I can’t believe you’re here already. I have scrolled through these twelve months like photos on my Instagram timeline. Double-tapping enjoyable moments, swiping left through unforgettable memories and following new lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m aware that everyone is reaching out to you right now, overwhelming you with resolutions, promises and needs; I would like to let you know exactly how the last 362 days impacted my life so that you might understand what my expectation is and why.
For starters, Twenty-Seventeen created the first real test for my relationship due to long-distance and Twenty-Thirteen’s persistent efforts to make an appearance. Not only has my relationship survived and strengthened, but it has also progressed tremendously. I’m happier and more confident with my personal life than I’ve ever been and planning our future is beyond exciting! My longest, most precious friendships have endured through inconsistent contact and rare time spent together. I’m thankful for those friends that are truly like family. Surprisingly, Twenty-Seventeen also brought new friendships. It’s rare for me to become genuinely close with new people in a short amount of time, I’ve had the same best friends my whole life. But this year, I did — and I’m extremely grateful for the support, laughs and loyalty they’ve shown me.
The biggest highlight for my family was that it grew bigger this year. I’ve missed many weddings but Twenty-Seventeen allowed me to see my brother, Darrell, marry the love of his life, Nikki. It was a ceremony filled with pure love and joy; we are so happy that our families have merged. My mother and father were also proud to watch me become a homeowner in April. Twenty-Seventeen was definitely filled with achievements that you can find flooding my parents’ Facebook accounts.
On the court with the Connecticut Sun, we had a winning regular season finishing in 4th place with a 21-13 record. We achieved our goal to make playoffs and although we wanted a better ending it was definitely a promising season. I enjoyed watching many of my teammates breakout and set new career-highs. I was also blessed to experience new achievements in my own career by being a first-time WNBA All-Star and All-Defensive First Team selection.
While Twenty-Seventeen clearly provided some of the best memories of my life, of course, it also came with some of the most challenging times as well — that’s life. I lost my Aunt Sharon and my grandmother Lydia on my father’s side in July and August. Sadly, I missed my aunt’s funeral but was able to attend my grandmother’s. It was tough not being there for my father as he mourned the loss of two significant people in his life. Not being with my family while I, too, mourned was a weight so heavy on my chest I felt I might suffocate. I didn’t want to be a burden or to put my sadness onto others. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone — I continued to do my job the best I could despite playing on an injury during that same time.
And now, as Twenty-Seventeen is coming to an end here I am, across the world, away from my family (again) while my father experienced his first holiday season (and birthday) without his beloved mother and big sister. This isn’t to complain about my sacrifices for we all have to sacrifice something in our journey toward living our best lives, whatever our reasons— careers, family, love, etc. Some sacrifices are just harder to make than others. I’ll never get used to missing countless holidays, birthdays, funerals, weddings and other sentimental events.
Unfortunately for you Twenty-Eighteen, your toughest battles are ones that should have been resolved long before you. In Twenty-Seventeen, there were still senseless murders, singular and mass, due to gun violence. Black lives were still taken by unjust police shootings. Kneeling during the anthem to give a voice and platform for those Black lives was ignorantly portrayed as unpatriotic. Racism is extremely and actively prevalent. Women continued to be targets of sexual abuse. Around the world, genocide and the enslavement of brown people still exists. The caution for unpredictable terrorism is at an all-time high and we’ve mindlessly elected an inadequate individual to the most powerful position in the world.
Now, It’s Your Turn
As you can see, you have big shoes to fill and so much to improve; for Twenty-Seventeen was full of highlights, hard times and unfortunate heartaches that I’m disappointed are still occurring during this time.
My promise to you, is that I will be more generous. I will give more time, effort, money, love or whatever is necessary to fulfill my responsibility to make others’ lives better — to make this world better. In my soul, I have the strongest desire to truly make a difference and I’m ready to do it.
I’m blessed that I’ve lived to see your arrival for millions weren’t so fortunate. I pray that you, Twenty-Eighteen, will provide me with numerous opportunities and obstacles that continue to mold me into a better person. I’m looking forward to you standing out. Thanks to my God, I have faith that you will surpass Twenty-Seventeen in all the best ways.