Posted by: DéLana | December 30, 2010

Goodbye; Hello!

Man, it’s really been three months since my last update. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be a way so long. I just….well, life happened in a swirl and whisked me away, and it was kind of like meeting someone for the first time, and forgetting their name and feeling it’s too late to ask them their name again–I kept feeling like, it had been too long, and that no one was still interested in reading this thing, and who am I to think I should have something to say.

I can’t believe the year only has two more days. It’s been an interesting one, no doubt.

January 1, 2010, I sat down and wrote in my journal (Yes, I keep a real paper journal…even that was neglected these past three months, don’t feel bad) and the first sentence I wrote (I start journals in the new year. I have my new one waiting.): “The year of courageous acts.” I went on to say:

I don’t know why, but i have such great hopes for this year. i am so excited about what work God has for me. I mean, I think about my life this time last year, and it is amazing to think about the changes and new doors and new relationships. I have a whole new life! I am in a grad program that I love, and believe that I will gain a lot from being a part of it. I have my own apartment in New York that I love and hope that I can continue to love. I have a book of poetry that is now out and in the world and my words are being held in people’s hands in places I’ve never been.

All of that still holds true. I’ve also gone through a lot of personal journeys. Gained a relationship soon after I wrote this with a friend of three years, who held me down during a lot of rocky moments…for that I am grateful for him. I cut off my dreadlocks this summer. Released five years of energy sitting on top of my head. I was conscious of what I put into my body, and how I treated her. I was conscious of who I kept around me, and made changes accordingly. I embraced my quarter-century self.

The motto: “Year of courageous acts” really guided my thoughts and actions this year. I have started doing sayings/mantras for the new year in light of resolutions. I feel like resolutions are so exact that if you don’t do that exact thing, then you’ve failed, and you lose sight of all the progress. So I give myself a statement to govern myself accordingly and count it all joy and progress.

Another courageous act: I quit all of my jobs in September for a full-time job. I’ve never had a full-time gig, never had one place to go to from 9-5 and say: this is what i’m doing all day, this is my only commitment. I felt like, at the time, I wanted something steady and more secure. I was tired of lugging around 60 papers to grade and write comments on and spending all of my free time looking at student essays. I just wanted to regain control of my apartment; I wanted all mess in my apartment to be mine. I wanted a job that I could leave on Friday and not think about until Monday when I returned at 9am. I found the job, re-arranged my resume/CV the day I saw the listing and submitted it. I didn’t think about it; just did it. Then I had the interview. Then I accepted the job. That’s where I’ve been the last few months; adjusting to this new life I’ve given myself….in addition to really just dealing with a lot of life-altering individual apocalypses…..

One of my jobs was working with high school students. We read this book the perks of being a wallflower. Because i was there for almost three years, I taught it twice. There was this quote that we pulled from it, and asked the students to write critical essays on, and I think it’s a pertinent quote for right now, here at the end of 2010, at the cusp of 2011:

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing cause I’ve built my life around you.”

I should say it’s a quote from a song, but I don’t know it from that context. I know it from the book. 2010, I grew so confident in the progress you’ve given me, I’ve been reluctant to move on to 2011. It’s true. Save the last two months and its rockiness, I was so ensconced in the comfort that all of the good news 2010 offered, I often thought: I don’t want to go to 2011; I don’t know what there will be for me. I even resisted thinking about what my mantra for 2011 would be. That’s how paralyzed I was. That’s how afraid I was of moving on.

But! I’m embracing possibilities and openness and being vulnerable. Last night, I re-joined my Bikram Yoga studio in Harlem (it’s within walking distance!) and there’s this pose, the camel-pose, that I always hated but loved to push myself through. The teacher would always say this pose is generally where you feel like you want to throw up (nevermind the fact that you’re doing yoga in a sauna for 90 minutes…), because you’re opening up yourself, making yourself feel vulnerable. You stand on your knees, and lean your head back and bend your back backwards, and reach for your heels, and keep leaning until your forehead touches your toes. I can’t get that far back! BUT when I reached for my heels, I felt something stir up in me. I felt myself resist…my self saying: no, don’t open. Don’t open up. I kept wanting to reach for my heels. My body wanted to do it. I’ve done it before. But my mind was telling me no. I had to overcome my mind and reach for my heels and look at the back corner of the room with the rest of my body facing forward, and breathe through it, breathe through my nausea that was rising up, because I knew it was just my mind not wanting to be so vulnerable.

All of that is to say, that is how I feel coming into 2011. I have to reach for the heels. I know my body can do it. I’ve done it before. My mind is saying no. My mind is afraid of change, but my body desires it. My body desires vulnerability, because my body knows what it’s like to be broken, to let go, to build from bottom up. My mind forgets what it’s like to start over.

I think my mantra for 2011 is going to be: Goodbye [old]; Hello [new].  Here’s to embracing change and letting go of old habits. Goodbye fear; Hello courage.

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