Happy New Year!
I've never been one for New Years. To me, it's just a great excuse to wear something extravagant I've been neglecting. This year they were sequins. Mostly New Years is just a weird signboard smackdab in the middle between Christmas and my birthday. I've gotten more in tune with the cycles of my life, and I've noticed that most of my uneasy growth happens in the fall, probably because of school. But I do understand that it is a great mile marker to look both back and forward from.
In January 2015 I went to New York City for my birthday, which was the first trip I'd ever taken completely by myself. I didn't go with anyone or stay with anyone I knew, and it was amazing. Every day was an adventure of my choosing at my pace, and I loved it. I got to reconnect with some lovely people I hadn't seen in a long time, and found new people to introduce me to places I would have never known to explore. New York would be in my future again in October when I visited one of my best friends, Megan, there with my cousin for Halloween. Next to traveling by myself, my cousin Mimi is by far the best travel buddy I could ask for. Funny, accommodating, knows when not to fill space with words, and is down for anything.
New York, I'm sure you knew this already, but there's something about you.
I lived with two different roommates who are such inspirations to me. It has been amazing to live in the company of Mehry & Olivia. I had an idea of what doing creative work would be like, and a warped idea of what creative people were like, having excluded myself from the cache for so long. These young women teach me that creativity is not just fun and exciting, but hardworking, thankless, and humble. Between NYE 2015 with Mehry and a lovely girls retreat to Breckenridge with Olivia, I have so much to be thankful for in these spirited girls.
Getting to know awesome creative people has been such an edifying experience. Denver's style/fashion community is open and collaborative. I have been able to partner with some of my favorite fashion institutions in town (Denver Style Magazine, Shop Goldyn, Fab'rik, Buffalo Exchange, Meek Vintage), and constantly marvel at all of the great creative content that is being churned out in this city by photographers, bloggers, models, stylists and designers. I got to meet and work with lovely, passionate people like Ash, Molly, Shea, Brandon and way too many others to shamelessly plug here. I toughed it through my 2nd holiday season at my "real job" with a solid team, and my mentor Jen at the helm of the ship for the last time. You all encourage me to be bold and dream big.
I'm not interested much in winter sports, but I've been able to enjoy the amazing mountains that I live near this year. My mother & I took a lovely mother/daughter trip to Estes Park, and thinking of it now, my heart is bursting. I am so grateful to have a guide through this life like her. Elizabeth is strong, hilarious, stylish, dedicated, focused, and so many of the very best things in life beyond measure. Spending time with her is a joy and a privilege.
I saw my first music show at Red Rocks! I'd seen her once before, but Florence + the Machine's last show in the US for the year, played fully acoustically, near my home, under a beautiful red full moon? Magic.
I dated some boys who aren't worth mentioning in detail, which was trying at times. I won't dwell on it, because I am a whole human being, and I have not lost anything by not having them, and have only gained a knowledge of what it is that I don't want, and what things I cannot tolerate.
I am thankful for some of my closest friends, who send me sweet holiday cards (Britt!), forget to send me things I leave in their apartments (Megan), and value time with me enough to schedule breakfast hangouts at 7am (Angela). They are beautiful and nuanced, and cannot be summed up. You are the tiniest, best little community to be a part of. I am better for the friendship we build.
And my family. It's hard to say anything about my family without reusing all of the platitudes above, so here's is where I pivot to the future. On New Years Day, my father showed me the blueprint for our family house in our village in Nigeria. My cousin Sonja designed it, and it will be gorgeous. The past few years of watching HGTV obsessively are all culminating for my dad, and hearing him talk about British Colonial architecture delights my heart. He is apprenticing with an Indonesian duck farmer to learn the trade, and planting mango trees. He is building a place not only for us, but for everyone: hammocks, dance floors, outdoor showers for villagers. My father's heart is big, big, big, and I'm so excited for him to fulfill one of the greatest desires that lives in it. I'm looking forward to summers and holidays there.
This year I want to focus more on that portion of my life that I have been so physically apart from. My father hopes to finish the house in a few months, and I am excited to take part in my mother's womanhood ceremony in August. I say silent prayers that my grandmother is still alive to be there. My relationship to my culture is constantly changing, as with many children of the diaspora, and I will be putting together a film to map by feelings, my family's stories, and a part of this beautiful culture that I belong to.
I recently finished a book that my mother gave me, written by one of my biggest inspirations. Oprah's book "What I Know For Sure" put me in the perfect mindset for what I want to take on this year.
What Do I Know For Sure?
I am great, and I can claim the desires of my heart. 2016 is just the next step.