Updated: Aug 10
I am not normally someone who makes New Year's resolutions. I've lived by the philosophy that I could make changes, goals, and dreams whenever I wanted. If the motivation hit me on some random Tuesday in September? Well, that was as good a time as any. I didn't need to wait for a holiday.
But this year, the motivation and the holiday lined up.
I need to share a bit of context before I get to the point. Starting in 2017, a lot of very difficult things happened in my life that made me turn inward. So since then, I've spent lots of time in reflection, meditation, prayer, and therapy. So. Much. Therapy. It has been exhausting work, and I am absolutely certain I am not "fixed" or "healed", or whatever word one uses to suggest their mental health journey has come to its peaceful conclusion of personal happiness and bliss. (A digression on my digression but maybe the fact I was - am? - viewing mental health that way isn't mentally healthy?)
ANYWAY, in this inward phase, I spent a lot of time protecting. Protecting my peace, protecting my boundaries, protecting my energy - that I kind of forgot how to live, to enjoy the messiness of life. And after 6 years (s i x years!) I am exhausted. I spent so much time in my head and I would think "One day I'll do this", or "One day I'll be like that". It was always "one day" a new, amazing, brave, confident, kind, authentic Angeleen would just show up like Beyonce on a silver horse and magically make my life perfect.
So, over the last few months, I kept waking up filled with dread. I knew that dread was telling me my mind, body, and spirit were ready for a change but I didn't know HOW to make a change. I mean, a sister's got bills and inherited no generational wealth, so quitting my job and moving to a beach town to write and commune with artists was not practical. Then on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day, I had an epiphany of how I could change vs what I could change.
I wanted "One-Day Angeleen" to be here now, but this version of me doesn't magically appear, she is created step by step. So, what if I identified those qualities of "One-Day Angeleen", embraced them, and acted on them now? My next thought was - but that would mean making mistakes, possibly some really painful mistakes. And "Yesterday Angeleen" came up yelling "PROTECT YO SELF BEFORE YO WRECK YOURSELF"... or something like that. And then I remembered two things from my 6 years of sojourning inward.
A video clip of Phylicia Rashad repeating an aphorism her mother taught her "Your inner reality creates your outer form". Which essentially means how you think and speak to yourself affects your outer world.
In an excerpt from Pema Chodron's book "Start Where You Are", she suggests instead of making changes externally, make changes internally. She does this using an analogy. Instead of blanketing the earth with leather so as not to cut up your feet, you put leather on your feet and achieve the same results.
It's time to stop waiting for a perfect "One-Day Angeleen" to just appear. Time for all the inner work I've been doing to have outer expression. Time to protect myself by focusing on the only thing I can always control - myself. Finally, it's time to allow myself to make mistakes.
So for me, I've named 2023 - "One-Day Angeleen and The Year of Terrible Mistakes". And I'm going to intentionally behave, make choices, and act in a way that aligns with the version of myself I've been waiting to come and save me. And then maybe one day won't be so far away.
Cheers and Happy New Year!