I am usually the kind of person who has a long list of things that I’m ready to accomplish in the new year. If you’re anything like me, you might sit down and reflect on what happened in the previous year and then make a plan of action for the new year. This is an enjoyable experience for me. Usually, I burn a candle and play music. Then I create a long list of things I want to accomplish or create a detailed outline of my year and goals on a mind mapping tool called xmind. I visualize my year and anticipate any stress or troubles that might come my way.
But to be honest with you, 2023 threw me for a loop. My husband and I went through a miscarriage in December of 2022 on our first-year wedding anniversary. This shifted my entire life. I wish I could tell you that it didn’t, but it did. I am a different person. It’s been a full year now and we still don’t have children (yet!).
In some moments, I felt like I was crawling through the year, and in others, I felt like I was slowly cruising along. Either way, the last year has been incredibly challenging. Shout out to my friend, Jo Saxton who said, “I am not ending the year strong.” That really resonated with me. I have not created a long list of goals for 2024, and I have no intention of starting this year strong. I actually intend to start the year resting and doing the best I can to be gentle with myself.
This last year has taught me to be gentler with my myself. I need to be less critical and more loving. I need to appreciate what I can give and acknowledge when I don’t have anything left to offer. Truth is, I don’t have mental space and capacity for a lot of things these days, but I have made a lot of space for cultivating my marriage. I have prioritized our love in the midst of hardship, and that has brought us closer together.
I am reminded that there were plenty of points during this last year when I wanted to give up, but I was determined for the pain to pass by and not to consume me. There have been years when pain and depression were close companions, but I fought through this last year. It took every ounce of me to show up each day and not give up. I also let myself cry—and cry often, showing up did not mean masking my feelings or rejecting my pain. I felt every bit of it; I just didn’t let myself get stuck in the pain. Because when I get stuck, it’s hard for me to climb out.
In 2023, I was sad, longing, hopeful… This has been the continuous emotional loop I have been on as we wait and pray for a child. I am sitting in ‘the messy middle,’ as I like to call it, the ‘not yet,’ the waiting period. So, I have no other choice but to start the year soft.
So maybe you are like me, and you have had a hard year. Instead of putting so much pressure on yourself to do more or “be strong,” you can give yourself room to start softer. For Black women in particular, we are expected to be strong. We always have to show up ready to fix things and make sure everyone else is okay. Life doesn’t stop for our pain and grief, so we oftentimes numb ourselves to them.
I think, this year, we should do something different. We need to thank ourselves for getting as far as we have. Sis, pat yourself on the back—you did it. You made it. And if you need to cry, cry. If you need to laugh, then make space for your laughter. Breathe deep and resolve to enter the year a little gentler with yourself, you deserve it.
How can you enter the year softer? What does that look like for you?Leave a Comment