For my final post of 2015, I wanted to write something prolific about all of the things that I am looking forward to in 2016. I think I might have even fooled myself into writing out resolutions which made me laugh .because since when have I ever lived that lifestyle?! Side note: It’s all nice and great for those that want to do it, but me? Nah. I am a firm believer that everything is already pre-destined and I already know deep down in my heart what I want, so I just ask for it. No pretty vision boards, glitter or lit candles attached. hahaha Instead, I’ve decided to take a look back at all of the awesome things that have happened to me over the year, which is something that I rarely do. You know, look back. I’m all about moving forward because I believe that harping on the past (i.e. shoulda, woulda, coulda) can just bring you down and make you crazy. However, sometimes it’s a matter of celebrating yourself (which I don’t do enough of) so that’s what I’m going to do: take a look back at some of the awesomely amazing things and realizations I’ve achieved and arrived at this year.
–Writing (and publishing) the words that I want to say. This year, I received my second full-page byline in The New York Times. It may not be a big deal to some (because writers are going to write, right?!) but for those that know me, it’s probably one of the best things that could happen. Mostly because I’ve been trying to write news articles for The New York Times since I was a young girl. I would even go so far as to write up my daily observations in a notebook and pretend I was filing a news story for the paper growing up. Super nerdy, I know! My entire purpose for moving to New York was to become a staff writer there and hunt down stories of the city. The Times building was the first place I visited after arriving in NYC 10 years ago. All I wanted to do was to march inside and announce to the newsroom that I was here to help, just give me a beat. Of course, life pushed me in another direction and I ended up working full time in magazines. However, the desire to publish articles for The Times never abated and I searched fruitlessly for an inside connect that would catapult me to my publishing dreams. You see, I was often unsure of my writing career. I loved covering beauty trends, but I always envisioned myself writing more serious stories. Changing lives, getting the scoop, digging for dirt. You know, all of the unglamorous things a news reporter does. My thinking was a byline in The New York Times would validate my status as a writer because there were (and still are) plenty of unsure moments in regards to living this writer life. So, I hustled hard in 2012 and managed to get my first byline writing about the latest technologies in mascara wands. The copy was less than 500 words and it was only a small space but WOWZA. There was my byline. My first feature came right afterwards and I remember feeling like I was on top of the world when I saw the words in print. I was confident I could do it again, but then my world turned upside down after finding out I was pregnant by a man who failed to divulge his current relationship status of engaged to be married that (still to this day) takes no responsibility for his child. The next year or so was a very dark period of my life dominated by feelings of negativity. I still don’t want to talk about it just yet, but I made it through. However, during that time, I couldn’t fix my mind to write anything and I let those negative feelings get the best of me. Fast forward to 2015, and I’ve started to gain back my writer swag. This newest Times byline was a way to let myself know that I will never again let any man (or woman for that matter) take away my power. I realize that there are several stories inside of me just waiting to be published in The New York Times and beyond.
–And, speaking of bylines, this feature in Cosmopolitan magazine is pretty epic as well.If you told my 12 year-old-self that I would have a byline in Cosmo one day, I am sure that I would have passed out. I remember sneak-reading this magazine as a young girl and feeling so empowered by all of those strongly worded articles written by those women editors. I remember researching the magazine and being impressed with Helen Gurley Brown. After finding out that the magazine was based in New York, it was just one more reason that I needed to move there so I could perhaps one day write some articles for this “Fun, Fearless” publication. Because, in my head, that’s what I was and am. hahaha The wish has been there for years and I decided to reach out to the editors (who are great, btw!) to see if any of my story ideas would work. The rest is written history and this is one clip that will always make me smile.
–I have fully stepped into my role as Aiden’s mother. Motherhood can be a tricky thing. People (usually those that are not mothers) would assume that having a baby is what cements you into motherhood, but that’s simply not true. Oh, you will love your baby (well, the majority of you will because there are some where the love thing happens later), but perhaps not the lifestyle that goes along with it. To me, motherhood is a word created that tries to represent this long, winding, sometimes tumultuous road I’m driving down. Now that I am three years into this mothering life, I realize there is no “one word” to describe exactly what this is. It is more than just feeding, bathing and cleaning up after another human being. There’s more to it than just the often discussed sleepless days and nights. There are just so many feelings and emotions wrapped up in the world of motherhood. It’s more than just love. Now that I’ve finally gotten out of the newborn trenches and can function somewhat more like a human being, I realize this is always the role I was meant to have in life. Nothing else – not even my writing, which is a constant priority to me – is more important and I am no longer worried about what other people think or feel in regards my personal journey within it. I have stopped questioning and second-guessing myself in this role as Aiden’s mother because there is no one else that can do it but me. I am first and foremost forever his mother.
–I slowed down. I am from Marshall, Texas, which is (for those that don’t know) a slow, small country town located in the piney woods of East Texas. Of course, it has running water and people drive cars (in addition to the occasional horses) so it’s not as backwoods as I might make it sound. But, it is terribly slow. Growing up, I found it to be irritating and couldn’t wait to get away from it all. After college, I moved to New York (instead of back home) and I’ve been in a rush ever since. It started out as a survival thing, but quickly morphed into becoming a part of me. I rushed everywhere so as not to be late. I rushed to finish work. I rushed to get on and off the train. I rushed while running simple errands to pick things up at the corner store. Rush, rush, rush. I only slowed down at the end of the day long enough to give my thoughts a bit of time to come tumbling out of my brain before passing out in order to wake up and do it all over again. Of course, having Aiden while there in the city certainly slowed me down a bit, but the rush mentality still pulsed through my veins. It is still there to kick in when I need it to, but I feel like I’ve finally rocked the feeling to sleep for now. It’s not incessantly rolling over me because I I’ve decided that I want to enjoy this time that I have here on Earth to watch my son grow. I have realized that there is no need to rush because there is only the now and I don’t want to miss a second of it. I’ve stopped telling myself to hurry up and do this or that because I know it will all get done regardless of whether I rush or not. My slow Marshall roots aren’t such a bad thing to have after all!
–Forgiveness. This is a really hard one for me. Not that I hold onto grudges, but I am apt to hold onto those sad, angry, toxic feelings which, if I want to move forward in life, I need to let go of. Naturally, I am not a hateful person and I do not wish to harbor negative feelings in my soul towards anyone. So, I made a list at the beginning of the year of those people who have hurt me in the past. It isn’t very long, but it runs deep. I can’t honestly say that I’ve totally forgiven everyone on this list, but I am happy to report that I’ve started the process and am grateful for each day that brings me closer to letting go of my former feelings for them. I will never forget, but I hope that I can one day look at them minus the angry feelings.
I am sure this list could continue, but this is enough for now. I am grateful for all the trials and tribulations of 2015 and release all that was and welcome in all that will be. Happy 2016! xo