New Year’s Resolutions aka the thing I am not doing this year (Part 2)

Look at me doing the thing and ACTUALLY posting part 2! I am so proud of me *insert slow clapping emoji here – or would it be a gif?*. If you haven’t, check out part 1 of this post here (disclaimer, it is kinda long). So, just to recap, I decided I wasn’t making NYR’s this year because:

1- I have ALWAYS failed at them

2- I didn’t Resolve SMART

3- I did not track my habits

Now, I learnt last year that deciding to just stop NYR’s and not find an alternative wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I wanted to do something different this year. Ok listen though, this is not some new “oh my gosh Nosi created this thing, she is amazing” mess – although I do think I am pretty amazing *flips hair*. No, this is a combination of a variety of ideas from other people. Part of it is influenced by the idea of NYRs, to be honest. So, if you think this is just NYR’s renamed, there’s freedom but I promise you it is not. Or at least I believe it is not.

First of All, every day is a good day to start afresh

Yes, I said “first of all” (because I’m a cool kid and “cool kids” use first of all. Hhahaha). I know we romanticize the New Year as a clean start or whatever and that is great. It gives us something to look forward too, yes, and it gives us the hype to work towards something different. I had to get myself to mentally get over it though. I realized that, for me anyway, there was a self-created pressure to do something right from January 1st and then, if I stumbled along the way, hold off on correcting for the mishaps until the next January 1st. Drilling in the fact that every day is a good day to restart allows me to pick back up at any day. So if I do well January to March and then mess up in April and May, I can wake up one morning and decide to move right along, correct my timeline and keep going.

It started with 100 Aspirations

So, you need a framework right? You need a starting point. I think one problem that I had with my NYR’s was the fact that I thought I had to think up things that I wanted to get better at on December 31st (or January 1st). In doing that, I had a very shallow “why” and, consequently, didn’t have motivation to work at my resolutions diligently. I needed to find a deeper why, and finding a deeper why meant that I had to understand my aspirations, what I wanted to achieve and who I wanted to become. So, after conversations with my sister and with myself (yes, I have conversations with myself. A lot of them. If you don’t have deep conversations with yourself you are missing out. Try it and you will see what I mean). Woah, what I was trying to say is, after these conversations I started jotting down my aspirations.

The goal: jot down your 100 aspirations. See, when I started doing this I thought it would be suuuuuuuper easy; like, I am a dreamer so 100 aspirations shouldn’t be a big deal. It was a lie!!! It took me 2 weeks to have 100 aspirations written down, TWO.FREAKING.WEEKS. I was halfway through November and was like, hold on mami, why are you not done with this yet. Yea, I said November, I start my yearly planning right after my birthday because why not. Anyway, I would encourage EVERYONE to have their 100 aspirations written down because it is seriously eye opening. I discovered more about myself during those 2 weeks, I discovered my why and relearnt what it meant to dream. I pray that none of us ever stop dreaming.

SO, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THEM, PLEASE STOP RIGHT HERE AND GO DREAM. FIND YOUR WHY, GET THOSE ASPIRATIONS ON PAPER AND BURY THEM – IF YOU MUST – SO THAT THEY CAN GROW!!!!!!

100 Aspirations, now what?

I was about to go to the next thing and then was like, waaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute. Yea, I just said “wait a minute to myself.” So, I am going to end this blog post here. I had every intention of finishing this right here, right now, but I realized that it might be a long one again (So look out for part 3! Hahahah). At this point, it’ll be December before I get this whole NYR thing out of the way.

Buuuuut, on a serious note, I am stopping here because I really, really, reaaaaaaaaaally think everyone has to have 100 Aspirations/life goals/dreams/objectives (whatever you want to call it) on paper. So, since it took me 2-ish (read as 3-ish) weeks to get mine together, I’ll give you three weeks to get yours together so we’ll move forward together. Kapish?

“Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets so that the one who reads it will run. For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.” – Habakkuk 2: 2-3

 

Letter of Imperfection

November 27th, 2017

Dear sir/madam,

I am writing this letter in response to the “Perfection is overrated” position. I saw the quotation, “the more perfect people appear to be, the more they’re probably suffering, beginning with you” and I feel my qualifications make me a great candidate for this position.

The socially constructed perfection meter made me this way. No, I did not wake up like this. I definitely wasn’t born like this – granted my mother did call me the perfect cupcake so I don’t know if that counts *insert shrugging emoji here*. Forgive my use of emoji statements, there were no emojis for me to use and, did I mention I was imperfect? I have, time and time again, highlighted my imperfections but – from the outside – the perfection meter seems to rank me high on the “pretending to be perfect” indicator.

