If you had told me on December 31st, 2014, when I was upset and ignored at a New Year’s Eve party, “you’re going to end up single at this time next year, and you’re going to be the most content you’ve ever been,” I would’ve looked at you and said “I can’t be single! I’ll be 30! Thirty years old and single? I might as well get broken down and sold for spare parts and boxed up. Women have a sell by date. Put a fork in me, I’m done.” And I would’ve blissfully ignored you, and gone on in a relationship that was slowly crumbling at the edges. Like most things that fall apart, I avoided it. (Also, yes I’m a feminist but internalized misogyny can get the better of me sometimes ok?)
If you had come to me in June, when I was going through my breakup and could barely get out of bed – when I didn’t want to die, but being alive didn’t sound too hot either – and said “in December you are going to be so happy you won’t even believe it,” I would’ve told you to fuck off, rolled back underneath the covers, and kept waiting for a phone call that never came, that every girl going through this stuff hopes they’ll receive. Inside, I would’ve thought to myself all of this pain better be worth it.
If you had told me in September, when I found out some really upsetting information that I won’t go into (because they know I know) and told me “give it three more months. You’re going to be so glad,” I would’ve been like WHY DO YOU KEEP ON SHOWING UP GO AWAY YOU FOUL WITCH and I would’ve put another hole in the wall to deal with the searing ball of heartbreak that turned into a rotten core of hate.
That ball of hate is still there. But it’s smaller. And here we are. It’s December. And that strange phantom was right.
It was all worth it.
Because this was the year I found my voice. A voice that had spent so long in quiet deference to someone else. A voice that had decided, personally, that giving up all of her scary hopes and dreams in service of someone who treated her badly seemed like a great idea. A voice that had been suffocated under the pressure of bad decisions, upsetting points of view, and feeling like I was worthless. A voice that had been caged by what I now know was an emotionally abusive situation, but I refused to see it because it was better than being alone. A voice that had become anxious and depressed because I was in a situation that constantly made me feel that way. I thought if I didn’t have that, I’d be alone.
Well I was never alone. This year, all of the people I thought I had lost? Those people came back. They fought for me. They pulled me out of that dark place. They gave me drinks. They bought me food. They told me I was better than this. My career ended up taking off. I got hired for a ton of writing websites such as Upworthy and The Mary Sue. I saw a ton of Broadway shows with great friends. And I realized I wanted to pursue a full time writing career. Something I was scared to do before because it was implied that I would be a burden.
Slowly, I started remembering who I was again. I’m a girl who always has optimism. A girl who needs people on her side that see the brightness in a situation. A girl that likes to go to New York and see Broadway shows several times a year. A girl who does musicals and plays (two coming up in 2016!) and doesn’t want to defer to anyone. A girl who shouldn’t take shit but yet somehow deluded herself to put up with shit for years because she literally thought she couldn’t do better.
Because she accepted the love she thought she deserved.
I’m still here. I am not a burden. I am no one’s wet blanket.
May 2016 be the year that I am unapologetically myself. May it be the year I finally own up to figuring myself out piece by piece. And may it be the year I just have a great time by myself. If a man works himself into the picture, that’s fine too. I need someone who’s okay with the fact that I could be just as awesome without him. It takes a lot of guts to choose someone like me. I won’t settle for anything less than pure courage. Love, after all, is the opposite of fear.
You are the only one that you are with from the day of your birth to the day of your death. You better be okay with who you are.
I’m still angry, don’t get me wrong. Still questioning. I’m not putting a timetable on the day when I wake up and I’m not angry anymore. But the anger isn’t completely taking over my life like it used to. Thank goodness for family and therapy and great friends. And singing.
The life I have now, versus the life I had last year?
Yeah. 2015, despite everything, was a great year. My voice is back.
In a moment of anger, I was told this year “You have no idea who you are. You still need to figure yourself out.”
He was wrong. I knew exactly who I was. I still know. I was just in a position where I was too afraid to say who I was, because I didn’t want to be left alone.
I’m not afraid anymore.
Being alone gave me my power.