I Hate You 2017, But Thank You.

Today I woke up in Newark, New Jersey to a snowy landscape.


For years, this is what I wanted to wake up to when it’s not only December, but Christmas time.


If you know me, you know that this time of the year was always the hardest for me simply because Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas in the south, for me at least. I grew up with white Christmases and with the holiday songs making sense.


The weather outside was frightful, and that’s why your lips were chapped and bleeding.


Frosty the Snowman had an entire family outside, and pets, even though they usually melted about four days later because the ground wasn’t cold enough to stick.


It was a Marshmallow World in the winter, if anything because you could take the snow and make milkshakes out of it and you can also put marshmallows in milkshakes.


So, while that last one is a stretch, the point is is that I woke up to something I have yearned for for years.


2017 was a quiet yet hectic year for me.


I started off in a very dark place, working a part time job because I didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted to do with coaching. I knew I could and that I was good at it, but it was no longer clicking. I realized I kept trying to fit other things like art, music, writing, etc., into coaching while not being a coach for any of those things. I was trying to use coaching as a vessel for everything I loved when that’s just not how it was meant to work for me.


I announced a hiatus and stopped showing up. I spent some time in the real world with friends I had made through work. I stepped my toes in the metaphorical grass because I hate stepping through Florida grass (it’s hard and crunchy) and realized there’s more to life than social media and life online.


It made me realize quite honestly how overly invested I was into the online world I had ran into through business and marketing. I looked at the drama going down online, the statuses, the community large fights, the issues, and said out loud “...well this is stupid.”


It was something I needed to do, so when I came back to online business through my videography in July/August I could do so with a clear head. I was no longer interested in making friends and connecting with people, which ultimately was friending them on Facebook, unfollowing them shortly after, and never speaking to them again. I was no longer interested in feigning interest or subscribing to everything every business person had to say just because they had an online business and I was new.


I knew one thing and one thing only-- I’m here for the money and fuck everything else.


I can say that outloud, and I’m not afraid to. With the lifestyle I want to live, money is very important. I have bills to pay. I have things to do. I want to give back as much as I want to be able to afford a nice place where I can live by myself with no roommates with a closet full of shoes and formal wear. I’m here for the money and I can easily say that when I take those things into account.


Okay, correction.


I am here for the money when it comes to being online as a way to stay out of needless drama. In reality that’s not the reason I picked my camera back up.


I picked my camera back up because I wanted to create and tell stories, both fiction and nonfiction. I want to start my career in film and television and create worlds where people in real life can look at the media and see themselves represented regardless of what their intersection is. I want to be apart of this diversity boom. I want to create change and the way I was meant to create change was through story and truth telling. I know that.


Yet, I was still quiet. I hid behind the business and while I had ideas for personal works I didn’t work on them. Whenever an excuse would come up, I would jump at it.


“I’ll be getting my new camera within three months. I’ll just wait to film then so the quality is better,”


“I’m hopefully moving soon, so it makes no sense to start something now and then have to uproot it,”


“My room is dirty and I don’t feel like cleaning it, so I guess I’m not filming for YouTube today,”


“I wrote this, but I’m not super proud of it and I feel like being judged so I’ll just keep it to myself,”


“I need someone else to hold me accountable because I just can’t do it myself,”


“I’ll write the book after I read about literary agents and publishers. That way I know what I’m doing before I divest a lot of time into everything.”


“I don’t know what direction to go in next so I won’t do a single damn thing until I figure it out.”


These excuses, amongst many more, rolled off the tip of my tongue with ease and it made me feel comfortable with inaction. It promoted my laziness and inactivity which you can’t have when you have dreams and goals as big as I do.


The problem with excuses is that when you say them enough, you start to actively believe them. In the beginning you know they’re just excuses, but the more you say them and allow them to control your life, the more you think that a simple excuse is an impenetrable boulder in your path that you just can’t get around. For me, it is a mindset thing. In my mind I told myself that I wasn’t ready, even though I am. Knowing I am but not wanting to be ready because it terrified me due to my insecurity within my abilities I would run at a moment’s notice. Whenever an upset or mistake would happen I would allow it to control everything.


