ASK JANICE SPECIAL: COME ON, 2023!!

BRING ON 2023!!!

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m so ready for the ball to drop on 2022. I’m super excited about 2023 and can’t wait to get started!

Now, I’ve never been big on New Year resolutions, vision boards, or anything like that.  As a single mom, I was always too exhausted from the frenetic pace of the holidays to really get excited about the New Year.  Plus, my kid’s birthday falls exactly one week before Christmas, which about doubled my holiday stress levels. For more than two decades, by the time the end of the year rolled around, I was running on fumes: financially, physically, and mentally.

This year felt different, though. Medical issues, bad weather, and rising COVID/flu/RSV numbers kept me home and alone for most of the holidays this year. But don’t feel bad for me. I mean, I definitely missed seeing everyone irl (thank God for Zoom). However, I was finally able to some much-needed rest. And so, for the first time in decades, I finally have enough energy and the emotional bandwidth to actually look forward to the New Year.

I still didn’t make any resolutions or create a vision board because I’m just not organized or crafty enough to pull it off by January 1st. But I do love making lists and writing them down, so …

In addition to all the good I plan to manifest for myself in 2023, here’s a short list of my hopes & dreams for all of us in the coming year:

  1. Federally Codified Reproductive Rights: I know, I know. The recent SCOTUS decision on abortion may make this a pipe dream. But I’m actually optimistic about this one. Even though more than 2 dozen states raced to ban abortion with no exceptions since Roe was overturned. You see, dismantling Roe will work against the radical, far right. Because it’s galvanized all those women who’ve been politically “quiet” to finally join our fight. They finally have some skin in the game. So, I’m hopeful for 2023. Or maybe I’m just delusional and still riding high from getting our first Black woman Supreme Court Justice.
  2. A Reduction in Violence Against Women (Especially Black Women): Admittedly, this may be a stretch given that violence is on the rise worldwide. However, the recent guilty verdict in the Tory Lanez case (from when his drunk ass shot Megan Thee Stallion back in 2020) gives me hope. Remember, this verdict comes on the heels of the “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements. And it follows both the Bill Cosby and R. Kelly convictions, which sends a clear message that times really have changed. In the past, powerful men easily got away with violence against women. Just look how long it took to finally convict Cosby and Kelly? So, this recent win for Meg is a win for all of us. And it shows that are we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to holding men accountable for harming women.
  3. Increased Mental Health Awareness and Resources (Especially in the Black Community): As heartbreaking as it is when a celebrity dies by suicide, it at least pushes conversations about mental health into the open. The recent suicide of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, a famous 40-year-old Black man has done just that, and in a major way. Boss was a multi-hyphenate entertainer, loving husband, and devoted father. His suicide reminds us that Black men experience depression, anxiety, and other mental illness, but rarely have the space or freedom to talk about it without stigma. Boss’ death may just be the catalyst to change that going forward. I certainly hope so.
  4. Better Healthcare and Better Health Outcomes for Black women: Healthcare inequality among Black women is rooted in white supremacy. It’s resulted in untold numbers of unnecessary, preventable deaths. You know this. I know this. And thanks to the recent spotlight on this issue, damn near everybody knows this. So, here’s why I’m optimistic going into 2023: we’ve seen our broken healthcare system pivot hard in the face of a global pandemic, during which all of its failings were laid bare for all to see. For example, the pandemic forced the healthcare industry to increase pay for everyone from nurses to EMTs and invest heavily in new equipment and technology. It only stands to reason that grappling with the rampant healthcare inequity among Black people would be a priority going forward, as well, right? Right??

So, there you have it: my short but ambitious list of hopes and dreams for 2023! The cynical among you may consider this list a delusional pile of wishful thinking. But I’m not gon’ let y’all steal my joy. For the first time in years, I believe that we can make real strides in these areas and change lives for the better. After all, something good has to come from the shitstorm of the past few years, right? It’s going to take all of us to pull this off, though. And it won’t be easy. But I’m ready to do my part to make this happen. Will you join me?

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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