original post date - february 25, 2020 #TakingLs – Listening, Learning, Living Almost two full months into 2020 and this is my first blog post of the year. Happy New Year. Happy Black History Month. Happy Valentine's Day. Shoot, it's about to be Women's Month by the time y'all end up seeing this. All that. It's been a minute since I've written any new content and I'll just be honest about why. I don't like talking or writing about things publicly when I don't understand them, and right now I'll honestly say I don’t fully understand my life. In a way, it felt hypocritical for me to get on here and try to impart some type of encouragement or wisdom when I'm struggling to do it for myself. It's just sticky. I'm trying to figure out a lot at once, and it's difficult to process. I've worked through some of it recently, but I'm still working through A LOT of other things. I've set some goals and I'm in a place of feeling like I'm not quite measuring up to them in the way I'd hoped. Frankly put, I've been feeling like I've been taking a lot of L's. Before you think I'm being pessimistic, all of these L's aren't bad. Of course, bad things and negative emotions happen more than I'd like them to, but that’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to focus on the three L's I keep coming back to -- listening, learning, living. I've narrowed down that a lot of the things going on in this brain of mine revolve around these three things. Listening Me and God talk a lot. A whole lot. I've been keeping my mouth closed and my mind and ears open. I dream a lot. I think a lot. I ask a lot of questions. All of that means nothing if I don't listen for the answers to the questions I'm asking. Listening comes from several sources for me. For some things, it's sermons. For some things, it's advice from friends. For some things, it's books. For some things, it's my past experiences. For some things, it's my own intuition. Sometimes I recognize the answers for what they are pretty soon. Sometimes I have to sit in my thoughts and feelings until the answer makes itself clear. One example of this is a conclusion I've arrived that this week. I have talked about my hurt on this website a lot. I've been feeling a lot of it lately. The exact message I sent to a friend of mine was, "I feel like I've been walking around with a bleeding heart and struggling to find the issues that caused it. Been trying to use Band-Aids instead of the stitches I need." Simply put, I haven’t been getting as deep into solving things as I need to. I thought that once it got ugly or uncomfortable, I'd found the answers, but that wasn't the case. I've realized I've only found answers once I have peace. Not the period Learning Learning comes after listening. I've noticed that first I have to hear the answer in whatever way it comes to me, and then I have to learn what it means and see it in action. Learning is interpretation. I have to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figuring out what I'm supposed to be getting from it. For me the learning is making the necessary connections and looking at the lessons involved. This part is tricky. Sometimes it’s a quick-ish thing like I keep seeing the same issues with guys because I subconsciously pick guys. Other times, it's not so easy. I've been working on not giving myself a time limit on learning what I need to learn because I've seen that it does two things -- 1) adds pressure to me trying to heal faster and 2) in trying to do that, I don’t get to the root of things. The keys to me learning are time and grace. Sometimes, things don’t make sense so I repeat the listening and learning steps until it does make sense and I can move forward. Living Living is the last stage. After I've heard what I needed to hear and figured out what it means and how to forward, I work on doing just that. That sentence was simple, but doing it is not. Some of that living is smooth-ish sailing, and some of that living HURTS. And it hurts bad. I have struggled and continue to struggle with making peace with some things, but I am always grateful when I arrive to that place. Adulting is still quite ghetto, but I make sure that I remind myself to take things one day at a time. I'll be honest. I have a lot going on right now, but even though my mind and body are TIRED, my heart is happy and I'm loving it. Some days I'm mad confused. Other days I feel like I'm at peace and I have things figured out, at least partially. I've talked to some people a little older and closer to where I want to be in life, and they all remind me of the same thing -- I do not have to have it all together yet. I am a ripe 22 in pursuit of the life I've dreamed about for years. I have to take the pressure off of myself, because like I told y'all in #MirrorMissy, I'm my biggest critic. I am just grateful for where I am because I'm not where I'm used to be. That's what matters most to be right now. I am looking back in reflection, not regret. I'm still genuinely working on looking forward in anticipation and not anxiety. Time will tell and it's up from here. Better is on the horizon for me. I trust God and my process, and I know I have to lean into that more than I lean into my own understanding. I'm gonna wrap things up here. I don’t know when my next post will be coming, but I'm working on getting back to regular posting and website updates. I've had more ideas brewing, so I'm working on developing those along with actual blog content. In the meantime, I still wish everyone the best. Encourage yourself and those around you. Make sure you're taking care of yourself and keeping your cup full before giving so much to others. Keep living life. Keep being great. Keep flourishing.