The Right Stuff
What went right for you in 2013? (Prompt credit: Kat Mcnally)
In hindsight, 2013 was a bit of a bleak year for me, but I do my best not to look at it that way. In the midst of the loss and grief, there were a lot of good moments; This was mostly due to having finally become totally comfortable with the friends that I have in my life right now. And not that I didn’t have them in previous years, but this was the first year that I wasn’t terrified of being vulnerable with them. I didn’t have to hide or sugarcoat anything, but more importantly, I felt like I could be myself because I’ve finally begun to accept who I am as a person.
The following excerpt is from a larger essay that I wrote about healing, which I read at my first literary reading last night:
Reflecting on these last three and a half years has been similar to looking in a mirror; so much change has happened in one place, where I barely recognize who I was during freshman year. My mom used to ask me, “What happened to that happy little girl who would make up stories about fairies and princesses all the time?” She was still there, but had been buried underneath a lot of layers, and I needed to be in a healthy environment to find her again. I’d like to think that the core of our being never really changes, but just takes on different shapes as one goes through different seasons of life. This is particularly true for seasons of hardship and suffering. But just because there is pain doesn’t mean that there can’t be joy, especially when you’re surrounded by those that mean the most to you.
I see that healing is not a destination that must be reached in order to proclaim that all is OK. It’s a daily process of forgiveness and facing reality head on, along with surrendering what I can’t control. Above all, its all about choosing to actively live, rather than just exist or survive. And I don’t think I would have learned any of that without those who first became my friends and eventually like a second family.
They’ve heard my stories and seen my scars; those etched into my wrist as well as my memories. They know when I’m happy based on my giggle and laugh at how I tend to recall the most random facts or events. They’re aware of my independent spirit, but remind me that it’s important to ask for help. They see right through my attempted perfectionism and shower me with grace and acceptance. Some drive me crazy, but that doesn’t mean that I care for them any less. And there are also those who motivate me to stay grounded and be a better person.
I feel that I’ve been at a crossroads lately: there’s making peace with the past, while accepting that there’s going to be stuff that I’ll never completely get over. As I write this, there are a lot of changes that are beginning to take place, which is a breath of fresh air and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m now an adult and realize that moving in new directions is inevitable, but it’s still a little scary when your future is full of unknowns. I have my own dreams and ambitions, but am unsure as to how to make them a reality. My biggest fear is getting caught up in the chaos and losing sight of how far I’ve come; even more so, that I will lose myself all over again.
What I can do is rest in the fact that God has a way of bringing everything together the way that it should be; that the people that are meant to be in my life will always be there, even if it’s just in the doorway for a little while. Nothing will ever be exactly the way I envision it, but that doesn’t have to influence how I see myself. And that’s what real healing is; learning how to live somewhere in the middle of what is both bitter and sweet. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m not completely broken either. I don’t always make the best decisions, yet I choose not to wallow in regret. For the first time in a long time, I can say with confidence that I’m starting to feel whole again. I still have a ways to go, but I’m grateful knowing that I don’t have to do it alone.