Religion (or should I say the legalistic aspect of religion – I almost went on a tangent, forgive me sir/ma’am. I’ll bite my tongue) has given me a label I cannot accept. Some seem to think I have my spirituality in check, look at me successfully pretending *flips hair*. I do realize, however, that I am flawed. I am a fallible creature with faith in an infallible God, constantly in need of Grace. Thankfully, this infallible God is willing to give me new Grace and Mercy every morning. Trust me when I say – ma’am or sir –  that if it wasn’t for the constant Grace and Mercy, I would have a front row seat to hell. I would probably have the master key even. Side-note, I still could have a free pass there as I write, being the imperfect sinner that I am.

I have created internal perfection rubrics that are simply impossible to achieve. See, what I did is, I mixed the social constructs, the religious expectations and the cultural success determiners to create an idea of the perfect me. I told me what I have to become, created a timeline, and constantly beat myself up when I miss the mark. If you do not agree that I am the perfect candidate by now, then I don’t know what you want.

Here’s the kicker though, I have said “MISS ME WITH THE 100% QUALITY”. If anything, this alone should be what gets me this position. I want others to see my flaws, because what human doesn’t have any. I want to be an imperfect human being and display the scars and bruises, followed by an extrapolation of the lessons received as a result. I have decided, success isn’t getting to 100%; it is merely moving further away from the 0% mark. The final destination? INFINITY (let me know, sir/ma’am, when you find someone who has reached infinity).

Benjamin P. Hardy says this of success: “success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate”. Sir/Ma’am, I have even left you with a powerful quote here. You really should just give me this position already.

I am not trying to be perfect, just successful. For me, this means constantly being better than I was yesterday and the day before… And I’m down with that.

Sincerely,

IMPERFECT SUCCESS SEEKER

Confessions of a Woman Struggling to “even”

Sips tea… Can’t even!! Tries coffee… Nope, can’t even!! Brings out the wine… Nah, nah… Indulges in dog petting, baby admiring, meditation… hmmmmm, No… STILL CAN’T EVEN… The urban dictionary defines “I can’t even” as:

“The complete… onset of the cessation of brain activity, brought under the presence of acute stress, which fully affects the person only a short time after it strikes them. Said person, under the duress of the symptoms, demonstrates their affliction by alerting to others that they can’t even, in reference to their inability to deal with the symptoms, or their inability to perform simple actions which have been made impossible by their afflictions.”

Yep, I quoted urban dictionary because why not. Life is a struggle! A joyful, entertaining and satisfying journey but a struggle none the less. Sometimes the struggle overwhelms you, sometimes you don’t realize there’s a struggle and, countless times, you are such a boss at managing the struggle that others don’t realize that it exists in the first place. Have you ever looked at someone and thought “wow, she’s got her life under control” only to find out later that they’re a hot mess. Isn’t it funny that, when you “can’t even” (let’s see how many times I can use “can’t even” in one blogpost), everyone else seems to have things in check? This blog post is for everyone who feels like they are struggling… Homie, you are not alone! I gots you!!

I can’t even ADULT

I said it. “Adulting” is hard! The act of making life choices is one that is delicate and deserves a “handle with care” note on it. Sometimes it requires us to create (or cut) relationships that we once thought were life giving. It requires us to think through the steps, to process, to create spreadsheets and graphs of the pros and cons of all the potential routes. I am quickly realizing that the process gets complex really quick! I know I often get to a place where I pretend those decisions are nonexistent. If you’ve ever piled up mail you know what I mean.

It starts slow: you put one envelop on the table and tell yourself it will be opened later. Next thing you know, there’s a pile of envelops and you are too lazy to open them all. I often do the same with tasks, responsibilities and decisions. I have been doing that a lot lately, actually, and I probably need to open up (and sort) the different “mail” in my life. Piling things up usually seems like a good idea at the onset until you realize it isn’t. My IB teachers used to call it getting to the “bottleneck” or something like that. If you’re on that same pile-up route, maybe you should stop reading and take care of ish, yes? Yes!

I can’t even CHRISTIAN

Raise your hand if you are a perfect Christian (or Moslem, or Babist, or traditionalist or spiritualist)… Basically, raise your hand if you are perfect in exercising your faith (or lack thereof)!! Oh, you liar!! I see you!! Guys, faith is so complicated. I mean, it is and it is not – which in itself makes the whole dynamic that much MORE complicated!! So, you see, there’s no winning.

I have been a Christian for most of my life at this point and I’m still not sure how to do it “right”. I see people doing it oh so well and feel like I am not even trying. I watch my friends successfully fast during Ramadan and think “Nosi, you need to do better”. I listen to people defend their spirituality, defend atheism, stand on the street corners and tell me why scientology is the way to go and I’m out here questioning God (and his plans for my life) over and over again.

