by KEISHEL A. WILLIAMS
Perhaps the desire to be needed is what drives most women, especially black women. The desire to be needed particularly by men seems to be ingrained into us from birth: we pamper, cajole, protect and save our men daily. And why not? We have the innate ability to do so, now we are surrounded by broken, dependent men. During the year that has been dubbed The Year of the Woman in wake of all the sexual harassment takedowns starting with Harvey Weinstein, this co-dependency within toxic masculinity has been one of the few things that have been brought to my attention this year in my own quest for happiness. Personal relationships tend to be the anchor for our lives positively or negatively influencing the various facets, even for the most controlled person – and this guides our peace. For every post, meme or video about broken men and women that have graced our social media this year, I was able to relate: I was told in a previous relationship that my presence in his life brought him peace. Without me, things went wrong. Things were never completed. Life was an upheaval. And at first glance, that’s a stroke on a woman’s ego: “Without me, his life is a mess.” I’ve heard women boast of this faux “power” they believe they have over other people, particularly men they claim to love. But the lesson here is not co-dependency, instead, it’s finding the strength and courage to find your own peace and stability in your life without depending on someone else to give it to you. Fighting your demons starts with you – MAN or WOMAN!
2017 was a monumental year for me. No, I didn’t win the lotto or rebuild my business. I did not get married, or land my dream job – yet! In 2017 I found peace. It has been my greatest accomplishment to date and it is the most silent. Last year, around this same time, I was ending the year at ground zero. My life was shattered and 2 therapists and my family were attempting to hold me together. There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it to 2017 and now here I am – glowing and growing!
“Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story.”
— Ava DuVernay
In this one year, I’ve understood what it truly means to live in peace. I went to Europe for the first time, alone. Something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. I helped some beautiful people learn English and I taught them about my Caribbean and American cultures, and they taught me a lot in return. I learned just how strong and brave and driven I am, and realistically how much my mind, body, and soul can bear. I learned to pay attention to people more: people who are hurting, people who are (invisibly) sick, people who are not even sure who they are and why they do the things they do. I’ve opened myself to new people who ignited new passion and light into my life. People who open my world instead of discouraging me from exploring. People who make me feel like my ideas and opinions matter, even if they don’t share my views. Coming down to the end of this year I learned something else that has been staring me in the face for a long time. I learned people are rooting for my success. They see things in me that I never looked for in myself.
As we go into a new year, don’t just say – do! Don’t go into a new year in toxic relationships, personal or professional. Get rid of the people who are the naysayers in your life. Get rid of the people who make you feel weighed down and worthless. Get rid of the people who make you cry more than they make you laugh. Get rid of the people who refuse to help themselves. And most importantly, work on yourself!
Work on Yourself, by Yourself, for Yourself
- on Yourself – We need to demand more from ourselves. Don’t spend all your time blaming others especially men for the bad things in your life and use it as a reason to be a terrible person. Spend time healing.
- by Yourself – The same way we would like our men/partners/friends/relatives to seek help for their demons, so should we. I have spent the entire year getting the spiritual, emotional and mental help I need to glow and grow. Some burdens you carry alone when becoming the best version of yourself.
- for Yourself – if you’re not interested in becoming a better person and finding peace for yourself, then you have already failed. Doing this for someone else would guarantee you reverting back to your old ways and falling into the same situations when that person is no longer there.