For those of us who think the world runs on semesters instead of seasons, its about that time again. Time for us to pick up our backpacks, grab a scarf and a clicky #2 pencil and trek to our local campus to get us some learnin' done. This prompts me to reflect on my past semester and get a handle on some things. In short, last semester was full of high emotions, low test scores, and more personal growth than I could have ever asked for. But this post isn't about the past, its about the present and future and presently I am trying to make sure my future is positive and bright. And so I present, "Goals and Reflections".
1) Put God first - I've really lacked on this. But I haven't yet figured out how to best work God into my daily life. What I've gathered so far is that getting back to basics (daily Bible study and prayer) is integral. I think that investing in a good Bible study hand book is a good first step. But budgeting adequate time is going to be my next hurdle.
2) Graduation is the motive - I've completely fallen short of my true academic abilities because sometimes, life gets in the way. But academics is why I'm in college, right?! Its time to put pencil to paper, fingers to keyboard, and nose to the grindstone. Luckily with some clubs and activities in the past, I have the time to really dive back into learning and hopefully gain a love for it that Ive been missing in my life.
3) Financial life - I never take control of my money or potential money because I feel like its something that I cannot control. Now I realize that was never the case and I'm ready to "be about my paper". If nothing else, years of financial pitfalls have taught me that hitting the bottom hurts (especially your pride) but every time I get up, I'm a little stronger.
4) Transform - The break down is simple and age old but the practice is difficult. Mind, body, soul.
I want to get a more level head on my shoulders. Less cursing and erratic mood swings. I want to begin to enjoy life and learn who I am with all the mental mess removed.
Body is twofold: Hair, and everything below. Allow me to drop some black chick wisdom... you can tell a lot about a black woman by her hair. And I don't mean is it done to the nines or is it thrown up; I mean everything. The background, how she feels about her hair, what products she uses, etc. Perhaps its the same for other races, but I can only speak on what I know. Right now, my hair and everything that goes with it says to the world: "Ermmmm, Yeah...I'm not too sure but I guess its whatever?". Ambiguous and a waste of breath. That is why Ive begun my natural hair journey. This year I want to lock down a regular hair regiment, deep condition OFTEN, and trim when I should. I think that healthy hair and a new hair statement will help propel my journey from scrubby undergrad to newly minted B.A.
My over all fitness has been weighing on my mind [pun intended] ever since I spent time at home this break. In my home live 3 older women that I love. They have resigned themselves to obesity and failing health because they feel as though its too late for them to change. If I were their age, perhaps I would feel the same way but I'm not. I don't think its too late for them and its definitely not too late for me. I want so badly to be able to enjoy my body. Right now, I'm just living in it. I want to be able to do things that I never thought possible because of my weight and generally low fitness level. I want my future children to be able to learn healthy living from me one day. I'm dedicated to the idea that it has to start now and that it has to be a lifestyle change.
Soul goes back to my first goal. I know if I can focus my life with God as my guidepost, I wont lose sight of what I want and why I want it.
5) Plan ahead - Graduation is in sight! I can taste it. But I'm afraid that I won't have anything to move on to once I'm finished. I want to start planning now and coming up with realistic options [read: jobs, destinations, etc] so that I don't: A) have some kind of quarter life crisis and B) sit around, get lazy, become broke, and settle for what ever comes along. I know I'm capable of more but getting over the fear of failure is no small task.
With the new year, have you reevaluated your goals or direction? I'd love to hear about it :)
One of my current favorite songs. I know not everyone who reads this subscribes to the same faith that I do. So I invite you (and encourage you) to share a song that helps you through tough times... or just through the day.
I've had my share of ups and downs
Times when there was no one around
God came and spoke these words to me
Praise will confuse the enemy.
So I started singing
I started clapping
I started dancing
People were laughing
They knew my problems
They knew my pain
But I knew God would take them away.
That's why I praise him with my hands
That's why I praise him with a dance
He's given me a second chance
Come on lets praise him in advance.
That's why I praise him with a song
When things are right and when they're wrong
He's given me a second chance
Come on lets praise him in advance.
"Praise him in advance" by Marvin Sapp
This song speaks to my personal journey. What song speaks to yours?
