Any Last Words?
2018 has been a wild ride. We’ve ridden the emotional roller coaster from January 1st to December 31st, and it’s just about time to get off. As the year comes to a close, it’s a good time to take a moment to reflect. This year has brought us tons of new music and new artists, a number of celebrity feuds, monumental prison releases (shoutout to Meek Mill and Buju Banton), several technological advances (and security breaches), and hopefully, for everyone, growth in various aspects of our lives. The last few days of the year should prompt us to think intentionally about our growth over the last 365 days and think carefully about how we plan to grow over the next 365 days. However, it can be hard to do so if you don’t know where to start.
To help ourselves (and y’all) with this process, SVGE reached out to some of its good friends, Danielle Murray, Reece Williams, Sydney Vann, and Romel Lherisson, and asked them to share with us some of their last thoughts on 2018 and/or intentions for 2019:
There is a lesson to be learned from letting go. This past year has taught me that you have to embrace change. You have to embrace loss. Change is scary, and change is persistent. You have to be courageous, and you have to focus. With change comes growth and new beginnings. You are the only person responsible for your happiness, and with that, you are the only one who can create your own reality. 2019 will be a year of remolding and inner peace. I will start this year being open to change and the pain that may come with it. This new year will be one of rebirth and putting these lessons into practice. Only positivity will come from this kind of focus, and I look forward to loving myself along this journey.
I’m not sure who’s controlling social media: is it them, or us? But, either way, the industry—the social media industry, broad as it is—has a nearly foolproof way of tricking us into believing that maturity, overcoming, and much life happens in a timeline more condensed than what is true. On the contrary: there might be many years spent putting the pieces back together following being cheated on; or, despite how it seems, your favorite artist did not simply wake up one day to 13,000 followers and an email full of job offers—she spent years, months, weeks, days, and many many seconds laboring, even losing faith along the way in herself, and her vision. I’m not going to try to convince everyone, in general, to spend less time on social media (I’m down to chat about that personally, though) but rather to realize what it’s become: a workplace to feature (mostly) life’s highlights. Now, I’m not critiquing this, because, perhaps it’s what we’ve wanted all along. But, certainly do not be confusing timelines. The things we share are beautiful, and that’s great. Life is also beautiful, for different reasons. Take time to appreciate the opportunities for triumph, which directly follow sometimes crippling failure; there’s nothing wrong with being quiet for a time, to explore yourself, and what what you believe, and what you don’t, and what that means—how you relate to family, friends, upbringing, culture. And, should you decide to tell everyone that you’ve been quiet, more power to you; but by no means must you. Thus, I guess what I’m really saying is, social media is kinda simultaneous performance and audience (I believe I heard this on a podcast somewhere). We are playing both sides. But, it is okay to retire now and again.
The greatest lesson in 2018, embedded with a number of trials and tribulations, was learning how to dismantle fear. In an age of extreme access, we have more freedom than ever to do whatever the fuck we want to do. But tapping into the unknown is undeniably difficult—no one likes to fail, but you never know the power of your worth until you step into a new territory and put your all into that expression. This year, I tapped into a radio and artist management, a dream of mine since the beginning of my adolescence. 10 episodes, 3 activations later and 2 clients later—through trust with God and a newfound confidence, I’m ready to see how this journey unfolds in 2019.
If you're lucky, there is this very terrifying point in your mid-20s when things begin to change in a rather uncomfortable way. Thousands of films focus on the worst of these changes, promoting fear instead of growth. Pop radio will try to convince you to tackle your serious issues with partying and poor decisions. Neither end of the spectrum promotes what you should do: listen. My personal achievements this year fail in comparison to the lessons I learned simply by listening to others. I have become a better version of myself by listening to those I trust—those who have succeeded and those who cared. But on top of that, I chose to listen to myself. I became a better person by listening to my wants, needs, desires, etc. In 2019, I'll continue to listen and, in turn, I'll continue to learn.
2018 was filled with a number of exciting highs, but those highs did not come without an equal number of humbling lows. This year, I failed, I made mistakes, I stumbled, I relapsed, I messed up, and I lost. As a result, for much of the year, I struggled with demons named self-doubt, regret, insecurity, anger, and resentment. For much of the year, I allowed those negative feelings to cloud my vision, discourage me from my goals, and distance me from people who loved me. I slowly began to create for myself a world in which everything was dark, bleak, and hopeless, and I existed there comfortably. As much as it hurt me to do so, I bundled myself in pain because in the middle of life’s unexpected changes, it was the only familiar thing I had left. However, one valuable lesson I learned this year is that healing is an intentional act. It wasn’t just about wanting the pain to go away—it was about moving away from the pain by taking active steps towards healing. As I embarked on that journey to healing, I came to understand that healing does not only entail moving away from the pain, but also leaning into it. Feel your feelings, understand them, confront them, learn from them, heal. I also learned that healing is not linear. There will be good days, and there will be days so painful that you cannot find the strength to leave your bed for a week (trust me, I’ve been there), but what matters most is a continuous underlying desire to heal—you may have lost one battle, but when you finally get out of bed, continue to work towards that healing.