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How 2017 kicked my ass, and then gave me a hug.

It’s the end of the year and you can expect to read tonnes of articles inspiring you to start over in 2018. Leave the mess behind. Join yoga. Pray more. Et cetera, et cetera. This isn’t much different, but I promise you it will be fluff-free and grossly honest. You see, 2017 was one of the hardest years of my adult life, and the learning curve has been steep. So let me share with you, the lessons that I will be toting into 2018, with hopes that Mercury keeps his ass in order. (I was told Mercury was in retrograde for months, and that is to blame for everyone going cray cray.)

 

  1. Once you can afford to, travel

In January I went to South America. It was the experience that rocked my year. In Brazil, I felt a sense of freedom and belonging that I did not have in Trinidad. I knew I had to do whatever it took to start a new chapter of my life outside of my fish bowl. I became obsessed with the idea of leaving. I would only read magazines and books in Spanish, trying to convince the Universe that perhaps Latin America needed me. Travelling and seeing other cultures and societies really breaks the barriers of your mind. Thank God I took the chance to go then too, because after spending a collective few months in New York this year, I have enough money to travel only to La Romaine and back.

2. Let your balls drop

Jumping into the unknown is remarkably frightening. Things could be worse, you could have regrets, you could lose everything, you could die! Very early this year I finally decided to leave my 9 year relationship. I wasn’t completely happy for years, though relatively comfortable and hey, nobody was cheating on me so why complain, right? I never thought we would go our separate ways, but part of the moving-out-of-Trinidad plan meant that I would have to say goodbye to all I had known. We were together since I was 21! I knew nothing about men, if it wasn’t something I learned from him. I was so afraid not to just be without him; my safety net, but afraid to be alone. Yet, I took the plunge and left. Am I happier now? I don’t really know. However, I see so much more ahead for me. I have many opportunities now that I wouldn’t have had before. And I’m also on a steady, though extremely pot-hole-filled road to finding my true self. I have no regrets, and I didn’t die.

 

3. Get your heart broken

If you haven’t heard by now, I fell in love with a fuckboy. Ashamed? Slightly, but it was well worth it. My Dad called me stupid when fuckboy and I started dating. He was 10 years younger, and not to mention a sexy 6’2 model living in New York. I thought he would be faithful. As I said, I knew nothing about men. Despite the glaring signs of his fuckboy-ness, I chose to indulge in him. I was giddy. Everyone said it was the happiest they had ever seen me, and it felt phenomenal. I consciously decided to stay with him as long as I could, because I craved that kind of head-over-heels-lose-your-damn-mind type love. The heartbreak that followed was excruciating. I fell into some sort of acute depressive state for a month and more. He, on the other hand, fell into the crotches of 5 sugar mamas. I put pride aside and even let him back in a couple times, only to be burned repeatedly. It was a natural disaster category 79. But, it inspired me to write poetry again. The entire experience, from inception to end, fueled my creative energy. I published a book! My style evolved. I started understanding who I was a bit more, in spending so much time alone with my keypad and my feelings. It brought me closer to strong women. It guided me closer to my faith. I feel I learned more in my 9 months experience with that kid than in my 9 year experience before him. You learn way more from being hurt. A seed has to crack and break for a tree to grow from it. And this seedling needs to push through thick dirt, before it can emerge at the surface.

Illustration of us from my book of poems called “The Burning House: I fell In Love with A Fuckboy”

4. Shut Up

Good Lord my mouth is big. I cannot keep a secret. Don’t tell me your business. There has been something I’m working on all year, but I took someone’s good advice and kept it to myself, and only some close friends. People’s energies can affect your reality. I don’t mean it in a magical way, but that people’s opinions and their attitudes can affect how you see your reality. Your mind creates your reality, so you need to keep focused and positive. Recently I told someone about my plans; someone I knew I should have kept it from. Since hearing his pessimistic response, all the amazing strides I have made toward my goal have vanished from my thoughts. Now I am panicked, nervous, worried and discouraged. All because I opened my big mouth and shared my good news with the wrong person.

5. Judgie Wudgie was a bear, judgie wudgie had no hair.

After the year I have had and the predicaments I have found myself get into, hoss- I don’t judge anyone. We all do shit, and we all can justify it. Sometimes, we do things selfishly, but really, what is so wrong with making yourself happy once in a while? I have always been empathetic, but 2017 showed me that fingers are not for pointing. I have so much love and tolerance for everybody. We’re all on a journey and it’s a much easier climb if we can hold one another’s hands instead of asking where they’ve been. Hurt people hurt people. I don’t think anyone is at home cackling over the pain they’ve intentionally caused you for no reason. Everyone has a story. Avoid toxic situations, but remember we are all human.

I hope my tumultuous year can help you sort out your own shizz. Say “Yes” to everything, drink and eat til you burst and pass out, and love fiercely. I do hope 2018 is gonna be easier, but in case it’s not, I look forward to mining the diamonds created under the pressure.

Thank you to Shamiah Maharaj from Scroll Mediat tt for these pictures!

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