She’s Gotta Have It is the first Spike Lee Joint. The one I didn’t watch until I was in college. Now in it’s 30th year a remake has made a debut on Netflix as a series. Nola Darling is a dope Black woman. One who is clear about who she is and what she allows in space. At the same time she is on a messy journey to connect with her best self and inner most wants. She is basically glitter with legs in a life like fiction tale that has helped me reflect on my year.
As we enter the new year, people spend time in reflection and planning. Nola has reminded me of things that I have tackled this year. Things that have allowed me to be better for 2018. Ready for 2018.
We move through the world seeking our balance. As much as it makes sense to lean on those we love or even like, I have found it makes more sense to lean on someone that listens.
You can try it a number of different ways. There are groups. Private spaces. Employee assisted support. There are even co-counseling groups where strangers perfect the art of listening for mutual healing.
Therapy has allowed me to babble. To get out things I didn’t know I was harboring. To think through things and be asked questions that allows me to see a different perspective. And to breathe.
I find myself holding my breath often. I hold it in all kinds of situations and have even wondered, “why am I dizzy?” Well because you need to breathe. You need lung filling, soul cleansing, anxiety ridding breath.
Now this may not work for everyone. You may not go long term. But Black people continuing to ignore our mental health is taking a toll on our community.
I think Nola’s therapist offered an amazing suggestion, “Find a way to assert your power and navigate through the world with confidence and BREATHE!”
Get you a MARS.
One thing Nola has explored for us all is the battle between comfort with ones sexuality, sexual freedom, and commitment. I would argue all three are possible at the same time, but that is not where I have been most moved by watching.
I have been intrigued by Mars. He is him. Maybe not who he will always be but comfortable in his skin and able to assert where he can make someone comfortable in theirs. He says “I got you” so many times. And it’s not that he is doing things perfect. It’s that he admires Nola. Appreciates her skin, her mind, her cinematic knowledge even when it doesn’t align with his own.
Mars came through and he remained himself. He made space for Nola. Not only through attention given but through example.
Pursue your Passion.
Nola is doing art at all costs, like late rent and Con Ed warnings all costs. Now I don’t necessarily suggest doing it in that fashion but there is a joy and fulfillment that cannot be achieved any other way.
Earlier this year, I quit a multitude of jobs to pursue my passion. It means that I get to work among, with, and for people that are interested in liberation the way I am. I have the privilege of using my knowledge and experience to assist organizations in providing service and product that acknowledges the community and those in it intentionally and completely.
My passion shows up in every contract I do, which makes work a piece of my joy. That has not always been true, but it has been worth it.
Finally, I suggest you watch She’s Gotta Have It, both the old and the new. Spike Lee is an icon and you should see and know his work. You should shout him out while he is alive and he can see it. This year another thing I participated in was community graduation, it was a gathering of all from elders to youth to confer a degree of one of our own. It was magical. It reminds us that we will do amazing work and sometimes not be recognized for it by larger society AND that we can celebrate it ourselves. How Spike Lee's first Emmy was in 2007 and he has yet to win an Academy Award is beyond me. However, 2017 has taught me that sometimes we do not need THAT recognition, we need people to recognize our art that are engulfed in it daily. So, watch some Spike Lee Joints, there are over 40 to choose from and let @SpikeLee know that his art is not only dope but perhaps an inspiration to your life the way it has been mine.
2017 has been good to me. I have had lows and highs but it has been good. 2018 will be completely different but more of the same. I hope that as your year ends you reflect, make goals, and sit in gratefulness for the lessons learned. If you have none of the above, a therapist, a unyielding champion, passion in your career, or space to honor your people like none other, I suggest you try one or all of them out.
Wishing you a Happy Kwanzaa and Fantastic New Year!