Last night, I opened my planner to the February monthly spread. In the top left corner, a gold sticker reads: Believe in the impossible.
On Friday, the 23rd, I scribbled important, next to it, the address of our apartment. We had an 11 am appointment that morning to see our nest, and our nest it became.
At the very front of the planner there is both a personal mission and vision statement. Among that, there are scribbles of self-discovery and awareness — hard questions I attempt to answer — a clarity I attempt to claim in 2018. Some statements jump out at me, such as:
I want to live true to my values, even when others pass judgements upon me.
I want to stick up for myself and others.
I want to become bolder, more honest and direct.
I think, at my core, I am a thinker. Next, I am a creator.
I believe I have the capacity to love greatly.
A successful life would be a creative, passionate and flexible one.
I have a very strong will.
I struggle well through adversity.
It is interesting to return to and look upon reflections such as these. All of these things, I believe are true — are still true. However, what’s even more interesting, is how many of those goals were actually accomplished.
Here are some of the goals I had written for myself in February.
Write Scar Tissue. I truly believe I have not written anything better. EVER. Everything that comes from Scar Tissue is so real, so honest, so human, and I’ve not once gotten that close to human, that close to myself, at any point before. Not only have I released 30 chapters of Scar Tissue, but these chapters, though some very short, some just a poem — were truly in development for a very long time. The amount of words I have written, typed, shared, about the topic of homelessness, is impressive, especially for me. I am incredibly proud of it. Especially in my bravery of sharing it.
Obtain a job in academia. In all honesty, I had almost given up on trying to find a job in the field I wanted to be in. I had almost given up on academia, on all of my dreams, on all of my goals, because I had such a hard time finding a job. I had applied for, God, probably thousands of jobs. Eventually I started applying for jobs in different fields, as heartbreaking it truly felt. I even went to a few interviews. Those rejections hurt even more. I felt as though I didn’t belong anywhere. And then it happened.
I have never felt this way before — like I’m exactly where I am meant to be. Not until now. Not until today. When I say I feel a real, true, deep love for both the students and colleagues I work with, I mean that. My heart is in it. I am so thankful that I am gifted this passion, this dedication, this devotion.
Participate in activist, more specifically, direct action and mutual aid.
I first heard this song, and many songs by Andra Day, at Parkview, one of the few homeless shelters I lived in last year. I didn’t realize it then, but there was a radical kind of love growing inside me — a seed planted. I learned so much about what it means to be an ally, to lift people up, and allow others to carry me too. It was through feats of direct action and mutual aid, both inside and outside the homeless community, that changed me. For good. It changed my soul. It changed the way I walk through the world. I give now, from a different place in my heart. I give from a place of unconditional love. I give from a place of mercy and grace.
Spiritual growth. Pray. Commune. Y’all have seen it here. Front and center. I am learning and exploring and being open with you, and I feel absolutely no shame in it.
Become more honest about my mental health. I started becoming honest about my mental health, probably with my mother, many many years ago, as a teenager. But it was a bout of depression, anxiety, coupled with new and old traumas, obsessive compulsive disorder, both new and inherited from my blood, that came, like a flood, a few years ago — that forced me to speak. Even now, it is difficult to express the dark, the scary, to other people. I do try, though. But it’s hard.
Gain financial intelligence. Frankly, post-homeless life made my relationship with money very complicated. Every dollar spent felt like a day closer to the streets — to such a point that money, making any purchase, gave me extreme anxiety. I couldn’t leave a store with the item I came in for — regardless of how necessarily that item was. I could not get past that voice inside my head that rationalized going without — you don’t *need* dish soap to wash your dishes, you don’t *need* shampoo to wash your hair. I couldn’t make that purchase, and so, sometimes, I suffered for it.
Over time, and with therapy, I experimented with ways I can improve my financial intelligence in order to provide myself more comfort around the matter of money. Yes, I opened a savings account. Yes, I started working on my credit, too. One of the most obvious remedies is, of course, simply shopping around for the best bargains. But even more so, it’s avoiding the stores, it’s giving myself time to make a decision, too.
In fact, an example of this can be attributed to exactly what I did this evening. Believe it or not, but between my husband and I, we’ve probably received way over $250 worth of Amazon gift cards for Christmas. Yes, I know, we’re blessed asf.
Of course, we could have combined the amount and made a large, fun purchase, such as the Nintendo Switch, but instead, we did something that would not only serve us financially, but also emotionally.
We decided to invest a chunk of those gifts in re-stocking our pantry for the New Year using Amazon Pantry. Not only are these prices better than anything I could get at my local drug and grocery stores, but it provides me the opportunity to buy in bulk and buy ahead of time. This will allow us peace of mind and a cushion going into 2019.
In addition to that, we also treated ourselves to gifts that we truly wanted. For me that was painting supplies, while for my husband, that was D&D starter sets and dice. We also left a large chunk of a (gift-card) balance in our account, for another time.
Speaking of balance, I think it was and is balance that I most needed to learn. I needed to find a way to give myself permission to feel joy, to spoil myself, to remind myself that I do deserve nice things sometimes, like f*cking soap, while also making responsible choices that will provide me the comfort and safety that I clearly need.
Life is so hard, ain’t it? But we’re so strong. Let’s go into 2019 kicking ass!