A lot can happen in a year.
I’ve heard that saying so many times, in so many different ways, in moments when I felt happiness and moments when I felt saddened. Regardless of when I'd read it, though, I never really took the time to realize it’s truth. I never felt like I needed to. I’d always been relatively happy and I’d figured that this was life and I was living it as full as I could.
A year ago my world changed in many different ways. At the time, I didn’t want to accept any of it. I locked it away, threw the key and let it sink in the ocean - as deep as it would go. I watched the waves hit the rocks as the dark water took me away, until all that was left was the body of a girl and the mind of a warrior.
So - How much can truly happen in a year?
I’d be lying if I said that this year had been full of nothing but joy and excitement because, as we all learn, self discovery is a fickle bitch. The amount of my own destruction throughout the year is enough to prove that self discovery is about fighting the inner battle of who you are and who you want to be.
We leave the past behind as if it’s a civil duty to ourselves. The times that left us hardships both agonizing and exasperating are times that give us both anguish and teachings. The times that make us sick to our stomachs, that make us beg for a way out. The times that leave us darkened with demons of torment, waiting patiently for us to crack.
It is, however, time for me to thank all of those empty nights and hollow hopes. With a heavy heart, I’ve come to accept that long, painful August night one year ago today. The day I became exactly who I was supposed to be, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
When someone breaks your heart they do it unapologetically because that is exactly what they need to do. Regardless how much they love you or how much they care about your well being, there is a point where they need to put themselves first, and no matter how much it hurts you, you need to accept that it’s what needs to be done for the both of you.
Maybe a year ago I wouldn’t have believed those words, let alone wrote them down myself. However, I was in no place to be giving any kind of life advice at the time. I was a lot of things, but levelheaded was not one. It wouldn’t be one for many months, as I was soon to learn.
We do many things to get over love. Sadly, a lot of those things we may not be proud of. Like reckless nights on the town, in someone else’s bed, far away from the people who care most about us. Nights that end in tears and lost minds. We look for any kind of fill to place a patch on the void that’s created when we lose someone like I’d lost him.
However, even with the times that fill us with regret, there are the times that make us happy to be alive. Like getting that drivers license you’ve been procrastinating on, or changing your hair to purple and letting the abstract feelings soak in as you walk around town on a brisk winter day. Like when you go to a friends house - a friend you neglected seeing for years - only to realize you’re still best friends and the group of people they have are people who should have been in your life the whole time. Like moving in with amazing people for a few months and getting that experience you never got in college. Like moving away from your hometown and working on a remote island, breathing in the nature around you until city life is nothing but a memory.
And though my heart still aches sometimes, the one thing I never thought I would do has become my reality, and the world is on my fingertips waiting for me to walk it. Every step a pain that will remind me why I’m alive, and every push forward will show me that there are harder things to do in life then lose love, because love is never truly gone. It’s always with you through the people you share it with and the people you felt it for in the past.
The people of our past may have hurt us, but it’s with great intention. This is because with every page turn, there’s always a new chapter. So many words left to read, to write, and to live. So many more nights of wine and stars, laughing and crying, being who you want to be and who you should be.
One year is a long time and can be full of so many different opportunities. You can either let the rough patches push you into a hole, or you can grab a rope and pull yourself up. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s good to fall in because it’s the climb back out that gives you more strength in the long run.
It’s taken me a year to finally come to terms with who I had been and who I want to be - for me to be okay with everything that has been thrown my way. I let this year kick my ass in all the best of ways. I moved; twice. I bought a 75L backpack and an international plane ticket on a whim after a Netflix movie inspired me beyond belief. I quit my job of three years and fell in love with a place far away from home, where the people are new and the land is forever changing. I changed my appearance more times then I can remember, both physically and mentally. I let myself get closer to my family, only to learn that I’m loved and appreciated more than I’d first thought. I went on road trips where I was in charge of where we landed. And the sushi. So much sushi.
I fell in love with a person that showed me I could be so much more. I fell in love with someone who reminded me everyday that I was beautiful, confident, and worth every minute. I fell in love with a person who showed me what it was to have strength alone. That person was the one. The rock to my life. The person I’d always needed. That person was me. I just needed to lose someone more important to me than myself to realize that, regardless where I go in life, I’m the one. I’m the person that will always keep me going. I’m the person with the strength to move mountains and cross rivers, jump stones and slide down hills.
Where I’m going with this is - Let yourself break. Let yourself be weak. Live for the weakest moments where you wake up ashamed and confused. Let your decisions exacerbate with one more drink. Live like life is nothing more then a lesson waiting to be taught. Let yourself find those lessons within the hardships that are placed on your shoulders. It may feel impossible at the time, but everyday is a new chance of self discovery. It takes a storm to grow a flower and it takes years to grow a forest. We may be young, but we’re free.
And with every root that grows, another piece of the forest is born.