It's been one hell of a year. One of the best years I've had in a while for sure. I renewed a commitment to myself this year to choose life and all of what that meant, and to master the art of living as opposed to just surviving.
2017 pushed me to dig deep, really commit to improving my mental health, trust my talent and know my worth in both professional and personal relationships, and unchain myself from the fear and vices that've held me back all these years. It sounds hella nice and empowering, but there were plenty of times when I thought trying balance all of those things would level me. It's been the equivalent of the conditioning part of athletic training. You remember the mornings after practice when you'd wake up to soreness in muscles you didn't even know you had? It's not necessarily a pleasant experience, but the pain is temporary. The payoff, however, is lasting.
This year has been both a turning point and a reality check. It affirmed the impact of verbalizing what I want and need. It affirmed the necessity of moving in my power, even when I don’t fully understand how the things I'm manifesting will come to be.
The practice of manifestation has transformed my patterns, improved my confidence, propelled my career, and my enhanced my relationships. Additionally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has and is continuously training me to transform my thoughts, behaviors and emotions. As a result, I've learned and experienced my strength, potential and power in ways I hadn't known possible. Changing your habits and thought patterns creates a domino effect that gradually shifts everything in and around you.
Looking at the year in review gives me an immeasurable type of pride. I'm smiling from the inside out. I feel accomplished, sustained, fulfilled, and optimistic. In years past, I've been guilty of rushing into the new year with a "new year, new me" mindset. Hasty to file the past year's experience away and start over. However, I'm trying something new this year: celebrating my progress. A lot of us jump from one experience to the next, taking no time to identify areas of improvement or actually bask in our accomplishments. So I wanted to start the new year with a celebration of growth, gratitude, and progress. And I wanted to share a few wins with you:
- A sold out show and packed house for the third Spare Change, a pop-up social featuring visual and performance art curated by Jasmine Sharpe and I. We collaborated with The Socialites Seattle to produce, We Are Black History, a Black History Month edition of the pop-up featuring a spoken word showcase.
- My first commercial photo shoot, a collection of images for an ad campaign for Planned Parenthood. Some of the images have been featured on billboards around the Seattle area and outskirts of the city, in the Seattle papers, and even on buses!
- The launch of the first collection of tailored shirts for men and women for my lifestyle brand, The Underdog Co
- Art direction and retail activations for Under Armour Project Rock with Tether, which produced incredible results. The initial run of the Highlight Delta sold out within 17 hours, and the full capsule drove one million dollars in two days.*
- My first international trip, a restful week in Thailand with good friends
- Art direction and styling for the release of Under Armour x Cam Newton's C1N Trainer with Tether
- A new job as a Senior Brand Designer for Amazon Prime Now Global
- The fourth Spare Change pop-up, Spare Change IV, the Cypher, featuring four gifted emcees and surprise spoken word performance by yours truly
- Art direction for the Global Amazon Prime Now holiday campaign and directing the photo shoot in Germany
- Three sold out runs of the Fall/Winter '17 Trust Your Struggle collection for The Underdog Co
- And the biggest milestone to close the year out on a high note...
My first museum exhibit, Everyday Black, which will be on display at the Northwest African-American Museum from January 11-May 15, 2018 in the Northwest Gallery.
That's a mouthful, right? I'm full of gratitude for the growth, blessings, and wins I've earned this year. I've worked extremely hard and pushed my mind, body and spirit well beyond my comfort zone. The evidence is in the results. I'm grateful for the experiences, the highs and the lows, that brought me here. I'm grateful for the village of folks who've held me up and offered support in a number of ways. I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've received, and eager to pay it forward. I'm grateful for the incredible people (I hate the term client sometimes) I've been blessed to work with. I'm grateful for the strong work ethic my parents instilled in me I'm grateful for love. For life. And I'm even more excited to experience what the coming year has for me.