This will be a deeply personal and vulnerable post, so I respectfully ask those who have critical, negative or antagonistic remarks not to comment.
I am writing from the mindset of a woman who made certain life choices, faced the consequences, yet also felt the freedom of sharing her story with the world.
One of the most bizarre things I’ve grappled with over the past 2.5 years is that my brain has been trying so hard to get me to forget the “little” things, the daily ‘microaggressions’. So when something does happen, it’s almost like someone picking at an old wound that I’ve forgotten about. A traumatic shock or memory of the past comes flooding back to the forefront of my mind.
I’d also like to take just a moment more to share that I am a survivor — wait, no, a thriver. At fifteen, I experienced sexual assault and emotional abuse. In college, I found my footing in advocacy for sexual assault prevention and peer counseling. Senior year, I graduated a semester early after being stalked on campus; the school faculty and police blamed me for “making myself a target.”
Now that I’ve gotten the past out of the way, I’m looking to the future. A new decade. A time to start fresh and focus on what I can control: my health.
- Focus on the positive more than the negative. It does not mean that I beat myself up every time I have a bad day. It means that I take a step back to recenter myself, collect my thoughts, recognize that I need to refocus my energy (if possible) and try to find the silver lining.
- Choose happiness where I can.
- Actively continue to strengthen and nurture my friendships.
- Allow myself time to recharge and reflect. No more 18 hour days for months on end without a break in sight. Take the weekend off to get rest and read a book or hike with Nick and Moo. Go outside. It can wait.
- Trust — in all those who surround me.
- Continue to mentor others because it helps them know that they’re not alone. It is probably the most important thing I’ve done with my life (starting in college). It doesn’t mean that you have to have the right answers or say the correct thing all the time. The most critical parts of mentorship are listening and being there for someone else.
- Without emotional and mental fortitude, physical health suffers tremendously. Even though I’m physically healthy when I haven’t been taking care of my emotional or mental health, I am all around worn out.
- Up until November, I realized that I hadn’t taken a real “break” from work in over 2.5 years. All the pent up anxiety, late nights, skipped workouts to take conference calls, etc. had built up in my body — incredibly, I hadn’t exploded like one of those soda bottles you’ve definitely watched on YouTube. It took me flying halfway around the world to Kenya, without access to the internet, to feel relaxed. But hey, it worked.
So by the time I return from sunny Florida right before 2019 ends, I will be recharged entirely (consider me one of those human solar panels — all I need is some sunshine, baby☀️) and ready to kick off the roaring 20s. Happy and healthy.