2017: Note to Self

Dear Self,

Last year did a number on everyone. It felt like a continual wave of confusion. We all endured loss after loss. We lamented great icons, like David Bowie and Prince, who were taken from us suddenly and tragically, and the list kept growing. It was like a tally of life’s jabs at you. It left everyone feeling unbalanced, unsteady.

The 2016 Presidential election felt like trying to survive underwater and we still haven’t come up for breath. The intensity and realities of what was about to happen permeated every space and every part of you. Personally, you felt the altitude of every high and the depth of every low. Last year felt like a restless night where you tossed and turned with your own personal demons. Even during the last days of the year it felt like the weight of anxiety and sadness would not relent.

And then it was January 2017, just like that. The drop of the ball did not excite you as it normally would have. It was just another day to you. One that promised newness and a beginning that never came. It just felt like waking up on an average day of your life. So what changed?

You did.

You had to. It clicked in an instant that you still had agency over how the moments of your life happen. It was not up to the news, the politics, the personal changes that were happening to influence the amount of life you breathe into the every day.

Start over right now. You have the motivation and the singular drive to make a difference in your own way. Wake up early tomorrow. Put on whatever outfit makes you feel powerful. Then take a moment for yourself. Whatever that means to you. It could be a walk, a few minutes of meditation, a strong cup of coffee to go with your paper, or just closing your eyes and enjoying the vibrations of your favorite song blasting through your headphones. Today cannot slip by like it did yesterday. Don’t let the disappointments knock the wind out of your fight. That is all you have. All you have is your fight.

You will still be marginalized in the morning. You will be met with resistance at every turn.There is too much at stake for you to be passive. There is too much of yourself that the world will miss if you allow the dread to silence you. There is someone who wakes up every morning because they know you are there too. You matter. There is no self-help book or podcast or day that will help you push past this. When are you going to start trusting yourself? When are you going to be enough for you? Enough reason to smile each day. Enough reason to show up at that job, that classroom, that breakfast table, that protest, that night out with your friends, that meeting, that car ride with your child, or that moment as your whole self.

So, start today. Dress for yourself. Smile at someone who needs it. Work harder than you worked before, but not because anyone is making you. Work hard because you owe yourself the opportunity each day to create your best work. This has never been about anything else, but you. It is the one thing that no one can take from you. No one can take your fight out of you.

When your coworker/partner/friend/lover/child tells you that it feels like the world is ending just simply reply, “Maybe it is, but it’s not taking me without a fight.”