2017 was such a telling year, and although it beat me down, it simultaneously built me back up. It equipped me with tools and strengths I never thought I’d need while refining my vision and rooting me in my purpose. So in proper preparation for the new year, I wanted to illustrate what behaviors I shed and am I’m leaving in 2017, alongside what I will be arming myself with for 2018.

What I’m Leaving in 2017

Energy Suckers & Time Wasters 

I spent the majority of 2017 actively working to center myself and protect my peace. Which mainly consisted of evaluating and eliminating both people and things that were either counterproductive to my peace or that depleted my positivity. Negativity is like a dark cloud that will eventually rain on you. This also isn’t exclusive to external factors, as we have the ability to control a grand portion of the stimuli that we take in. From who we follow on social media to the type of television that we watch or the music that we listen to. These are unconscious energy suckers, especially when negative portrayals of blackness are present. In these final moments of 2017, identify and decide which energy suckers you’ll be leaving behind. 

The Need for External Validation 

I became so comfortable and confident in my purpose — and thus myself — in 2017 that I let go the need for external validation. I’ve learned that no one else on this physical earth needs to see your vision in order for you to manifest it. Should something challenge your positioning or try to knock you off of your square, you can become rooted in that purpose. Though it may be difficult, it's necessary to package family up into that box as well. It's most important that we live our only life for ourselves. 

Shame

Black women have inherited trauma without the presence of a solution for decades. If that isn’t enough, one of the effects is shame. Shame in our blackness, woman-ness, sexualities and bodies. Many of us carry around this irrational guilt like an infestation, never finding a way to free or rid ourselves of it, and in return we perpetuate the cycle by passing it down to our daughters. In 2018, I will live free of shame and reclaim all the parts of me that were made to feel subpar or unnatural.  

Fear 

To live in fear is to live chained, out of control and not in your purpose. Since high school, my motto has been to take risks and live life without regrets because we don’t fear the known, we fear the unknown. My curiosity for answers, however, doesn’t allow for me to stay rooted in a fearful place. If you do take a risk and it doesn’t work out, you have the tools to recalculate and adjust. However, if you don’t take a risk, the triplets of agony — shoulda, coulda and woulda — will help you wither away. If you never try, you’ll never know, so do yourself a favor and leave fear in 2017. 

What I’m Bringing to 2018

Celebrations of Self 

I add this to my list of goals each year, but time and time again I forget that I’m human and place an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself that overshadows my progress. In these final days of 2018, spend some time in reflection. You’ll be surprised by how much you've accomplished and never took the time to revel in. Celebrations don’t have to be reserved for next year though, start early with acknowledgment, and turn honoring yourself into a standard practice. Bake it into your daily routine if need be. 2018 is about to be filled with rewarding, yet heavy work, so celebrate yourself, sis! 

Dire Hunger 

2016 Mayweather-ed my ass, then 2017 was both oddly tumultuous and extremely critical in laying my foundation. Q4 alone is the complete alley to the dunk that I’m trying to come at 2018 with. In other words, 2016 broke me, 2017 built me back up, and now it’s my time to glow *cues Kanye*. I’ve had time to sit back in the cut and strategize over the entire year, and I am out for everything I deserve and desire. 

I have never in my life felt more proud to be a black woman millennial, as we are shifting and reshaping culture. From Angela Rye to Issa Rae to SZA, black women are on the forefront of what’s next as we prepare to flip the game on its head. Use this as motivation to live out your wildest dreams in 2018, because the time is yours and it’s literally now.  

My Part of the Movement 

With all that is happening from a racial disparity perspective, it's so easy to become overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. So much that you opt to do nothing at all. However, this is not the time to be stagnant in the movement. It’s time to think strategically and understand what your role in the movement looks like based on where your greatest strengths are and where they can be lent. Unfortunately, these black woman bodies don’t allow us the luxury of silence in this movement, so make sure you bring your voice to 2018. 

Collaboration & Support 

Another way that we can play our part in the movement is to actually support the movement and those who are doing the work. There is so much beauty and magic in us supporting and loving each other. This births collaboration and is a plausible solution to superwoman syndrome. So let’s stop tuckering ourselves out by thinking we can do it all alone. Let's start partnering with like-minded black women who share similar visions and manifest them together. 

With that same token, let’s make sure that we find it within ourselves to be truly happy for our sisters. Understand that their wins don’t add tallies to our losses. There is more than enough for all of us to eat, and we’d all most likely end up with fuller plates if we worked together.

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