2017 Reflections

Well hello there!

I know, I know it has been a while. And to be honest, I don’t have an excuse. I just haven’t been here. But here were are December 31, 2017 and I have enjoyed being able to share my reflections on the year and the lessons I have learned. I mentioned on my Twitter thread that 2017 had some great highlights: Three weddings: my high school best friend, my college best friend, my linesister. Got some extra letters to my name: MPA. I met Nikki Giovanni. I have had some great intimate experiences.

But there were some lows. And not just a few lows, but rather a continuous cycle of lows. A continuous stream of lows that had levels lol. I lost a great friend. My anxiety turned up on me and has physically manifested in ways I did not imagine.  But God is good and faithful and despite the lows, His grace has been sufficient and I am thankful. So below are my top reflections for 2017:

What do you do when you fail?

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Not to toot my own horn, but whenever I set my mind to do something and put effort into it, it is successful. 2017 said, bih you thought! I went out on the limb this year on different projects with 365 and just personally and for me those projects were failures. I didn’t get the response I expected. I felt as though I wasted my time and other people’s time. I started to question my own abilities. Maybe I am not all what people have expected. Maybe I have been real lucky. Failure depending on how you see it can be a crazy place to be in. I did however change my perspective. I embraced the failures I had this year. Next year I will try again and see what happens, after all, what is the worst that can happen?

I don’t want to be in God’s will if I’m oppressing others. And tbh, that can’t be His will.   

Can I be honest? Growing up I used to have this fear of getting more education. It was a fear that in receiving more education, I would question God. It reminded me of Beneatha Younger from Raisin in the Sun and the infamous scene where she tells her mom she doesn’t believe in God:

BENEATHA: Mama, you don’t understand. It’s all a matter of ideas, and God is just one idea I don’t accept. It’s not important. I am not going out and be immoral or commit crimes because I don’t believe in God. I don’t even think about it. It’s just that I get tired of Him getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort. There simply is no blasted God – there is only man and it is he who makes miracles! 

Then there is the infamous slap Lena Younger gives Beneatha and tells her to say, “In my mother’s house there is still God.” 

Claudia McNeil

Well here I am with a bit more education and I have not gotten where Beneatha is, but I have begun to critique the church and how I have been socialized in the church. I have started to unpack the things I was taught that was accepted just as God’s Will, but in reality, it was harmful theology. I don’t want to be oppressive in my faith. I don’t want to live a life that does not embody God’s love for His creation and I am trying to be intentional in that expression.

My prayers have changed. My worship has changed. I am thankful for my church The Awakening Athens for giving me the space to grapple with all of this and still be there praying for me, crying with me and thinking of me even with me not being as active as I have been over the years. I am thankful for a new community The Unfit Christian Congregation where I have learned more and just listened. I am thankful for Candice Benbow and Red Lip Theology.  Sis your words bless my spirit. Thank you. I am thankful for Dr. Collier and how we have experienced God in her living room in Athens or just over the phone or in her car with a tambourine. There is a gnawing at my spirit to go to seminary. (Mmmm much prayer for that one needed) My pastor Travis Gay spoke about his experience in seminary and how in one class, his classmates got in a debate over God’s chosen people. He spoke about how he got overwhelmed by it and prayed to God and God gave him this word:

Matthew 22: 35-40: 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

So I am leaning on this more and more. Amen.

I’m pretty awesome, but I’m not for everybody. 

So in 2016 I started dating someone and we got pretty close in 2017 and dated pretty exclusively for majority of the year. (Exclusive is relative doe..rolls eyes) But as much as we hung out and shared more, he just did not want a relationship. He also still entertained other women (hence exclusive being relative). I found myself trying to prove myself to him in order to show that I was worth being in a relationship with. “If I spend more time with him, he will see.” “Oh let me do this” “Oh let me do that” I was driving myself insane and finally in September, I just had to fall back. He is a great guy. I have no hard feelings. But I am just not the woman for him. And that, my friends is a hard lesson to learn, that just because he wasn’t ready or willing to be with me doesn’t mean a lack of on my part. It doesn’t mean I did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that I am not enough. Yes I am beautiful. Yes I have a big heart. Yes I can support my partner. But I am not for everyone. And maybe in 2018, just maybe the one I am for will hop in my DMs. (They open)

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If, then

I never was the one who had a list of things to accomplish by a certain age. I have just been winging it. And as I argued with friends on Twitter and in GroupMe’s about HBO’s Insecure this season. Episode 2 of the season titled “Hella Questions” had a scene where Molly was in a therapy session and her therapist reads her for filth and then I realized it was me. I am being read for filth.

