In my every year birthday reflection piece it is never what I'd have imagined it would be. When I think of this past year, being 26, I think of it as a life split in half. But I also reflect on this birthday and cannot help but acknowledge that little twinge of the fact that I did not intend for this birthday to exist. Every single year has been more than I could've dreamed of both good and bad. Welp, this year hasn't let me down in that aspect.
This year the word vulnerability really stands out in big bold letters. This year started with the dire grieving process of my favorite person to have walked this planet. When she left I felt such a loss of purpose and did not know what to do. I had paused my life to be there for her, to care for her, and to make sure she knew she wasn't alone her pain and her journey. The sense of loss was in many forms, but she had opened a door- that door of vulnerability.
A promise that I intended to keep dictated a few decisions when I felt in no place to decide on anything for myself. A promise to fight. So when in doubt, I made the decision to fight. I opened a can of worms in my life when I made the choice to stand up for myself against a very toxic & volatile person that had had me encompassed within them thinking I did not have the courage to break free. By doing this I had to rip myself and my life wide open for it to potentially be judged, dissected, microscopically looked at and examined. By doing this I had to be vulnerable. I had to take down the walls that were forced to be built for this person and attempt to rebuild the bridges used from all that leftover worn out wood to make my way back to the ones that could help me. I had to risk it all and lose someone and possibly a place that meant a lot to me in order to stand up for myself, for my worth, and for the healthy life I so desperately wanted, and at that point believed I deserved. But I did.
In the year of twenty-six, I got a taste of being believed and believed in- in a much different way than I have ever experienced. I thank those people immensely for believing and for doing it on the days I doubted it all and myself. You never let me lose sight of the truth, my truth, and my pain and experience. At 26, I finally got to experience this moment I've wanted for so long.
26 was a split year. It began in inescapable sadness and uncontrollable emotion of all sorts. It continued in a grey, blank and shut down stretch of months, and then had a flicker of that hope that sparkles so brightly within my soul. But it's easy to believe again when you are surrounded 24/7 with people who support you, dream with you and for you, and hope until you can hope again. I see now that it just masked the pain, it did not deplete it. After riding a high for a bit, reality set in and this new life I wanted didn't exist.
I got a new job this year that I can say I enjoy. I'm good at it. I created my website, I was in a routine. On paper I was doing everything asked of me, expected of me and then some. But I was laking the things I loved. I wasn't writing, I wasn't spending time with people, I was isolated inside my head. I was haunted. By the trauma, the memories and the flooding. Bowing out was not a simple decision. It was not a dramatic decision. It was not a long term planned decision. It was a last resort that I had never wanted to get to. To say that I had never tried so hard in my entire life to propel forward is a vast understatement. To tell me that I made a stupid choice and took an easy way out is ignorant and shows you do not know me at all. I fought my hardest to feel better, to be better. But no matter what I did I felt nothing. There was no magic in my life, no color, no dancing in the streets. Just fading. I so desperately wanted to feel better, different, to understand things that were simply not meant to be understood. I could no longer fathom even the mere thought of walking through a world like the one I was in for a moment more.
But here's the upside. I fight. As someone very pivotal in my life has said before, I rise. I may be nowhere near where I want to be, but maybe right now that's the point. To be away from where I was. Where I was was not serving me purpose, it was failing me. You can keep peddling through the wrong place forever and you will never get the results you are fighting for. I've been in the wrong lane this whole time. I have tried to belong in a place and with people that stifle me, that want me to stuff myself inside a box that I can't even see. I see things differently, I love differently, I experience differently. That does not mean it is wrong or too much. It just means that I am not surrounded by the right people. Not all people will be my people. I do not have to convince them to be. I just need to keep the ones that are, and seek more that I belong with.
The second half of 26 has introduced me to people that "get me" that love me, and some that truly care about me. It's also brought along some that do not, and I am learning that there is nothing wrong with me because of it. Not everyone gets to be a part of my life, my circle is mine to create. For the first time in my life- I solely get to choose who I get to engage with. In meeting new people I have walked in with a new level of vulnerability. Within a moment of vulnerability we can connect with others and in these moments I find my people. I look forward to meeting more, along with reintroducing myself to people I once knew.
Twenty-six ended right as I feel I am finally getting started. 26 is ending with acceptance of lack of justice and to not be so bitter or affected by it. It's ending in a different stage of grief than when I entered it. It's ending on a different road than I began on, thankfully. With a different view and a new perspective, I end 26. I end it with a vulnerability that I will be taking into 27. With a kindness and compassion, with a new acceptance of my past and my present. It's ending and beginning with boundless ignition of hope, inspiration, & so much more that you'll just have to stay tuned to see. I am not out of the hole I began in, but I see and feel the ladder now. I'm on my way clawing my way through, I will make it on my feet, hands and knees, who cares. Because one way or another, I will get there. Where? Well, wherever I want, how refreshing is that.
Twenty-seven, I will treat you with kindness like I have not seen in quite some time. I will clean my wounds, tend to the scars, and care for myself tenderly. I will as always promised be as fierce as I am known to be. I will get back to the inspiration, see the magic. I will remind myself that I have not lost though in so many ways it feels like I have. I will be there for myself as much as, wait no, more than I am for others. Because I will remind myself that I matter, too. I start you off with another tattoo, chopped red hair, and a whole new attitude. This isn't a rebuild, it's not even about finding my way back. It's about going somewhere different entirely. Somewhere new, unscathed. Somewhere meant for me, with people who belong there, too. As always, it's a process.