So here we are, another year pretty much over and I, another year older, tomorrow. Wiser? Maybe. Happy? Yes. Different? Definitely.
There is no way to write a blog post at the end of Twenty Twenty without talking about the way this year has shaped our lives. In so many ways.
A year which I can safely say has been a hard one for most of us.
Yet, as always, hindsight is a magical thing. And what better way to understand the last ten months, than to write about the way it changed me, personally.
As for us all, I’m sure, the year started off in a very undramatic way. With ‘new year, new me‘ resolutions. A year where I was to rise in every way I could.
Little did I know, it would take being at below rock bottom for me to even be ready to start.
Twenty Twenty would be the year I would suffer in ways I had never before. And through that suffering, become someone I never knew I had the capability of becoming.
My world shattered. I broke.
And as I lay with my heart ripped apart and my soul torn in half, I began to understand myself and how I had come to be someone I had never wanted to be.
As I just survived the days ahead, I healed in other ways. From the actions of others that had led me down the path of codependency and the loss of everything I was.
All while a pandemic hit my hometown and we found ourselves in lockdown.
Alone. Lonely. Heartbroken and grieving.
What a revelation grieving turned out to be! Who knew you could grieve someone still alive. Grieve not only what has been lost but more importantly, all that was planned for the future. My future. Gone. The thought of having to start over again, making my sadness drip onto my cheeks, hand on chest as I felt the fresh waves of cracks there again.
I could look back at when the pandemic began. And re live all the moments that made me want to give up. And continue to write about them until the end of time; the pain never really goes. Fades, but remains as do the memories of the way it hurt.
Or I could write about how that time changed my life for the better.
Which I will do;
You see, as I started to look within, I discovered parts of myself I didn’t even know were there.
A freedom, in some ways, to use this time alone to explore who I really was and all I really wanted from this rollercoaster we call life.
I’d never had the opportunity. I had never had the need or want to search deep inside myself and pluck out all the things I wanted to change.
I’d just been happy to try make others happy and not really verbalise what I wanted, properly.
I just didn’t know how to.
And by happy, I mean compliant.
So I learnt.
I began to learn that I was worthy. Healing from traumas that had led me to believe that I was less than. Finding ways to be kind to myself while acknowledging that I was not perfect. Not that I ever thought I was!
But did I believe I was hard done by and was never to blame for all that had gone wrong in the months previous?
Did I need to take responsibility for the way I had behaved sometimes?
Did I have to realise that my words and actions were a result of unhealed fragments of my past, leading me to darker places than I’d care to admit, defensiveness, unhealthy coping mechanisms and a need to be able to control all that happened around me?
Oh hell yes.
Now, I’m not saying I achieved all of that in the four months I spent in lockdown. I am still learning and growing. And failing. And learning from the failures. Ten months on.
After deciding to shower myself with love and kindness, the healing overflowed into my physical.
I’d always believed that not only did my worth depend on who I was, but what I looked like. I hated my appearance. Disgusted with my body, I would spend my time constantly feeling the need to shape myself into someone who would be accepted, wanted.
Yet I don’t remember when I decided to wage war on my body.
It is almost as if I have always hated the how I looked. Instilled in me.
‘Normal‘ to despise parts of myself.
I have spent too many years believing I was not good enough because of my body shape. Too many years associating my worth with the amount of fat I carry on my body.
Hating my vessel. Angry at the stretch marks which scarred my skin. Mad that my stomach wouldn’t remain flat.
Devastated that my hips were wider than I thought possible and horrified that my breasts drooped.
I spent all that time wishing I was attractive, wishing that someone would love this body so that I didn’t have to.
And even then, not believing when they said they did.
A perpetual cycle of disgust.
But as I began to see a new light, a new mindset emerged. I began to look at myself in the mirror in a new way. I saw myself differently.
Instead of hate, acceptance, love.
Instead of disgust, thankfulness, grateful.
For this body has carried me through every day I didn’t think I could get through.
Every night when I didn’t want to wake up to see the sun shine through my window.
This body which has kept me alive through the toughest time and held my broken self.
My body, able to feel the gentlest of caresses as fingers trail my skin softly.
My body, the vessel for the heart that still continues to love.
My body, strength and power.
Magic and magnificence.
I’ve learnt that self love is a choice. Every day. A choice to speak kindly about yourself and body. It is choosing to ignore standards put in place by society, and you, and accepting yourself as you are in this moment.
It is realising that your body shape, your weight, never determines your worth as a person.
A raw freedom in choosing to live every day in acceptance and peace.
To be at peace was always the goal.
Thinking of only the things I can control and allowing life to happen.
Too much time has been spent focusing on the bad, the past and the way it shaped me into the person I am.
The person I was.
Because this year, I found the strength to change.
I found the courage to admit where I had been mistaken and what I needed to do to find my own happiness without depending on anyone else for it.
So I end Twenty Twenty whole.
In all the ways I should be.
I am ending Twenty Twenty tomorrow, a year older.
Different in every way and true at my core. My authentic self in all ways.
My mind strong and ready to continue growing as we enter a new year, new challenges.
My body loved and radiating the kindness shown to her.
For all that this year has thrown at us, at me, I can truly say today, I am happy.