A Look Back at 2016 + Looking Ahead to 2017

As I’ve written about previously on my blog, 2016 was terrible. I mean, it was bad. Like, if 2016 were a person, it would be Tomi Lahren or Wendy Williams or one them Kardashians. Just horrid. And as much as I would like to leave 2016 in the past and keep it moving, I think that reflection is important and necessary for growth, progression, and all that good stuff

So looking back, 2016 was a journey of sorts. It was a year of growing pains, you could say. I struggled a lot in different areas of my life. It was an odd season that I can’t really find the words to accurately describe. I was struggling at work. My relationship ended abruptly (it was not pretty). I struggled with my mental health a lot. And in the process of trying to sort out my mess of a personal and professional life, the continuous reoccurring acts of police brutality, mass shootings, the election and the many other tragedies that took place in 2016, it all really weighed on my heart heavily. I think a lot of us found it difficult to deal with the day-to-day knowing what is happening in the world around us. If you happened to forget what was going on, social media quickly reminded you. The non-stop videos of violence on Black and queer bodies were somewhat traumatizing, at least for me they were.

2016 was a constant reminder of how this country really feels about me and the people like me.

As bad as 2016 was for me, I think it was a little necessary. Sometimes you need to be broken. It’s just a part of life. Especially when you aspire to do great things like I intend to do, you have to be pressed in order to produce.

One of my favorite sermons is by T.D. Jakes called “Nothing You Been Through Will Be Wasted. He talks about the story of Moses.

Quick review for context, Moses grew up Egyptian royalty although he was Hebrew. In those days, Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptians. You ever heard your momma say, “Imma have you working like a Hebrew slave!” Yeah, context.

Anyway, one day Moses comes to the defense of a Hebrew slave who was being beaten by an Egyptian. Moses ends up killing the Egyptian and now has to hightail it out of Egypt before he is killed by Pharaoh. Moses goes from living the lavish life  to tending to someone else’s sheep in the desert for many years. God speaks to Moses at the burning bush instructing him to go back and free the Israelites from slavery. As the Negro spiritual goes, “Tell old Pharaoh, let me people go.” That’s where that comes from.

Anyway, I digress… again.

Moses does as he told, and goes back to Egypt. To make a long short story, Moses does indeed tell Pharaoh, in so many words, “Let my people go.” Pharaoh is not trying to hear that, the Ten Plagues hit and Pharaoh changes his mind to let the Israelites go, only to change it back later and chases after them. The Israelites, led by Moses, do not pass go or collect $200. They take what they can grab and bounce; heading to the land that was promised to them by God.

Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40, FOUR-TY, years before reaching their destination. During this journey is when Moses parts the Red Sea, is given the Ten Commandments, and all of that good stuff. There’s a lot more to the story, but this is the gist of it.

The parallel that Bishop Jakes is drawing is that because Moses spent all that time in the desert before, he was equipped to lead the Israelites through the wilderness and to the promise land. Had it not been for his previous struggle, he would have never been able to fulfill his purpose. All that he had been through, from being royalty, to being exiled, to returning back to Egypt was all necessary, and it was all used to perform a greater good. As T.D said in his sermon, “Can you do what you gotta do, to learn what you gotta learn? If you never pass the test, you’ll never complete the class.”

Looking back on the mess that was 2016, I really try to apply that message to that season in my life. Every bad thing that happened is only getting me ready for the great things that are to come. And some of those great things have already started to manifest, and we’re only two weeks into 2017.

And 2016 wasn’t ALL bad. I was movin’ and shakin’ a little bit.

I started producing content on this blog that has reached a lot of people, I started a business (Potter’s Clay – check it out), I was published for the very first time (shoutout to Jettison Magazine). I was published in one of my favorite online publications, Blavity. I got a raise at work. I also featured by a blogger I truly respect, Quirky, Brown Love. I had no idea that I was even on her radar, but I was featured on her Black Male Bloggers post alongside other extremely talented Black, male bloggers. And ultimately, I really began to learn who Avery is, who and what I’m becoming, and what I truly want my life to look like.

As I look ahead into 2017, I have many goals that I want to accomplish and a few ideas that I want to set in motion. But my leading intention for the new year is to be more fearless and deliberate in pursuing the life I need to live. One of my favorite online influencers, HeyFranHey, once said, “she created the world that she needs to live in.” That’s the mentality I’m carrying with me for 2017 and beyond.

I have deemed 2017 (and beyond) as the year of “No Fear.”

 

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