Here I sit on this quiet night, my journal open in front of me to an entry I wrote this same day last year, just after Christmas and before the new year. It tells of a darker time: "...I feel drained, empty, hurt, angry, frustrated, confused, helpless, worthless, cynical, jaded, hopeless, afraid, anxious, exhausted, insincere, disconnected, apathetic". And I had ended the entry with "sleep, the reprieve".
It was rough, and a crippling cocktail of feelings. Honestly I had been stuck in a melancholy for as long as I could remember. Easy to gloss over during the day, but not so much at night when it's just you and your thoughts. It was so steady that I felt it to be the norm...it wasn't severe enough to be too alarming, but I knew it wasn't how I was supposed to feel.
In the new year, I decided some things. I was going to break the melancholy once and for all...however I could. My New Years resolution? To fight for myself, and fight to do lovely things for myself. Because it is only then that I could give to others how I should and view others as I should. I wanted to recognize myself, love myself, and choose my side instead of the lies that creep in all too often. Because if you're not on your own side, what else do you have really?
There have been pivotal moments this year that have been the agents of immense growth in my life. But they came in the form of conversations and books, laughter and new people. I'm still at the same job and in the same apartment as last year, and it's been comforting to know that you can still change while remaining still in other ways.
To start off the year I had a conversation with a close friend in which she told me that she observed my melancholy triggers to be guys and social media. I knew this, but it was something about hearing it from her that clicked with me. Since I could control one of those things, I began a 9-month break from Instagram and Facebook that left me feeling instantly lifted and present.
My behavior changed. I no longer put myself down. If I started to have a thought that was self-degrading ("I shouldn't have said that, that was dumb", "I don't look good today", etc), I stopped myself mid-thought in my mind and never spoke it out loud. I graciously accepted compliments. If I caught others putting themselves down the same way, I would tell them not to. After time you become so much kinder to yourself, and it's a beautiful and restoring thing.
Another thing that helped me was a bible verse, Jeremiah 31:4. This was refreshing because I have been in a dry spell with the church and my faith has taken a much different shape than church every Sunday. But it was just after the new year, and the pastor at Bloom gave a sermon on limping into the new year instead of skipping. I really connected with it, and I took from it this verse:
"You will build us back up again, and we will be rebuilt".
We will be rebuilt. This gave me a simple peace that I was craving, and became my mantra for the beginning of 2015 that ended up framing my whole year.
Another main one was a book that I read in March, called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It completely shifted how I view the world and my own thoughts, and I became less controlled by them in tangible ways that allowed me to have more energy and feel lighter in life.
There are many other contributing factors, but those were the main ones that allowed me to rise above the mainstay melancholy that I had grown accustomed to. I am so grateful for this year and for growth. It has opened me up to meet some amazing new people who have also shaped me, and to continue to connect with the current people in my life in healthier ways.
I am genuinely excited for 2016, and I hope that you can say the same. And if you feel like you're limping into the new year instead of skipping, it's ok. I hope that you can find the courage to fight for yourself and seek what you need.
Cheers, friends! <3