This has been an incredible year. I have been working very hard this year and through all of this work, productivity, and accomplishment, the main thing that 2013 has taught me are basic (and really crucial) life lessons. They became so crucial, that I am not sure how to even capture the extent to my personal growth in a short blog post. But, its worth a try.
I have learned patience. I think I have said this in a couple of entries recently, however, this patience I now speak of, is a patience with myself. A patience that is not easy in a world of overproductive women and men, who never stop, never look up and almost never venture to look inward to see the damage that is possible from all of this “success.” With this new found patience I have found the ability to give myself permission, permission to find me and those things that give me pleasure and happiness. And 2013 has taught me to look for that happiness in the strangest of places, like my own home – wow! Imagine that!
One of the first things that have happened is that when I take those conference and lecture trips (that have started to slow down), I am beginning to remember how to enjoy myself, meet up with friends and get a few moments of sleep in a hotel room, something I used to be unable to do until very recently.
I got a massage in the month of December (the first one in 2 years), and it felt wonderful. The rest of the day and evening was also relaxing, so that I think the massage was able to settle in nicely into much much neglected mass of tight muscles.
I started to regularly go to hang out with my friends and fam at TRGGR Radio on Friday nights on 91.1 WMUA. We broadcast every week from 6-8. How do I find the time and energy? Well, for me, the music, the conversation and the company are energizing, they offer a life source that is soul satisfying. I love being a part of the TRGGR family! Much love to Chris and Rec.
I have learned to search through Netflix and find a show to cling on to and just watch. Watch until I am tired, caught up, or just forgetful of all those “pressing” things that just have to get done. In 2013, I have enjoyed, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, The Killing…I think you see a pattern here. Ok, I might have a taste (no pun intended) for the macabre, the slightly scary and for some, downright depressing. However, these shows provided a space for me to explore my understanding of the spirits and reconnect with my spiritualist side; indulge the wanna be detective within; and prepare myself to survive anything (such as a zombie apocalypse or the tenure process – similar in many ways). These shows were a metaphor for so many things that have happened in my life lately and more importantly, I have enjoyed the escape.
I have learned to close the laptop and put together a Lego set with my 7 year old, color and decorate a card with my 5 year old with stickers and markers, or cuddle with my 2 year old while we read his favorite book for the hundredth time. I laugh more, I run around the house, I cook dinner earlier and we sit down and talk again as a family. I show up at 3:15 and see my children after school, mostly because I can and I know that it will not always be like this. They are growing with me, but now while they are small I get to watch and see and share, soul satisfied.
I have reconnected with my partner in crime, Trevor Baptiste, my husband. We have been together for 12 years and married for almost 9 years and we found that spark again and it is amazing. We talk and share and laugh and spend alone time together. We play again (and I mean that on many levels *smile*). We see our home as our sanctuary and prepare for the bigger things in life that will allow us the space and wherewithal to travel as a family, travel as a couple, to make memories everywhere. But this year, this tenure year, I value my little brown house with my husband, three children and cat. Soul satisfying.
The time I spend close to home, has helped during this hellish year, career-wise. The transition of tenure and promotion is brutal on the mind, body and spirit. Everyone told me this was the case, but it is true. It was my home life that kept me sane through the process of almost loosing myself (that and watching the Walking Dead with Trevor). I was on the edge, but I was able to get back, when I almost thought I wasn’t going to make it. My home, my faith, my spiritualist side kept me grounded and able to keep things in perspective and to see the value of living in the moment, to get to the next one.
I have cut back some of the background noise in my life. I have given myself permission to let go of guilt. I will never change what folks think about me, people will always be there to critique, love or judge – it is no longer my concern. Ah, now that one feels especially liberating and soul satisfying! I think I have held on to things that should have been recycled many years ago, as I clear out my shelves, I have found a little more room for myself (I love when thoughts rhyme). So, I have given no highlights to my accomplishments or my speaking engagements or my conference papers or other things that have become synonymous with all things Whitney Battle-Baptiste, I have simply listed a series of indulgences, and given myself permission to make a completely selfish blog entry (but wait, aren’t most blogs about self in a world of selfies, Facebook, Instagram, etc?). So no need for a disclaimer, just more about me on my blog.
I may still do a little “year in review,” but right now, I have to get back to making rubber band bracelets on my daughters new loom and play catch with my sons, so I’ve got to go.
–a satisfied soul