It’s hard to look back on a year and write about it without feeling overly dramatic; histrionic. It’s especially hard when you haven’t given yourself permission to sit and write anything solid for over a year. I know I came to this place several times in 2016 with the intention of writing something, but for some reason, the words just didn’t come.
There were times I came to process what was happening in the world, but also what was going on in my own life. Growing into my relationship, which at times felt difficult and almost too much to handle. It is hard to be with someone who is different than you. Someone who feels and processes experiences in ways that are different than your own. Even the way we eat meals is extremely different. And sometimes those differences seem so VAST, so WIDE, so impossible to cross. I want to write about them, but I also want to respect this person that I love so much and writing about something as personal as relationships has felt very odd and very scary to me. But this relationship is where I do the most growing -where I do the most learning. There were times in the beginning of 2016 that it really felt that we might not make it to the other side of certain months. And then something changed. I learned how to let go of the outcome. I learned to be okay with my own needs. And I learned how to listen to his. And we grew closer because of this. Even now I find it really hard to write this, but I’m doing it, because it feels important to me.
I also remember really wanting to write about how the ALC changed me and how I could feel the spirits of my great friend Mike and my Dad (both of whom I lost in 2015), pushing me up each hill that I had to climb on my little bicycle that week in June. Eight hours each day of that week was spent on my bike and while about 40% of my thoughts were focused on not dying and 30% of my thoughts were about when I was going to get to eat again, the rest were focused on what kind of magical stuff I’d have to write about when I finally got the chance. But the chance came, and the words didn’t. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that one of the saddest days of 2016 was the day I tried to sit down and write about that ride. Instead, I just found myself trying to scroll through Facebook and reach out to those people who might be feeling scared or triggered by what happened at Pulse in Orlando. I found it impossible to process what I had experienced on that journey without also processing what happened the morning after. And so I didn’t write, I didn’t process, and I moved on to the next big goal.
That’s really what 2016 was about for me. I lost touch with a lot of myself in 2015 and I was determined to find my way back to some sort of idea of who I might be, what I find important, and how to cultivate that in my life. There were some real victories, too.
I think the thing I’m most proud of is how I learned to stop chasing relationships (friendships) that didn’t make me feel good. Loved. There are so many people out there who need love and who need to share it. If you are not spending your time with people who make you feel special, make you feel like you’re a champ – then you are wasting your time. As a result of making this my primary focus in 2016, my relationship with my partner is stronger and my relationship with myself is stronger as well. I also feel like I have the best tribe in every aspect of my life that I’ve ever had. Good, strong women surrounding me in every place that I spend my time. I can’t say enough about making sure that you have people in your life that make you feel capable and confident and worthy of the things that you desire.
Because of the people that I have in my life right now, I feel strong and happy about where I am today. I am sad that last year was so focused on external strength and happiness, that I lost a little bit of touch with my creative stuff, which feels like internal strength and happiness. But I am also confident that I did exactly what I needed to do at that time. Learning how to love myself is not easy, but I do it because it helps me and it helps others.
So, on this New Year’s Day…I’m going to commit to 30 minutes of writing, everyday. Maybe it will be in here, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll carry my pen and notebook everywhere in an attempt to be more creative and engage less in topics that are not kind or necessary. I’m also going to commit to not engage in the type of self-commentary that makes me look and feel bad.
Looking ahead, the future looks bright. Vacations, marriage, more growth.
“I’ve got a feeling…..”