It took me two months to write this.
Honestly, truly. I have a lot of shit to get off my chest.
I wrote a similar blog post last year about the great lessons I learned in the first-half of 2015 and did the same the year before. I’m navigating life in self-discovery mode and somehow my experiences have shed insight into the lives of others, according to the dynamic feedback that I receive from these blog posts. Just like 2015 and 2014, 2016 has tried me to capacity, all for the best, of course.
This time around, I isolated myself at times to clear my head. As much as I love my authentic journey of transparency, I often fear that I tell you guys too much. Even when I pour my heart out on some of the best blog posts, still in the back of my mind I ask myself, “Did you have to say that?”. I grew up under my parents mantra of “Keep some things to yourself.” (mom) and “Don’t put your business in the street.” (dad)
Somewhere along the line, I felt compelled to share my inner most thoughts and it has, in turn, produced a greater connection to those I meet.
I took a class last Sunday and one of my fellow classmates said to me, “When you walked into the room I just knew I could be comfortable with you”. We had only spoken for five minutes. Two months ago I worked a gig and this guy began pouring out his innermost thoughts saying to me with great excitement, “I feel like I can tell you these things because you seem like such a cool person to open up to.” We had only been acquainted for less than 10 minutes. A person I have grown to admire said to me when we first met, “You make people feel important. I feel like I matter when I’m around you.” I get choked up every time I think of that.
I have the power to turn the tide on someone’s self-esteem. Wow.
Being me is what I feel helps so many others feel relaxed enough to be themselves. As simple as it sounds, not everyone in today’s judgmental society feels safe enough to simply exist. If I can be an individual to promote individualism, then sign me up. Someone is depending on me to be me.
But then again, being me comes with a price tag. My fragility often feels under attack.
If I could sum up the first 3 months of 2016, it would be portrayed in this meme.
2016 has tested me in every shape form and fashion. I have encountered some characters this year and had a few individuals remove their masks for me to see their true savagery. As I grow increasingly reflective about my life’s journey and respecting every aspect of it, it’s become more difficult to actually put a lid on things. I’m all over the place and so are my thoughts. Who am I? What do I stand for? Where do I want to be? How do I get there? Why the hell am I still in Charlotte? YOU DON’T LIKE CHARLOTTE. You’re losing valuable time.
Then a guy friend sent me this text.
Yeah, that’s me.
But, this me too. Often unsure.
His words were spot on because seriously, I am an eclectic mix of Janet Jackson and Karyn White in my head living on a Craig Mack budget.
I am a freelance career girl which sends my hustler mentality into overdrive. My time is spent constantly overthinking while trying my best to enjoy the space I am in. I AM IN CONTROL. I’m in control of my finances, my career, my emotions and my relationships. I am running shit. With my newfound power, I always have to be on my A-game even when I am not. I have to believe there is something greater out there for me, even when I’m not feeling at my best.
I entered this year with utmost uncertainty and growing more comfortable with allowing providence to guide me. I’m like the first of the three blind mice. Don’t know where the hell I’m going and praying I don’t lead the people coming behind me astray. I only know what I know and try to manage what I have as best I can. 2016 has been a year of confidence building and reassurance. Now that I have written a 4-page letter as an intro to this blog, let’s get down to what really hit home for me this year.
I had to tell myself this (again), this morning. C’est la vie. A photo posted by Girl Tyler (@sheistyler) on
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Yes, I just cussed and threw a Bible verse at you at the same damn time. That’s how I live. The point is, you cannot control every aspect of your life. You just can’t. Expect heartache. Embrace disappointment. Hell will wreak havoc at any given moment. With the many trials and tribulations around the corner, you have to wake up each morning knowing that you are greater than the forces that are against you.
This too shall pass because shit does happen, for your favor, of course.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” -John Steinbeck
When I left my job last year, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. Most days, I still don’t. But life is so damn exhilarating. Why? Because I don’t know what’s coming next. Remember, I’m the first of the blind mice. I like to be surprised. Actually, I have no choice but to live in surprising moments. I no longer sweat the small stuff. Seriously, I don’t look at calendars anymore nor do I constantly check the time. I am happy with just being. All I can do is work with time as it comes my way and be responsible for how I manage it, as it is made available to me.
Where I’m headed, not many women that look like me have been there. I can only think of one: Shonda Rhimes and even her success is different from my idea of it.
