Can you believe I have six versions of this blog post? Because there are just no words to describe my 2016 to you. It’s been a year of throwing my hands in the air with both frustration and excitement.
I started this year with something that was emotionally important to me.
After two and half years of waiting for my love to be reciprocated, the beginning of this year saw me finally let go. It is a feeling of freedom from the emotional clutch love tends to have on you. I told myself enough is enough. I give up on dating and the idea of perfect men.
I began focusing more on what I was doing. This life that had been forced upon me didn’t seem so bad anymore. I made friends I cared about. I met people who seemed out of my world. I identified ways that would make me better at work. I still wished I could have had the life I’d wanted. But I no longer felt like a failure. So I gave up hope.
My new work and my plan B didn’t give me enough mental energy to blog though. My writing style began to change. I neither had the time nor the ability to write. I considered pulling down my blog. I thought it’s time to give up writing.
The idea only grew stronger with every draft I couldn’t finish, with every thought I couldn’t put into words. I remember that night. I was sitting by the window, staring at my computer. I didn’t want to hit Publish. The article was so cheesy, so romantic and so girly. It seemed like the worst thing I had ever written. Maybe I need to edit it a little, I thought to myself. Maybe I should just delete this article and this blog and admit I can no longer write! After an hour of arguing with myself, I finally published “To The Girl In Her Mid-20’s.”
You know what they say about taking chances? Letting that article stay was the best chance I ever took because “It went viral” is an understatement of what happened to me that week. It wasn’t the platforms that shared it, it wasn’t the BuzzFeed feature. It was that email. The one that gave me goosebumps because I had done this to someone’s life. This…
That blog wasn’t representative of what I normally write. But it reminded me why I do. The emails, messages, comments and love that poured in were each a reminder of why I started this blog. And I know for a fact that I’ll never forget again.
It was almost the happiest week of my life. Almost.
I was at work, just another day of life, when my phone rang. I knew what was coming. But sometimes, it’s better to not let your heart believe until it happens. And so the moment it came, I broke. With joy I’d never known before. One that made me run to the closest room and sob like a child. Because, so many people in this world continue to live life without one shot at chasing their dreams and I’d just gotten my second.
The moment my dad said, “It’s done. You’re going back.”
I could live to be 100 and never forget how grateful I’d felt in that moment. Grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for another chance. Grateful for a father that never gave up. Because I did. And if he had too, I wouldn’t have the ability to now tell you – After having to quit university half way, struggling through depression, battling suicidal thoughts, watching everyone I’d grown up with graduate, trying to be okay when my sister got closer to her degree – I AM BACK AT UNIVERSITY, FINISHING WHAT I BEGAN.
I am crying when I write this because nothing I ever say will do justice to the feeling that rises within me when I think about it. And I’ll say it a thousand times over – It wouldn’t have been possible without my father. And if we didn’t live in a very dysfunctional family, I’d probably hug him ‘thank you’ everyday of my life.
My classmates, unlike my last ones during degree year, are not rude. They are very nice people. We have fun. We all like cute cat pictures. And besides when criticising my apparently unreadable handwriting (jokes), there is never a dull moment. But going back and absorbing so much information after a long break is quite difficult. I’m no longer a straight A student. But that’s okay. I know I’ll get there.
The most difficult part of it all was having to be all alone. I’ve lived with my family these past three years and loneliness was suddenly all around me.
I wouldn’t move back, I wouldn’t give up what I’d just gotten. But if something could make it just a little better..
I turned to a friend I’d never gotten to really know for comfort. We grew closer and everyone else began to see in us what we hadn’t quite acknowledged and when we did, it was like nothing I’d known before.
It wasn’t butterflies, it was calm. When everything around me was in complete chaos, I felt relaxed. Waking up feeling like I’m somehow more important and special than I was yesterday. Finding the ability to be myself with no walls, no fears and no insecurities. Because irrelevant of what the world might think, somebody liked the crazy that was me.
And I told myself, “It’s a crush. It’s silly. You’ll get over it.” But then he texted words I’d longed to hear all my life for reasons so personal it makes me cry. “No matter what, I’ll never leave you to face anything alone. I’m here.”
They say you don’t always know the moment you begin to love someone. But I do. It was the moment I read those words and tears dribbled down my face. No, I don’t know if this is it. I don’t know if we’ll be married with kids in ten years. We want different things and hold different dreams. But today, with him, I’m happier than I’ve ever been with someone that wasn’t my family.
And to think, I’d given up on everything that had come back to me, better and happier.
I’ve gotten to know who I am this past year. I’ve had the ability to choose and I’ve made choices that were both logical and also, at times, emotional. Some of the choices were right and some weren’t quite. And I know the consequences of it all will come back to me next year. When every choice I make will define everything my future will be. Work, location, love. But I feel good about it. Because I’m waking up on the 1st day of 2017, exactly as who I am. No hiding, no pretending. Just me. With a smile on my face.
And I’m hoping it’s on yours too…