This week has been very interesting. Well, this entire year has been interesting to say the least. I’ve learned much about setting boundaries, cutting off dead-weight friends and family who are clueless to that fact, not accountable for their actions, and high-key jealous. I’ve learned about drive, about pushing one’s self to the outer limits, where few people go. Fear of success and fear of loneliness. I’ve especially learned the two biggest lessons of them all: reclaiming my time and taking up space.
Last year, I remember asking myself, how can I top last year? How can I make my photoshoots better? My wardrobe fiercer? My voice louder? How can I be more authentic, raw, helpful? Although, I thought I was woke, I was only semi-woke because I hadn’t thought outside the box. Many of us think that we’re thinking so big, but are we really? Whatever you think could happen, could go so much farther, bigger. And, I hadn’t known this until I got to work with Adidas Originals and was flown to Canada by the University of Ottawa. All expenses paid.
I want to talk about reclaiming time (thanks Auntie Maxine!). Now, we all know that you can’t actually reclaim time. When time is up, it’s gone, and you can never, ever get it back. With this fact, why the fuck do people waste so much of it? And, why do folks allow others to waste theirs? We have women who stay with men who verbally abuse them, treat them like shit on a stick, and they stay. Wasting good, vital years on a human who doesn’t even value their time. We have people who allow their family to belittle them, offer surface conversation, hurt feelings, and steal more of their time. Same thing with a dead-end job, how much time are they claiming from you?
Unfortunately, we can’t maximize every moment of every second of the day, and we will have to, at some point, engage in time wasted, but it’s up to you as to how much of your time you waste.
“I’ve wasted almost a decade,” I complained to my sister when I got divorced. “Do you know what I could’ve done with all that time?”
She replied, “You didn’t waste any time. You learned a lesson.”
“What did I learn?” I whined.
“Well, you learned what you don’t want in life.”
And, she was right. I did learn a great deal about what I wanted, what I needed, and what I hadn’t wanted ever again.
Do you ever meet up with someone or go to an event, and wondered why you even wasted your time going? Stop doing that. Reclaim your time. Stop doing things that you feel are going to make other people happy. Stop indulging in activities that you don’t want to do. Stop being friends with that girl that you really don’t mesh with anymore or that dude you feel inclined to be with just because. You are not doing yourself a favor. You are merely passing time, wasting time that could be spent on developing you.
I, honestly, feel bad for people like that. People who only have connections just to say they do or only going because ABC, but have no real interest in it. They aren’t really living life. Life is living them.
I used to be that person. Outwardly, I’d have a hard smile plastered on my face, but inside I was bored, dead, unenthusiastic. Why was I trying to be someone that I wasn’t? Why was I wasting time on relationships that clearly weren’t going to develop into anything but surface shit?
After being hurt by individuals who I tried to please for many, many years, I made a pact with myself. I was going to reclaim my time and only speak to people I was interested in, who I vibed with and do things that I liked to do. No more pretending to fit into this group or be cool with that group. Fuck that! In addition to my ‘fuck that’ moment, I was going to allow myself to take up space. Which meant that I was going to shine at my brightest watt without a care as to who was blinded by it.
For most of my circle, they accepted the Leah V who was changing, being more comfortable in her skin. For others, they started to hold resentment and dropped off like flies, which is fine, because that frees up space for better people to occupy. And, it has.
Sometimes, I get weirded out by all the folks that support me. It takes time getting used to. I’m a traumatized Black girl from Detroit with a trash family and a messy divorce that gets me mad from time to time, so when someone reaches out and is like ‘I got you’, it never ceases to amaze me.
Give yourself the time and ability to reclaim your time and take up space.