7. Stop Chasing People
I have been hit with quite a few “I miss u” texts in recent months. These messages came from individuals who have previously curved me. You don’t miss me in a physical sense. You miss my attention. How is it that you didn’t have time for me when I gave you my full attention, and now that I’ve made a disappearing act, you’ve all of a sudden taken this deep interest in me?
People make time for the things they want to make time for. I’ve never failed to make time for something that I had a great desire to do. You can only fawn over people but for so long. The moment you realize the feelings aren’t mutual, then my dear, it is time to exit stage left.
The same goes for professional relationships. If you’re undervalued, leave (when you can). When numbers begin to take a dip and production is slowed, your work ethic will be missed but it’ll be too late.
Absence speaks volumes. Turn yours up. Know when to cut ties…and for heaven’s sake stop responding to “hey stranger” texts. You are estranged for a reason. If you lived your life before them, certainly you’ll live your life after them.
6. No Explanation Necessary
I think this quote sums it up. I turned 28 a few weeks ago and the majority of my life has been riddled with excuses about why I am the way I am. I’ve been called “different”, “special” and even “dumb” more than I can count. I’m entering into uncharted territory and there is a population of people who don’t want me to go for a variety of reasons. This year, I quit explaining my mission and just started doing the work.
At the end of the day, I am me and that is my power. The same goes for you. People will project their insecurities on you, all because they aren’t equipped to live life the way you do. They’ll attempt to make you feel bad for being limitless. Don’t bite the bait. In all actuality, it’s their ploy to reduce you to their basic level. You’re bigger than that. Never look for a reason to make other’s feel comfortable by diminishing your greatness.
If they push, you shove back…even harder.
5. You Don’t Have to Answer Every Knock
I don’t mean this in the literal sense of knocking. What I mean is, you don’t have to cater to every single alert that comes your way. Distractions are real. Every text that comes your way doesn’t always require an immediate response. Facebook notifications can wait. Emails should be prioritized. Technology serves you, not the other way around. Social media and digital devices keep us all connected. How wonderful. But for every second you spend mindlessly scrolling on Instagram or sending screenshots from the mess on Facebook, you’ve essentially wasted valuable time that could have been dedicated to working on you.
Unplug. Sign out. Get your life.
4. Do Dope Shit
I went to California in June and stayed for two weeks because I felt like it. And, I did a few other cool things this year that I haven’t made public (content for future blogs). I stepped out of my comfort zone and it felt amazing. Literally, I approach new experiences with this sentence…”I think it would be cool if I try ____________.” Then I fill in the blank with things I know would have previously scared me. Think Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes”. Great by the way.
You’ll find a way or you’ll find an excuse.
3. Evaluate Your Friendships
I read a study by the New York Times, explaining that our friends don’t like us as much as we think they do. So very appropriate for my 2016. I really took a hard look at my friendships this year. Early on I quickly reassessed who I called “friend”, why someone is deserving of a term so endearing as “sister” with no blood relation and so on and so forth. There will always be someone who sees you as a business decision and nothing more. Friends are friends and business is business. Be aware of the difference.
Surround yourself with people who add value, subtract those who don’t complete your life’s equation.
2. Bubble Wrap Your Vulnerability
If I could get a “try again” card for the last 28 years, I would simply pray more and confide in fewer people. You cannot trust everyone with your vulnerability. What I’ve learned this year is to embrace all encounters. They’re extremely pertinent to where you’re headed, even the seemingly meaningless ones. When you’re engaging in a meeting of the minds be careful not to misread a connection. Soul ties can be toxic when entangled in the wrong person. Deception is real. My mom always tells me, “Don’t be a fool for people” and foolishly, I have. Lesson learned.
Be mindful of who you crumble in front of. While they’re appearing to help you pick up the pieces, trust, they’ll save a fragment to cut you with later.
1. Make moves in silence
I don’t have SnapChat. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve utilized the check-in function on Facebook. My tweets have become scarce. I only post to Instagram after I’ve left a location.
Be an open book yet only reveal certain pages to those who will honor and value your life editorial. Talk less, move more. In the words of my grandma, “I can show you better than I tell you.”
The world doesn’t need to know every detail of my work or my life. I think this is a good stopping point because, well, I have work to do.