I'm trying to think of a way to start this off without sounding like a depressed yet eloquent 15 year old. The basic gist is that I want to be stronger and less effected by what others do. And I dont want to keep dwelling on things that I cant change (at least not right now). I'm not completely sure how to go about that but progress is happening slowly. I dont like waking up irritated because my roommate and her boyfriend drank all my milk. Or because my bank account is in the negative. Or because I cant drive/dont have a car. Or because my laptop is halfway dead.
You'll notice all of my issues focus on either people or material things. Not exactly the best of things to focus your life around.
What I've gathered is that things need to change. Yes, a lot of things. But it will take time and patience which are two things I struggle with. So what changes am I looking forward to in the spring?
- Looking for a new apartment: Since my roommate will be graduating and her boyfriend will be moving back here, I have no desire to live with the both of them in this tiny cramped messy apartment. I've actually wanted to live by myself for quite a while now, I simply didnt have the means to do so. I actually want to find a way to move back home for a bit over the summer. By home, I mean to my home town and not to my actual house. So the tentative plan is - move completely out of this apartment in the end of spring to a rental in my home town. Then line up a new 1 bedroom apartment for the fall. My only issues are the same two issues that hold me back anyway...money and transportation. But I'm determined to find ways to defeat those two issues.
- Getting my license: pretty self explanatory
- Beginning to form some life path options for post graduation
- Getting my financial house in order: learning to save, shopping smarter, making more money.
Like I said before, this all isnt going to happen over night but its time to start making steps in these directions so that post graduation wont be a slap in the face. And because I want these good habits and life goals to start forming sooner rather than later.
Spring is a time of newness and growth. How do you plan on growing this spring?
Im back in my apartment after a not so successful trip home. Am I glad I went? Yes. Was it enjoyable? Minimally. In brief, my grandmother is very possibly in her last days and my mother is breaking down slowly. What have their lives taught me? Its never too late.
Ive struggled with laziness and lack of motivation all of my life though Ive only recently realized it. And now I have a new found motivation. The only problem is that Ive had new found motivation before and it hasnt panned out.
What will be different this time?
Seeing my family's struggle is more than difficult for me which is why I had to remove myself from the environment. I dont want that for my mother when it comes time for her to enjoy the end of her life and I dont want to feel trapped like she does. I have the ability to change that future and I finally have what it takes to make those moves. I dont plan on starting tomorrow. I plan on starting right now. Goodness can come from any struggle and I believe that that will be my story. Beauty and prosperity will come from my struggle.
So as I sit here listening to my boy Frank Ocean and smoke my black and mild I am more happy than sad. I believe in my self more than I have in quite some time and I'm excited (and petrified) to see what happens next.
Pray for me ya'll and I hope that the new year brings you the motivation to take that step forward.
I generally take the easy way out. I have other people do things for me because I'm too afraid to. I avoid conflict. Some times I don't even stand up for myself because my own fears grip me too tightly. Do I have the power to change this?
Do any of us have the power to change who we really are at our core?
I would say yes and no. Ive spent a lot of this semester trying to become the person that I want to be. (Kind of a lot to cram into a few short months I know. Call me optimistic) In that sort time I've learned things about myself and about change. Have you found any of these things to be true in your life too?
1. Self appreciation is a must.
Finding ways to love who I am, regardless of all my dirty, is/was the most difficult thing. I honestly don't like myself a lot of the time so taking a second to appreciate my flaws and the things that I want to change is necessary and good for the soul. It helped me appreciate those around me for loving me just how I am.
2. One step at a time.
I really started devoting time to understanding why I wanted to change what I wanted to change. Was it for some vain purpose or would it really help me become the person I want to be? Once I started to assess each item individually, I realized those things which were most important to me because they were rooted in something that really upset me. For example: laziness. I am a lazy person, and I dont mean that I just enjoy sitting on the couch. I mean I hate hard work, I hate jobs, I hate going to class. All because I'd rather sleep or am too afraid to exert the effort. That kind of attitude is a waste of a life. So this semester I've really tried to focus on recognizing when i'm not doing what I should be just because I'm feeling pissy and dont want to. Then trying to push through my lazy initial reaction to doing what I dont want to.
At first, I tried to do this with every bad thing in my life and change them all at once and not only did that make me feel like crap about myself, it failed miserably which was very discouraging. So I chose laziness to really focus on and took notice of the other things. The benefit of that was seeing how laziness caused or added to my other problems so by changing that (which is an on going process) I'm also fixing other things.
