I really didn’t want to make an account of 2019 – however, the more I look back, the more I realize I have to do this.
This is the first time in years I’ve been truly happy when a year is ending. Usually, I’m anxious, full of fear & uncertainty.
But 2019 really changed me!
January was a hard month. I’d worked my ass off in 2018 and I really wanted that to reflect in the new year. I wanted to stop existing and start living. I wanted to try things even if I was afraid. I was also angry at the world for not bringing things my way – no one owes you shit in this life – you have to get up and take what you deserve.
February came with the first blessing of 2019. I got nominated and won an award – Sales Star at the North East Contact Centre Awards. Then a series of internal awards started rolling in – it was surreal. Before you start to congratulate me – I must tell you now, those awards didn’t bring me the joy I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to finally be recognized for the hard work I’d put in – but I wanted more. I’ve never been one to be too comfortable on a familiar path. Winning those awards was the push I needed. It made me realize it was time for a change, time to move on. Winning those awards made me realize there was nothing more to achieve in my current role. I’d put in the work and I’d been given the best recognition. Winning that award made me realize happiness was more than just a feeling.
March was great. I really wanted to be able to impact people – I just never knew how I wanted to do that. For some reason, clarity came this month. I partnered with a friend of mine and organized a charity event in celebration of International Women’s Day. It was the most self-gratifying I’d done. Being able to not only raise money for charities in the frontline of maternal care but also bringing a community of women together to discuss issues affecting us. I met some amazing people at that event who (without their knowledge) inspired a series of actions in my life this year. I got invited to speak at an event organized by a client turned friend – the opportunity to speak on a platform made me realize how much I loved making an impact in my immediate society.
April was when things hit the rocks a bit. At this point, I’d done several internal interviews which I benchmarked for but got stuck in a talent pool every time. Then the self-doubt kicked in – maybe I’m not that great at my job, maybe I’m not ready. I started to get a bit frustrated because deep down I knew I needed a change.
May was a point where I hit self-realization. I found a new love for myself, for my body, my sexuality, and my existence. My toddler had also started asking difficult toddler questions – about his identity, the colour of his skin, about beauty, about everything. It made me even more intentional about parenting. I wasn’t going to let society answer those questions for him so I made a conscious effort to be grounded in who I was. I will always be the first representation of a black woman in his life and I wanted him to see beauty isn’t defined by one thing – not your hair, not your looks – beauty starts from within! I also turned 30 this month and I didn’t care about society’s definition of what I should have achieved – I was content. For some weird reason, I started thinking more about death, about the finality of it.
June broke me – like completely broke me! I cried more than ever this month. All my pent up frustrations started to get to me. I was depressed. Suddenly all the advice I’d given my friends over the years about ‘always reach out if you need to talk’ didn’t apply to me. On the outside, I was still happy-go-lucky Amina. On the inside, I was completely shattered and nobody knew, not even my partner. Despite all of these intense feelings, I helped organize a one day Women’s retreat – being able to openly talk about issues affecting women in a judge-free zone was amazing. Those women left the retreat inspired and new friendships were formed. I also took a break with one of my closest friends – walking the streets of Venice unaware of time and literally following the road where it led. I did the Colour run at Kempton Park with another close friend of mine – another carefree experience. Isn’t it funny that despite being broken I was still able to muster the strength to put myself out there?
July started to mould me. After crying out all of my frustrations in June – I picked myself up again. Put myself back on the job market, found myself a mentor, pushed myself out of my comfort zone, reached out to a few people on LinkedIn. I learned sometimes it’s not about how hard you work but who you know. I started talking about my emotions to my closest friends – I started to feel better. I started dancing again and it felt great. Dancing and writing had always been an outlet for me and I’m really glad I found them again.
August was unarguably THE BEST MONTH of 2019. I’d been planning a girls trip with my closest friends for the best part of a year (yup since 2018) and it was finally here. Just to be around good friends was incredible. I did whatever I wanted on that trip as long as it made me happy. I danced in the middle of Prague square, I walked barefoot on the streets. I laughed so much on that trip. I finally just let go of everything. As I think about this holiday, I don’t think my friends realize how much going on that trip meant to me. It reinforced the importance of having a supportive network. Girls if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you and I love you guys!
September was the beginning of growth. I got offered the chance to be on a project at work when I’d stopped trying. I started the seventh year of my marriage – WHOOP WHOOP (maybe another time I’d do a post on managing expectations in relationships). My toddler started school (let’s all just pretend I didn’t cry my eyes out on his first day). I also wanted to give more and impact people (especially young girls and women) so I started having conversations with my network.
October was crazy – the good kind. I formed a friendship I never thought would blossom. Took a trip to Amsterdam with this friend and had no regrets. We’ve decided to take yearly weekend breaks together. I think by the end of October, my (almost 5 year) journey of self-discovery started to make sense. I’d grown to know myself. I’d grown to learn how to protect myself and more importantly, I’d grown to love myself unconditionally. There’s something about being content that’s very calming.
November was calm. A lot of ideas for 2020 started pinging like light bulbs in my head and for the first time, I didn’t let fear control my decisions.
Here I am in December – happy that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, I learned new skills, learned how to manage my mental health ad did things that made me happy!!!
Am I still going to share crazy/silly dance videos of myself on Instagram – YES!
Am I still afraid – YUP but I’m still taking the plunge anyway.
Looking back, I don’t think I would have survived 2019 without support from my girlfriends – we all need a support network. A network of people willing to encourage, motivate, support and inspire you. A circle of trust and mutual respect. This birthed a new pet project which I and my bestie will be starting next year (which is in 12 days)!
We decided to create a platform where women can connect by sharing their experiences. Let me use this opportunity to introduce you to ‘‘Naomi’s Parlour’’ where you’ll find curated content from professionals, stay at home mums and everything in between. We’ll be launching in January 2020, so please check out the website and follow our blog so you don’t miss out on any updates when we go live. You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
On this note, I’ll leave you with a quote that’s probably going to be a baseline me for next year:
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– William Faulkner
I hope you all have a fulfilling 2020 🙂