Last year did not go as planned. I know this because when I opened my 2022 planner, nearly every page was blank. A full year of empty space.
As I turned page after empty page, I started to feel a lot of grief and sadness.
On a zoom call with a dear friend, I lifted up my calendar so that she could see it and told her about how sad it made me feel to see myself without my typical documentation of my life being lived out on the page.
“What an incredible gift to be able to give yourself that much space,” she said.
I hadn’t yet considered what that empty space had given me. In other words, empty space is the evidence I was looking for.
As I learned to care for myself through new symptoms of old disabilities, I had to set my focus on how my body responded to medications, trying everything I could to beat my terrible insomnia, buying and feeding myself what I lovingly named “depression proof food” among other health-related priorities.
Instead of seeing that empty space as something to grieve, my friend helped me celebrate that space and all that came from it.
She also invited me to reflect on 3 great questions for the new year:
- What from 2022 am I proud of?
- What in 2023 do I want to make more space for?
- What in 2023 do I want to let go of?
I want to connect dope ass people to liberatory ideas so that we can all get free.
I am most proud of the fact that while I gave myself space, I also gave space to those around me who were struggling by modeling self-care, giving them the gift of space when necessary, and creating boundaries that protected us all.
In 2023, I want more space for play, whimsy, rest, and joy. I plan to empty (or block off) my calendar to intentionally leave room for serendipity, inspiration, and happy accidental meetings.
In 2023, I want to let go of asking for forgiveness or permission from others to care for my well-being. This is part of the reason for hosting a book club on my Patreon this month.
We’ll be reading ‘The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes, and Mourning Songs’ by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. You can purchase your copy online from my favorite local Black-owned, Woman-owned bookstore, Socialight Society.
Become a Patron for as little as $5 p/ month and you’ll get access to guided discussions and a LIVE conversation on Sunday, March 5, 2023.
May I never forget that 2022 was the year that I gave myself the gift of the wisdom that comes from grief and reflection.
What did your empty spaces give to you?
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