Are you happy at the moment?
At the moment I write this I am happy. Currently, I don’t think I am depressed, although I have been clinically depressed in the past. Happiness is a constant struggle, not just daily but from moment to moment. I recognize that it comes from within and not outside.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I would tell my 16-year-old self that she is a lesbian, no question about it; not bisexual, not questioning. I would add to only be sexually intimate with women who are certain about their sexual orientation and identify as lesbian.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
The most important thing that I learned this year is that change is inevitable even though family is forever. I ended my love relationship with my partner of 17 years and wife of 4 years. As we are a single income family we still share our family home and the raising of our children, ages 8 and 11. We are still family despite the change in our relationship status. Dealing with change is a part of life. Dealing with it gracefully is a struggle worth pursuing.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
In the next 12 months I want to achieve my goal of being healthier physically. I am currently pre-bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) and have radically changed my relationship with food and exercise. With the combination of the surgery, eating properly and exercising, I will be healthier and eliminate my high blood pressure as well as sleep apnea. There will be no question as to how many seats I will be required to purchase on a flight. I will also increase my life expectancy and quality of life.
What’s your secret to happiness?
I don’t have a secret to happiness. I am simply living life to the fullest for myself and my children.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
The one ritual or practice that keeps me grounded is exercising daily, usually by walking. It’s good exercise too and I use fitbit to count my steps and tweet out the results. It keeps me accountable as well.
What’s your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is not thinking about what I wanted to do after graduation from college and simply going to graduate school because that’s what I was advised to do. At that point I wish that I had given it some thought myself.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
The most important lesson that I have taught my kids is to not look outside of yourself for validation, that should come from within. It is okay if I or others are disappointed in their decisions, but they should not be disappointed in themselves. Nor should they seek approval from others; they need to be satisfied with themselves.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
The bad habit that I would most like to change about myself is procrastination. If I decide to do something I need to do it and not procrastinate or be in fear about doing it.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of pursuing my dream to write, regardless of whether I get paid for it or not. I have a full-time job and children, I love to write and have something to say. I am proud that I carve out the time to pursue this dream.
When were you happiest?
I was happiest when I was by myself at the beach celebrating my 55th birthday at The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. The solitude was good and necessary to think, plan, and rejuvenate.
What ten words best describe you?
Introvert, intelligent, fat, funny, caring, thoughtful, considerate, contemplative, loving, and focused.
Akilah Bolden-Monifa is the Market Communications Director for CBS Local Media in the San Francisco Bay Area Market which includes CBS 5/The CW 44 Cable 12 (KPIX/KBCW Televisions) in San Francisco, the CBS and CW owned and operated television stations as well as CW 11 (KSTW-TV in Seattle) and CBS RADIO San Francisco (Alice, KCBS, Live 105, and 997 Now) and the online asset www.cbsSF.com. She also serves as the official spokesperson for the stations and develops the station’s media strategy as well as advises and coaches station personnel on how to deal with the outside media. She also produces “Bay Sunday” on CBS 5,oversees the internship program, and produces three ethnic heritage celebrations annually for the television stations.
Akilah is a frequent contributor of opinion editorials to the Progressive Media Project and a blogger for Huffington Post. She lives in Oakland with her wife, Ruth Bolden-Monifa and their two children Isabella and Benjamin Bolden-Monifa.