I'd long been plotting a little 2016 recap post, because hey... I do it every year! I genuinely love looking back and beholding a smattering of my memories in one neat, sequential nook... no sifting through blurry candids or unedited versions necessary. It's always served as a little self-indulgent reflection and reminder of both the grandiose and mundane moments from the past twelve months, as opposed to being passable as quality post material for the masses, but you know... I guess I make the rules around here. Maybe I'll get around to it, maybe I won't.
I've finally come to the conclusion and relief that while sure, I blog, I don't know that I'll ever fall under the "blogger" category, you feel me? Nothing is carefully curated, nor scheduled consistently. You won't find a watermark on my clumsily snapped iphone photos. No shiny affiliate ads docked on the sidebar. Four-and-a-half months into the year and here I go, post numero uno--and a messy, somewhat disjointed summary of my inner thoughts for 2017 thus far, at that. Killing it over here...
See also: reason 437 why this girl could never rely on blogging to be her bread and butter.
Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I feel peace... something I've yearned for, for as long as I can recall--a wish that varied in appearance from year to year, but something I'm so undeniably certain I have a firm grip now. While there's plenty that's unsettled in my life, and still some concern and anxiety surfacing now and again, in the depth of my core, I am swimming in a sense of contentment that I've never quite encountered. Some of it has been nurtured by age and experience, sure... but the bigger cause is due to being surrounded by some of the most incomprehensibly amazing people God has pieced together--and then somehow, someway, thankfully plopped into my life.
I want to dive into the concept of hindsight, but that treads dangerously near cliché phrasing, and I really try like hell to avoid that. But in the hope that warning you can relieve me of some of the responsibility, I'll go on:
it's absolutely mind-blowing to me how much you can learn about yourself if you just try. Change the scenery. Swallow your pride, listen to what you don't want to hear... be strong enough to listen to what you know is the truth. Dig up enough bravery to look back at yourself so you can measure how far you've come... or how much further you want to be. Then do whatever it takes to get there.
Fear held me back for such an embarrassingly long period--and it was a fear that I was unaware had permeated so many fibers of who I am--a fact that is even more humiliating, being that I've been referred to as "fearless" more than a handful of times in my life. By no means did I emerge from the rut solo or untarnished--I had more than a few people who thankfully and selflessly (and maybe even unknowingly) scooped up responsibility to get me back to being me. People who loved me enough to tell me what I didn't want to hear. People who put their own relationships with me on the line for the sake of somehow, someway breaking into my stubborn head. People who quite honestly yelled at me in an effort to have something sink in. People who dared to lift me up--over and over again--when I refused to hear it.
To all of the people in my tribe (again--overused, ridiculous word that is unfortunately the absolute best for this situation) who quite literally held me up,
who deftly countered my shallow defenses of someone who continually hurt me,
who have wiped the tears from my cheeks,
who have earnestly prayed for my tender heart, and promised there was a better tomorrow for me,
who knew when I needed the next generous pour of bota versus another unrelenting talking-to,
who feverishly attempted to convince me of my worth,
who've been invested and excited when I've encountered something good,
who patiently told me, "I love you, but you're wrong... and I'll still be here when it finally sinks in."
...I cannot thank you enough. It's not the slightest exaggeration that I am grateful daily for the depth of the way you've loved me.
I pour this out for so many reasons... it's been heavy on me, the gravity and peril of allowing fear and pain to pierce your actual identity. Gah, there is so, so much I have to figure out in this lifetime... and so much I'll never know. But maybe there's a truth you're ducking away from. Maybe you're the friend who desperately wants to pull your person out of something. Maybe you've been dancing your own charade as long as I did, and aren't even fully aware of it. There are countless faces to this, but fear is slapped across them all.
So much of this life is just the people at your side. There's a level of unparalleled authenticity that is unveiled when you discover the few souls who willingly go through your hell just to stick by you. The honest fact is that there are very few people you could reliably call on for absolutely anything in the world--and while the past few years have offered me the chance to drink up an immense amount about who I am and what I deserve, the most rewarding takeaway is knowing, unequivocally who is on my team.
And my gosh, I am a lucky, lucky girl.