Perhaps this is cliché to say, but with a new year right in front of us, “restarting” is really exciting.
I’ve said this a few times now, but if 2018 was the best year of my life, 2019 has been, by far, the craziest. Crazy in every sense of the word. If I were to pick a single word to encompass it, it would be ‘love.’
If you asked me a year ago how I would define love, it would differ greatly from how I feel about it now. To me, love was a feeling entitled to a partner only; not that you couldn’t love a friend or family member, but that true love was a physical concept. I was wrong.
Love is something that I give out to everyone now, and it’s a beautiful thing. I love my friends, I love my family, and most importantly, I love myself.
The biggest and most important quality I’ve gained is self-love. Not obsessively, but in a more caring and respectful kind of way; even reading back on some of my old writing, the way I’d talk about myself was so gross. The worst part was that so many people close to me told me that what I was saying was wrong, but I admittedly am a bit too stubborn, which is something I need to work on.
I always hated when people would wrap around the concept of “new year, new me.” I just took it as bull crap, but I think over time, it made more sense to me. While I still think people rely too much on the idea that a change in a number will fix themselves, I understand that it’s the symbolic meaning behind the change that means so much to people.
2019 saw me at the lowest point I’ve been in a really long time. I reached a place where I felt directionless and subject to just free fall from everything I had worked toward for so much of my life. I’m not yet where I want to be, but the progress I’ve made this year has been vital for me, especially seeing how close I was to giving up on my life.
I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat of my life for the first time. For so long, I felt like I was just a passenger in my adventures, a victim to whoever wanted to place me where they saw fit. For the first time in my life, I can say that I’m unapologetically me. I’ve spent so long trying to appease everyone into liking me, and I realized that by doing that, I was robbing myself of friends and people who care and are interested in me if that makes any sense.
“I think that these posts have become a way for me to express myself in ways I don’t get the chance to. Normally, I write poetry when I’m sad because I’m a massive loser. But, I’m trying this again.”
I wrote that last May, the day after my breakup. As pointed out by my therapist, who was crucial to me getting to where I am now, I wasn’t able to express anything about myself without a prerequisite that downplayed myself. Looking at that quote, I can see that I’m trying to appeal to people who don’t like to write by calling myself a loser, while also establishing that I like to write, which would appeal to the sophisticated and beautiful people who read my writing.
Fuck that. I’ve worked too hard in my life to play second fiddle to my fears of being rejected by others. I have so much to offer as a person; I know where I want to go in life: to the top. If you aren’t interested in my path, that’s fine, but get the hell out of my way.
While I don’t believe in the Law of Attraction as a literal concept, I think of it as a metaphorical one. It carries a lot of weight. The people I’ve been stuck with in the past reflected what I gave out: fear, selfishness, and spite.
I won’t say that I hated the person I used to be, because I stem from that person, but I can look in the mirror and love the person looking back at me, which isn’t something I’ve ever been able to do before now. While the loss of thirty pounds and a necessary beard and hair trim have helped a lot (I’ve gone down in pants sizes!) I’ve learned that physical changes only make up so much of who we are.
To grow, you need all the aspects of yourself to be growing, and the acceptance of my mental health as a legitimate part of me that needs to be cared about has changed my life.
I’ll never forget what my mom said when I first began taking medication, “Once you move away from sadness, you’ll be able to recognize it in others so easily.” I think about that all the time; it hurts to see others suffering from depression and anxiety.
I recently went to a Keep Flying gig (which is a band you MUST listen to) with one of my best friends, and afterward, she told me that the energy I give off is one that seems more open and loose, and that meant the world to me. For so long, I’ve been this sheltered introvert who feared the world; I still am that introvert, yet I couldn’t be more different.
To quote Keep Flying (again, please go listen to them:) “For the first time in my life, I just want to do what feels right.”
Here, it means loving and taking care of myself first, unapologetically. It’s a beautiful thing to experience. I can’t change who I was, but I will be stronger going forward, for me.
So here’s to a happy and healthy 2020 for the people reading this column. While time may not be real, we are, and that’s something worth celebrating. Until next time, keep moving forward, forever and always.