As we leave behind the roller coaster that is 2018 and embrace the newness of 2019, I would like to take some time to reflect on what this year meant to me.
Overall, I can say that 2018 has been a hell of a ride. The year was extremely heavy for me personally, however the heaviness made room for the abundance that was received in these last few months of 2018. Based on my beginning months of 2018, I could have never imagined that it would end with such a joyous bang.
The knowledge and understanding that I have acquired throughout this year has absolutely surpassed that which I have learned in the course of my life. It’s almost as if a shift occurred and my eyes have been opened to a completely different world. Some of the things that I have learned caused a deep level of acceptance as well as mourning within myself. I had to let go of things that I have known all of my life because it no longer suited me. With that came a period of mourning and feeling as though I had lost myself. Little did I know, that shift was making room for me to be more accepting of others and let my guard down enough to allow people to experience who I really am and not who I was “programmed” to be.
I feel as though the information that I have acquired caused me to view people and perspectives in a way that I have not been used to. I had to discard what I have come to know thus far and replenish my understanding with valid and justifiable information as opposed to seeing things through mine, and others’, distorted lenses. Does the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ sound too cliché in this moment. Because it is absolutely fitting. However, that book is not just people but experiences as well.
Now I see people, events and perspectives on my own terms instead of through the eyes of those people who made a huge impact on my life (i.e., parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors and even friends.) I took on a lot of feelings, mostly pain and anger, from other people; and now I finally realized that those were never my feelings to begin with and not my battle to fight.
With all of that being said some questions came to mind about how I feel that my 2018 went and how I want my 2019 to go. These are some questions that I asked myself and I would like for you to do your own “year-end review.”
What are 3 things/traits/views about yourself that you want to leave in 2018?
What is one thing you learned about yourself this year that you didn’t already know?
Do you like the person that you were this year? If not, what would you change/do differently?
What is one thing that you wanted to accomplish this year that you said you were going to do in 2017? Did you accomplish it?
What is something that you wanted to do in 2018 that you did not? What is the reason for it not being done?
How did you use your negative experiences throughout the year to create a more positive environment for yourself? Was it successful?
Overall, how do you feel like your year went?
If you could sum your year up with one word, what would it be?
Lastly, what is one major goal that you want to tackle in 2019? (no small thinking here)
The way that my 2018 started, I would have never imagined that it would be end the way that it has. Toward the beginning/middle of this year, I was questioning my existence on this earth. I had no motivation, no hope and felt that my purpose was waning. There have been so many important milestones and events that happened that I could have never understood how it would change the entire trajectory of my year.
I received my masters degree and shortly after, I moved into a new apartment that was a lot quieter and more conducive to my sense of peace. When I moved, I realized how important it is to let go of old/negative energies and environments. After doing so, I almost immediately felt a shift in my emotional and mental state. I had lived in my previous apartment for 3 years and it had so many memories and people, both positive and negative, tied to it. That apartment was always full of live because of all the activity going on with always having friends over and all of the arguments with my ex. But it was also where a piece of me died because of all the emotional trauma that I had endured there as well.
Once I got my in my new place and got it set up the way that I wanted it, I felt like I had a renewed sense of who I was and who I was destined to be. I felt revived, rejuvenated and my outlook on life was entirely transformed for the better. I also think, well I know, that the break up that I was going through at the time of the transition into my new apartment had a lot to do with it as well. The energy from that relationship began to turn toxic and I knew that it had to come to an end for the sanity of the both of us. Once the relationship completely dissolved and I was settled in my new home, I was able to embrace being by myself, in every sense of the word. It felt amazing!
It got to the point that I preferred to be by myself as opposed to leaving the house to do anything. I barely wanted to go to the grocery store because I knew once I stepped foot outside my door that that much desired peace would slip away, even if only briefly. After a while I realized that the connection of peace that I had to my home was one that I wanted to be able to take with me everywhere I went. I didn’t want to only feel good when I was sitting in solitude but also when I was out, maybe with a group of friends or even just perusing the aisles at the store. So I worked harder at it. I no longer allowed other people’s energies, ideas or moods to consume my space and began to master the art of not giving a fuck. Who knew?
I’m August I launched my blog that I had been talking about all 2017 that I wanted to do. I created goals surrounding it and really began to step into my purpose. September through November was busy yet quiet. I was working diligently on creating and maintaining a self-care routine that was actually working. I also got to step back into the social scene with a significant weight loss, both physical and emotional. All in all, I was satisfied.
December though?! All I can say is WOW. He has been showing out. I passed my counseling exam and 2 days later I celebrated my 31st birthday. I decided to treat myself to a HER concert and a trip to DC. The next day after returning from my trip, a car dropped in my lap. It was completely unexpected and not in my plans at all. I had been struggling for a while with trying to decide if I was going to continue to put money into my car or if I was going to get a new one. I had it made up in my mind that I was going to get it fixed and keep it since I only had a few more payments left on it. I was prepared to ride it until the wheels fall off, literally. Well, God had other plans. I took my car in for an estimation on repairs and walked out with a new car with all of the features that I ever wanted. It was almost as if that car had my name on it. Things are funny like that right?
If this is any indication of what my 2019 will be like, bring it on! I feel so good about the path that I am on even though there are some things that I still need to work on.
For 2019, my desire is to continue to field people and things that are no longer benefitting me and my sense of peace and step even more into myself.
