2017: The Year of Meaning, Friendship, and Staying Still

Sunday, December 31, 2017

celineism blogger

I used to dread this day. The day that marks both an end and a beginning. It was often filled with yearning, like a deadline I failed to meet. It's either I felt betrayed by time and circumstance for not giving me enough, for not giving more, or self-loathing for not doing anything about it. Today, I say with relief, it is different.

I am writing this cooped up in a hotel room, in a quirky and vibrant city that's starting to feel like home. The last half of the last month I spent traveling, and while it took me away from comfort and family, there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

This feeling, the choice to stay and simply be here – this sums up my 2017. All my life, I wanted to keep moving, to hop from one moment to the next, believing I'd find solace in the flux. This year, I found myself not hurrying, not wanting to run away. Just enjoying each moment and circumstance.

Embracing the chaos
To be in this very good place, I had to face an old enemy. My greatest foe. I spent most of my life avoiding my own company. I thought I couldn't handle my own storms so I longed for movement. I foolishly believed that physical distance would keep my own self at bay. But there was no way out. Only in.

This year, I saw that most of my problems stemmed from containing my storms. But they weren't meant to be restrained. They needed to be unleashed. And so I let them rage in ways that did not hurt me.

It started with my clothes. I wanted to look in the mirror and see me. See only me – storms and wildness and all that chaos. So I slowly overhauled my wardrobe and, in time, I was dressing the way I've always wanted – in outfits that looked and felt good.
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This seemingly small act of courage sparked a conflagration, and soon I was blazing steadfastly through life. I burned with confidence, saying yes more often, to things that, to my belief, merit it. My no was uttered more certainly, and even more frequently than my yes. I wasn't afraid of myself anymore. I no longer tried to dissociate. I learned to listen. To be kinder. Gentler. I was waking up each day as me, facing the world without pretense or second-guessing. More than ever, I was honest.

Finding my crowd
This honesty extended to the company I keep. Forget what society tells you about friendship. Like love, it shouldn't be hard. Like all things in your life, it should make you feel good. That's why this year, I did away with people who failed to make life easy. When someone pulls you down instead of lifting you up, be brave enough to step away. Life is too short to spend on people who hold you back.

(insert Rain and Adah we're yet to have a photo together)

I used to pride myself on having only a handful of real friends, but now, I'm proud to say that my circle has grown. Considerably. Beautifully. My people and I may be different on the surface, but all of us share the same core, and I'm glad to go into the new year with a crowd that I can finally call my own.

Loving hard
I can only think of one reason why it took me a long time to forge new connections: I was too deprived of love to care for others. While my childhood was privileged compared to the rest of the world, my memories of it are nothing but reminders of insecurities I fought long and hard to shake off. On top of that, my mother, whose love I yearned the most, was snatched from me too soon.

But this year, one person did all he could to fill the void. He loved me all the time, consistently and without fail. Even at my darkest, even when it's hard, and made it seem so easy. And this is the reason why marrying him this year is the best decision I have ever made.
His love, so selfless and true, made me question why I was being so stingy with my own, especially when there is the possibility that I could make him and others as happy as the way his love was making me. And so this year, I started loving hard. I became liberal with my I love you's and thank you's. I let my people know I miss them. I let them know I care. I started loving the way I wanted to be loved, like the way Dennis has been loving me all these years.

And this kind of love is freeing. No words are left unsaid. No hugs are left ungiven. My heart is constantly aglow.

Slow and Steady
With a heart full of love, I learned to stay still. This year, I understood that I am happiest when not rushed, when I'm afforded room to savor moments.

Where I used to sprint, I now walk with leisure. Where I used to hurry, I wait. Where I used to only dip my toes, I plunge into completely. I take time. I go slow and steady.

For this year I learned that all great things take time. And that the Universe is generous. That the world is still kind and there is always hope. That you deserve all that you are given. And that love is selfless and you get what you give. And lastly, that keeping the fight, no matter how difficult and drawn out, is always, always, worth it.

Here's to the year that was and the years that will be!

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