2019: Secure Your Self

2019: Securing My Self 


I walked away from writing. Not intentionally, but also it did not go without notice. In general, it was a habit to begin every morning with writing. Even if it were just a few thoughts strung together from a dream, or an early morning moment of gratitude. I wrote it. 


Sometimes with pen and paper, though I prefer a slightly dull pencil. But mostly here on my iPhone. In my notes, there were published posts and think pieces. Opinion editorials, book reviews, notes for an interview I dreamed of but had no means to secure. I wrote habitually. Instinctually. I wrote to understand what I felt because sometimes it was only in retrospect that my feelings made sense. I wrote to untangle the complexities of social conflicts and injustices. I wrote to heal and give voice to the pain that flooded me in all the places I was broken. I wrote like I had grown to breathe. 


Then, I stopped. 


I told everyone I was writing on my book. It wasn’t a complete untruth. I thought about my book everyday. I rearranged chapters. I organized themes and antagonized over sentence structures. I toyed with perspective and struggled,as I always had, to appropriately capture anyone’s voice but my own. 


I did not know how to tell people I had taken a break from something that was so vital to me. I did not even understand it myself yet. I only knew that each morning when I woke up, I did not want to write. And it’s never a good use of time to try and force a Taurus to do anything. 


It’s no secret this year was a struggle for me. From the quiet January morning my mom called and said the word “cancer” to being fired and having it framed as though I asked for my own life to be upended. To my present moment, finding myself saying “Thank you for the opportunity” and wondering what God was preparing for me next. 


As a blogger for over a decade, I can distinctly remember days where I would post multiple times a day. I just had so much to say, and so many thoughts. This year I managed only 22 posts. 


I’ve been turning over the cultural call to action “secure the bag” in my head for weeks and it’s impact on me, specifically. I recognized that in my haste and priority to “secure the bag” I was sacrificing things that were more costly than I would be compensated. 


I was chasing things, people, places, and feelings that communicated a sort of stability that made most people comfortable.  Or at least I presumed other people were happy. My mind adjusted the contrast on my neighbors grass. I found myself, for the first time, growing cynical and attributing my unhappiness to my being alone. A chicken or egg paradox spiral of shame that dominated much of the past few years of my internal monologue. What I was sure of, was that I had been walking through quicksand so long in the wrong direction I didn’t have the energy to persist. 


I could not change that my father has cancer, his death was imminent but honestly no more predictable than anyone of ours. 


I could not change that my former employers chose to go in different directions. It was true that I was grateful for the opportunity and I learned more about myself in the two short employment terms than I had in perhaps a decade prior. 


I could not change the bills. They came and would continue to come. All I could do was what I could. And communicate honestly with my debtors about the rest. 


Slowly, with every small crack, I mended. I found that in every thing I could not change and struggled so much to control, there was something I had to make peace with. I had to surrender to the truth of what was, and then I had to accept it. 


I had to walk into my thoughts with periods to cut off unhealthy sentiments at the head. I couldn’t pay my cell phone bill period. Versus I couldn’t pay my cell bill so I must be irresponsible. 


I learned to separate action from character. I could do a stupid thing without being a stupid person. As a person, I had access to grace. To forgiveness. To failure. To laughter. To learning. If I nailed myself down definitively with every action, I would never grow. So I had to let go of the things I called myself so that I could learn to simply sit with “I am.” 


Today, it was all I could do to collect my thoughts, sit and organize them well enough to make my return to writing. Present with the liminality of the year, I kept thinking of what I wanted to leave in 2018 and what I wanted to intentionally seek in 2019.  Immediately, I knew I wanted to change the “secure the bag” narrative to something much more valuable. 


The bag, in all its instagrammable glory, will not keep you whole, Sis. 

I had a job. I had a car. I had a condo. I had friends. I had vacations and happy hours and everything I could’ve ever wanted in life and yet when I was assaulted? everything I “had” couldn’t fill the void of Me.  My PhD could not guarantee me peace of mind, in fact in some ways I think it cost me some sanity. 


I lost it all. Twice in some instances. And you know what? For me, I had to. Every moment I have lived up has prepared me for the breath I’m taking right now. 


In 2019, I will to be bold in my own becoming. I will share more authentically. I will give, and give more freely of my time and talents. I will maintain open communication with my divinity within. I will Secure my Self because if you can do that, the bag secures itself. Beautiful is She in alignment with her assignment. Selah 🙌🏽


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Jessica Williams