Not long ago I lay in my bed with tears running down my face, curled into a tight ball facing away from my husband. Before this, my husband was right in the bed behind me, but I had somehow curled away from him. Thoughts raced through my mind, and before I knew it, the tears fell over the rim of my eyes and cascaded down the curves of my face. Trying to pull myself out of my despair, I asked my husband one simple question…at least I thought it was simple…I asked him, “Would you miss me if I wasn’t here?” My husband, sounding utterly confused, asked what I meant. I asked him would he miss me if I were no longer alive. At this, I felt him perk up in the bed behind me, and he hesitantly asked me where that had come from. I did not want to talk about it, so I told him it was not important. He would not let it go, and eventually I told him that I felt replaceable. I explained to him how I felt that no one would miss me if I were no longer around. Then I delved into the depression I had been battling, and the feeling that no one really cared about me. I admitted to myself that suicidal thoughts can even touch those who are seemingly so strong, and I admitted that right then I was not strong enough. My husband’s next words to me were slightly angry as he asked how I could ever think something like that, then he switched to soothing and encouraging as he told me how much I mean to him and others. He told me that if no one else needed me or cared, he does, and he told me to never think such crazy thoughts again. Then he grabbed me from my tightly curled ball, and would not let me go until I stopped crying and relaxed…learning to trust and daring to believe again. Life happens. Sometimes we feel like no one really cares about us. Many times we smile and laugh, and we try to make people believe that we are worth loving, but take it from me: You are worth loving even if no one seems to believe it. But, first you have to love yourself. I had to understand that my life does have purpose, and that no matter how dark things seem, just like the night-time, the morning has to come. Maybe you are like I was, feeling desperate, lonely, depressed, and seeking a way out. Maybe your prayers have seemed to get only as far as the ceiling as you stare at it. Maybe the words you want to say are not coming out clearly. Just remember one thing…your life matters. You are necessary. You are loved. You are NOT replaceable. You may be fighting, but you are powerful, and with God’s help, you win. I win. Believe.
As the year draws to a close, many are looking back over the year and reckoning with the decisions they made throughout the year. Others are celebrating a great year. Still others are standing in limbo because they never quite caught up with the year, and now they are facing another year filled with its own uncertainties and obstacles to overcome. All of this is normal as the end of the year tends to be one of introspection. It definitely is for me. I remember coming in to 2016 “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as the saying goes. I remember my high hopes and declarations regarding this being the greatest year of my life. 2016 was a year supposedly filled with endless possibilities and unlimited greatness. At least that was my plan. I forgot that my plans have never quite worked out as I have imagined. Now, that is not to say that there were not great moments this year, because there were many of them. I accomplished a lot. I learned many things about myself and others. Somewhere in this year, I recognized myself again, and I realized I like who I have become. I also experienced one of the greatest periods of depression I have ever had. I almost gave up on a lot of things more times than I can count. There was a point where I did not like myself, nor believe in my value. Low moments. High moments. Such is life. With the euphoria of the new year, I forgot that life sometimes happens, and I forgot that sometimes bitter comes with sweet. But at the end of an interesting year, I can say that I have come a long way. Perfection? Not at all. Better? Definitely. Now, I could be fearful about what the new year will bring. Believe me, a part of me wants to be. But I won’t. I could allow my doubt and frustration to make me believe that my dreams and goals that I did not accomplish this year will never come to pass. But, I would be doing myself a disservice. I could do many things, but one thing I will do is believe that this upcoming year will bring more sweet than bitter, and more finish lines being reached than cramps along the way. So as you approach this new year, don’t refuse to reflect or have resolutions. Acknowledge your truth for the year, and choose how your next year will be. Decide to be purposeful. Decide to be successful. Decide to perform even with opposition and/or lack of support. Choose to be you. Opportunity is waiting on the other side of your uncertainty.
Get ready for the new years resolutions! Prepare for everyone telling you of all the great things they have planned for the new year. Many of these same people will be the ones who had the greatest plans for 2014, but many things were not accomplished. While it is great to make plans, there has to be a method of accomplishing those things we have planned. When I think over 2014, it was a rough year. Many of the plans I made did not come to fruition. Some of them because it was not yet time for them to be. Others because I did not create a method for making them come to pass. The rest of the plans I just “forgot” about when the path seemed too difficult. In 2014, there were many ups, and a lot of downs, and I wanted so many things. Alas, the new year is here and many things are left undone. I could wallow in self-pity. I could lament the fact that I missed out on so many things. I could even get depressed and swear off making any new years resolutions for 2015. I could do all of that, but I won’t. Instead of going to the extreme of not making any plans, I will ensure that the resolutions I make have plans behind them. Rather than just saying I want to be in good shape, I have decided to write out how I will be fit, what I will do, and when I will do it. Instead of just saying that I will publish my book, I have to create a plan for marketing, distribution, etc. 2014 was a year of just saying the things I wanted to happen. 2015 is the year of having those things actually come to pass beyond my words. So, bye-bye 2014, I will not miss you. There are many things I wish I had accomplished, but the year was not wasted. I learned many lessons. I dealt with many trials. 2014 left me better, not bitter. Bye, Bye 2014. Hello 2015. This year, words become few, but actions become greater. Bye, Bye 2014.
It is so easy to keep living life and forgetting the lessons learned. Already, this year is speeding by. January has come to an end, and we are preparing to embark on February-how quickly life seems to flow. As this month ends though, I could not help but think of some things that I have learned about myself even in just the beginning of the year. I learned that I am strong. I am able to take hurt, pain, despair, and turn it into something beautiful. I’ve learned that my creativity functions strongest in the face of adversity, but it still flows gracefully in the eye of peace. I am strong enough to move forward regardless of what my heart says. I am strong enough to love in the face of anything. I learned that my past truly does not define me, and that I can have whatever I believe I can have. Also, I have learned that while it does take a village to raise a child, it also takes a community sometimes to birth out the purpose in each of us. This year has already taught me that smiling when down sends an involuntary signal to your mind to get beyond your feelings. I have learned that trouble really does not last always, and tears really do dry up in the morning. When it seems otherwise, there is always someone to lift your head. I have learned that love really does overcome everything, and it transcends boundaries. I finally understand that people will see me how I portray myself–they can only know the truth of me if I allow a certain level of vulnerability. I learned that I am worthy of love. I deserve love. I can give love, and not expect hurt. I believe that my future is much greater than my past. I am better. I will have better. My life is amazing. We each have lessons that sometimes we forget, but it helps to write them down. Remember them. Live your life with the lessons learned, and love life. Be the you that you have always wanted to be. YOU are amazing. I realized that about myself again, and it feels good.