Thinking of the past year leaves me feeling nostalgic and aching. Although, there is a taste there, of something sweet like honey. I think of all that was endured, for me, and so many others, then I think of the strength these trials have provided me. This year was like getting on an airplane with incessant turbulence, knuckles white and constantly praying for a safe landing. This was the year that tried to kill me, and instead of rolling over silently, I raged and spat in God’s face.
This was the year I learned that not all love is proper love. This was the year I left my abuser, which is almost as crippling as leaving behind yourself. This was the year my fists met the walls and those I loved, countless times. This was a year of rage and sweat and iron in the mouth.
This was a year of leaving behind yourself, and rediscovering it. I fell asleep one night, and in the morning, felt as if my organs had been rearranged, my skin a different hue. How much can you transmute, change into another person, before it becomes some sort of suicide, some sort of murder?
This was the year I almost lost my mother. Countless nights of trying to find sleep on hospital chairs, only to check her breathing every ten minutes. This was the year I learned to forgive my family, the year I learned that time may be just a concept but it still runs out. This was the year I grew stronger, yet not callous.
Many, many times I thought this year would be the one to break me. I am still astounded to feel my heart beat, to see my reflection, to see a woman still fighting who tried giving up over and over.
With all the terrible that came my way, there was grace. There was love. There was skin on skin, late nights with forever friends, discovering the touch of someone who doesn’t want to harm you, driving 90 mph in the darkness, petting zebras, seeing someone you almost lost forever smiling and happy again.
Maybe there was a balance this year. Maybe, with all the terror that was thrust upon me, I found a way to discover a whole new beauty.
I almost lost my mother, and instead of living in constant fear of ever losing her again, I have learned that everything we say, everything we do, is paramount. There is never a more present time than the second you are living in. You will never be as young as you are in this moment. Say what you feel, act upon your urges, love without restraint. Because we have control of these things, but what we do not have control of, forces, like time, space and death do not care about your love. Not a second goes by where I do not drink in the life around me like a little girl, wide-eyed, discovering things for the first time. Because each day is a first time. Each breath is a first time.
All I have to say about leaving someone you love who is abusive:
Do it. There will be days where you think you will regret it, there will be days you question your worth. You may want to give up. It may take a whole year to find yourself again. But you will. Leaving will be the worst and best thing to ever happen to you. But you have to understand it is not the pain of leaving that hurts, it is the abuse that hurts. It is not your fault to be the one who leaves. It is never your fault. Months and months have passed and every time a voice is raised toward me, I find myself questioning, did I bring this upon myself? Every time I bump into a chair, I still say sorry. This, I haven’t figured out yet. Maybe, time really will heal me. But it’s not easy. I didn’t lose myself, I threw her away. I left her there to rot with him. And this year, not only did I get to discover a new me, I decided who I wanted to be. I wanted to be kinder, more humble, more gentle. I wanted to be someone who people looked at and thought, that girl must be so happy. I was sick of being the girl everyone pitied, the girl everyone lost respect for because of the things she allowed to be done to her. And now, I rarely see that girl in the mirror anymore. I am an entirely new person, with new values and opinions, new desires and mannerisms. The worst and best thing to happen to me this year coincide. It’s funny that life is like that. It’s funny how something can almost kill you, yet be the same thing to save your life.
I never make resolutions for the new year, but this year, I want to be the best version of myself I can be. I hope this next year will allow the time it takes to truly heal. To truly be the woman I know I will be. This next year, I want to focus on my family, those who have relentlessly been there for me, including myself. This year I am going to travel and learn and love and discover and create. This year will be the first year of my life.