17 Things I Learned in 2017

1. The hardest part about being a feminist is examining and changing your own behavior.

It can be easy to just wear the label, to state your beliefs, but do your everyday decisions reflect that? Not all of us have the privilege to always make choices that uphold our beliefs, but I think myself and many of my peers do have the opportunity to think more critically about our own actions.

2. Self-care is extremely commercialized.

In a world where your worth is determined by our productivity, taking care of ourselves is paramount. But of course, that same world has turned it into an industry. Self care is not just drawing yourself a bubble bath, slapping on a face mask, and calling it a day. Sometimes self care is doing the things that we find difficult, that scare us. It’s making yourself a budget (and sticking to it) so you’re not stressed about money every month. It’s calling your mom more often. It’s doing things for other people because it’s important to remember what really matters in this world: each other. Self care doesn’t have to be an expensive practice, it doesn’t have to be indulgent or relaxing, self care is doing what’s best for your heart, soul and body.

3. A lot of body positivity is faking it till you make it.

It is difficult to love and accept your body in a world that profits off of you hating it, especially if you exist outside the restrictive standards of conventional beauty. If you force yourself to pretend you love your body, to act like you own every inch of your skin, even if you don’t always feel like it, eventually you’ll start to believe it too.

4. Wine drunk is the best kind of drunk don’t @ me.

5. Just because connections were temporary, doesn’t mean they weren’t meaningful.

Some of the most important interactions I’ve had in my life were relatively short lived. Fleeting moments I will never forget. That doesn’t diminish their significance in any way.  Some people are just meant to teach you something about yourself or the world and then leave. I don’t know if I believe in soulmates in the traditional sense, but I do believe in soulmates of the moment.

6. But….sometimes you have let go of people.

Sometimes it can be hard to relinquish those who have made us feel so much. Not everything beautiful is meant to last. Appreciate people fully for however long they’re in your life, but learn to know when your storyline crossover is meant to end.

7. If you have the resources to travel solo, do it!

I don’t want to sound all Eat, Pray, Love but traveling alone was one of the most transformative experiences I’ve ever had. In a matter of 10 days and 4 countries, I gained confidence, learned so much about myself, and learned to be with myself in a way I never had before. Moreover, I got to travel on my terms, at the pace I wanted to.

8. Cishetero men are trash but we been knew.

If your response to this is “not all men..” please never read my blog again. Ever. This is not for you.

9. Do more of the things that bring you joy.

We get so caught up in our lives, in doing the things we need to do to survive, or doing the things we *think* we need to do, we often forget to take a step back and say “wait, am I even doing what makes me happy?”. I know I haven’t been. Of course, my responsibilities are important, but we have to learn how to say no to the wrong things for us and yes to the right things. For example, I watch a lot of TV but I don’t even like TV that much (with the exception of a few shows that I’ve already finished). It doesn’t relax me and I don’t get that much out of it. But I still keep watching it, because it’s a pattern of behavior and is the thing one does. Reading, which brings me more joy, is often sidetracked in favor Netflix. So in 2018, I hope to say no to Netflix and yes to books.

10. Don’t bleach your own hair.

11. Do more things that make you want to stress vomit.

Okay, maybe not actually throw up, but things that scare the CRAP out of you. I did a lot of things this year that 2016 Sydelle would never have done in a million years and not all of them turned out amazing, but they were still worthwhile and important experiences.

12. We all need to listen to black women more.

I kind of already knew this, but 2017 really drove the point home.

13. If you keep letting people treat you poorly in your personal life, you will never allow yourself to have the love you deserve.

Stephen Chbosky was on to something here, folks.

This is especially important for femme identifying people. We often think it is more compassionate, the more loving response to let people treat us without respect. Maybe they’re going through something, maybe they just had their heart broken, maybe they just have a lot of emotional baggage to work through. Doesn’t matter. Whatever they have on their plate may explain their behavior but it doesn’t excuse it. We exist in a world where the feelings of femmes are often invalidated. Your feelings are valid. They cannot treat you like that. You deserve better. In the words of Aunty Maxine Waters, reclaim your time, sis.

 

14. Europe is progressive in many ways…..but it’s not a utopia by any means.

Just because they have affordable education, free healthcare and drink a lot of wine does not make it a perfect place, and a lot of us Americans really idealize the continent.

15. Capitalism is the greatest social ill.

But there is no liberation without intersectional liberation.

16. Even a job you hate can teach you a lot.

17. You are the people you surround yourself with.

If you fill your life with kind, passionate and loving humans, you will be so much better for it.

 

 

 

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