I remember how wonderful it felt to write. I recall the great release I would experience when I unloaded my feelings, thoughts, my observations on a myriad of topics. I felt safe in the thought that I would have a certain amount of anonymity. I didn’t promote this blog with any great intensity. In my estimation, I didn’t really think anyone would be particularly interested in my musings; except for my friends. I have a journal that I write in regularly, it really helps, but for whatever reason, I found this online journal had more impact because it forced me to be more focused. I have always struggled with focus. Once I moved to Toronto, the frequency with which I posted diminished. As I sit on my sofa, wrapped in a blanket, typing away, I remember how good it felt to write for the simple joy of writing.
I find the later part of December is a time for contemplation, I’m certain I’m not alone in this reflective mood. 2016 was an amazing year. I can actually admit, it was a year of personal growth. Personal growth is not easy, it can be painful to learn that issues you thought you had addressed were still very much present, still hardwired behaviour. Realization of issues is only the first part, the easy part; what’s hard is doing something about it. If you are going to really grow as a person, you have to make hard choices. This was a really big year for that. In honouring myself, I find myself lonelier than usually but I also feel stronger and more at peace than I have ever felt in my life.
I am an optimistic person, this is a blessing, it can also be a curse but in my case, it is very detrimental to seeing things as they are. I grew up in an emotionally and physically abusive environment, I developed a high degree of sensitivity. This sensitivity protected me to a certain extent, I became very adept at sensing danger, knowing when to hide, to be invisible, or finding ways to sooth the troubled beasts who were very capable of causing me harm. In order to make sense of an insane situation, I started to create excuses for unacceptable behaviour. Your family is supposed to be the one true thing you can count on to keep you safe, to love you unconditionally; if this is not the case, it must be you, right? The only way for me to survive was to accept that it must be me, that I must be very difficult to love. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt that I wasn’t good enough, if I was, they would love me. As a result of this misguided belief, I have invested much effort in being worthy of love, to be good enough, kind enough, smart enough…I could go on but I’m certain you see the point.
Growing up this way has had a huge impact on all of my relationships. Not feeling good enough was always my constant companion. It caused me to try too hard in almost every aspect of my life. It resulted in making me an easy target to be bullied and to be taken advantage of by mean-spirited people. God only knows how hard I would try to lavish people with anything I could whenever the slightest kindness was shown to me. When I was on my month long solo adventure, I had a great deal of time to revisit many of my relationships…it was sobering, it made me sob, it made me angry, it steeled my resolve to make it stop.
I am no longer that frightened little girl who was terrified that my parents would get in trouble for hurting me. I am no longer that young woman who ate as much as I could to isolate me from the potential of having to be in a relationship. I am no longer a corporate doormat that will put up with nonsense. I am no longer a middle-aged woman who will settle for poor quality friendships. I am no longer a woman who will settle for someone who is unable to love me fully. I am now a woman whose eyes are wide open and who sees things as they truly are. I am not hard to love, I am more than good enough, I am wonderful and I am beyond grateful for this realization.
This amazing shift in personal perception is the product of therapy, introspection, and the good fortune of allowing truly amazing people in my life, and of letting go of false friendships. I spent that last couple of years removing physical and financial anchors, but the real work I needed to do was the removal of human anchors. I am getting better every day. My only regret is that it took me so long to see myself the way the world sees me: talented, intelligent,beautiful,imaginative and kind.
Not everyone will like me, and that is more than okay. Do you know what else is okay? It’s okay for me to not like everyone. It’s okay to disagree with people. How liberating. Hardwired behaviour is difficult to change but it is not impossible, it’s just a labour of love, self-love. I have come to the conclusion that I need to put as much effort into self-care as I have given the world in my 47 years.
2016 changed me. I am different. I believe that I will continue to grow and evolve. This feeling of true acceptance is scary and wonderful. 2016 was the year of saying yes. Oh my, I did say yes! I travelled, I fell in Love. I said goodbye to Love.I changed roles, I moved. I truly became self-aware, I feel in love with my most authentic self. I found out that I’m pretty fucking awesome. In discovering that little truth, I no longer had any want to spend time with people who made me feel otherwise. Disloyal people can kiss my ass. Vapid, drama seekers, I simple don’t have time, high school ended a long time ago.
2017 is just around the corner. I welcome it with open an open heart and mind. Who knows what adventures lie in store. All I know is that I am excited to honour every single day.