After taking some time away from my weekly writing routine to promote, publish, and launch my book, I’m delighted to be settling back into my home office nook to chronicle the accomplishments of #undaunted Black women who have shaped American history, continue working on some exciting and innovative projects related to Peace by Piece: Unlearning Racial Bias, and to run toward new opportunities to stretch these writing muscles into a full-time, profitable writing career.
In the holiday bonus episode of my podcast, I mentioned to my friend Miranda that I don’t make lists of resolutions at the start of each new year. Instead, I spend a few weeks at the end of each year praying for and receiving a single word to focus on for the following year.
A few years ago, the word I focused on was “remember.” The year that followed called me again and again to anchor myself in who I always have been. No matter who around me doubted me or misunderstood my words or actions, I had to remember the constancy of my selfhood. And truly, I am the same me in many ways that I was at seven years-old: fierce, intuitive and sensitive, quiet when I’m gathering my thoughts, loyal to my friends and family, socially awkward, vividly imaginative, honest most transparently when I feel completely safe and secure, and opinionated as hell.
I was an old soul of a seven year-old, y’all.
Big time Enneagram 6 energy.
Last year, my word was “build.”
In 2021, I got to help build up the 1919 Longview Remembrance Project by applying for – and securing! – a grant on our behalf so we can begin producing a documentary about the race riot that took place in our city during the Red Summer of 1919.
In 2021, after leaving my teaching job to write full time, I began to build a writing career by partnering with my good friend and her new publishing company to turn my #peacebypiece blog series into the first published book for both of us.
At the close of 2020, I did not know at all that I would be building a new career. I knew only that “build” was my focus and intention, and that moving forward with that word in mind would lead me in the direction I needed to go.
After reflecting on “build” at the end of 2021, I began to pray again for what my word would be. And after a few short weeks, one word kept coming back to me again and again:
In 2021, I ran from a church that appeared indifferent both to an insurrection perpetrated in part by folks bearing Jesus and Trump flags and to the clear and present need for a spotlight to be shone upon a race riot in our city’s past.
In 2021, I ran from a career that kept showing me it wanted my time and my work but that time and again stifled my voice and broke my heart.
In 2022, I’m running toward the spaces that are ready to embrace me in the fullness of my humanity, my Blackness, my unique voice, and my faith.
In 2022, I’m running toward affirmation and away from gaslighting.
In 2022, I’m running toward opportunities to grow and away from the temptation to become complacent and stagnant.
I hope you’ll run with me.
At the first gut inkling that something doesn’t look or feel right, run.
When you find yourself falling into harmful patterns of behavior in your relationships, run.
When you hear the voice of your Creator calling you into depth and abundance and unspeakable joy, run toward the light.
Run toward what’s true.
Run toward what’s real.