2016... I refuse to accept you as a bad year. For while personally loss wrenched my heart open, I'd be doing life a disservice if I didn't acknowledge the tremendous learning and growth which silver lined the pain.
Through my window 2016 was a year of shift. Yes it's been a year of legends lost and political alarm, but while the divisions which have always rumbled beneath the surface of society were suddenly given validity to erupt, it hasn't all been ugly. Disaster is often a catalyst for change, and just as division found its voice, so did the rest of us.
Through my window this is the year we began to question and rediscover our humanity, explore and disect our belief systems about everything from the way we work, to who we are and our place in the world. New untold stories hit the big screen in the form of United Kingdom and Birth of a Nation, the small screen, courtesy of the BBC's Jay Davidson and her team who produced the Black & British season. And as we learnt others we came to learn ourselves a little more. Not defined by ethnicity and history but unquestionably heavily influenced.
Understanding that the story of black and white division through time is not always black and white. The white factory workers who took a stand for black slaves. The mixed couples who took on the courts to defend their right to love- and changed history in the progress. Film maker Joanna Abiyie one of many who used her gift and platform to step up and publicly tell her story and shed light on the issue of children of alcoholics on mainstream TV, giving the gift and power of resonance to so many in the process.
So many stories, which like small lost pieces of our collective jigsaw, were revealed, exposed and began to slot into place.
2016 is the year we questioned more deeply behaviours and trends in our lives, with more of us than ever jumping ship from apparent financial stability to make what fulfils us, our living - on our own terms.
We demanded equality across all industries and made it headline news, from the church to the football association to the Entertainment industry and corporate boards, we expressed, spoke our truth and without need for invitation, began pulling up 'a seat at the table.'
Best of all perhaps, a new wave of events with the sole purpose of challenging long held ideologies, labels and the constructed limiting boxes which have compartmentalised us, were born. Spaces in which we spoke honestly and authentically, empowering others to do likewise.
Earlier this month, I spoke on the brilliant Motherhood Reconstructed's 'Strong black woman debunked' panel, and explained that I reject the label despite strength being a quality I own fully. Yes we might need terms like BAME and LGBT to distinguish groups on computer data, but in reality the labels themselves are as divisive and limiting as the prejudice.
Who we are, has nothing at all to do with the colour of our skin or preference of partner, our job title or postcode, and everything to do with who we are to the world, what we bring and contribute, and the quality of our inner most self.
As more of us realise that our power lies in shunning trying to be who the world tells us we should be, to step into an authentic space and do what brings us joy, it's impossible not to realise just how much we have in common with one another, regardless of the outer casing.
We can all jump on the 'wasn't 2016 a terrible year' train and lament all that wasn't as we might have wanted, but that would be to lose sight of the fact that none of us are in control of much more than the thoughts we entertain and the state of mind it leaves us in.
So 2016 thank you for the lessons, for the love, and for another year of opportunity to create our lives from the inside out. And Bowie, Michael, Prince and Ali, don't keep my daddy up chatting too late, even the best angels need their rest.