2021 has been a very tough year. My 2021 accomplishment is that I’m still alive.
I finally graduated in 2021. It was a virtual ceremony because of the pandemic. While it was a moment that was supposed to bring me joy for accomplishing quite a feat (I mean it’s not every day one gets a PhD after all!), it somehow felt hollow. I wanted my moment when I walked down the aisle and shook hands and my picture with that piece of paper that I am still paying for! This pandemic has deprived me of these incredibly huge milestones, and I am very mad and sad about it.
I look around and I see so much division and strife. It’s very difficult not to get sucked into a never-ending cycle of outrage. As much as I’m the type of person that tries to keep up with everything, even I have had to stop because I must be careful about what I allow to enter my heart and mind and soul. This means, that from time to time, I’ve had to disengage from social media because of the toxicity so often prevalent in these platforms. It also means that I have to be more intentional about the books I read and the people I interact with because they have the potential to affect me either positively or negatively.
Because of this pandemic, I’ve had to spend a lot of time with myself. This has been a blessing and a curse. I have been made aware of how much my self-loathing attitudes permeate my very being. It’s not as if this is news to me, but I think I was just a bit taken aback at how much I really hate myself. This has made me really look at a lot of the lies that I believe about myself. Before, I would have things that can distract me from doing that type of internal work, but I can only distract myself for so long until I have to actually deal with it. Since I’m alone, I have no one to help distract me from doing the important inner work. I am yet again reminded how I cannot give that which I do not have. I can’t love others well if I can’t love myself well.
This has been a season of change. With that change comes a deeper realization of the many toxic lies I have allowed myself to believe about myself. It’s not about learning something new about myself but rather, a more profound understanding of how these lies have affected me over the years. I knew things were bad, but I didn’t know how it was that bad! Triggers are a good reminder that things I have sought to repress needs to be exposed to the light so I can properly heal from them.
I find myself sometimes seething with rage at the world around me that is so filled with injustices. However, this anger has also reminded me about the importance of gentleness and compassion. We are all not ok. Our bodies and minds are not meant to go through this much stress on a daily basis for such a prolonged period. When I get mad at myself because I have not been as “productive” as I should be, I have to stop myself and literally force myself to be kind to myself. I am not a machine. I am a human being.
This year, I am resolved to love my humanity, with all the flaws and imperfections that come along with it. I need to act from a place of confidence, not fear. I am not what I do. I am more than that. Following the Way means that peace, hope, and love are the traits that propel me forward, not doubt, insecurities, and fear.
Here’s to a more compassionate and joyful 2022.