2017 grew me in ways I could have never predicted.
In more ways than one, it was the year I finally came into my own. While I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that catalyzed this moment of personal growth, I think it would suffice to say that I finally got to the end of my own rope. I don't know about you, but life has a way of dealing with me in a very clear, do-or-die dichotomy. Routinely, I find myself at crossroads where it feels like my very existence feels threatened.
Adapt now, or die.
2017 was no exception. It started with a very volatile work situation that came to a head very quickly. It became clear that my relationship with my employer at the time was strained at best, and that I needed to make a decision about my career before I was railroaded by management that could care less about my professional development. After reading through Chris Gillebeau's "Born For This", I created an exit plan for my career. I was either going to stick it out at the organization I was at and put up with as much nonsense as I could, continue to be as effective as possible, eventually earn my credentials and hopefully move up the ladder where I could make the changes I so desperately needed to see, OR I was going to mentally check out at work and focus my energy on building my brand and slowly transition into entrepreneurship. Either way, I gave myself five years to make the transition, whichever way it would go. Four days after drafting that list, I was let go from my position for a number of reasons, all which sounded like, "We don't like you".
So much for plan A. Their not "liking" me was not a death sentence; it was the result of me standing up for myself and declaring that I would no longer be disrespected in that space in a tone that was "unacceptable". For some reason, I left that building feeling justified that I'd done everything I could in that space, and now I could focus on building the life I'd envisioned for myself for so long but couldn't because of this 9-5.
And then a magical thing happened.
Women started coming out of the woodwork to support me on my journey. I received so many phone calls- not just from colleagues and friends but past clients, too, to encourage me to not look back, to move forward with new ventures and to look for opportunities to partner with other women in the digital arena to share my work.
Having been surrounded by women all my life- from growing up in a matriarchal home, going to all-girl school all the way through high school, and having predominantly female employers and bosses in my adult life, my relationship with women has been strained. The cattiness, endless gossip, and stereotypical drama of the female experience had long run its course in my system and I have been over it for decades. I was not prepared for the endless outpouring of love and support I received, not only from women I knew, but from complete strangers who became friends.
It was as if the moment I declared independence from subservient me, the universe agreed and flipped the script; "By George, she's got it!"
There's a saying, "Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
There was the Women's March, and the endless sea of pink pussy hats. Women everywhere were waking up and our feet were hitting the ground. Something shifted. I think Hugh Hefner died, and the impenetrable force field that had been protecting creepy men everywhere died, too. Suddenly it became clear that we were no longer going to sit in silence and allow ourselves to be treated badly. We were telling our stories and naming our oppressors. We were helping each other build businesses. We were speaking out against violence and sexual misconduct. We were checking the line, erasing it and drawing new ones. We were giving voices to the voiceless, and hope to the hopeless. We were roaring into the void, and because we were finally being heard, the universe was making crooked places straight. Right now, somewhere in hell, the devil is shitting his pants.
Women, in 2017, were my friends, my mothers, my teachers, my confidants, my sisters, my fellow Queens and goddesses. For the first time I felt empowered in my femininity. For the first time I saw the divine female in the form of the collective energy of the women around me, in women whose names I did not even know. Goddess was snatching souls and laying to waste anything that would not honor her. I was, and still am, in awe.
And I met others like me who were shedding the old clothes of forced identities and homogeneous masks of conformity, and owning their uniqueness, blessing the world with their talents, and seeking opportunity for self expression and personal growth.
Even as 2017 drew to a close and I ran into some of my old "friends"; the talk-behind-your-back-take-your-money-and-smile-in-your-face kind of women, I felt empowered enough to know that eventually they too would wake up, and if they never did it wouldn't be my fault. This time I didn't raise my voice. I simply ended those relationships knowing that I'd done my best in that space, and that it was time to move on. In 2017, I not only succeeded at fixing my life (hey Iyanla!), I owned it.
2018 is proving to be no different in terms of momentum, and divine, feminine energy. This will be a year of healing and restoration, partnerships, and finding balance. I hope we continue this trajectory of rediscovering ourselves both collectively and individually, of speaking out not just for ourselves, but on behalf of each other. I hope we continue to lift each other other up as we create the future that we envision for our daughters and granddaughters- one where we are safe, empowered to speak our truth, and truly appreciated, understood, and most importantly, loved.