Since 2017, I have chosen a motto for the year; 2017: It Will Be Brilliant, 2018: Unstoppable, and in 2019: I Deserve.
Year of 2020 Motto: Self-Belief
Poem by Tene Edwards, from her book “Walk with Wings”
The grind is tough,
But worth every sweat.
I believe in the woman I am striving to become.
When 2020 began, so many of us had high hopes of what this year could bring, life changes, big moves, vacations with friends and families.
I was excited about 2020 like many people. For one, I loved the gif of Barbara Walters saying “This is 2020…” I had planned on using that at every turn and I probably did at the beginning. I got to spend New Year’s Eve with my girlfriend, our first New Year celebration together and excited about what Year 2 would bring us. There was excitement about buying a home, traveling and taking the next steps in our careers.
Shortly after we entered 2020, I was headed to Texas to attend the Black Student-Athlete Summit. One of my favorite conferences every year because it is focused on the growth and development of Black student-athletes and administrators within college athletics and higher education. My first, of what I thought would be many flights of the year. When I moved to the West Coast in 2014, I would count how many planes I would be on every year, so I was ready to see how high my number could get this year.
Then we hit January 26th and news broke that Kobe Bryant had died. It was as if the world had stood still for weeks on end. There was mourning everywhere you looked because it was so unexpected and not only had his life been taken but those of 8 other people including his 13-year-old daughter. Little did we know, this would be the beginning of our world changing.
A few weeks later, we started to hear rumblings of Coronavirus, Covid-19, etc… I’ll be honest when I heard about it, probably like many of you, I thought “oh this is going to be like 2-3 weeks in the house, then life would resume too normal.” Well, we are now at our final day of 2020 and we are still in the middle of this pandemic, with a vaccine available for some and a new strain of Covid-19 popping up.
Most of this year was filled with conversations on the pandemic, it was everywhere you turned. The pandemic has taken SO much from us. We’ve seen friends and family succumb to the virus. We’ve seen people lose their jobs and housing. We’ve seen businesses close.
For many of us, we thought this year would be focused on the pandemic and how we could navigate out of this virus.
Not only did we deal with this pandemic, we also saw a rise in social unrest, or shall I say SOME people saw a rise in social unrest. For many of us, we have been witnessing these acts of violence against black and brown bodies for years but it was extremely highlighted this year, after the death of George Floyd. Like the pandemic, everyone was tuned in because all you could do was sit at home and watch the news and scroll through social media. Then news started to break about Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, it was like one heartbreak after another. Black people, just trying to live their life and gunned down, lives taken too soon.
To understand how I felt in the midst of those moments, read my previous blog: "I am Black & Gay... They are NOT mutually exclusive!".
Through all this tragedy, I started to see the positive of 2020 start to come to fruition. Friends, family and colleagues started businesses, podcasts, catering and so much more. It was like we needed the world to shut down for a little bit for some of us to find our purpose outside of our 9-5 jobs and give us time to spend with our families a little bit more, even if it was through zoom.
It’s a beautiful thing when you start to find your purpose. Achieve goals you had written down for years but too afraid to achieve them. Covid-19 even shook me up because I took a leap of faith and bet on myself to start my own business. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to change the world for women, giving us our due rights and showing this world that we deserve our seat at the table. Obviously, as I started to grow in my truth, I expanded my reach to include members of the LGBTQ+ and Black/Brown communities.
I have appreciated my colleagues who pushed me to start this business, telling me that I have something to share with this world that can shake the table. In order to move this society forward I need a lot of us to start shaking the table because the world we have lived in for hundreds of years is and has not worked for the identity-based communities, for which I am a member.
Just as I was ready to launch, we were coming up on the Presidential election of 2020.
We knew this election would be like none-other, and it truly lived up to that. We reached historical numbers of votes. It was tense for about a week as we waited for all the mail-in ballots to be counted. Of course, we knew it wasn’t going to end there right? To be honest, we are ending 2020, and it still hasn’t ended. Joe Biden has been declared President-Elect numerous times now but until January 20th, 2021, I will continue to hold my breath because everyday there is a new lawsuit trying to invalidate millions of votes.
Though we have faced so much tragedy and trauma this year, I am proud of my community for rising above and finding their purpose.
As I reflected on the motto “Self-belief” and reviewed my vision board, I felt what I envisioned didn’t truly reflect who I thought I would be at the end of the year. Instead I took myself to the next level; A business owner that is changing our society one person at a time. During this reflection time, I decided what my motto would be for 2021. It came about through reading books, poems and listening to podcasts. The new year will be about evolving, walking in my purpose and being the person that I desire to be.
“For me becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” - Michelle Obama, Becoming