With 2015 just a few days away most of us are in reflective mode but whether 2014 has been awesome or awful we will have learned a few things from our experiences. Here are 6 key things I learned this year…
Karma is a thing
Although I have always believed in karma I was somewhat concerned that it might be broken or something. Good people all over the world seemed to get nothing but stress, pain and suffering whilst not-so-good people seemed to be rewarded for their gluttony and inhumanity. Then, I witnessed – albeit on a small scale – the universe finally reward some good folks and force the bad to question their actions. I should never have doubted the universe, she’s slow but sure.
‘Fix up or F**k Off’ is a valuable tool
This year I had two jobs, was trying to get my writing off the ground and was working on my own personal and professional development. I literally had no time for people who offered anything other than positivity, support and understanding. I was lucky in this respect because many of my friends were, and still are fantastic. They were understanding of my busy schedule, supportive of my creative endeavours and positive in their interactions with me. Texts and Facebook messages asking how I was getting on, meeting up for coffees and generally being there are things that I greatly appreciate.
Then there were others who were… Well… self-centred and stroppy to be honest. They struggled with the fact that there were other things beside them that required my attention and their lack of interest in my life, my endeavours and my progress meant that they never took the time to fully know me. Had they bothered they would have known that I have a very strict ‘Fix up or F**k off policy: Be a better friend or f**k off and leave me alone, there’s no middle ground. The energy saved from interacting with people who see you as nothing more than a sounding board and ego booster can then be channelled into supporting, caring for and interacting with real friends who are familiar with the concept of reciprocity required for the success of any relationship.
I could, and probably will, write a blog about all the negative experiences I have encountered in the workplace this year. 2014 seems to have been the year of complete and utter incompetence, arrogance, childishness and stupidity in the workplace. This year I experienced the foul and putrid stench of insincerity. Fake smiles to hide the arrogance that lay beneath the surface. Arrogance that wasn’t even well-deserved considering the level of incompetence these people displayed. I have worked with people who are so poorly evolved that they find it hard to find common ground with people of a different race and/or socio-economic group and as such form cliques not dissimilar to those of eleven-year-old girls. I have worked in places that were so much about ‘who you know’ as opposed to ‘what you know’ that people walked around with shit hanging off their faces because their heads had been so firmly implanted up someone else’s rectum. I have worked in environments where manners didn’t exist and the majority of staff who worked bloody hard felt under-appreciated, mainly because they were. I encountered the worst kind of management practices imaginable and such blatant disregard for staff it makes Dickensian working conditions seem favourable.
Two jobs, two different sets of bullshit to deal with but a realisation that not only can I rise above such pathetic practices but I am more determined than ever to reach my own professional and personal goals. My job doesn’t define me but my ability to navigate my way around the minefield that is the modern-day workplace without becoming all the despicable things that the modern workplace encompasses proves that, with the help of the universe, I embody a level of strength that I am truly grateful for.
My Vagina is the most powerful thing on Earth (Yours too!)
Every month when I’m bloated, bloody and bitchy I question why I had to be born female, then five to seven days later I’m cool with it. I love being a woman and this year I made it my businesses to really think about what being a woman means to me and what my obligations are to myself, others and the universe as a woman. One of the things I realised I had to do both as an individual and as a part the female species was to assert myself. I’m quiet and a self-confessed introvert which I’m fine with but I’ve learned that being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to stay quiet about everything – particularly things that you disagree with or that violate you and/or your values. In speaking up, refusing to tolerate certain types of behaviour and walking away from people and situations which aren’t to my liking I have pissed off a few people, not because I’ve done anything wrong but because I have had the audacity to demand to be treated properly.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where having a vagina immediately excludes you from asserting your right to be treated as a human being. Even in so-called ‘developed’ societies in the West, women are expected to ‘put up and shut up’, hence why in the UK we still get paid ridiculously less than men, why rape convictions are pitifully low and why you have to be half-naked and conform to European beauty standards if you are to make it in the entertainment industry. But here’s the thing, people may not like when we assert ourselves but they do listen. You also get a grudging respect because you recognise your own worth and challenge others to do the same. Malala spoke with passion, conviction and sincerity about the education of girls, thousands of women around the world have fought against the wicked and archaic practice of genital mutilation and right now in Ireland a debate surrounding the rules of abortion is in motion as a clinically dead woman is kept ‘alive’ artificially in order to preserve the life of her unborn child – a child who has little chance of survival his or herself given the circumstances. Vaginas are powerful. My Vagina has moved mountains this year. Together she and I have accomplished many personal and professional goals and hopefully we’ll do even more next year.
Black Lives Don’t Matter
They never really have – especially in America. What can I say about recent events that hasn’t already been said? I could write a book on my thoughts about the state sponsored killing of Black people – especially Black men – but what good would it do? I consider myself to be fairly articulate but I cannot covey the hurt associated with these murders. When people make flippant comments about the shootings, suggest that they are somehow the fault of the Black community or accuse us of ‘playing the race card’ the pain I feel in my soul is indescribable. When White police officers marched on the streets in shirts emblazoned with the words ‘I Can Breathe’ the heat that surged through my body in anger was insurmountable. I’ve stayed quiet about the subject as far as blogging is concerned. There’s nothing new for me to say, nothing insightful, nothing that will put an end to this level of brutality. Don’t tell me ‘things are better for Black people now’, don’t talk to me about ‘progress’, don’t invite me to your marches, speeches, lectures, sermons… They’re about as useful as the blogs I never wrote on the subject. The answer? I wish I knew. Black Power? Multiculturalism? Education? I don’t know. My heart, along with countless others is broken and has never been given the chance to heal without some new tragedy occurring. My belief in the universe and her karmic practices is what keeps me from falling into that place where all one feels is hate, but the rope she is using to hold me is wearing thin and honestly, I’m not sure how much more weight – pain, anguish, fear, hurt, anger, confusion, disbelief – it can take before it finally breaks.
There is power in meditation but not the kind of meditation you’re thinking of…
Boy, have I had my patience tested this year! I feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Muhammad Ali, been hit by several buses and been subjected to a tirade of abuse by Ari Gold – every day! I’m tired. I’ve been saying for ages that I’ve been unable to meditate for a number of years. I used to do it quite a lot when I was younger but then life got harder and my ability to concentrate became more difficult. What I hadn’t realised until recently though is that this year in particular I’ve been meditating a lot, I just hadn’t realised because it didn’t take the traditional form. There were no candles, no cushions, no incense, just me and my thoughts. On the bus, in bed, in the bath, sitting down watching-but-not-really- watching TV… I succumb to my thoughts in order to help me make sense of what’s going on around me and to think about the best ways to handle challenges. It’s powerful stuff and without it I may have lost my damn mind this year.
I’d be interested to hear some of the lessons you’ve learned this year. Whatever they were, I hope they brought you insight and comfort, and that you continue to thrive and grow throughout the coming year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR xxFollow @KariceQ