I’m exhausted. 

I know that it’s the holiday season and everyone is full of joy, but can I be honest and say that I’ve been crawling towards this month for the last three months? Now that December is here, I cannot wait to say goodbye to 2015. The year was good… decent… ok fine it was just meh. I don’t regret anything that happened this year — in fact, this is my moment of cliche, “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” — I just won’t, well, miss it when it’s gone. 

97,888 unread emails?! WTF?

Now that that’s out of the bag, I’m sorry that I haven’t been around. Ever since race, gender, and other aspects of our identity became the core of my work, or day job if you will, I have found it hard to not be constantly involved in it. And boy am I deeply involved. From the moment I wake up to the time I fall asleep, I’m thinking about how bias and stereotypes dominate our lives; unfairly, they prevent us from our true callings in life. Some of us manage to get past it and forge a path nevertheless, some of us never manage to absolve ourselves of expectations. I suppose it also doesn’t help that I am also innately curious about anything that has to do with these subjects, so most of my past time are reading/watching/listening to topics related to these discussions. 

Yeah I know. I need better hobbies (if you have suggestions, please help a sister out). 

I remember vividly one weekend where I laid on my couch, so mentally depleted from the week, and finally having some free time to listen to President Obama’s eulogy for those tragically killed in the South Carolina Emanuel AME church mass shooting. I processed it, and found myself crying because I couldn’t understand the hate. 

I wish I could say that was a one-time breakdown. The truth is that it happened multiple times this year. We do live in an incomprehensible world sometimes (except it’s not incomprehensible - a discussion for another time over wine). 

At this point, you might be wondering why I am writing about all of this, what any of this has to do with Thick Dumpling Skin, and the absence of my voice. It doesn’t mean that my self-love all of a sudden skyrocketed, and it certainly doesn’t mean that my struggle with what I look like changed. In fact, those nasty feelings are still alive and well. What it does mean, is that I I had very little time to devote to myself and my imperfections. 

In the world of struggles, my struggle with self-esteem was so, so tiny compared to others. It felt selfish to spend time in front of a mirror, picking myself apart.  

Back when I was 19, the one thing that got me out of my depression of feeling fat and unattractive was my desire to care for others. I mentored, tutored, and worked with others to build what I felt would be a better future. This is what I have been doing for the last year. It’s incredibly meaningful. But I am tired. 

Perhaps it’s time to take my own advice. Or the advice of any airline. Only when you take care of yourself first, can you take care of others. Amen to that. 

So, here’s to a healthier year of putting yourself first, SO you can give your heart to causes that might need it more. But don’t wait too long. It can be a chicken/egg kind of a game. Find something that you care about, and go after it. Maybe that’s when you can realize your worth and why it’s important to put yourself first. There were many times this year when I met people who told me how much this site meant to them. I always smiled sheepishly because I knew I had been away. Thank you, for your support. Thank you, for your love. Lynn and I look forward to bringing you new content that we’re excited about.

More importantly, how are you?  

- Lisa 

Lisa Leeconfession, self-care