Therapist: You say that a lot. “Should.” You frame a lot of things in your life with “should.” Have you noticed that?

Molly: *dismissively* No.

Therapist: Two weeks ago you said “things should be easier for me as a successful black woman.” And another time you said “things should’ve fallen into place by now.” Is there a certain way you think your life should go?

Molly: I mean, I do have specific life goals. And I think that, if you work hard it sho…..ought to yield certain results.

My Should was “If, then”

Example:

If I am going to get an MPA, then I should have a better arts administration job.

If I am going to be dating this guy, then we should be xyz.

If I am going to do this, then xyz

I said this throughout the year and got so frustrated when my “thens” were not coming.

Molly’s therapist ends their session with:  “If your ‘shoulds’ didn’t come to fruition, would you be open to your life looking a different way?”

I am learning to throw out the “if, then” scenario. I don’t have another phrase to replace it. And that is good.

Transition

I started job searching October 2016 and I am still in that journey. I thought starting in October was so proactive. I made an excel sheet and tracked my progress with each job application. And as the months moved on, the column for rejection got heavy. In August I didn’t renew my lease in Athens and came back home to live with my mom and during the week when I commute, I would stay with my linesister and her partner. I originally told my linesister, this would be a few weeks. Now a few months down the line and a change up at my current job, I am just getting by and not in the best ways. Transition is not easy. Again the doubts and insecurities can surface. Again my gratitude goes to friends and family and my linesisters especially Caldy (*kisses*) for their patience, prayers and encouragement. Transition doesn’t have to be daunting. I wish I didn’t make it that way this year. I wish I would have spoke over my life in better ways. It wasn’t until November that I got out of the funk and got life together. I got back with my therapist and we are unpacking my feelings and what not. (Need to schedule my appointment soon)

Intentional

As an artist, I find myself to be bolder in my work than in real life. In 2017, I changed that. I found myself being more intentional with my words especially. It was the epitome was “I said what I said”. And this intentionality wasn’t negative, but rather a breaking of chains kind of thing. I resolved to be intentional with the people I kept around me and the interactions I had with them. Shoutout to those who saw this shift and appreciated it. Shoutout to those who were uncomfortable with it. Shoutout to those who were just as intentional with their actions and words with me as I was with them.

Snippets of Heaven

Every once in a while me and one of my friends from high school catch up on life. He is so busy with school and being a minister that we don’t get a chance to talk all the time. But every time we talk, I get so much out of it. Often we end up talking for at least two hours on the phone. We checked in about two months ago and I was telling him that to be honest I don’t know if we as black people will receive full liberation until Christ returns (another story for another day). But until His return, I told him that I was trying to find ways to contribute to getting to liberation. He took in what I was saying and disagreed with me: B I think we get snippets of Heaven daily and that is liberation boo.

Whoa buddy.

So while 2017 was not what I intended it to be, I am thankful for the snippets of Heaven that God has blessed me with.

A photoshoot with my mom and sister with my favorite photographer Sachel Samone!

View More: http://sachelsamone.pass.us/burton-girls

The smile of my linesister Jackie’s baby boy.

The embrace of my best friends Casey and Raven.

The laughter of 20 or so black women on UGA’s North Campus at  our Black Graduate Women photo shoot.

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My Spotify playlist.

The intimacy I experienced this year.

The smell of cologne of a fine man lol (my mind is thinking of a few and whew lawd thank you)

The minute of Jill Scott playing over the speakers as the sound cue in my one woman show before I step into character for my one woman show ready to f some ish up on stage.

 

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The prophetic words over my life, especially this gem my aunt blessed me with this morning: There were things that broke off your life this year to make room for growth.

Every Ase´ and Amen that I have said and ones said for me when I couldn’t.

Thank you 2017 and here is to 2018.

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Much love

BCB

One thought on “2017 Reflections

  1. Dont usually read these but something pulled me to this. Let me just say thank you for sharing this well organized and written reflection! It seems personal but your expiriences are very relatable and that is a beautiful thing indeed! My favorite was the growth in intentionality. “I said what i said stuff.” Yeah that 🙂

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