I keep coming back to this post, trying to convey my thoughts. They are all over the place as I sit on my balcony, overlooking the courtyard of our new apartment. This year was tough, tougher than my outside appearance puts on.
To say that my grandmother's death played a huge role in how exhausting 2016 has been is an understatement. I think I took for granted the time we had. I knew we were functioning on borrowed time but sometimes, you can borrow something with the intent to never give it back. Time isnt one of those things. There were plenty of nights, sitting in the ER with her, that I would pray forjust more time. And everytime she got discharged, I silently shouted "Hallelujuah!" As I reflect back to April 1st, something in me thought she and I had more time. So I sit here 8 months later still trying to grasp how swift life happens. That day changed me. It changed the course of my life, my marriage, my relationships, everything I was prior to April 1st, died when she did. I've accepted that but I haven't accepted death and I don't think I ever will.
Coming into 2016, I didn't have any huge plans nor goals. I knew I wanted to return back to work because our financial situation required that. Plus it was time. Caleb needed to be around other children so when he transitions to public school, it wouldn't be a huge shock for him. I was content with my marriage, though I could feel a shift. I didn't know why it shifted but it did and I went along with it because that's what life does,it shifts and changes.I was prepared to pray us through the rough patches. Its only temporary. April found me grieving which added another dimension to our household. Sleepless nights, early mornings, waking up in a bed of sweat from night sweats caused by stress, crying at the dinner table, not able to get out of bed. That became our life. It wasn't fair to Cedrick nor Caleb. Most times, I was able to shake it off but sometimes I couldn't. And days when I couldn't, I was intolerable, inconsolable. In the 11 years that I've known Cedrick, 2016 found us putting in overtime to save our marriage, to save our family and ourselves. We learned valuable lessons during those dark days. Marriage does not promise that everyday will be sunny and forever in the honeymoon phase. Marriage does promise that forever you will have a partner that will strive to make it so, even if he/she fails everyday. The beauty in that fight is that its necessary. Changes happen but love does not. Even when I couldn't grasp what was going on within my marriage, I KNEW that this man, this amazing soul, was mine and mine alone. I KNEW that this perfectly flawed man, created for the sole purpose of loving me, would still be here after the dust settled. Together, we are unstoppable. Together, our love makes music some only dared to dream of.
Outside of those deep, personal battles, 2016 found me debating a lot about all kinds of topics. I am naturally a shy kid from the north end of Beaumont,Tx with a crooked smile and hair with edges that wont lay straight. But put me up against anybody in a debate and I'm on, even when I'm losing. I learned a lot about what it means to be black in America, what it means to be a black feminist in America, what it means to just be a woman in a county that thrives off of misogyny. My eyes and ears were so thirsty for knowledge that I found myself reading a lot more, revisiting old books that now took on a deeper meaning. In those little groups, i found some of my closest internet besties. Its the idea of sharing knowledge, not always agreeing but being inspired by the fight of another, regardless of race, sex, religion, financial or relationship status, that introduced me to those beautiful people.
2016 wasn't all bad. I started a new job for a company that I am proud of. Cedrick and I got into learning about investments and how to make our money work for us. Cedrick passed a certification test that he had been preparing for for over a year. We downsized to better make our money work for us in 2017. My relationship with my family has never been better, though there is always room for improvement. And how can I forget that this year launched this amazing space, simplyshelia.com. Despite grieving this year and losing people during the process, I'm proud of me. I'm proud of who I am after the storm. I'm proud of all you. You're still here, surviving, living loud and proud.
I don't know what 2017 holds for me but I do know I'll continue to use this space to share my stories. I'll keep fighting and being loud and in your face about those issues that are close and dear to my heart. I pray that the new year finds you happy, joy-filled and capable. You are not what you have been through. Deep inhale. Slow exhale, releasing yourself from all those things that tried to hold you back this year.
Be blessed. Be a blessing. Peace and love to you all.