A Year in Retrospect

Healing is not a linear process. I’ll repeat that: healing is not a linear process. No matter what it is that you’re overcoming, you’ll have days where you feel on top of the world and other days where you want to hide under your bed and become one of the items you’ve forgotten was even under there. It will get better, but it also might get worse before it does.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last year with 2021 coming to a close. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve also made a lot of decisions that have benefited me in huge ways. I found a wonderful therapist (therapy isn’t a bad word, guys), started exercising regularly, and spent a lot of time giving myself the attention I felt guilty for giving myself in the past. I’ve focused on the important people in my life, the people who actually matter, and I’ve worked to let go of the ones who hurt me, who turned their backs on me, and who have helped to make my life more difficult.

I’ve also faltered A LOT. I’ve been too forgiving, too trusting, too willfully ignorant to my own gut feelings. I’ve allowed myself to be hurt and torn down and I’ve allowed people who did not deserve a second, third, fourth, FIFTH chance to whisper pretty words and empty promises into my ear. I’ve welcomed painful memories with open arms and I’ve spent too much time dwelling on negativity because, let’s be real, we all do that once in a while.

Some nights, I stare at my ceiling and wonder “what if,” I pick myself apart and I find ways to blame myself for things I’m not even guilty of. I tell myself that I’m selfish, too needy, too lazy, too involved, and I find ways to convince myself that I’m not worthy. But there are also nights where I look at the things I’ve accomplished this year. I permanently left a situation that broke me, I closed a chapter on what I thought my life would be forever, found my true friends and family. I picked myself up off the floor and I moved to a new city the farthest from my family I’ve ever been. I’ve TRIED again. I’ve tried for myself and others. I’ve learned that, most of the time, I am kind, I am strong (even when I don’t want to be), and I am cared for.

Somehow, accepting that there are people who genuinely care for me, even those who don’t even know me personally, has been the hardest part. Even saying it now makes me want to cry because I often feel like an imposter. I wonder why I have the life I do or why I deserve to have the amazing people around me that I do. I wonder why I have devoted followers and I struggle with the feeling that I’m somehow inauthentic. But then I remember that I found myself this year, like REALLY found myself for better or worse. I know who I am now and I know what I want (mostly).

So please, go easy on yourself as you look back on the year you had. Chances are, you’ve accomplished more than you realized. You deserve the same love and patience you offer others. You deserve to be loved in a healthy, positive way, not to be possessed or abused or looked down on. You are incredible just for being alive, just for getting out of bed and taking a hot shower on the days you’d rather not be a human. You aren’t alone in whatever you’re feeling, whether that’s something good or something bad. Someone else has felt the same joy you might be feeling in this moment, and they’ve also felt the absolute devastation you might be struggling with, too. Someone else will always have it better than you, but someone else entirely will always have it worse. We are constantly in flux, and that’s what life is.

I hope that everyone reading this right now is able to find peace, find success, find a light in the dark. You’ve made it through another year, even if you feel like it’s just passed you by or like you’re just going through the motions. You have more to offer the world than you know and you will experience happiness again, despite any pain and any hardship weighing on you right now.

You are loved. All you have to do is open your eyes and you’ll see it.