As many of us do, I find myself reviewing the last year of my life in preparation for what the new year will bring. Safe to say, in my case, things can only get better. And, try as I have to wallow in self-pity, feeling sorry for myself and my situation, I am actually thrilled that the new year has arrived.
I never thought, as I look back over the last 6 years, that things could possibly get worse, but they did. Some things beyond my control, some bad choices and some plain shit luck contributed to what most would refer to as a year of hell. It was. But, during that year of hell, I learned more about myself and the people around me than I ever would have had I not experienced a series of unfortunate events.
So many people say that it is when you are at your lowest that you learn not only who your friends are but also who you are. There could not be a truer statement.
During the past year, I learned, that I don’t ever want to change who I am. In my weakness and through my troubles, I have learned valuable lessons. I have learned how to live in a way that was so beyond my comprehension previously, that I am honestly grateful for having gone through the hardships. In the dark time, I had people reach out to me. Some expected and some so unexpected that their presence in my life will forever be cherished. And, not necessarily for extending the proverbial olive branch, but for just being kind, supportive, caring, concerned and in some cases selfless with the extent of their efforts to lift me up and help me through.
I tend to remove myself from people and things when times get difficult. I whittle down my surroundings so that they are tolerable. To keep things to myself and to hide. It is truly a blessing that I am surrounded by friends, family and loved ones that waited for me while in hiding or pushed me into the light. I had more support than I ever knew, ever asked for or even thought I wanted.
This year, things will change, and as my journey takes a whole new direction, I am going to thank 2013 for teaching me those life lessons. I will embrace who I have become as a result of going through a real-life nightmare, but there are definitely things about myself that will not change ~ ever. I will not allow my experiences to evolve into something ugly. I love too much, I am emotional, I trust too quickly and freely, I wear my heart on my sleeve, at times I make bad choices, I get hurt by things that other people sluff off, and often, my willingness to please is unhealthy. Some would view these qualities as a hinderance or as negative. I choose to believe that these qualities are who I am as a person and be thankful for them. They are to be embraced by me, as they are the true core of my personality.
However, now, thanks to my experiences, I am stronger, smarter, more resilient, adaptable and ultimately, able to see things from an entirely different perspective. It is quite possible, as I reflect on the last year, that it will prove to be the most valuable year of my life. It may have been a nightmare getting here, but I am here. And, apparently, if I haven’t broken yet, I will not break anytime soon.