Make Room

by Shalonda Archibald, NJLA Board Member



We live life forward and learn it backward. This sentiment is so true, and, as I move through the years, I recognize more and more how fleeting life is. In looking back over my life, I’ve learned that I’ve lived nearly my entire life on high speed, fast forward, overdrive, go go go mode. Practically my entire identity was laid out in me doing this or doing that. I see now that I was moving on a fast-paced train to unfulfillment, burnout, anxiety, failed relationships…pure misery.


At 35 years young, I found myself depleted and depressed. Something in me had cracked; I had come undone, and I did not have the skills to get back on track. I prided myself on being able to hold it together, to get it all done, to “balance” all of the balls of my life that were up in the air. But when they fell, my friends, they hit the pavement heavily and split it wide open. The opening made by the crash was an opening of the Shalonda on the inside. The Shalonda full of resentment, despair, sadness, frustration, anger…


Fast forward two years later through a series of seemingly unconnected events, I found myself thrust into an emotional wellness journey that would forever change my life and the lives of the many that I’m entrusted to care for, most immediately my three children. On this journey, the more I stepped, the more the resources to support my decision became available to me. As I continued onward, it became easier for me to accept the help that these Godsends offered, which at a point I would vehemently deny that I even needed.


I would be here writing for a very long time if I detailed the process of unpeeling the layers that had been thickly growing my entire life. One of the most important things that I have learned in the process of my emotional wellness journey, or as author Brene Brown calls it, awakening, is that I have to make room for myself. I have to intentionally choose myself and make room to give myself what I need when I need it. I’ve learned that making room sometimes requires removal, kind of like the process of pruning a tree or plant to stimulate growth.

Are you making room for yourself? What intentional actions are you taking daily, monthly, weekly, annually to restore, replenish, rejuvenate and reenergize? I encourage you, friends, if you aren’t already doing so, to make room for self-care. You’ll thank yourself for it later.