an African girl’s 2022 final reflections

2022 kicked my ass. I am not even joking, I felt the pain this year, but I also felt the joys and simple pleasures. This year’s theme was focusing on love within my relationships. Let me be specific here- we’re not talking about romantic love. When this year started, I wanted more for myself. I created my vision board to serve as a guide for me (see below):

Round of applause for me because I followed most of what’s on this vision board. But let’s get serious here; I still don’t know how to describe this year. I started the year feeling lost and depressed, wondering when something would happen to me. Something good? Something exciting? I turned 25 thinking my brain would officially be fully developed (I am not being funny here, promise). I was excited to turn 25 because there was this hope of change. There was this hope that something would happen, but what I did not realize was that everything was happening. Everything that needed to happen happened. Change occurred. The 25-year-old Diakha in January is not the same 25-year-old Diakha in December.

In my vision board, I emphasize sisterhood and its importance with the quote on soul sisters. I remember craving a sisterhood that made sense to me. A sisterhood that brought me closer to my religion. A sisterhood that felt warm and embraced me as a whole. But, before I could even have this, I needed to learn what type of friend I was to the people in my life at the time. I hurt people. People hurt me. I’ve always been self-aware, but there’s a difference between being self-aware and working on yourself and being self-aware and causing damage within your relationships. Unfortunately, I was a good friend to some and a terrible one to others. The consequences were loud, painful, dreading, and an emotional rollercoaster. I spent January and February of this year feeling this heaviness in my heart as if someone was pressing weight on it and just kept pressing it down. When the clouds hung above me, I was having uncomfortable conversations. Apologies came and went. It was during this time I was finally told about myself. The one thing I needed was someone to just say, Diakha, do better. And I finally did.

The clouds still hung above me, but it wasn’t as gloomy as before. During this time, I learned what type of friends I needed, and I prayed for them. I learned that my passive aggressiveness needed to end at some point. I learned to set boundaries. I learned to tell people in my life when they’ve done me wrong instead of avoiding them. I learned to be comfortable with people telling me when I have done them wrong. I learned so much, so I started this post by mentioning how 2022 kicked my ass.

Around March, my life changed. I am so dramatic. It did not change drastically, I promise. Something was always missing in my life, and I could never pinpoint it. And then it happened. My cousin invited me to a Mosque hosting an event for young adults. I remember that day so well because I was contemplating attending the event. I sent my cousin seven messages, to go or to not go. I finally made my decision, which was one of the best decisions this year. From that day on, the clouds slowly disappeared, and the sun rose above. I found a community and sisterhood (don’t cry for me).

The rest of my year was honestly a blur. I had a nerdy hot girl summer. I read so many books this year; not to brag, but I am almost at 50 books. I had a terrible dating experience this year, which I’ve spoken about in my blog. I’m sure you’re tired of reading about my singleness, well too bad. We’re in this together until I… Let me stop. I am still in grad school, having the nerdiest time of my life (almost done iA). I went to the Poconos this year and realized how much I loved hiking. Throughout my hardships this year, I got closer to my parents, and I hope I will get even closer to them next year.

As I prepare for 2023, the year I turn 26, I hope for a new chapter in my life. I am unsure what to call this next chapter, but I am ready to embrace it. I am ready to embrace hardships, lessons, and blessings. I share this with you all to inspire you to create your vision board. It does not have to look like mine; make it your own. You can even make it your wallpaper to serve as a reminder for you. I also share this with you all to remind you that growth is necessary. Change is necessary. Reflection is necessary.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to read more of my work and tell me what you think via email (deethiam@gmail.com)

Written by Diaka Thiam (your favorite inconsistent African Gyal)

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