I sin, oh boy do I sin! Sometimes my sins are small, petty even, and I defend myself and cook up justifications for why that’s “not too bad”. Sometimes they are huge and I hope that I can bury it all and pretend nothing happened. Sometimes a lady has to channel the inner Joseph and flee which, let’s be honest, is easier said than done. I use sin here as my personal focus but sin may translate to different aspects of failure: the times we act contrary to what is deemed morally right; when we break the law intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally). There’s also those times we act in a way that’s contrary to the ethical and moral standards that we set for ourselves. Yeah, you get me now don’t you? There’s that one time that I had a bar of chocolate after I’d told myself I was on a diet, sin against ‘self’ right there!

I can’t even with RELATIONSHIPS

Woah, now this is a legit struggle. Why is loving so hard? I’m not just talking about intimate relationships here, I’m talking about any and every form of “SHIP”. I have a great friend circle, my family is amazing and I have some pretty good mentors but, man, keeping up with “SHIPS” can be hard. Creation and managing ties gets complicated and sometimes I lack patience. I let friends go and return to relationships I should have killed a long time ago.

In different situations, we may pursue relationships with others from a selfish perspective. We seek fulfillment, joy that we believe we can only find from others. We don’t want to be alone, we want to be loved, we want to FEEL love and in order to do this we rope people along. We forget that “SHIPS” are a two-way stream and seek to take and take without giving back. Why are we like this?

My mother taught me what  I consider to be a fundamental goal of any “SHIP” I may pursue. This goal: growth. Now let me break it down for you. Hahaha! Mama taught me that, whatever connection I create with another individual, I should be asking myself how that persons life will be better because I am in it. It is the idea that, whether a relationship lasts forever or 2 days, that person needs to look at the time they spent with me and feel like they became a better person because of it. At the point where they experience no change or, at the worst, a digression in growth then there is a problem.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Ok, so there are a lot of areas that I think “I can’t even” in but these three are some main ones. The beauty of it all, however, is that I am not alone. I have conversations with people in my life and realize that our struggles are oh so similar. If you are like me and often feel like your struggles are not experienced by anyone else but you, you’ve got it all wrong. We are here, we are many and we understand. We understand that sometimes decision making is hard; that loving and living can get complicated; that faith needs a lot of work and shortcoming should be met with love.

I believe in freedom albeit I find myself believing it for others more than myself. The existence of freedom means that we always have a right to choose and that, while we can wallow in our struggle to “can”, we have the freedom to work on the areas that we struggle in. I believe that freedom allows us to learn where we need to and continuously do better in areas where we struggle.

I believe in grace for others and for myself. I know that perfection is overrated and therefore refuse to conform to the expectation of a perfect me. Sorry not sorry!! It is often easier to offer grace to others and hold it back from ourselves. I listened to a podcast the other day and someone spoke on how she tries to reason (and have conversations) with herself like she was talking to someone else. While that is a little weird, hehehe, I love the concept because it, somewhat, makes you a tad bit nicer to yourself.

I am constantly learning how to exercise freedom in my life and have grace for myself! Every day gives an opportunity to do this better than yesterday. I advocate for grace and freedom to “self” and believe that success comes in allowing the days of struggling to be building blocks rather than opportunities to stumble.

So, this Monday, how’s about you cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace and exercise your freedom. While you’re at it, I’ll be out here trying to do the same thing!

(P.S. I used “Can’t even” 11 times if you weren’t counting)

FailureSHIP 101 – The art of failing well (or not failing at all)

So I was up here like, how do you even title a blog post about failing. I mean, come on now, who in the world would want to enhance their failure…ummmm, nobody that’s who. Unless, of course you are that random dead person who is given this option: to die or to FAIL to die!!! Of course then you want to fail well!!! See what I did there!!!!

I was thinking of title options and I had so many ideas I thought, how about you all pick one yourself too so, here goes.

  1. Failing like a pro (but that’s not what we want)
  2. Who wants to be a failurenaire (ummm, no one?)
  3. The life of a failure (but that’s speaking negativity into my life so thanks but no thanks)
  4. How to fail with your head held high (this sounds like a self-help book though so hmmm)
  5. Failing is normal (or is it?)
  6. Failing is fun (said no one ever)

So if you like any of these title go ahead, pretend that’s what this blog post is called… you are welcome!!

There are over 7 billion people in the world… and counting!!! Woah, that is A LOT!!!! You know what everyone has in common (besides the fact that they are all human and they have blood flowing through their veins, meh there’s a lot actually) but the big one is everyone is a winner! Yeah, I said it. The reproductive system is a battle of the fittest. The quickest sperm makes it to the egg, the fittest zygote becomes a baby, my biology is not on point but you see where I am going with that. We are all winners by the time we are born. We have already won at life by the time we start to experience life. How cool is that? But sometimes we forget this fact.

