original post - december 7, 2019 #NextChapter - This One Is Personal I just turned 22 a few weeks ago and 2020 will be here within the next couple of weeks. Needless to say, I've been finding myself in a place of transition - not only transitioning into a new year of life, but a new year and new decade all at the same time. These last couple of months have included a lot of reflection, introspection, and thinking about the kind of woman I want to be. I've been working toward a lot of different things for a long time, but there are also things about me and my life that I want to be better. I was just sitting in my bed one day, enjoying being still, and something hit me. If I want Year 22 and 2020 to go how I want, then I need to start making the necessary changes NOW. I started with a few of those things before my birthday came, but since then I've been prepping for this new year. That means holding myself more accountable, putting my big girl panties on, and doing what needs to be done. It doesn't matter if I like it. It doesn't matter if it's hard. It doesn't matter if people have opinions about it. This next chapter is personal. Choosing Me

This isn’t the first time I've talked about this, and it won't be the last. When I've said this before and said it was something I wanted to do, I didn't fully take into account what this meant. Did it sound good? Yes. Did I honestly believe that's what I was doing? Yes. Was that what I was actually doing? Hell no. At least not completely. I did grasp and become more comfortable with saying no to certain people and certain things, but I still have to work on the guilt that sometimes comes along with that. I did become more comfortable with making decisions based on what I wanted or didn't want, but I haven't gotten to the point where I'm unapologetic about it in all aspects of my life. The truth is, as much as I really wanted to choose me, I felt guilty almost every time. And I still do. It's something I have to work on every day. What I allow is what will continue, and I have to be serious about changing what I allow - from others, but most importantly from myself. I'm learning that it is okay to walk away from situations and people when I don't feel I'm being treated the way I deserve or when I feel like I've been done wrong one too many times. That is not easy. At all. I know I'm a good person and I have a good heart, but I have to stop letting that be an excuse to let people walk over me or just treat me any kind of way. Everybody doesn’t deserve access to everything, and I have to start treating my energy and my heart like the privileges they are. Right now, my primary areas of focus when it comes to choosing me are healing and growth. Within the last couple of weeks, some things have happened with people in my life that have hurt me a lot. When I'd vent, sometimes it came across that I shouldn’t be as hurt as I was, which just made me feel worse when I got alone again. It’s like I know I did what was best for me, but knowing that doesn’t erase the pain that came with it. If these three things happened individually, I don’t think they'd hurt as bad, but that's not the case. They all happened within 7 days and the combination of these blows kinda has me feeling heartbroken even though none of these were romantic relationships. I don’t really know how to explain it. My heart just hurts. The hurt weighs on me differently at different times, but in my alone time I've made a couple of decisions regarding this pain specifically. The first is I don’t want to keep talking about the pain. I don’t have anything left to say at this point besides I'm hurt. Not only this, I don't want to feel like a broken record or that I'm bringing down the people around me either. At this point, I just have to go through it alone and I had to make peace with that. The second decision I made is that I am going to give myself as much time as I need to really heal. I've always had a problem with rushing myself and distracting myself by putting a band-aid on my wounds and not healing completely. Not this time. If I want to be different, then I have to make changes in my behavior. I'm not going to rush myself or tell myself that "I should be over this by now" when I find myself hurting again. I also need to stop trying to stop my feelings by telling myself the other people aren’t thinking about me so I shouldn’t be thinking about them. It's not fair to me. My feelings are valid and attempting to downplay my pain won’t make it go away. I've committed myself to just taking things a day at a time. Eventually, I'll be healed in the right ways and I'll learn what I need to learn to be better in the future so I can grow. I plan to adopt this approach to other situations in my life too, but these three were at the forefront of my mind, so I'm using them as an example. I wish all of them nothing but the best and I just have to move on. I’m still rooting and praying for them, and I want them to find their village of people. I’ve just had to accept that I’m not going to be one of them and that’s okay. From this point forward, I want to give myself room to heal fully, independent of the opinions of others and myself.

