Making sense out of 2018 for me is full of excitement and also anxiety and stress. It is exciting because of the reflection that happens during the draft stages of the writing process. Every writer knows there exists an initial outline and some memory-jogging note-taking that happens before anything is published. When the outline commences, I am reminded of all of the celebratory moments that passed over the last year. Some of them I blogged about because they were so good. The trips, the food, the memories and new experiences flooded my memory once again.
Then, as I am reminded of my personal goal to remain authentic while sharing my story, the anxiety arises. During the outline process I am soon reminded of the moments of pain too. Two deaths in the LeFlore family (within two months of each other). The first death was my cousin Kyle LeFlore, gunned down while being robbed during military holiday leave on January 6, 2018. A year later, justice is still not served and my family is dealing with the pain, trying to heal. Two months later, my paternal grandmother passed of old age. While I did not have a relationship with her, I empathize with my family members who had to mourn twice more. As the first quarter progresses, a couple more deaths and funerals in the North Omaha Black community (may we never forget Leonna Dalton-Phillips & her grandparents; and may we never forget Big Mama, too).
Despite the grieving and all that comes with it, I also experienced financial obstacles along with the highs and lows of being self-employed (paying taxes and that stupid health insurance fee kicked my butt!) – I was not willing to start 2018 off hopeful by any means. Due to my empathy, and frustrations with adulting, emotions were all over the place. There was a lot of pain in the beginning of 2018. So I will not sit here and give you only highlights because that’s not always my reality.
On the up-and-up, so many good things happened in 2018 too. Of course I am not going to forget about sharing those with you. But the point of this post is to remind folks about the process that takes place when I decide to share my story. It is a true and honest reflection of my experience and all of the ingredients that go into it. Like baking a glorious pie. The crust of the pie by itself is not the sweetest part. Have you ever tasted butter or flour by itself? It’s yucky to me, unbearable to some. But when you mix it together with a few more ingredients, you have the opportunity to create a foundation for what will become a delicious and yummy fruit pie.
This post is the beginning of my attempt to present a yummy pie to you, and show you how I baked it. My pie, my story, is definitely going to be a sweet and mouth watering one, because I know that some other ingredients are working together inside of me. The pie ain’t ready to eat yet. My story is being mixed and shaped, just like that pie crust. Realize now that good stories don’t just happen. There’s some undesirable stuff that happens to make a story good. Some yucky stuff, soon to be mixed with some sweet savory stuff, has to happen before it gets good. It’s what you do with the yucky stuff that helps shape how good your pie, (oops!) I mean, how good your story will become.
As I move forward I am learning that I would not be able to improve my platform nor continue to try and inspire others if I didn’t tell you about the pain too. Knowing this, I have to admit that I didn’t even want to write about 2018 if I was not willing to be transparent. Furthermore, I knew I needed some time, to be patient with myself, about how to honestly convey my experiences without seeming like a thirst trap blogger.
So nevertheless, my 2018 recap is getting posted into week two of the new year because, well, self-care demanded my time instead of this blog. I started going to therapy instead. I kept journaling and meditating instead. When the holiday season approached, I willingly checked-out instead. I obeyed the call of duty to self-care and so here we are. Now back to this pie. Would you like to know how it’s being baked? Are you curious about the flavor that will be chosen? Do you enjoy a slice of a sweet ending like I do? The kind of slice that leaves an after taste, a memory, a desire to share the pie with somebody else. That’s the kind of pie that is baking right now. I’m grateful for every single ingredient that plays a part.