To quote Grey’s Anatomy (the TV show), Meredith once says “Bones break. Organs burst. Flesh tears. We can sew the flesh, repair the damage, ease the pain. But when life breaks down, when we break down, there’s no science. No hard and fast rules. We just have to feel our way through.”
That’s what I feel like I’ve been doing this last year – feeling my way through.
I started to feel a new kind of confidence. It’s not a type of text-book confidence like it used to be before. It’s a type of confidence that takes longer to grow, but it’s harder to break. It’s slow, and it’s painful sometimes, but it’s a part of me that is untouchable and I can feel strong in that.
I found myself in many “moments” this last year – always alternating between the kind of moment where everything clicks and comes together beautifully and naturally and the kind of moment where everything stops making sense and falls away beautifully and naturally.
Then there came a moment where I started looking at my life that I have instead of the life that I think I’m going to have – and feeling the beauty in that. Because there is beauty in that. And realizing that there are things you can do right now. There are things that are beautiful right now.
I learned to breathe into these moments. I learned to breathe into my anxieties, into my depth, and the wonder of my life. If I keep breathing, I cannot be conquered.
I tried to start seeing life through simple moment-by-moment awareness. It’s still a little bit blurry, and I have had to adjust my vision – but it is this awareness that gives me access to my universal options. And my options are – what can I do to remain the same, and what can I do to be better? What can I do to take that step from adequate to extraordinary?
I made more friends this year too. That was nice. I’m kind of slow with friends thing sometimes, I guess. I found a group of people who I like, who make me laugh, and who I can feel wonderfully comfortable around. They are my people, and I am theirs.
My life has also taught me the importance of living with emotional integrity. I don’t always get it right every day. I learned that my happiest days are the days where I live with integrity. When my actions and thoughts are totally aligned with the kind of woman I see myself as.
I started listening to the quiet voice that speaks to me when I am baking a cake, or painting my toes, or meditating, or making my morning coffee. This voice knows me. And I try to stop listening to the distressed voice that talks to me when life hasn’t gone my way. That voice doesn’t know me. It doesn’t know anything about me, other than my desire to be in control. I want to live my life under the influence of a deep knowingness and relationship with myself, not under the influence of a power struggle. In my fights for power, against what life is showing me, I always lose.
I learned that relationships are negotiated. In fact, I learned that most things in life are negotiated and renegotiated constantly. I realized I needed to get in on that if I wanted to have any kind of authority over my life. So I started calling the shots. Sometimes. I’m still kind of working on that.
I caught glimpses of true intimacy with myself and with other people. It is a recipe of honesty and kindness, a perfect balance of both trust and more importantly, trustworthiness.
“This is what marriage really means: helping one another to reach the full status of being persons, responsible and autonomous beings who do not run away from life.”
“If you feel hunger for total nurturing – someone continuously anticipating your needs – don’t start dating. Start therapy.”
I gave myself permission to start over. To finally say “Things were a certain way for a while, and it was great. And now things are going to be different. Things are allowed to be different.”
When I gave myself permission to start over, I gave myself the gift of recreating myself. To re-negotiate the rules I had been living by. Everything started to change.
I saw that I didn’t really know where I stood with myself. I knew that because I didn’t always know how to make my own decisions. When I know where I stand with myself, and cultivate the ability to stand strong in my own space, my choices become clear, and I start intuitively knowing which ones I need to make.
I think I grew up a lot this last year, and it took a lot of courage, because there were certainly times where it felt uncomfortable as hell. I guess they call them growing pains. I think I grew up because I started to look at how I spend my days, rather than how I spend my life. So I started spending my days the way I would like to spend my life, because I realized that ultimately, what you do in your days is what you do in your life. I started taking care of the minutes and the hours took care of themselves.
I think the biggest way that I grew up this year is that I learned to be real. I used to have all these colourful beliefs, and that was great, but then I started to realize that what you believe isn’t what matters. You can believe whatever you want. It’s not what you believe that matters, but how you live your life that matters. If I want to be anything in this life, I have to have a colourful life, not just colourful beliefs.
And so this is where I am today. I’m in a part of my life that is strange and unfamiliar sometimes, but I live with the knowing that my life is becoming cozier every day, wrapping itself around me into the snuggest of fits.
And this is how I find myself today, on my birthday. The day that I turn 22. Well worn, well held, and well loved.