I almost quit something I love over rookie mistakes. I let fear control me, and thus I hurt people I sincerely care about or I let myself get taken advantage of.


I allowed other people’s opinions to control me and my work. I can’t tell you the amount of times I wrote something and I didn’t post it because “What if this isn’t something people want to read?” or the amount of times I had an idea for a screenplay, series, or short film and my first thought is “People don’t want this.”


I’m not going to lie and say that I’m immune to people’s judgments. I have a thick skin, but two of my biggest flaws are that I’m a perfectionist and a people pleaser. I want to make the people around me happy, but I also want perfection because that makes me happy. I don’t want to be human. I don’t want to be susceptible to illness, fatigue, or a flawed physical image. I want to be the person people are bewildered by. I want to be the person that when I walk into a room they stop and say “How does she do it?” I call it the Beyonce effect.


This want drove me crazy. It made my eating disorder flare back up the past month in ways I was not prepared to handle. It made me break at the slightest form of truthful criticism-- criticism that I deserved.


I fell short in a lot of ways this year, but I also grew.


I got over some traumatic incidents that happened years ago. I started reconnecting with family I  hadn’t connected with in a while. I was humbled many times when my head (and hair) got a little too big. I learned the value of communication between parties, both personal and professional.


I started acting again, something I’ve wanted to do for years but I let my horrible high school experience stop me. It took a while but on the same thread I started singing again as well. Maybe just to myself, but it’s still a start.


I traveled this year more than I have in years. I went to DC, Baltimore, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey. Some of those places I went repeatedly.


I lost friends I thought I would have in my life for the rest of my life-- people who I cared about more than they will ever know, but I recovered and reclaimed parts of myself those interactions took from me.


I learned more about myself, my brain, and my clinical mental health issues and also I started to learn how to cope with them.


I stood up for myself and my business regardless of how much it terrified me.


I stopped lying to myself and came out as bisexual to myself, my friends, and to the world as well (even if I did it covertly).


2017 was a year of growth. It was hard, and walking into 2017 I knew it would be. 2016 was a doozy where I was flying high and living the life and all of a sudden I crashed and burned and it took me until four months ago to truly recover from it.


2017 is done in my eyes as I prepare for my next major life chapter, move, and career. I don’t want to look back anymore and think of what I could have done differently or what I should have done differently past the stage of learning and reflection. I’m no longer interested in playing into that narrative.


This is the moment for which I have been created, and it’s time I own that.


For 2018, my word is “create.”


That’s my major goal.


No excuses and with fear, I will create. I will create through my pain, my happiness, my anger, my confusion, my shortcomings, and my successes. I will create on paper, in a document, on camera, and in front of the camera.


I will create for myself first and foremost and not give a damn what people want from me. It’s about what I want from myself.


There will be moments where I forget. There will be moments where I will feel too scared to move, and where I won’t want to proceed. There will be moments where owning myself, my shit, and my future will feel like too much for me to handle. Living life unapologetically is not easy, and I’m tired of people saying it is.


I’ve been unapologetic and I’ve been very apologetic. When you’re someone who wants a lot for not only the world, but for herself, people expect you to be apologetic over it. You shouldn’t want too much. You shouldn’t be too much. You shouldn’t ask for too much. You shouldn’t talk too much.


Yeah, fuck that.


I will create this year unapologetically if it kills me. Okay I don’t want to die regardless of how many nihilist memes I share between my friends and I, but I will create and live unapologetically. I’m no longer going to explain myself to others. I’m no longer going to ask permission to exist.


I come first. My art comes first, and I’ll be damned if I let myself get in the way anymore than I already have. If it scares me I’m going to do it. If I feel judged, I’ll do it, wear it, and be it, louder.


So, here’s to 2018.  Here’s to art and an unapologetic existence. Here’s to no more excuses. Here’s to self acceptance. Here’s to being me.

Can White Male Writers Stop Writing Marginalized People, Please?

Can White Male Writers Stop Writing Marginalized People, Please?