The growth part of this is tricky because I'm the only one who can hold myself 100% accountable. Well, me and Big G. Yes, I have friends who have witnessed me doing dumb stuff for whatever reason, but I'm the only one that's in my head all the time. I know how I would've previously reacted to something compared to how I'd react now. I know things that I've been working on and progress that's been made, even when others don't recognize it. I just have to make sure that I'm holding myself accountable as loudly as I'm clapping for myself when I do see progress. It's not easy, but it's worth it. I know where I want to be, and I'm putting in the work to learn and do what I need to do to get there. One thing I really want to do is become more private. I have a few different reasons why, but at the end of the day, it's something I've committed myself to working on and I've done a lot of thinking about how. A big part of what I need to do in order to become the woman I want to be is establish some boundaries and stick to them. Granted, most of the boundaries are for myself - how far I push myself, how much I share with others and in what ways, how much I critique certain things about myself, how much I'm on social media, what I'm exposing myself to, etc. - but some of them are more about how I will relate to others. There's a difference between boundaries and walls, and I'm finally at a point where I can differentiate between the two for myself. Boundaries are healthy and I need to care enough about myself to have them for me and for everyone connected to me. Like I said earlier, I have to start treating the access to me like the privilege it is. Does it sound cocky? Maybe. Do I care? Not anymore. The last decision I'm making when it comes to choosing me was inspired by a book I'm listening to called Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I have decided that I'm choosing living a life that's centered over living a life that's balanced. Balance implies that all aspects of my life require the same amount of time and effort, but that's not true. Sometimes I need to let my to-do list wait a few hours and do something good for myself instead. Sometimes I need to get up early and get on the grind instead of sleeping in. Sometimes school doesn't require much energy, but preparing for my next steps does. Sometimes I need to take a break from prepping for the future and use that time to focus on what's right in front of me. Sometimes I need to devote more time to self-care than I do to being out and about with friends or family, but sometimes spending time with family or friends will recharge me in a way I didn't know I needed. Basically what I'm saying is that it's okay for everything to not be equal, because in reality, it's not. Being centered means being grounded and at peace with life, and that’s the kind of life I want to live. I want to achieve a level of peace and maintain it. It's okay for me to be stressed because I understand that a certain amount of stress is healthy and it'll push me closer to where I need and want to be. I know I'm a hard worker and I know I wanna be a boss, but I have to remember something I read in another blog that hit my right in the face. There's no glory in a grind that runs you into the ground. I want to be a boss that takes care of business AND myself. High Fives These two things, or at least what I'm calling them, are also inspired by the book I'm listening to. Two things I knew I wanted to be more serious about in this new chapter are my goals and my self-care. I've always been goal-oriented, but I need to kick it up a notch because I have a lot stirring around in this big head of mine that I wanna see happen. When it comes to my self-care, I'm still getting the swing of things and really putting in the work to take care of myself, so this is going to push me in the right direction. I'm calling these my "high fives".

  • Five to Thrive - I am going to commit 5 hours a week (minimum) to working on my goals. Uninterrupted. No distractions. Just me working toward the goals I've set for this new chapter and will be setting for the new year. In doing this, I plan to keep tasks related to my goals separate from my normal to do list to ensure I remain committed to this time. I'm not going to just commit these 5 hours. I'm going to document them. I'm going to make note of what I did, how long I did it or worked on it, and when I did it for those 5 hours each week. That's only an hour a day Monday through Friday, or two hours on the weekend and a little over thirty minutes during the week. However I break it up, it's gonna be at least 5 hours a week. My dreams and goals deserve AT LEAST that much of my time. Yours do too.

  • Five to Revive - In addition to committing 5 hours a week (minimum) to my goals, I'm committing that same amount of time to myself and my self-care. What I do in those 5 hours is completely up to me, but I'll be documenting those as well. The only difference between the two of these promises to myself is that this one is during the week specifically. I'm being more purposeful about carving out at least one hour a day for myself during the week - whether that means getting up an hour earlier, staying up an hour later, or putting the rest of the world on pause for 60 minutes a day. I've already started doing this and I can honestly say I already feel more centered and in control of my life.

​I've said it on my social media accounts more than one time, and I say it to myself every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to sleep. This year is personal. I owe it to myself to become the version of myself that I dream about and I'm going to put forth more of my focus and energy into becoming her. If you see or hear me less, just know I'm working on becoming more and the manifestation is coming. Just wait on it. --- ​I hope you've read what I said and it pushed you to want to be better for yourself as well. I have some things brewing, so this may or may not be the last post y'all see from me in 2019. I'm not sure yet, but trust me - it'll be worth it. Just keep checking my socials for updates and make sure you're subscribed so you can get the newsletter. If we don't talk again until the new year, I hope all of you have a great holiday season. Just remember this time of year isn't easy or happy for everybody and keep your friends and your loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. If this is a hard time of year for you, know that you are not alone and there is support available. Do your best to keep your head up. I'm rooting for you and I'm praying for you. Live life, be great, and flourish all the way into 2020. Much love, Brena

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