I am a failure, I tell myself. I am not good enough I whisper in my head. You have failed; I say when things don’t go my way. It’s not worth it, you will fail, I tell myself when I try to make life altering decisions. What, you are going to do what? I ask as I contemplate the thought of failing at something once again. The life of a failure, I think. That’s me, that’s my identity; I am a failure at life!!

Hold up now, how many times can you get some form of “fail” into a paragraph. Apparently a lot, and that’s how much you can get that in your mind, in your heart, in things you do, in your life! We are so consumed with the idea of labeling ourselves and our action based off of how things did not go our way. Trust me when I say that there have been so many such moments in my life. Rephrase that, there ARE many moments like that in my life. I am quick to sulk, to hide in shame at the failing that is just so unavoidable.

I have failed so much in so many ways. In life altering choices, you know what I’m talking about don’t you. You are so sure that you have made a great decision, you have thoroughly thought about it and played out different ways it could turn out and you are confident that it will work for you. And then, bham, life happens and you are wondering how in the world that actually looked like a good idea in the first place. How could you be that naïve!! Then there’s the academics, man oh man. I remember clearly that time in the IB when I got a 2 for mathematics and I had to pray and ask God for the best way to break the news to my dad. Now, if you have never heard of the IB, the grade ranges from 1 to 7 (with 1 being the lowest grade you can get and 7 being the highest). So yes, getting a 2 was a definitely fail.

I have failed in my relationship with daddy Jesus. Yep, I said it. I have gone through moments when I knew exactly what I was being called to do, whether it be talking to that person in the bus, to pray for someone or even to just give a word of encouragement. You would think after so many years of leading I’d have that figured out but no ma’am. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will be on that “yo, listen to me right now” tip and I’ll be like “who are you again HS?”

I have failed in relationships, be it friendship, intimate relationships and even family relationships (especially family relations). These failures have looked different but one thing they have in common is the fact that they get me to a place where I am crucifying myself and counting all the ways I could have done better. Yeah, life huh!! Human beings are SO HARD to deal with right? There have been moments where I have failed to choose grace over anger or peace over commotion, or patience, or love, or serving… See where I am going with that. Human-to-human interactions are such an easy fail yah?

Through all of the apparent failures in my life I have grown, I have learnt and I have (hopefully) become a better person. I have gotten to a place where failure is not an option because, why not? I have realized that moments of failure are APPARENT FAILURES and there is no way one can fail at life. Don’t get me wrong, of course we will come out sort sometimes but is it really failing? I recently discovered a quotation that speaks on this. It goes “I didn’t fail, I paid for the lesson”. How cool would it be to take this perspective in regards to failure?

According to the “Nosi urban dictionary” (yep, that’s a thing…or is it?) failureship can be defined as “the ability to use an unsuccessful result to boost your initial condition and yield a better end result.” It can also be defined as “living life without letting shortcoming define your path” or “taking every insufficiency and using it to your benefit or learning from mediocre and below mediocre conditions”. Isn’t that cool? What if failure wasn’t what we thought it was? What if we changed the meaning of not meeting your goals? What if every unmet goal was received with a “how do I improve this to give myself (or others) a higher fulfilment”? Wouldn’t that be cool?

What am I getting at? I really don’t know. All I know is I refuse to be defined by a lack of result, I refuse to acknowledge apparent failure as a hindrance. There is so much more that is there for me, for you, for everyone but we are way too quick in assuming that we are less of a person because we “failed” at something. What is that? Those things, those unsuccessful moments should never define ANYONE. My Daddy tells me I am more than a conqueror, he tells me I have been bestowed with all wisdom and understanding…. He created me and thought “it is good”. How then can something as good as I am go through moments of self-doubt that are inspired by failing?

I don’t know about you but as I start a new academic year I am confident that failure does not exist. Lessons paid for do instead and, man, I do not want to pay often but sometimes paying is necessary to move on and acquire a certain set of skills (Taken… haha). I am taking back the word “failure” and redefining the art of failing to propel me forward because, hey, the only way to go is up and forward right? Instead of failure I am putting in hope and success and running with that, in the next academic year and even moving forward in my life.

We are called upon to be successful; everything that we embark on is bound to work well for us (even if it takes a long time sometimes). Hope means that we have a desire for something good to happen and, in turn, we have a certainty that these good things will happen.

So, whether it be academically, in relationships, friendships, leadership, spiritually and any other area really, I challenge you this year to put successful and hope at the forefront of anything you undertake and to start mastering the art of failureship. I challenge you to never let failure rule, because really… what’s failing anyways?