Like any good product of the late 90's and early 00's, I spent a significant amount of my middle school days listening ad-nauseum to the Space Jam soundtrack. I firmly believe in the era of great soundtracks, Space Jam is one of the best. One of the tracks that I loved was "I Found My Smile Again" by D'Angelo. I even once put it on a mixtape for my dad for Father's Day.
I am just shy of six weeks into a new life. "I Found My Smile Again" is the song that seems most appropriate. It had/has been a long time since I uttered, "I am happy". Maybe close to a year! About this time last year, I was depleted of energy and spark and it began Elijah-tide (see below post). However, because I trust in the words of another R&B singer Marvin Gaye that, "life is for learning". I have taken some of the lessons from the darkness of Elijah-tide and they are influencing this Moana period in some pretty dope ways.
LESSONS ON HOW TO FIND YOUR SMILE AGAIN:
1) We've heard of Treat Yo' Self and that is important but, what about valuing yourself?
I now value myself. I was unhappy and my decisions reflected that. I ate unhealthy. And I'm going to keep it 100 this is not that "Uh oh, I ate too many Weight Watchers Points, celery only tomorrow" un-health. I ate unhealthy all the time. My vegetable intake was deplorable. I didn't sleep. I didn't work out. I had no work-life balance. I have by no means rectified all of that now but I do see. the value. I cook most of my meals at home these days. I feel like I accomplished something with every Hello Fresh meal that I make. I am getting more than 3 hours of sleep a night. I don't sleep with my cellphone. I still wake up early but, it is no longer because of restless nights and stress/anxiety induced insomnia. Supposedly when you know better, you do better, right? I've always known better but, now I see the value in doing better.
2) Life Should Be A Balancing Act
I crave a work-life balance and I live into it. I am doing this thing where I do work at work. I don't have work email on my devices and so I no longer feel a slave to my inbox 24-7. Since a work-life balance is so important to me, I am more mindful at work because when I get home it is time for me. I know that ministry is busy and demanding but, I'm excited that a balance is now a value. I now have time for hobbies. So I'm taking suggestions? Maybe now that Brad Pitt is available I will soon be canoodling with the former "sexiest man alive". I have time for dreams now, so you never know.
3) Literally LOL
I remember to laugh. I have really funny friends. I like funny people. I was the Rocket Team at Martin Middle School's 8th Grade class clown but, I was not laughing enough. I chortle with colleagues. I guffaw with friends. I've caught up on Fresh Off The Boat and Blackish, to name a few. I watch television and listen to podcasts that make me laugh. I love a good meme or GIF and one day I shall master snapchat and the many filters of hilarity.
3) Sometimes you need Kendrick and sometimes you need Weezy and Sometimes you need Celine
Post-Trump 'Murica and systemic injustice got you down, crank up the album, Damn. You got Felicia's in your life. Don't let em kill your vibe go back to good kid, m.a.a.d city and crank that "B%#ch don't kill my vibe" up. Kendrick is deep, prophetic, raw. He's wonderful. He's also going on tour. I'd love a ticket (hey, you have not because you ask not).
But... sometimes you need nostalgia and silliness. Nothing hits that spot for me these days like Lil Wayne. Just let Lil Wayne radio play on Spotify and you'll break out a smile, laugh at the wordplay, and feel better. And even still.. sometimes you need to believe in angels, so listen to whatever 90's ballad of Celine Dion that made you feel unstoppable. Turn it Up! Sing it loud! Don't let anyone tell you there is a difference between your vocals and hers.
4) Be Present. It's hard. It is super hard. I don't go to yoga(it's expensive AF). In fact, when I have been and they ask to set your intention, mu intention is to make it through a class or not fart. I am not opposed to yoga. I just haven't been bit by the bug. I also don't like silence (see #3) however, I think being present is super important. If you are at Costco eating samples of tandoori chicken... just eat the chicken. You don't have to capture every moment on social media. Look up every once in a while when walking, you might notice how beautiful the spring trees are, how blue the sky is. Whatever you can do to absorb every moment. Do it. In the words of Common, "the present is a gift and I just wanna be".
5) If they love you, they want you to win. One of the reasons I feel like it is OK to say I am happy is because when I wasn't, I had people who wanted my happiness (maybe even more than me). If they love you, they want you to win. They want to hear your better, they want to hear how it's going. Misery is not the end game. I am who I am because I am loved deeply by a wide assortment of people. Not one of those people who sat with me in the pit has not also rejoiced with me in the light. If you have people in your life that don't want you to win, again I direct you to "B#$ch Don't Kill My Vibe".
In this transitional, NKOTB time... I've left my preaching robe in a hotel room Easter Weekend and then had it sent to the wrong address. I have left my luggage at my apartment on a weekend trip. I forgot that I bought someone tickets to a show until 24 hours before, lost my wallet, and not been able to get a hair stylist to call me back(#blackgirlpain). And I still I have quite a learning curve to go with the DMV parallel parking. I don't know a lot of the DMV/NoVA language or how to get around without my Waze. But, I'm happy. I found my smile again.
I know we often only put our "best" selves out on the soc meds. I get FOMO and I try to sometimes induce FOMO but the truth is I am a hot mess. I went through (probably) the darkest time of my life between April 2016- April 2017 and, that is independent of the election and the death of Prince. I got by with a little help from my friends, some good therapists, and this crazy belief in HOPE. So I write not to gloat but to say, I endured and now I found my smile again.