Something Amazing Out of the Abyss

Rittenhouse Square Park, Philadelphia, PA. Photo taken by Doctor Beauty using iPhone.

It appears we blinked and it was mid-November. Where did the time go? They say time flies when you’re having fun, but 2020 (for many) has been anything but. You know what 2020 primarily did for me (thus far)? It sent me into somewhat of a survival mode. Living below my means in many ways. Being okay with not having the things I previously called necessities, like fresh nails and eyebrows 24/7. It was more of a response to the circumstances at hand than a premeditated choice. The naileries and beauty supplies were closed for months. Everyone would see each other outside, men looking scruffier than usual, women with outgrown acrylic nails. But real recognized real. We each recognized “the struggle” in our eyes, even though we could not see the expressions of each other’s mouths past the mandatory masks. 

I became far more than self-sufficient or resourceful. I became adaptive to a degree unknown to myself. And I reached a point where my creativity became a gateway to what was previously impossible. I opened doors that were once closed and embarked on journey’s I had wanted to start years ago. Imagine me, at 29, thinking it made sense to start playing acoustic guitar? Or submitting my poem to a pediatric medical publication for the first time? I stepped outside of my comfort zone the way a shadow leaves our bodies in the sun. 

But I was not the only one who embraced this new call to self-reinvention. I noticed this attribute in so many, especially in the online community I became a part of during the pandemic. I was so impressed that I decided to give them a platform to voice their life journeys via my new interview series “Testimony Tuesdays”. It’s something I had planned on executing as a podcast years ago. In retrospect, it seems I have used my creativity to make something amazing out of the abyss that was a somewhat murky 2020.

So here I am, pretty much reflecting on a year that is not quite over but just about, typing through the odd sensation of the calluses I have developed over the past few weeks from practicing guitar. The road to 2021 does not appear to be around the corner, over the river and through the woods, or along some winding path. It feels as though it is just down the street but in an updated version of technicolor. And I think that is pretty exciting!

Accept, Consider, Demand

Last Wednesday God blessed me with another year of life. Most years on my birthday, at the stroke of midnight, something comes over me. I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose, maturity, and wisdom. But this year was not the same. And I wondered why. Was it because I was waiting and expecting this day to come? The answer to that was no, because that is exactly what I had done in previous years. So what was it?

I realized that year 27, at least as far as it seems right now, has prepared me for many years to come. Put simply, I went through some things last year that pushed me beyond what I was used to. I had to take a stand on all fronts and demand respect. I came to terms with the fact that I have accomplished more than I thought I would at this age, even though my checklist still remains. Above all, I opened my mind to situations I might never have when I was younger. I truly blossomed into the woman that I am today, that I will be for probably the rest of my life.

That is not to say that I will not grow any further. But I laid the final few stones of the basis for the person that I want to be in the future. Those stones include things that I will not accept, things that I will consider doing, and things that I demand as the standard.

First, things I will not accept. I will not accept being used for what I can do for others. I will not accept being told the extent of my capabilities as a business woman, future physician, or advocate for the community. I will not accept unbalanced friendships or relationships that compromise my creativity or energy.

Second, things I will consider doing. I will consider getting to know those on the “margins of society” so-to-speak. Because their experiences and stories inspire my pursuit of bettering the world in my own power. I will consider performing acts of kindness for those who I know cannot or will not return the favor. Because I know that my karma is not what they do to me, but how I respond. I will consider someone else’s point of view and belief system. Because I am in no position to judge others, regardless of whether or not I believe they are right.

Finally, things I demand as the standard. I demand respect from everyone, whether in a higher or lower position of power than myself. I demand the right to say no to being social if doing so does not serve my happiness or my success. I demand the freedom to express myself without being judged. I demand the Golden Rule: Treat me as you would like to be treated. I demand to be treated as the brilliant mind that I am, that I know we all are. Individually we have diverse talents, but collectively those talents are a force. In my 28 years of being on this earth, I have learned that what you demand of life comes to fruition. Be clear, be passionate, and above all, be sure.