We are almost halfway through the final month of the year and I am not sure about you, but I have been doing a lot of self reflection. Every December, I start making a new journal for the new year. I actually start writing in it one month early, usually around this time. Last December, I was in a lot of pain. I was functioning suicidal and I felt trapped in the life that I had created for myself. Desperate for a clean slate, I chose “thrive,” for my 2017 word of the year. All I really wanted was to just get through the day. This was a desperate attempt to clutch at straws and start new. I was starving emotionally, just so worn down and lost. I felt isolated and alone despite my very best efforts to reach out to family and friends. I said I needed help and they all said they would help me– they wanted to help me. But I quickly learned that no one can do the work for you. You have to help yourself first. Little did I know, “Thrive,” really was excellent foreshadowing on my part…
Best Day of 2017
The best day of 2017 for me would have to be December 7th. It’s strange because it’s so recent. This year has been quite a roller coaster. Honestly, the beginning of the year was really rough. Summer was nothing short of awful, and we have kept busy this fall. But things are finally coming together now. It’s almost like you have to go through the chaos to be able to embrace the calm. December 7th, my husband was off work due to an incident. So we spent the day together. It was nothing special, really. We just ran errands and put up the Christmas decorations. Our daughter came home from school and we snuggled while listening to Christmas carols in our living room, before settling down with a big bowl of popcorn and watching Elf. It was just so simple and sweet. It was nice to slow down with my family and just be.
Worst Day of 2017
The worst day for me would have to be in July. I can’t go into specifics, due to confidentiality issues, but I was emotionally distraught. My family and I had to step up and support one another during a very trying time. This sent me down a spiral because I had to omit parts of my past that rested heavy on my heart. I had to let go of the pain and embrace only the good. I had to swear by it. There was so much deep rooted history that I had to not necessarily forget, but forgive. It was really hard to do. In addition to that, I had to just keep myself together day-to-day. At the time, the days were long. I was away from home, away from my husband, and away from my daughter. While I did have my siblings and parents around me, it was very hard to be away from my husband and daughter. Thankfully through this harrowing experience, not only did everything work out in the end, but we have one of the best blessings in the world now. (Again, confidentiality)
I wish my favorite photo was one of my more artsy cool photos, but this is it. I took this photo in February one night while I was snuggling with my husband. Someone accused me of being a racist because I said that even if we don’t like what we are hearing, it’s good to listen to speeches that are made. Even if it’s Donald Trump speaking, bless him. This photo says a lot. Clearly I am not a racist. I’m Irish/native american, my husband is full blooded Mexican. But beyond those labels, there is this deep connection that we have. He is my rock. He is there for me no matter fucking what. I just love everything this photo represents.
My favorite book would have to be Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. This book is sarcastic and witty. It’s raw and emotional. There’s Michael at the heart of the story who is a sensitive music fanatic who may or may not see things differently. Michael’s brother Alec is cool and controlled. Their sister Celia has always been the responsible one. John their dad is eccentric and depressed. Margaret is the siblings’ mom who just tries to keep the family together. It is brilliant because the dynamic-fuck-show (
you’re welcome) that we call “family,” is painted so well. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you pick it up. My sister suggested that our family started a reading club and this was the book we agreed on. Naturally we all got too distracted to continue the reading club, but I’m so glad I read this book. I would have never considered reading it myself!
The biggest challenge for 2017 was learning to trust myself more. I have always been so caught up in what people think. I am a highly sensitive person and I genuinely want people to like me. I am loyal to a fault and it’s damn near impossible for me to lie. This year was all about letting go of the bull shit and learning to say yes to things that truly benefit me, as opposed to saying yes to things that people think will benefit me. At the end of the day, I know myself best. I may not know everything, but I have the right to follow my instincts.
Me. I am the biggest change for 2017. I’m not even the same person I was three months ago. “Thrive” really took on a force of it’s own personified through me. It’s so interesting because I have walked away from the toxicity in my life. I am convinced that “busy,” is a word that people use when they want to feel important. Don’t fall into that trap. Just be fucking real. People will make the time to see you if they want to see you. If it’s a priority to people, it will happen. I’ve learned not to force issues just to get my way. Not everything has to happen by my personal timeline. Time itself is an illusion, so fuck it. As long as it isn’t hurting anyone, it’s okay to just let things go. I’ve noticed that by slowing down to listen, most people are voicing their own self reflections through out the day. Case in point: This weekend someone told me to, “calm down.” (I think I had asked a question about what we were doing) I looked him in the eye and said, “I am calm.” I smiled at him. This unnerved him. The thing is, I really was calm. He was nervous, because this was a new concept for him and there was a lot riding on his shoulders so to speak.
The best decision for me was saying yes to a new opportunity that came across my path. I embraced something new that scared me. Not only did this challenge me and help me continue to work on my writing, but I am incredibly blessed with this. My whole life changed over the course of a one hour meeting with two of the kindest brilliant minded people in the world. I wish I could shout from the rooftops about what I do and who it’s for. Just know that these people are so genuinely amazing and inspirational. It is nothing short of an honor to be able to do what I do. I owe all of my blessings to these two individuals. They have truly transformed me, heart and soul.
2017 Taught Me…
how to stand on my own. I learned what it really means to win where my feet are planted and how to be present in the moment. I learned to listen. I learned that having a few really close friends are better than having lots of acquaintances. I learned how to forgive. I learned that it’s okay to feel whatever it is that I am feeling, but that not everything has to be magnified for intensity. It’s okay to simply be. Every morning I just exist, simply to exist and it is incredible to soak in the morning sunrise and breathe. I learned that not everything is my fault and usually whatever is going on has nothing to do with me. Surprise! I am not the center of the universe. I learned how to cope with depression, suicidal thoughts, and PCOS. I learned that while it is unnerving to speak out, we must do so against any crime. Solidarity is important. I learned that no, I don’t have to respond right away. It’s okay to step back and really think before I react. I learned how to pause.
2017 was really a year of growth and self awareness. “Thrive,” was the perfect word choice for this year. I am so thankful for all the ups and downs this year has brought me. I am closer to my husband and daughter than I knew was possible. I am stronger and more self-aware. I am not perfect. I am still growing and learning. It’s just such a cool feeling to be able to look back and see how far I have come.
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.
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