I sat on the bed with my mother before she went to sleep tonight. I told her I have been searching for home all over the country these last several years...but over the past few months, I've realized that my home is just where I've left it. With her, with my father, with my friends, and a city that breathes with me and speaks to my soul. This has been the start to my 2016.
I am exactly where I want to be. I am loved. The house is warm. My stomach and my heart are full to bursting. Here, I crossed my hands over themselves, the same hands that clenched through most of last year, that shook without reprieve, that moved outside of my control.
Looking back, the last several years have had their bright spots, but I have not been where I have always been seeking to be. Honestly, I seemed to be moving further away from my dreams. In 2015, I dealt with crippling anxiety, soul-shattering depression, betrayal and heartache, loss and death. And yet, here I sat in a bed on New Year's Day happier than I can remember being in years, more at peace than I thought I'd ever be again.
And I owe it all to the small steps I have struggled through over the last several months. I stumbled. I fell. I beat the ground with my hands, but I kept on rising and stepping again until I reached the clearing that I sit in now.
This past year, I have learned that there must be a breakdown for there to be a breakthrough...or in my case, several. I have learned that the mirror will lie unless you are searching for the truth--the truth in what you look like, who you are, what you've become, and what you still could be. I have learned that nothing can often be better than something. I have learned what it means when you face yourself at your weakest and tell her the two of you must battle a little more.
This past year, I lived as a shell. I slept, instead of seeking an awakening. My heart pounded against my chest like a caged bird because I was trapped in a body that acted beyond my control. I saw my wrinkles in the cruel bathroom light. I suffered and could not cry.
Here, I could tell you that writers or artists deserve a life of sadness. I could say I believe that a writer or artist cannot create without suffering. I could tell you that depression and anxiety will chip away at you until you must hide for fear that the lingering pieces of yourself could be stripped away at any moment. And I almost believed those things.
But not too long past, I dreamed of where I was a year ago with my hands clenched in fear and anger, controlled by someone who I would not recognize as myself now. But I am no longer there. I am no longer her. I am me again. And I do not believe those things.
I thought about listing achievements and posting pictures the way I have in the past when reflecting on my year, but the most important things that have happened to me in 2015 have happened on the inside, and they happened when I was alone, in the shower, in dreams, in conversations too personal to replay, with people too important to name. I have no way of neatly summarizing what has blossomed from the forest fire inside me. Nor do I want to summarize these things because they are endless and still unfolding in the most glorious way I ever could have imagined.
So to myself, I simply say:
Let no one paint your sky for you in colors that don't dance in your soul. Go on another adventure. Push yourself to level up when your HP is low. Own your strangeness for it makes you who you are. Be selfish. Be giving. Be open. Be smart. Love. Hope. Watch the sun melt the sky come morning. Know who is worthy of your time. Replay soft moments in your mind, so that you may return to them when all around you is hard and rough. Do something impossible. Use the lessons you've learned, for goodness sake, so you don't keep repeating the same mistakes. Remember that you can fill the hole in your heart with words. Remember that no one is worth your happiness. Remember that happiness comes with sadness, but that happiness will return once more. Remember that life happens outside of social media and a cell phone. Keep living green. Keep eating vegetarian/vegan. Keep exercising. Exfoliate your beautiful skin with baking soda, and use coconut oil to stop the mid-winter, dry-skin itching. Experiment with more spices. Enjoy your new business enterprise. Write furiously for hours on end. Create. Do. Struggle. Be angry. Be angry at the right things (and people). Work through your anger. Live true to who you are. Let no one define who that is or take it away. Go to school. Love your work. Love your students and your cohort. Wonder Trade more Pokemon. Nap. Travel. Drink tea. Drink wine. Laugh. Cry. Cry some more. Forgive--yourself and others. Explore your past. Explore the future. Live in the moment. Take 2016 and woo her like you've wooed yourself. This is your year. Yours. It's about time you claimed one for yourself, instead of giving her away to everyone else.
And to my dear and beautiful readers:
Whether your year was one of the best or one of the worst, thanks for reading my blog. Keep coming back for book reviews and other goodies. Oh! And don't forget to buy my book. Love ya! Happy New Year!
Until next time!