On the eve of the New Year, I reflect on the crazy and wild year that was 2021. It was a year of great transformation for me. There were a lot of changes this year. Some good, some bad, some that made me want to die. Lol. To end this year on a positive note, I will concentrate on the lessons I’ve learned this year:
1. My superpower is my resilience. Life may get crazy and really rough shit may happen to me but I still get up the next morning and show up for myself and others no matter what. It’s important for me to keep moving. This might not work for everybody but it works for me. I may want to lay in bed and dwell in my misery on some days but the fighter in me says “no bitch, get up and do your thing”.
2.It’s okay to say “NO” and sometimes it might be crucial to my mental health to do so. As a former people pleaser that used to love to accommodate for the needs of others, this was a hard lesson to learn. People in your circle will understand that “NO” is a complete sentence and will not try to turn your “NO” into a yes to fulfill their own selfish needs. For me, it’s really a boundary that cannot be crossed.
3.Don’t compromise your authenticity for anyone. I used to have this need to be loved or liked by everyone and sometimes I did this thing where I toned myself down or compromised who I was to the point that I would lose myself. Yeah I don’t do that anymore. People can get tired of me and leave and then what do I have left after I’ve changed into this edited version of myself for them to swallow; a freaking hot mess with a lost sense of identity. Nah, from now on, everyone I meet gets the most authentic version of me. If they don’t like it, they can leave. It’s not a good thing or bad thing, the people that are meant to be in your life will stay.
4.Do whatever it takes to get through the day even if it seems or feels crazy (within reason). One of my favorite phases I’ve come up with for myself is “I may be crazy but at least I’m creative as fuck”. In July, I went through a rough time and had to find new and rather innovative ways to survive. I restarted my blog,I have written more than 100 poems /essays/writings since July, exercised so much I lost 20 lbs, and my most favorite, beat a specific phobia (I’ll blog more about this later on in the new year). I also made loads of videos since that time frame to document my progress and growth.
5. Stop apologizing for your feelings and/or over-explaining yourself. Before you start apologizing for your feelings or over-explaining yourself, ask yourself why you’re doing it. I used to do this a lot as a trauma response.
6. You never stop growing. I’ve learned this year through therapy that there were still these parts of me that were emotionally stunted due to trauma. To be honest with myself, I have to acknowledge that sometimes when I get super angry I go into this type of age regression where I convert back to being an impulsive child that acts out. It’s cringy to say the least but I think that when I get to this stage in my anger, I’m in survival mode and do this to feel like I’m in control of a situation. Now that I’m aware of this, I’m so much better at practicing the pause and mindfulness when I’m angry or I take my impulsive bratty inner child for a run. Lol.
7. No one or nothing can save you from the emptiness, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness you might feel except yourself. I used to think that I needed someone or something for me to feel complete but this year I realized I don’t. If I felt empty or numb, I would chase a new job, a new man, new friends, etc to try to have this feeling of being enough or complete. I won’t say I was wrong; I was just doing the best I could with the information I had at the time. This year I learned to really pause and take the time to appreciate the life that I do have. I also really learned how being alone can be really empowering. It was hard at first but slowly I really started to enjoy my own company. The transformation from being this needy and almost codependent woman to being this confident and independent woman has honestly sucked. However, after many therapy sessions and tears, for the first time in my life, I have a new feeling of self worth and confidence that I’ve never felt before. In all honesty, I feel like I’m finally the powerful woman I always wanted to but didn’t have the courage to be until now.
8. It’s important to take time to rest. I say this acknowledging that I’m privileged enough to take time off from both of my jobs without any consequences. At my second job, when my manager would ask me to stay later or work an extra shift, I would say yes because I felt I had to or needed to. I learned this summer to say “no” and draw my own boundaries with them. I learned that it’s crucial to me to have time to myself for my own well being. And in all honesty, I’ve used work as a way to avoid living my own often hectic and chaotic life especially when it got too overwhelming. Now, I finally have the life I want that I don’t feel the need to run away from.
9. Live your truth out loud. This year I’ve made the conscious decision to be more honest about the life I live. I used to be ashamed and I tried to mask certain parts of my life. I no longer really do that. Most of the people at both my jobs and family know about the complicated personal life I’ve had, my diagnosis, and other areas of my life I thought I needed to keep private. To my surprise, people are incredibly support and not judgmental at all. I’m incredibly lucky that in this area in my life, people are really rooting for me and not against me.
10. It is important for me to feel my feelings and ride the rollercoaster of overwhelming emotions when it comes and it doesn’t make me a weak person. Before being diagnosed with BPD, I used to get so mad at myself or felt shame whenever I felt the intense emotions rise up within me when something upset me or made me sad. I felt weak and irrational and tried to rationalize and fix whatever was wrong with me right away. After my BPD diagnosis, I learned that there is nothing wrong with my emotions. I also learned that it’s important to honor my emotions. It’s important for me to observe my intense emotions and listen to what my mind and body needs. If I’m cranky, maybe I need to rest. If I’m super angry, maybe I need to write salty poetry or exercise. If I’m sad, maybe I need to listen to sad music and cry . 99 percent of the time, honoring my emotions like this has worked and what use to take days of misery to get over now takes hours
I don’t know what lessons 2022 has in store for me but for the first time in a long time I’m excited about life. I’m excited about all of the growth and progress I’ve made this year even if it has been rough at times. I’m excited that right now I’m disciplined enough and have the right tools and environment to continue to make progress with my emotional and physical health. A year ago, I was miserable, tired AF and working at my 2nd while people were feeling sorry for me but today I’m at home in my PJ spending time with my boys and I’m full of optimism. A lot can change in a year and while 2021 was bitter sweet, I’m thankful for the lessons. Here is to 2022 being another year full of lessons, full of growth, and full of hope.