And... Scene!

Sitting in a coffee shop the day after Christmas reflecting on 2023.

I love how I stated that like an opening scene in a play. Honestly, that's what my 2023 has felt like, one big production. With actors and scenes and a plot. If I had to name this year as a play, I’d name it, “What the Hell Happened to Jalauna Phillips”

Kind of like “What's Eating Gilbert Grape”, but more chaotic. 

Looking back on who I was at the beginning of the year versus where I am at this very moment, I can tell that I have been dragged through the mud, stomped on and thrown out the window of a twenty story building. 

Sure, that may seem extreme but that's how I feel. 

As I write this, I’m scrolling through my camera roll of this year and I am just blown away. So many of these memories feel like eons ago. My heart is racing and I want to cry so bad.. But I'm in the middle of a coffee shop.

So I’ll just tell you the many moments that stand out to me. 

One moment that stands out to me is participating in my first art show. 

Growing up, we are constantly asked what we want to be when we get older. I wanted to be a teacher first. Then a hairstylist. Next, an astronaut. Then, something between a special ed teacher/social worker. After switching my major to English, so many doors opened for me. I was able to view my passion as a means of self exploration and protest. Special thanks to my professor Chris who exposed me to different artists. And special shoutout to my mom for sending me the link to sign up for the art show.

I presented my poem “Black Hands” to the public and allowed random people to view and critique my work. I left feeling like I had a more concrete idea of what my art could do for me and the world. 

Another moment that stands out to me is when I went to Chicago with a “stranger” (someone I had met on a dating app and had been talking to for a few months). It seemed like a good idea at first because I looove Chicago and our friendship had been going pretty well buuut it turned out to be a pretty shitty experience. 

The person I went with was very mean to me and thought I used them for a trip. That's when I swore off looking for love on dating apps. They’re cool to use when trying to meet new people but to expect a loving, prosperous relationship from them is quite delusional.. Even if it has worked out for people in the past. That is no longer my ministry. 

A third memory that stands out to me is when I went to the Dominican Republic with my best friend. In April, we decided to take a week-long vacation to the DR. We were broke but we were happy. We sat on the beach all day, ate till our stomachs hurt and partied like we didn't have a flight back home. 

That trip taught me that I am divinely protected. 

My family is a “stay on the resort” type of family, so when my best friend suggested we go to a different city, I almost cussed her out but somehow she convinced me. We walked thirty minutes out of the city looking for a bus to take us to a different city. Somehow we ended up on the back of a motorcycle headed to God knows where. But as we were riding, I looked down in front of me to the man who was driving the motorcycle. On his neck rested a necklace that said “Jesus” on the clasp and I instantly felt relief and knew I was going to be okay. 

It may seem like a small moment but in the middle of absolute terror, I was reminded that even in my disobedience, avoidance and fear, his presence still rests within me. Always. 

My favorite memory is the day I met my lover.

It was the day after the 4th of July. I had just returned home from dropping off a friend when he was sitting outside with my roommate. We said hello to each other then I went inside the house. After a few minutes, my roommate entered the house and screamed, “JALAUNA, HE THINKS YOU'RE CUTE AND WANTS YOUR NUMBER!!!” 

Because I am a lover girl like I mentioned before, I gladly walked my happy ass out there to see what she was talking about. I went up to him and said, “I heard you wanted my number” and he looked at my roommate like “why the hell did you just do that” but we are both glad she did. 

In January, we’ll be celebrating six months! Okay, okay, I know that's not a long time but it's a milestone for me considering the shitty situationships that have engulfed me the past couple of years. 

We’ve gone to the fair, weddings, quince’s and so much more together. He makes me feel so loved and free. He allows me to be myself without judgment. He is so compassionate and driven. Even on my worst days he is still gentle with me. I am so grateful for him and our love. 

The last moment that really stands out to me is this moment right here. Talking to you, siping a maple iced latte and reflecting on everything that has happened this year. 

I am so grateful to be here at this moment. Many people didn't make it but we did. After being dragged, stomped on and thrown out, we are still here with each other. 

I have no idea what 2024 holds for me but I do know that I am talented, loved and protected. 

I plan on being more intentional with my life in 2024. I want to be intentional about what I eat, where I go, who I hang out with and how I spend my time. 2023 opened my eyes to how much fear runs our world. I refuse to give in so I will ride on the vibration of love. 

Thank you 2023 for everything - the good, bad and the ugly. 

2024, please come in here like you got some sense or I will be throwing hands back. 



My Eyes are Set On: 2024!!!!!!


  • Marquette Slappy

    Wow wow wow! Just when I think you can’t get any Doper BAMMMM I start reading ur blogs

  • mikaya

    This is amazing Launa and well written I’m so proud of you!

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