What a year! Highs and lows. Happiness and sadness. Lessons were learned, mistakes were made. Bridges were burned and new relationships were built. Every cliche in the book pretty much summed up my year. However, I did learn a few incredible things about myself during the past 12 hardest months of my life:
1. It’s okay to put yourself first.
My whole life used to revolve around making others happy. While it’s true that I’m happiest when others are happy, I also lied to myself for several years about just how miserable I was on the inside. We’re all familiar with the saying “you can’t please everyone”, and I finally stopped trying to prove that statement wrong. 2014 was the first year I can remember that I made decisions that made me happy, and I didn’t care if others agreed or not. It’s such a freeing feeling, not being weighed down by others opinions or emotions. Who cares if you spend way too much money on granola bars or if you haven’t swept your apartment in months. No one, that’s who.
2. If you need help, ask for it.
I used to be a firm believer in doing things myself and that asking for help was a sign of weakness. I’m not sure if it’s because I lost my mom so early, or some other reason that was imprinted on my brain as a wee one, but I had this crazy notion that I could never depend on anyone. “If you want something done right, do it yourself” was a common phrase in my life. Well, let’s just say in 2014, I needed some freaking help. And turns out, people came out of the woodwork with love, support, and anything else I needed before I even asked. It was amazing. I learned that it’s okay to cry on your best friend’s couch while drinking cheap wine and stuffing yourself cheesecake. And you know what else? They won’t judge you. They may drink some of your wine, but they won’t judge you. I realized that being open and honest about your heartache can lead to healing. Not only for you, but for others as well.
3. I am beautiful.
Okay, I know that sounds conceited, but I swear, that’s not how I mean it. A year ago, I would have never, ever, in a zillion years, considered writing that statement. Me? Beautiful? Hell to the no. Sure, I’m not magazine-cover pretty…I’ll never be blonde, 5’9′, size 2, with porcelain skin and baby blue eyes. But, honestly, I don’t want to be anymore. I like my look now. Freckles for days, bright green eyes, nerdy glasses, sassy bangs, and always great shoes. It doesn’t matter to me if no guy ever takes a second look in my direction, I don’t dress/act/look a certain way for them, I do it for me. I’ve lost 52 pounds (so far!) for me. I spent way too much money on a new little black dress that I feel amazing in (even though I have nowhere to wear it yet) for me. I’m getting a second tattoo for me. It feels good to be comfortable in my own skin. And it feels good to be confident. Boom.
4. Life is messy.
When my life “fell apart” earlier this year, I thought I would stick out like a sore thumb. I quickly realized that no one’s life is perfect. And even more so, if it appears perfect on the outside, chances are it’s a hot mess under that pretty facade. People are fake, lives are confusing, mistakes happen, honesty is rare, and those closest to you may fail you. I’ve come to realize that this is just how life is, just a normal fact. I don’t expect perfection in myself, why did I set others to that standard? I’m learning to love people for who they are, weaknesses, faults, and mistakes included. I can only hope that others do the same for me.
Of course I learned many more things this past year, but they all tend to fall into one of the categories above. After everything I’ve been through so far, I can gratefully say, “see ya later, 2014! You kicked my ass, but I think I gave you a run for your money!”.
And to 2015: bring. it. on!