The biggest lesson I learned in 2012 came to me with only a week left in the year. I'd been processing or decompressing--depending on the day--for a couple of weeks. At first I thought I should concentrate on the fact that I made it through the anniversaries of my mother's transition, the day we buried her and Thanksgiving without a complete meltdown. Then, I thought I should emphasize the fact that I have spent yet another year doing the same job with the same pay. Or, maybe I should bask in the success of seeing my vision for Thick And Proud Sisters, or TAPS, come about.
Actually, the most significant thing that has happened in my life this year was none of those. It was the shock that overcame me when I received confirmation that this is my journey.
It started with a post I wrote on Linked-In.com on a morning when my first thought was "Just do it." I initially received that message as, "Just get up out of this bed, and get your ass to work." Later, I realized that the message was deeper. I was reminded that even though things are not exactly the way I expect them to be, they are exactly the way they should be. I should worry less about the whys and more about the fact that I should just keep going, I wrote.
That same day, a person who is dear to me explained that I expect too much from others. Though I am supportive of other people's dreams and their desires, I should not expect their support in return, I concluded, and the amount of support I get probably should not determine my level of support for others. Doing so will leave me disappointed and unenthusiastic about my own dreams and desires.
It was a revelation. I was beginning to see my journey differently, more wholesome than ever before.
The only person who is going to see to it that I am successful in this life is me. I have love and support from my family and even some steadfast friends, but ultimately, it is up to me to determine the success I reach. I am the determining factor that will change the course of my journey or remain on the same path. No one else is obligated to contribute to my success; they have their own road to pave. I respect that.
We spend so much time blaming our failures on others. We visualize how things would have turned out differently if this person would have called me, or if that person had given me an opportunity or put in a good word for me. Then, I could have gotten the job or that showcase. I could have been the one who got the interview.
That's all a bunch of poppycock. Sure, it would make life easier--no one can argue that. But expecting it is a sure-fire way to create tension and stress that otherwise wouldn't be there. It's creating your own obstacles.
I've done quite a bit of growing in 2012. I reached a new level by being able to think of Mama without falling apart--as much. I actually made it through those rough days. I mentioned her in prayer, and I actually kept living without needing to separate myself from everything and everyone just to get through the tears. I accomplished something new at my job, and I didn't think that was possible. I gained tools and resources and had an opportunity to grow that I may have missed had I not been in the same job for another year.
The biggest accomplishment came when I removed all fear and doubt and did something to bring empowerment to women. If you know me at all, you know that for years I've struggled to do this. Well, 2012 proved to be the year it would come to pass.
In August, I decided that I wouldn't wait on anyone else to make the calls for me. I was determined to try even if it failed. I was going to take the good with the bad. I did it because I would not accept no for an answer. I would not allow fear to hold me back any longer. I called up some friends, shared my vision, and then there was TAPS, my new project.
In the words of Wilma Rudolph, "The triumph can't be had without the struggle."
While you are struggling with your resolutions and evaluating the past year, consider that even that which you may think was a loss might have been a win. When you didn't have help or support, maybe that lack was what you actually needed. If you didn't press forward last year because fear got in your way, this year is another chance to stare fear in the eye and try any way.
Take it from me: Playing the blame game gets old. No one controls your destiny but you. Never expect anyone to share your vision, your dream or your desire. It's impossible for them to love what you love the way you love it. If you're lucky like I am, you'll find good people to share your dreams with or to stand beside you. Ultimately though, it's yours--win or lose; pass or fail.
Keep dreaming; keep believing. Then, just do it.
Funmi "Queen" Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for sisterhood. She has a weakness for reality shows and her puppy, Shaka.