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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hampton U chapter.

Happy New Year! After not writing for the majority of the semester, I’ve decided there’s absolutely no way I can discuss 2022 without at least a brief (or lengthy) debunking and debriefing of the year we’ve recently departed. In 2021, if nothing else, I feel like I continued the metamorphosis that I embarked on at the conclusion of 2020, a journey that I hadn’t realized I was on until I was in the thick of it.

 Early in the year, a rejection from Viacom CBS’s internship program was just one of the many worst-case scenarios that were hitting me on a seemingly regular basis and revealing the worst parts of my being: I was an extremely self-righteous, impulsive girl who deemed the idea that anybody else might be more qualified or deserving, intolerable. 

It seemed like nothing was going my way. During this period of time, I’d vent to my mother, as a young, melodramatic girl would, and she’d faithfully listen, as a patient mother who’s well versed in the tongues of slightly spoiled and highly dramatic-daughter would. I’d go on hour-long tangents about my frustrations with the professional world, the social life on campus, and literally any aspect of my life that dared not put me on a pedestal or in a position of achievement.

My mother, only out of the dearest of motherly love that exists, would let me vent uninterrupted, being sure to speak only after I’d surely exhausted myself (and trust me, that took a while). Making sure the coast was clear, and my rage had subsided, she’d begin with a sigh. 

She’d lead with the same sentiment: “Whatever is for you, is for you,” followed by a routine, “Did you pray about it?” I’d roll my eyes and huff in response, annoyed to hear the same repeated words of comfort; failing to realize that this anaphora would soon be the mantra around which my entire renovation of self would be based.

I’d insist that the few words said by my mother, because they weren’t directly in my advocacy, were unnecessary. Snapping in response with, “Why are you never on my side? You never just let me express my feelings!” And by that, I now realize I meant: emotional dump.  

The calls usually wouldn’t last too much longer after that; my mom being annoyed at my attitude and me being annoyed that I’d now have to continue my temper tantrum under the supervision and coaxing of nobody but the cruel narration of my inner thoughts. 

This went on until the solitude finally suffocated me to the degree that I had no choice but to self-examine. My findings? My mother’s advice was harmless, and the questions of whether I’d prayed that day -I probably hadn’t- and the subsequent reminders to do so were necessary and only originating from the purest of intentions. The most significant finding of all being that I indeed was the problem. 

From there, I was determined to practically do an entire renovation of my characterization; this entailed the evaluation of not only how I regarded myself (originally, blameless) but also how others would regard me. 

My mother’s choice to not indulge in any conversations of depth surpassing what we’d eaten that day was the indication that I was not, at that moment in time, a joy to speak with, due to my negativity and self-absorption.  

The lack of people in agreeance with my responses and reactions to the situations in my life let me know that at that point in time, I was disagreeable; as much as I tried to override the many, sound contrary opinions that opposed with lies that I was in some sort of radical, free-thinking phase, the part of me that has an undeniable obligation to truth and moral fairness just wouldn’t allow it. The truth of the matter was that I was disagreeable and my opinions were self-serving and self revolving only.  

I was wrong, and I made it my personal mission to be right. I like to think I succeeded. 

I spent the Spring and Summer devoted to doing away with the woe-is-me and embarking on a posture of humility. I welcomed trials and all instances of conflict that arose because I was able to use that as an opportunity to employ a new, graceful approach. 

I wanted to be light; positive in tone, encouraging in my relationships, and above all, forgiving. I was drained from holding grudges against those who I believe had wronged me and I knew I’d find freedom from the past if I could let bygones be. I did. 

By the time Fall came, I think where we went left is that this idea of being right began to consume me. In hating my former self and being determined to grow and improve, I lost my sense of humanity. I profusely apologized or dwelled on any instance where I exhibited negative emotion or even had an unkind or impure thought. 

Sometimes these were big things like cussing out the lady who took my parking spot that time I went to Chevy Chase, MD for a doctor’s appointment. But sometimes they were small, like those times when homeless people on the side of the road asked for dollar bills and I, only carrying a card, was unable to fulfill the need.

Or those times when I instinctually judged anybody wearing mismatched brands or patterns, wondering why everybody wasn’t blessed with style like mine. During this time, I was also getting deeper rooted in faith, making it a mission to read the bible for a total of one hour every day. One verse that always followed me was Proverbs 23:7 which reads, “so as a man thinketh, so is he.” and I, of course, took this very personally; forgetting that nobody was perfect outside of Christ himself. 

While the goal is to ultimately be as close to goodness as possible, I was set on perfection. This was, and is, unattainable. It took many (you guessed it) conversations with my mother to get this through this thick skull of mine. 

I spent the beginning of the year striving to be a better person, and the end of the year obsessed with the concept of not regressing into my old patterns. The lesson lied in the fact that growth can’t be negated by instances of regression; as long as the objective is to go onward, to progress, and to further better myself, the journey, in all its imperfect totality, will always be mean something. 

I aim to make 2022 the year I finally let go. Not focus on the traits myself I don’t like, not obsess over the woman I want to be, but find solace in the fact that as long as I strive for goodness, she and I will undoubtedly make our acquaintance in every version of this story, because it’s already been written by an author of supreme divinity.

I hope to let go of the high regard I have for my perception and love on the woman that simply is; as I live and breathe. 

I aim to let go of the concept of hyper-productivity and lean into the romance of taking life one, beautifully God-given day at a time. 

2022 is the year I plan to finally let go of every negative encounter that may have molded the way I regarded this one, precious life I have to live. 

Finally, 2022 is the year I’ll finally let go of the fear that always accompanied the thought of the unprecedented future that awaits me as a graduating senior. 

Today, this seventh day of the year, I choose moments, feelings, and my dedication to fond memories over the fear of messing up, the opinions of others, and the lies that my own insecurities spew into my mind. 

And In new territory such as this, I’ve never felt more in my element. 

Cheyenne Paterson is a senior English major, Strategic Communications minor studying at Hampton University from Boston, MA. She aspires to combine storytelling and an editorial style of writing to increase audience engagement and advocate for brands and corporations. Cheyenne is the Editor-In-Chief for Hampton University's Chapter of Her Campus, a regular contributor to Impressions of Beauty, and the President of the Peer Counselor's organization on campus. In her free time, Cheyenne enjoys dabbling in interior design, perfecting her homemade coffee, and baking new recipes!