She's 23 and stuck in Quarantine! Wow, what a year. If you asked me a year go what I was doing for my birthday, I would have never guessed that I would be staying home. When COVID19 hit Toronto in March, I was pretty devastated to hear that we would be social distancing for the next few months. For those who know me, I make a pretty big deal out of birthdays. It's the one day of the year I get to show out and show up for myself. For the past few years I have always spent my birthday celebrating with my best friends, so I was pretty disappointed that I couldn't leave home this year. To my surprise though, it was one of the best birthdays I ever had and I'm excited to share how I spent it.
2020 has definitely been off to a weird start. Never thought I'd live to see a global pandemic, but here we are. A lot of us are confused and concerned like myself, but more than ever, it is so important that we stay together and still check-in with our loved ones while we can't physically see them. I absolutely miss my friends and as challenging as this is, I'm very grateful that I have a home to even stay home at, not to mention with family which I know not everyone has. My heart is with every single person who is being affected by COVID19, whether you've lost your job or loved one, feeling sick or lonely, I am with you and I'm encouraging everyone who's reading this to lean on each other and do not be afraid to ask for some support. As I navigate through these changes, I thought I'd share some dos and don'ts that have been helping me out while I self-isolate and stay at home. Below are 10 helpful and 10 not-so-helpful things you can do while you Quarantine & Chill:
It's the year 2020, the Twitterverse is stronger than ever, memes instead of aliens have taken over and Instagram is the new Indeed. I know the whole "new year, new me" speech is getting old, but a whole new decade is finally here. Are you ready for it? See, I don't know if anyone can ever be completely ready for something but at least we can prepare. So, to start off the decade, here are 10 ways to enter 2020 that *may* better prepare you for inevitable changes, lots of growth and to give you a fresh start.
Summer 2019 is unfortunately over but will forever be in my heart because I finally got to visit Jamaica, my home country for the first time. I am so full of gratitude for the experience but also sad to be back home in Toronto because it's already so damn cold and the food just isn't the same. Going back to Jamaica was definitely long overdue, but better late than never. Funny enough, so many things were stopping me from going on this trip and I made it anyway. Although Toronto is very multicultural and has a very Jamaican-influenced culture, I knew I would feel a different kind of satisfaction and connection going back home. I spent 9 days in 4 different homes and got to experience different kinds of people and different parts of our country.
I think everyone is way too pressured to live this successful and fabulous life. We are asked to write down our goals and dreams at a very young age, teachers ask us who or what we want to be when we grow up and the word success is constantly talked about or used as decor on classroom walls. Success is defined as this grand thing we should only aim to experience. And anything outside of success is failure. It’s a harsh and unrealistic ideal to teach kids.
Before #MentalAwarenessMonth ends, I really wanted to share my experiences with mental health and how protecting my wellness has become a major part of my life. In the past, I was really good at overlooking a lot things I was going through and pretending like I had all my shit together. I didn’t really know how to address my feelings or the anxiety I experienced. I think a lot of it stemmed from wanting to keep up with the strong black girl narrative but fuck that, I realized my strength does not derive through my silence. I’m still learning how to feel without being hard on myself or worry about disappointing others. The truth is, shit gets messy, I get clumsy, I get hurt and I don’t always deal with things rationally. When I’m anxious, I’m impulsive, I panic and sometimes shut down. But I can’t hold myself accountable until I really address those things. I think because of the old tale of women being emotional and dramatic, I’m constantly defensive about how I feel and making sure I keep my emotions tucked in. But I think feelings are necessary and they aren’t meant to be ignored. I admit, I sometimes hate being labelled as emotional but I hate how addressing your emotions is perceived as a negative thing even more. It just doesn’t make sense. There’s this constant conversation online about taking care of yourself and making sure your mental health is taken more seriously but when “being in your feelings” is seen as this weakness, I don’t think the message is getting across correctly. There is nothing wrong with feeling through all the feels. Pin pointing those feelings is actually necessary in order to maintain a positive mental space. Sharing those feelings and then releasing it all is so necessary for clarity and moving forward. It won’t always be crystal clear, life is mad confusing but I found myself in a really low place mentally when I didn’t let those thoughts out. Writing has always been that release for me and I’ve found so much peace through putting things onto paper. However, being able to say things out loud has also been empowering lately. I think owning up to my mess and being able to communicate with people who support and love me has made such a positive impact on my mental wellness. It can be scary to speak and I know what it’s like to fear judgement from others but being able to live in my truth has given me so much power. It feels good to be myself unapologetically and draw that acceptance from within. Feelings suck but they are inevitable. Talk about it. Cry about it. Write about it. Shout about if you have to. What I’ve learned the most is suppressing it, only adds to the stress so making sure I’m not only expressing myself but making space for others to express too is important. To whoever is reading, I hope you can also find the space to finally share, release or open about that thing. Whether on paper or face-to-face, I’m sending you all my love to do it.
I'm guilty. I still haven't mastered how to set stronger boundaries in my life. No one is really given instructions on how to set boundaries but without them, you are so much more susceptible to self-sabotage and unhealthy relationships. So, what are boundaries and why are they so important to have?
I'm Twenty-two. Wow, that’s crazy. I know I look 12 and act 25 but I’m extremely grateful for more life and love. 21 was my transition to adulthood year so it’s only fitting that 22 will be about settling into that new phase of my life and adapting to those changes. My journey up until today has been every emotion you can imagine: exhausting, blissful, hard, painful, yet empowering. 2018 really stepped on my neck and reminded me how capable I am but also the dangers of being too comfortable with where I’m at. I am so thankful for every experience that has shaped the woman I am and still becoming. Here’s a mini recap of 3 of the most rewarding things I accomplished last year.
Learning How to Fly is a visual and written diary series dedicated to all things women and wellness. Through digital storytelling, Keosha shares her personal life experiences and how she navigates her own world and the people around her through the lens of a Black woman. Learning How to Fly reflects on identity, hardships, emotions, love and the lessons they unfold.