2016 was a hard year for me. It had its highlights; without question, the success of the Lemonade Syllabus was amazing. Still, I spent the entire year navigating through the fog of losing my mother unexpectedly and trying to cope with what would be my life now. There were rough moments. There were incredibly difficult moments. Yet here I stand, on January 1, 2017. I made it.

And you did, too.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have scars from the battle that was 2016. We lost a lot, collectively. There seemed to be no need to the passing of prominent members of our communities and societies. We lost Prince. That, alone, was too much. On top of that, anti-Black violence seemed relentless. The massacre in Orlando of LGBTQI Black and Brown people and the growing number of murdered Black trans women made it clear that spaces of safety and joy were becoming harder to find. And then white folk went and elected Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. What else can you even say?

And outside of our collective losses, some of us took personal hits too. Loved ones passed on. Relationships ended. Friendships dissolved. Jobs were lost. Money became tighter. Sicknesses were present. Many of us watched others spend these last 366 days in total bliss while we were being hit hard. We prayed for 2016 to end. For some, it left right on time. For others, 2016 took its sweet time and wreaked too much havoc along the way.

Some of us either attended or streamed a Watch Night church service where many pastors spoke prophetically into the house. I’ve heard that 2017 is the Year of Divine Favor, Supernatural Release, Holy Impartations and Unexpected Grace and Mercy. I don’t know what any of these things really mean but the folks went crazy! Admittedly, I used to be one of them. I mean…I get it. When you’ve gone through hell for a whole year (and sadly, the pains of Black life in America often linger in this way), you want to believe that next year will be better. You need to believe it, actually. What’s the point if you’re just going to catch more hell? And while I understand why we need to hear these kinds of words, I also recognize that need is often manipulated in ways that hurt us. Preachers know that we need to hear it and so they give it to us, knowing that it’s not good for us…knowing that we’ll sow financially into it…knowing that we will do whatever we can to make it become true.

After 2016, here’s what I know for sure:

I don’t necessarily believe a good year can be predicted. Some things are going to happen to us that are far beyond our control; we can’t do anything about them. There are, however, some things that we can make happen to and for ourselves.

I couldn’t do anything about my mother’s death. I can do something about saying “maybe tomorrow” when I was supposed to go to the gym, though. Everything is not outside the realm of our control. Those things that are, we have to learn to let them go. Those that are not, we need to do what we need to do.

On December 19, I posted this on social media:

Sis, 2017 is the Year of the Glow Up!
Let’s hold each other accountable in healthy eating,
fitness regimens, blending our eyeshadows,
speaking truth to power and following our dreams!
Who we’ve been wanting to be is who will become!
We got each other!

I realized that so much of what we want to do is within our control. We just have to have the courage and the discipline to make it happen. And our responses to what has happened to us can be determined by us, as well. The best way to kiss a painful year goodbye and learn its lesson is to “glow up” in the new one! There is already too much in this world that seeks to destroy the light of Black women. We need to shine anyway!

So pull out that journal and write the vision!
…and then do it!
…and while you’re doing it, hold me accountable and make sure I’m doing it too!

That’s it! That’s my prophetic word for you for 2017: Glow Up! You ain’t gotta sow a seed into me for it or nothing! Keep those coins and put them toward a gym membership, healthy recipe book, quality makeup brushes, therapist visit, life coaching session, admission fees, massage…whatever it is, do it!

I’ll be sharing my “Glow Up Goals” with you every month and promise to be honest about whether I achieved them or not. And I’m going to be bringing some other sisters along to share their goals and what Glowing Up means to them, as well. I’m not saying 2017 won’t have its challenges. I don’t know what’s down the road for any of us. But I do know that God is with us and we’ve got each other. That’s all that matters and that’s all we need.

This year,

May you heal from every wound.
May light shine in every dark place.
May you flourish in every good thing.
May you be whole and well.
And may the God will present you flawless remind you that you already are.

 

Love you, Sis! Glow Up!

 

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