I recently had the privilege of catching up with a childhood friend of mine who I affectionately know as “Efi”. She and I have known one another since middle school and had only seen each other here and there in passing. So now that we were both experiencing motherhood in different ways, I knew I wanted to learn more about her perspective and hear about her experience with motherhood.
So Efi actually goes by Tattiana Hubert now. She is an accounting professional who earned her Master’s Degree from Prairie View AM University and works in the Oil and Gas sector here in Houston, TX. She is married to Christopher Hubert who is an Engineer and has a son who will be 16 years old this month. She is a working Mom who evolved into her role as a wife and stepmother.
Efi: Ok, so I don’t even know how I ended up here. Life really comes at you fast. Let me just start by saying. I was a single woman working long hours as an accountant when I decided to try online dating from the suggestion of a friend who had met their then-boyfriend now-husband on POF. So, I ended up meeting my husband on POF and I knew pretty much right away he was going to be my husband. He had photos of him with his son on his profile and he was very proud of being a father and made it very clear that his son was his priority in life. Once the appropriate time came to meet his son, I was very nervous because I knew that in order for things to work for him and I, they also had to work for his son.”
MelaninMom: So how did you meet his son and what did you do to cultivate the relationship as time went on?
Efi: Oh gosh, hahaha. Well unfortunately I got caught sneaking out in the morning from staying the night with his Dad. So, it was a very embarrassing moment for me. But then after the ‘cat was out of the bag’ I would come over during the day and just sort of hang around and do whatever they were doing. I didn’t want to force a relationship or create curated experiences to be a ‘pretend family,’ especially if the normal everyday experiences of family-life had not yet been experienced. So, after some time we started going to parks around Houston and various family-friendly events together. One thing that brought us together was Pokemon Go. I love being outdoors walking, jogging and just experiencing the outdoors. They love video games, so when that came out we really all connected trying to catch Squirtels and evolve our Charizards hahaha. That was a great way to bond as we all would walk like zombies, staring at our phones trying to level-up in Pokemon Go and battling wherever we went. One year after dating we got a dog named Badger and then I officially moved in with my guys.
MelaninMom: How did the transition go? Because now you live there, there are household needs, possibly disciplinary needs, so I imagine harmony is something that requires some type of guidance.
Efi: For the most part the transition from living alone to living as a family unit was a positive experience overall. I let them both know that I was just an extra person in the house. I was not trying to replace his mother, I am an adult, but my role was sort of the fun auntie who lets you curse and takes you to the store to buy snacks hahaha. But in all honesty, I let his mother and father discipline him. I was uncomfortable with trying to discipline him, so I learned to be mindful of my tone, word choice and things I chose to correct. Plus, nobody wants you to talk about their child so you have to proceed with caution. His father and I have the same parenting style so that came easily.
The hardest challenge was finding harmony in cleaning schedules. My guys are very simple and I can say I am much more complex. For example, I separate my clothing by color, material, temperature, purpose etc. and they would wash everything together in the washer on cold. And my husband is so sweet, and he would take all the clothes at once and would be so proud that he washed everything and I would be dying inside. My work clothes, exercise clothes, towels YOU NAME IT. It was washed in there hahahaha. So now we have a routine. My son is a teenager and he is responsible for all of his chores and we have found that harmonious rhythm as a family.
MelaninMom: Your son is a teenager, how does that make you feel that he will soon be an adult?
Efi: Well for me, I feel like watching someone grow from a preteen into an adult in a VERY short amount of time is a very rewarding and bittersweet experience. I am experiencing motherhood on the back-end of his upbringing. I have always seen him as independent, capable, strong and highly-intelligent. I think naturally his biological parents still envision him as their plump little baby boy. One pivotal moment for me was when I got home from work around 9:30 PM and I come into the house and my son is in his pj’s and he tells me, “I got a 97 on my history test, good night”. We had been working on studying for this test and we were both very nervous. The fact that I was at work so late and he waited ALL day to tell me that just broke my heart. I knew I had to change how I wanted my life to be and to really be present every day or I would miss out on even more of his life, since I didn’t know him the first 10 years of his life. Soon after, I quit that job and began to work elsewhere that allows for a better work-life balance. Also, I am honestly astonished at how he is so grown, not only physically, but mentally. I know he plans on attending Texas A&M in 2 years, but I am not ready to accept that he will be gone. I remind him all the time that he will always have his room to come back to.
MelaninMom: You mentioned how his parents envision him. What is your relationship like with his mother? How does that shape your relationship with your son?
Efi: So, his Mom and I get along great. We both have the common goal of supporting and raising him in a loving, positive environment. I think a contributing factor to the harmony is that my husband and her already had a great co-parenting relationship for some years, so I just folded into how they chose to do things. As I mentioned earlier, I let them do the heavy-lifting of parenting and I try not to overstep my bounds. If they call me in for reinforcement then I am happy to step up, which typically happens to be extremely hard calculus homework hahaha. If there is a parent meeting at his school, we all go in together on a united front. He sees that we all respect one another and get along so he is happy and healthy and well cared for. Also, I should add, throughout this interview you may have noticed that I always refer to him as “my son”. I don’t like to say “stepson” because I never wanted him to feel different or like he was on the outside. I never had stepparents, so I don’t know what that is like and it just felt weird. So, I just say son, never step. Ironic considering I am his stepmom and it would be totally weird if he ever called me Mom. He calls me Efi as most of my close family and friends do.