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To the past 10 years,
Of Triumph. Tribulation. Testimony.
I thank you.

To the next 10 and beyond,
Of Blessings. Gratitude. Progress. Prosperity. Manifestation. Encouragement.
I’m ready now.

I am so excited for 2020! The lessons I’ve cumulatively learned over the past 10 years outlast the characters allowed for this post. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with an understanding of the lessons I’ve learned so that I no longer wallow in my mistakes. They no longer hold negative connections to me because I see where God was working in my favor instead of thinking it was the enemy against me the whole time.

I thought about the 10-year photo challenge. When I went to view my archived pictures, I realized how many memories I had put to the back-burner of my mind. Those memories were refreshed from just looking at still images. I chose pictures that showed stages of my growth as a woman, photos that represented who I’m becoming — and I am proud of her.

Soon I’ll be turning 25 — literally hitting a quarter century in my life, in an entire new decade. Many people will follow the same fate (God willing), and crossing that threshold does hold a significance of its own. At this point in my life, with the way my spirituality is set up, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the God I serve is the head of my life, and all that he has brought me through and set me up for have all been for the good of me and to bring glory to his kingdom.

Even before 2020 came, I mentioned there was a shift in the air. 2020 holds a different energy. I’ve ascribed it an analogue like this: If we viewed cultural decades as mythical beings — physically aging creatures who were on our understanding of development — just within the 21st century, the 2000s would represent our cultural infancy. The decade would be a time when things were still new and fresh, and the opportunity to be innocent still existed. When we hit our early pre-teens (2010s) through our teenage-hood, we went through a lot of ugly phases. Let’s face it: our pre-teen through teenage years (2013-2019) were flippin' rough.

We as a culture, a society, have been through a lot over the last 10 years. As many ugly, terrible and inhumanities have occurred over the decade, after our teens, I believe we started to learn from our mistakes. Realizing we had to take responsibility for our actions, hold others accountable, be willing to sacrifice our own egos for the greater good of others and hold compassion genuinely, towards others and ourselves. We can now begin our 20s, different.

I can’t fight my optimism. When I think about 2020, that’s what must be in the air — a change of tide, in the best of ways. Then again, it could just be me and my point of view. But rather than dwell on and popularize the horrid aspects that exist intrinsic to the human experience, I choose to bolster the less noticed goodness of us. Being a Black woman defaults me to maternally care for people, whether I want to or not; breaking it ever so often at the outlandish and embarrassing moments of my own community. I adore us, truly, but when I tell you Black people showed the definition of their ass (in the best and worst of ways), I mean it.

As many resolutions that could be made for the newest decade, there is one in particular that I hold for the entire Black/African American community (particularly those in "the hood"). I hope we learn to embrace what it means and what it should mean to share this exclusive melanin membership amongst people we can call kin, to a certain extent. I hope we resolve the notions that we are each other’s enemies and return to the spirit of sister and brother-ships; comradeship and compassion towards each other; smile genuinely from our hearts and not get an attitude if it isn’t returned; make a Black man or woman smile just because; giving compliments and meaning them.

I hope we resolve the use of vile competition with the intent to destroy each other, but instead welcome the spirit of healthy competition with the intent to strengthen and uplift.

2020 is the decade to reset and restart. It’s a new decade with a freshness and beginning that should be taken advantage of. I feel empathy and pity for those who refuse to change for the better but won’t acknowledge they are changing for the worst; those that refuse to understand and listen before responding; are hell-intent on maintaining slave-rhetoric, despite the progress we’ve made as a people, setting us back culturally by 20 years; continue the tactics of manipulation defined within The Willie Lynch Letter, and claim blindness to the error of their ways, nor take ownership to the idea for improvement.

Initially, when I set out to write this, I intended for it to be a letter to myself, reflective of the past decade on the cusp of my quarter century birthday in the presence of a new decade. But it’s something else now. What, I don’t know.

Maybe a telegram to Black people, a thank you to God for getting me through or a request from a collective society for us in 2020 to just be better — to really be better, and not just say it this time around.