am dating, I am very cautious of men who share the same character traits with my father. I love my father, but I would not want to date men who are like my father. Witnessing a loveless marriage really caused me to be apprehensive to idea of being vulnerable with someone. It has caused me to be guarded when I approach relationships. I love my dad, but I would hate to be with someone for 20 years of my life and be unhappy. I used to take sides when my parents argued, but I’ve learned that my parent’s relationship is not my business. However I would be a fool to say that seeing them attack each other did not cause me to question the notion of marriage itself. How can you say you love someone when their tears don’t phase you?

Moving forward, I’m working on how I approach relationships and dating. I would love to meet someone who makes me ridiculously happy and gives a shit about me, but I also want to make sure that I am ready for that person as well. I would hate to miss out on a great person, because I have not healed or reconciled my own issues.