20/20 Vision: Reflecting On The Last Year Of The Decade

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2019 has certainly been one hell of a year for me. This might sound crazy, but I didn’t realize this until recently. I am so hard on myself and I have the worst habit of focusing on the negative when it comes to situations, that it makes me forget about my accomplishments.

Losing my dog Diesel at the end of 2018 was my worst nightmare. I knew that day would come eventually, but I was still in awe that it actually happened. And what made it worse was how quickly everything happened. I had no hope that 2019 would be a good year if that’s how it was starting. Losing Diesel made me fall into depression and amplified my anxiety. I spent several days worrying and being unproductive. Things got so bad to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my house. Diesel gave me something to look forward to and he always brightened my days before they even started. So losing him made me not want to do anything. I felt as though I lost everything and had nothing to look forward to. I was lonely, sad and empty.  The saying, “Time heals all wounds” is absolutely true. I had a strong support system and several people to lean on, but this was personal. I had to rebuild myself and stitch myself back up to who I always was; strong, resilient, focused and dedicated. After being unemployed for almost a year and a half, I managed to land a job doing administrative work in April. It wasn’t ideal, but it was honestly a good distraction and a great way to get me back into the groove of things and I also needed the money to take care of my responsibilities and fund my goals.

Fast forward to June, I am sitting in the auditorium at my cousin’s school waiting for her to accept her diploma and I get a notification from Instagram. It was a DM from my friend and colleague, Lori. Lori is one of the owners of a brand called Classy Ratchet. I use to do freelance writing for Classy Ratchet, which made me develop a great relationship with Lori. In the DM, Lori informed me that Essence Magazine was looking for a fashion and beauty writer for their annual festival, Essence Fest. Essence Fest is an annual music festival held in New Orleans, Louisiana that celebrates black excellence. I was completely shocked to see that I was looking at an actual job posting for Essence. Me being so negative, I immediately thought there was absolutely no way that I would get this opportunity. Well, to my surprise, I got it!

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I got the opportunity to cover fashion and beauty at one of the biggest and well-known festivals in the world. Two weeks later, I was packing my bags and heading to New Orleans solo to work. I made so many great connections at the festival and got the opportunity to be front and center at several celebrity panels that featured Dapper Dan, Cynthia Erivo, Shiona Turini, Claire Sulmers, Quincy Brown and my auntie Bevy Smith. YES! THE Bevy Smith hugged me, held my hand and told me she is officially my auntie after I told her that I continuously tell my family that she’s my aunt in my head.

Another great moment was getting the opportunity to meet the Queen and the Princess of Fashion, Ms. June Ambrose. June Ambrose is the mastermind and the incredible stylist behind some of the most iconic music video looks such as Missy Elliot’s, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) and Mase and Diddy’s, “Mo Money Mo Problems.”

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It was truly a pleasure to have met June and feel her energy. I actually saw June again, during New York Fashion Week in September. We got into the elevator together and we both smiled at each other. She kept staring at me and just before we both got off she said, “You look familiar. I know you.” I was so shook, but I managed to keep my composure. “I met you at Essence Fest and we took a picture together.” I showed her the photo of us and she screamed, “YES! It’s so nice to see you again.” When I tell you I was gagging! I couldn’t believe that THE June Ambrose recognized little ole me. There were so many unforgettable and great moments that I can’t list them all. I mean I could, but I would basically be writing a book. Essence Fest as a whole is exactly what everyone has always explained it to be! Uplifting, encouraging, fun and entertaining. I left New Orleans feeling inspired and motivated. My heart was so full and warm and to this day, it still is. 

Your girl also had several stories published on Essence’s website.

Knowing that my stories are on the official Essence website is crazy! I still can’t believe it. I still go to the website from time to time and just stare at my articles.

IMG_1325The Fashion Director at Essence enjoyed my articles so much that she asked me to join the team again and cover New York’s Fashion Week in September. Essence decided to have another Fashion House in New York. So now, I have several articles on Essence Magazine’s official website. AH! It still feels so crazy to be able to say that. I have always wanted to work for and be published in Essence and now I am. Manifestation and hard work is something, isn’t it? 

This is why at the beginning of this blog, I said 2019 was a hell of a year. If you would’ve told me, I would have healed, glowed up and overcame so much. Knowing myself, I wouldn’t have believed you. I learned so many things about myself this year and in general. I also unlearned a lot at the same time. When this year started I didn’t have a concrete plan or clarity on what I was doing and where life was taking me. I was so heartbroken and overwhelmed, but by the grace of God, I got through it and pulled myself out of it all. I ignored my fears and found my way again. I have always been passionate about writing and I have always wanted to include fashion in my career. Starting off the year with so much doubt and fear, to now have gone on my first solo trip for work at that. I am amazed. I am proud and I am grateful!

Grateful is an understatement! 

I still might not be where I want to be ideally, but I am making progress. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have Essence on my resume. I didn’t have relationships with influencers and fashion designers and I didn’t have the strength to do things alone, but now I can say I do! These might not be the most extravagant milestones, but to me they are and that’s all that matters.

2019 truly taught me that doubt and fear cannot go where I am headed. I am really the only thing standing in the way of my goals and preventing myself from living. I spend a great deal of time in my head worrying about what people will think, how they feel and what they might say. But all of that is really irrelevant. People will always think. One of my favorite quotes will always be, “Let whoever think whatever, just keep getting better.” Life is meant to be lived! Going on my first baecation with my boyfriend made me realize that. You have to always do for you and do what makes you happy.

God looked at the earth and thought there needed to be a YOU on it, so be YOU! 

Be yourself unapologetically.

There’s so much you can learn when you put your phone down and get off social media.

I noticed this when I gave up social media for lent. I advise everyone to do this at least once. It was such a great way to detox physically and mentally. Everything doesn’t always need to be captured and posted on social media. Sometimes things just need to be captured mentally and personally. I also learned to live in the moment. I appreciate every experience for the memory or lesson that it may bring. I pay attention a lot more now.

Don’t take your friends or family and the moments you have with them for granted. 

In October, I lost a friend that meant so much to me. Our relationship developed as she continued to do my hair. Like any normal human being, I never thought the last time I saw her, would be the last time I saw her. I will truly miss her energy and I will hold onto everything she has taught me forever!

Through all of these experiences and lessons, I am more ready than ever to dedicate this new year and decade to myself, my career, staying healthy, new opportunities, my family and friends, my significant other, reading, new projects, praying and manifesting. This year will be about accountability, self-care, self-love, transparency, living in the moment and protecting my peace. I hope the same for you. If you read this blog post, just know that I love you and I greatly appreciate your love and support. Stay focused and keep grinding. Giving up is never an option. 2020 is ours for the taking. LET’S DO THIS!

I wish everyone lots of love, light, happiness, and peace in 2020 and for the years to come.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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