So, thank God I lived to see another Thanksgiving. I spent it quietly with family. Celebrating the purchase of a cousin’s new home, seeing and being aggravating by my brother for the first time in months, and drinking wine with another cousin’s wife, who is now one of my favorite black women on the planet.
Chill, considerate and kind, spending time with her made me think about my life. It made me think about family, about where my mind, spirit and body will be as we draw closer to the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
I took time to give thanks for my home, my health, my family – annoying as they are; I took time to give thanks for the ease of my life, my business, my ambition and the opportunities that continue to come my way. I thank all of the people who have stepped up since I launched Kellye Media, and recommended me to clients based on relationships they’ve had with me for years, and even impressions of me they gleaned many years ago. Running my own media coaching and consulting company has been scary. I’m learning a completely new way to work. Yet, I’ve never been so zen, and I’m thankful for each learning moment.
It’s not uncommon to be introspective during the holidays. There’s something about eating too much and chilling on a comfortable couch, TV going, little people running around, that always makes me think about goals set and met, goals set and missed, where I want to go, and who I want to go there with.
We think about waste and want, life and death, and how proud we are of this person or that person for making that life changing move – even if that person is us. Gathering with our relatives, catching up on one another’s lives as we eat and drink too much, and laugh as loud and hard and long as we want, is the perfect opportunity to consider the hard questions. ‘Cause it’s almost guaranteed somebody will ask you something out of pocket out of sheer nosiness – with a light wash of familial concern.
But surrounded by all of those delicious carbs and toddlers running amok it’s easy to think about what is, and what could be, and I’m thankful for three things in particular.
I’m thankful that confidence is not an issue for me. I’m grateful that I am no longer excessively bothered by others opinions’ on my appearance, my clothes, my writing, my choices. I welcome every challenge that comes my way as an opportunity to excel, to move ahead, and a chance to learn.
I’m thankful that I know enough to please myself, which is a political statement for some, but I’m thankful that I can smile at that. That I can feel the tingles of peace spread down my neck and shoulders as I think kind and dismissive thoughts for those who think I will allow them to dictate a black woman’s future to me.
I’m working, and it’s wonderful. My workplace is comfortable, kind, remarkably free of irritants, and it’s challenging in a way I’ve never experienced. Those challenges manifest in myriad ways I enjoy with a fervent desire to serve that has astonished me.
Self-motivation has taken on a whole new meaning. But that engine of self is aware enough to be doubly grateful for the kindness of those spirits who have trod the path longer, and who reach back to lend me a hand. I’m thankful for the souls who come and go like kindly wraiths, dropping pearls of wisdom for me to find and collect, to select and use at the exact right moment.
I’m thankful that I know enough to do my research. I’ve learned there aren’t just two sides to every story, there are nuances and subtexts, bad timing and worse deadlines, maybe even some historical baggage that impact the best telling of a tale – and everything is a story. Or it can be.
Objective reporting is like an eight-track tape in this world of fake news we live in, and I’ve learned to curate my media consumption as carefully as a surgeon wields a scalpel. It’s necessary. It’s why I can look at people who are constantly up in arms over something 45 has done, and think with vague pity, “this too shall pass,” – even while I pray we are not too terribly broken when it does.
But I make no bones about strictly controlling that which I allow to influence me. I take strength in each bump and bruise that led me here. They’re mine and well-earned. I’m proud of my accomplishments, though I can clearly see where areas of work still lie. Sometimes those areas are clear, others are just large, vague shapes, like the snow-covered machinery on a wintery construction site. I know me, I believe I know a good bit about the world and the diverse people in it. I certainly know enough to listen to each person who crosses my path before I make any decisions or judgments.
I’m thankful that I have no ill will toward anyone in my heart. I do not envy, and pity is as mentioned, a vague thing that passes like a breeze. I think I no longer pity because I understand choice. I understand who has power.
Those people are often the one’s under fire. Sometimes that person is me. Sometimes that person has been marked as an enemy; but I understand that having power is a tender, changeable thing, good and bad, soft and hard. And I am thankful that my power over myself has brought me this far and showed me the promise of beauty and a deep, deep freedom on the road ahead.
I made a sign many many years ago on a piece of cardboard. I placed it in my bedroom in a corner where it would catch my eye often. It says, “Will Write For Freedom.” I’m thankful that I do, that I have, that I will continue to write for freedom and everything else.
I’m thankful for all of you who read me, who comment, who share your ideas. You feed me, and I appreciate every scrap of your time and thoughtful attention.
Happy Day After Thanksgiving, y’all.