1. I stayed broken up with my ex when he ended things between us.
My heart yearned for him to stumble as he walked away, to at least show hesitance for going back on his every promise, but it became clear his mind was made up. Who would have thought the very bricks he tore down from my walls he’d one day use to keep me out? I was raw and hurting. But despite all my confusion and shock I still had to find a way to leave too, without ever looking back.
2. I stopped asking for permission to be myself.
If there is anything that has been consistent in my years, it’s that I have always felt like a misfit in my own life. It took a while to find my voice and teach myself to silence all the others.
3. I no longer sort validation for my aspirations.
I became more deliberate in pursuing my heart desires without needing approval first besides I realized the only opinions that really mattered were the responses I got about the things that I deemed worthy.
4. I fell in love with the ‘me’ that I am right now.
I’ve always believed that a contented me was too far off for me to find because I was still flawed and undeserving. I was wrong! I had to stop hiding behind day dreams of a better version of myself and with each day in 2015 I have found fulfillment with the me I am in every moment of my now life.
5. I kept a daily checklist.
I figured since I no longer live in Day Dream Land, I needed somewhere to keep track of what I wanted to do. Some days I at least finish two things on the list but then I go and add another 10. And on other days, I just do random things that make me feel accomplished without even adding them to the list first.
6. I cleared my space and kept it uncluttered.
This was mostly for my mind, guarding all the places it wandered off to when I stared out of the window for too long. I shielded my personal space just as much, and what was toxic and emotionally draining had to go.
7. I spent time learning to speak my mother tongue fluently.
English is not my first language, yet it is a language I speak much more fluently than that of my own. IsiXhosa is not just a language to me but it is an identity that prescribes me to all its culture and precepts. I want that pride in expression and knowledge without needing my grandmother to translate for me.
8. I wrote honestly and unapologetically as if no one would care to read.
I transformed all of those drafts that were collecting dust in my email addresses and actually got them published. Now being told my submission is ‘live on a website’ has become more nerve wrecking than the actual writing. I always have to remind myself who I am writing for first and the answer is always me.
9. I fell in love with a man who is five years my junior.
I don’t think I can talk about it without sounding like I am defending myself against some heinous crime. But he was cute and not just how he looked, but how he loved. And did he LOVE. He taught me discipline, courtship, and right at the end, how to write poetry from a shattered heart.
10. I showed myself more grace, love, appreciation, and patience.
Early this year, a verse kept ringing so loudly in my head. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But how could I ever love anybody else when I couldn’t even give my own self the same compassion and empathy? It had to start with me first.
11. I read more.
I opened myself up to reading more and discovered new teachers through words that inspired and sharpened my own skill of writing.
12. I lived my life more intentionally and purposefully.
I finally got some direction. My life took an abrupt but very satisfying turn and I saw my life take proper shape. I had no excuse but to seek and explore. It became important to know what I wanted, how to achieve it and why it was important that I have it.
13. I let go of actions that were birthed only by selfish/ self-serving motives.
I believe purpose should not be aligned with ‘what do I stand to gain’ or using people simply to get to where you want to be. I found that each time I tried to open a door this way, it never worked out. Your passions should drive you more into servanthood than self-serving motives.
14. I made goals and actually stuck with them.
I am able to look back at all the baby steps I made in 2015, and really celebrate myself for being consistent and going after everything I hoped to achieve this year.
15. I wore heels and I actually liked it.
Anybody who knows me knows I hate wearing heels. I only wore them when I wanted to and never once did I ever feel I had no say.
16. I went out more.
Social outcast, recluse, loner…to a certain extent they all define me best but this year, I made it a point to ask friends first for meet-ups and to get out of my comfort-zone.
17. I made friends outside my usual community of church youth.
I grew out of my fears and allowed myself to love who God wanted me to love.
18. Then I allowed myself to develop my own opinions and actually spoke up when I did.
I have a mentor who would answer our questions with questions forcing us to think for ourselves. This was new, scary, but also surprisingly exciting for me. I saw this pattern weaving itself into every aspect of my life.
19. I became frugal with my money.
I have always been the poorest in my crew but this was still the broke(st) year of my whole entire existence, I am always trying to find ways to save rather than spend. Hope 2016 will bring with it fuller pockets.
20. I stopped being so afraid and insecure.
Bits and pieces of this still lurk around but they don’t stand in the way of me living my best life.
21. I turned my ‘drafts’ folder in my email account into a blog.
This serves as my place to share thoughts and creative ideas.
22. I sort myself more.
I have become my most favorite discovery and I have found I am my own garden of greener pastures.
23. I made plans to go home after five years of being away.
In my culture, home is where your biological father lives. But I don’t prescribe to this definition because home for me is where I was raised by my mother and step-father. My strained relationship with my father has been the reason I haven’t been to see him in over five years but I miss my siblings so much and I have decided to go home.
24. I graduated from two Young Leadership Programs.
I stuck with something long enough to see it through, which is so unlike me and makes me incredibly proud.
25. I became part of a writing community on Twitter.
I have found the tribe I want to be counted amongst.
26. I made informed decisions.
When you are persistent and consistent, your life stops being a blur of maybes. You become accustomed to knowing what works for you and what doesn’t.