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 Dear 2020,        

        You've taught me so much about myself that I can't thank you enough for all your valuable lessons. First of all, I want to address all the blessings that God has bestowed on me this year and this order: my health, my family, and my dreams. For the past 7 years, I have undergone depression, and as a result, my relationship and my health has been affected. I was overweight, and I didn't understand why I was so content to be disrespected and neglected by some people. However, I've learned that humans can't change who they are, but they can grow into a better version of themselves. With that being said, I've grown into a more outspoken, irrepressible Nikiya this year; this girl has been trapped inside my insecurities and fears for so long that I've rejected her, instead of confronting her and using her when it's most needed. I wish that version of Nikiya could have spoken more in the past because it could have protected me. You can't change the past, however, but you can use these experiences to reshape your unforeseeable future. 

I'm super proud of myself for losing 40 plus pounds this year and not giving up on myself, as it was good to put me first instead of worrying about other people for once. As the oldest sibling, I often set aside my needs to satisfy the expectations of my brother and sisters, because they are like my children to me, and I have spent my whole life nurturing and teaching them about the moral principles of life. In addition, my maternal personality has always popped in and out of my friendships countless times. For the sake of my health, I've learned to turn away the maternal side of me. I've learned that I can't save everyone, and it's not my job to make others happy. With that being said, it was wonderful, for the first time, to look at me and start the development process that I aspire to start with my health.

Even though COVID-19 has destroyed a lot of lives, I'm thankful that I still have a roof over my head and a loving family. My family has grown and struggled more in my entire life this year, and there have been times when I just thought we were going to break and go our separate ways. I wanted to move on and start afresh because I felt like I was putting my youth at risk to take care of others, instead of learning what I wanted. But you can't choose your family; you can only evolve or grow apart from them. I just hope that 2021 will be a year of prosperity and change for all of us. God has separate plans for each of us, but I'm just confused about how to prepare for what's going to happen.

Finally, please help me learn how to deal with my emotions. I don't want to feel like I need to please others instead of just me and you. I have a mental note of dreams that I want to become reality, and you already know about them. Some of them have come true. Allow your will to be done.

Sincerely, Nikiya!

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Nikiya Alfred is the current events director for the UIC HER CAMPUS chapter. She's a third-year college student from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a passion for problem-solving issues in the CPS system. As an Urban Education major with a concentration in English Language Arts, she wants to explore more on Educational policy. This is the perfect opportunity for her to build relationships with other women who have a passion for writing. Please follow her on Instagram @Moondoll_7.
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