“I just want to see you win,” became a more familiar phrase I was hearing from friends and strangers alike upon my move back to Philadelphia. I liked the sound if it. Especially from friends who know me, my story, my struggle, and won’t let me get cozy in the temporary or put setbacks on the pedestal of permanence. Knowing there are people cheering you on, watching and waiting for your success makes a difference. Especially when you’ve drowned out your voice of belief and confidence.
But we don’t always win. Not me, not you, not Beyonce, not Steph, not LeBron, and not Hillary. Sometimes we lose. And the same folks who want to see us win, we pray and hope they still see us in our losses. We hope they see us on our off days (or months, heck someone reading this is like “Year. I had an off year.”). We hope their gaze doesn’t shift when we are stumbling beneath situations that are crumbling. We hope the same light of hope stays lit when we are heartbroken, discouraged, knocked on out backs by what we didn’t see coming or saw coming and could not move fast enough to miss a head on collision. We too have to see us in our losses. We have to wipe the tears and gaze deeply,compassionately, hopefully, lovingly, courageously.
We’ve got to count our losses. I know. I didn’t even butter that up for you. I just served it all raw and fleshy, no sparkle, glitz, glam, no dusting of powder sugar or rainbow sparkles. I’m pretty sure our losses aren’t served up all pretty either. So let’s agree for this time anyway to just be okay with the unpretty, the lackluster, the losses. Our losses shape us and impact us just as much as our wins. #Facts
Losses have a way of showing where we are tender and need some tenderness, where we have held on to the point of detriment and hurt, where we underestimated perhaps others but often if we are honest ourselves- and not necessarily our ability, but our capacity and or our need. Our losses tend to wash over the things that resonate with us, rock our cores, take our breath away, and bring us to our knees like only loss can.
I sit cozy on a sunny bitter cold Philadelphia Saturday morning, responding to a friend who’s question was “What are your plans today?” with “Getting my life together.” It’s my overall term for figuring out and doing the necessary, assessing what I need to accomplish a myriad of desired outcomes, from going to a certain store to get the leave in conditioner I love so I can show some tlc to my curls, to stopping by the bank to get quarters to do laundry this afternoon, to meal planning so I can return to a routine of Sabbath on Sunday day, to taking inventory of my closet and seeing how my style has progressed so I can make smarter purchases. The list also includes:
- Figuring out the Logistics for packing up my life in Buffalo- a loss.
- Putting in a few hours for a job that I am grateful to have but more days than not has me asking myself “How did I get here?”- a loss
- Scheduling my calendar to accommodate counseling to process the onslaught of trauma hurled on me in the last year, and while counseling was what I knew I needed (especially since I like to keep my friends friends) and I am getting what I need, it is a weekly reminder of assaults on my identity, especially my race, that is unpacked- a loss.
The only way I get to win in rebuilding is tending to the losses. I only get to seriously look at where I want to settle down next by closing up shop in Buffalo. I only get to answer “What am I doing here?” with because it’s where I want to be, by doing what I need to get where I want to go even if it’s at a slower pace than I’d prefer. I only get to heal from trauma by dealing with the fact that it’s residue still has me marked and that if I am not careful will drip on future decisions and relationships. I can’t win without counting and tending to my losses.
Hillary wrote a whole book looking at her loss of the 2016 election. You better believe Steph and LeBron are looking at film after each loss, perhaps with a keener eye at films where they loss to each other. As for Beyonce, that loss experienced by a spouse’s infidelity gave us a lot of Lemonade.
I know it’s a brand shiny new year, month, week, day, shucks let’s be honest, moment. I know we are all about the new, including new opportunities to win. I want you to win. I want me to win. I want us to win. I really do. I also know that winning cost, and those costs usually come in the forms of loss. Loss that can profoundly and positively change us and strategically place us in a position to win if we let it. If we acknowledge it. If we confront it. If we grieve it. If we go back for it (every loss is not a death). So count your coins, your sheep, your blessings, and your losses.