What if you fly?

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Another 365 days around the sun. A day I always take to reflect on all the things those days brought and sit in gratitude for being alive. This past year has been without a doubt the hardest year of my life. But I would not define it in a negative light, I’m just not wired that way. I would define it as pure strength. This past year showed me strength in myself I have never known. Strength that was deep inside the core of my bones, waiting for the moment I needed it most, and damn, did I ever need it. It showed up because I chose to show up for myself. 

At times over the past 365 days, I honestly doubted if I would make it. Some days held experiences that shook me to my core, others held sadness I didn’t know how to carry. I am not the same, nor, will I ever be, but the scars that changed me don’t have to mean I’m different in a negative way. Some experiences suck, to understate and put it bluntly. But how we come out of it doesn’t have to suck. The purest form of strength comes from the heart. I believe that, I have witnessed it. Though, I am not ready to share my story, I’m still in the thick of it, still healing and I don’t know what that will look like just yet. What I do know is this: I am always willing and here to share my light, even if sometimes it feels dark and dim and barely there. There’s always something for me to give. There’s hope and light in any situation…always. 

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This past year showed me strength in myself I have never known.

I will not sit in the hardships this year brought, because at the end of the tunnel, there is always a light. For me, it was dim at first, I still felt underwater. But then I felt hands supporting me, guiding me, pulling me to the top. Coming from all directions and from places I thought had been long forgotten. They made the path a little brighter and held space for me to find breath again. They hugged me tight and didn’t let me slip away. But the real person swimming to the top was me, even if I felt at times like my legs couldn’t move.

My biggest win from this past year was choosing myself, choosing to reclaim parts of me that I feared were lost for good, smothered in mess and brokenness. Choosing to rediscover the light that had grown so dim. In making those choices, I was reminded that when you choose yourself, the universe shows up for you. In pure gratitude I sit in a place I never thought I’d be, because the universe continued and continues to show up for me in the most incredible and unexpected ways. 

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There’s hope and light in any situation…always.

In all vulnerability, for a number of reasons, I’m not thrilled about turning another year older. Partly feeling like some years were stolen, partly feeling like none had passed at all because I’ve been asleep for so long. Sadly, in dwelling on that, I would be choosing to write a new chapter on a terrible note. How recklessly out of character for an optimist! So with that I say a bittersweet farewell to this past year and I will walk tall and strong into my 29th year, head held damn high, carrying all the lessons I have learned over the last year. Those hard times led me to believe I was weak, I was incapable, that I was alone. They were dead wrong. Everyday I gained strength, courage, and bravery, disguised as weakness. I wrestled with pain I didn’t know could be felt, pain I don’t know if I could articulate to this day. I felt the world around me going up in flames, burning me from the inside out, but still, I stood and walked. Yes I have scars, yes they run very deep. But out of those scars grows an unimaginable beauty. Beauty I will carry with me into this new chapter that will shine in ways I can’t wait to see, and when I’m ready, I will share it with the world. 

Please remember this:

There are people thinking of you, even when you feel like no one is. There are people who want to hear your story, let you cry on their shoulder, weep with you, laugh with you, hug you tightly, and celebrate with you, even when you feel completely and utterly alone. They are out there, you just have to open up and find them–or let them find you. Please never hide, even if you feel completely in the dark. We are all lights, you get to decide how bright you feel. And sometimes we just need others to shine a little light on us to remind us of our brightness. However dim you may feel today, know that you are not alone.

Thank you to my dear friend Katy Doyle for freezing her fingers off to take these photos. Thank you to all of my friends who read this post prior, encouraged me, helped me edit, and questioned and pushed me to pour more of myself into it.

Lastly, thank you to you who’s reading this for taking the time to listen.