My friends are my rocks. And my mother and I are starting to get to a more supportive place. My God, though I deny him his deserved praise, is always in my corner. But I think what is most surprising about my journey is learning that I can be my own biggest fan. Through The Great Change, Ive become closer to a lot of people and not so close with people I once valued. No one can really understand why this change is so important to me but ive found that those people who still love me (and all the versions of me im trying out) are the ones who are really on my side. And those who cant understand or dont want to understand, are best left in the past. I'm happy with who i'm becoming, and i'm happy to love those who are on this journey with me, supporting me.
God is a journey. God is both a construct and a tangible. God is a struggle within myself. God angers me and inspires me. This isnt an exhaustive list of the truths that I've showed myself about God. Ive struggled ever since leaving my church at a young age with God, Christianity, belief, faith, practice, and other things to do with my spiritual life. I knock no one for what ever they believe. Because I subscribe to a version of Christianity that not every one can get hip to... and that's ok. But I do feel like faith in something is a must. No journey can be safely weathered without a guide post or a point of reference and my faith is mine. I feel like its the best and truest way to test my self because I've quickly learned that if what i'm doing doesn't add anything to my spirit, its a waste of time and energy.
5. I am the biggest controversy in some people's lives.
I didn't realize how often a person can come up in conversation until i dedicated myself to a new me. Because my friends, though I love them, have since brought up people and ragged on them for making changes to them selves. Unbeknownst to my friends, I was making the same changes and some how they managed to not make the connection. That let me know, that some where, some one was probably knocking me for bettering myself. I cant tell you how glad I was to be a controversy at that moment. Because if people are talking about it, that means they are noticing it which means I'm making outward progress on things that I'm inwardly chiseling away at.
These are just a few of the things I've noticed about my own life movement. And I want to take a second to encourage any one who is making positive life changes for themself, even if no one else understands, you know why you're doing it so keep going! One of the best and most difficult lessons i've had to learn is that the path to change is only big enough for one. My journey isn't for anyone else but myself and there isn't room for anyone else on my path, just I cant fit on anyone else's. Its hard to come to terms with. Especially for someone like me who doesnt necessarily like to feel alone. But its also liberating. And holding on to that feeling of liberation has encouraged me to press on so I hope it will do the same for you. Always stay encouraged.
I feel frustrated today. Work… and by work I mean ******, is wearing at me. I don’t like it there. I dread going to work every day. I prayed that if you wanted me to leave, that you would tell me somehow some way. I think you might be telling me by my feeling everyday before I go there. God I pray that you give me the strength to leave that place very soon. It truly isn’t my desire to leave them in the lurch but I cant keep doing something that makes me feel so bad. I believe in you as a constant in my life and as a provider of all that I need. I believe that if you want me to leave that I will be able to because you will provide a new and better thing for me to be a part of. Thank you for making my morning job not bad at all today other than tedious labor. I thank you for letting me get it all done and have time to write to you. I thank you for a reawakening of a desire to get to know you through your biblical teaching. I thank you for the opportunity to learn more about you through my little sister. I thank you for the time last night studying and communing with my classmates and sisters. I thank you for the strength you’ve given me to not fraternize with men. I have so much to thank you for. I praise you through my circumstance of this job, a lack of money, strained relationships with friends, a lack of strong will, lust, academic issues… because none of it amounts to how great you are and how powerful you are and your will in my life. I pray that you continue to open my mind and my heart to you and the things you would have me know and do. I pray for that strength and that will that I need to get done what needs to be done. I just thank you and praise you. I would be nothing with out you and I truly believe that. Please be with me today, every second, and allow me to hide in you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for providing for me.
In Jesus’ name,
Her body's been on ice
and been here twice before
deep inside the light
yet wonder all the more.
night comes again and again
oh quiet thoughts
in beauty that blends and bends
Cede to experience
greeting means to an end
between two worlds
lay to rest
all that was
has gone in love
in time for what may be.
Ive been saying this prayer a lot lately. I hope it comforts others as it does me.
Our Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On Earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not in to temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory
Forever and ever
I usually follow with the Glory Be. I'm not Catholic but I think its a beautiful verse.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning
And ever shall be
World without end