Day Twenty-Four: Moving On

Day 24: In Chapter Seventeen, I talk about “Moving On,” metaphorically and literally. Discuss a time when you found the courage to move on from a toxic situation, relationship, or environment.

The last two years of my life have literally been a phase in which I’ve been moving on. I’ve stated before how toxic parts of my past were, and how I eventually came to realize that I needed to break free from some of those certain situations. I thank God everyday that I finally did.

For awhile there, I had myself convinced that there was no way out, and honestly, I occasionally feel sad for the girl that used to believe that. The girl who used to feel that way. The girl that I used to be. However, I’m very quickly reminded that I’m no longer that girl, and I’ve grown and accomplished so much since then that it’s hard for me to picture my life any other way than what it is right now. I spent so many years of my life making decisions based upon other people’s opinions. I constantly felt controlled, in a sense. I knew that I was always supported in my decisions, but I also knew that judgments were going to be made at the same time. The judgments and the guilt are what ultimately held me back from making decisions that I knew in my heart would be best for me.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I moved away that I really truly felt what it was like to move on from my past, and I’m not even talking about my previous relationship or friendships.  That was already dealt with long before I moved. It was literally the fact that I broke up with the old version of myself, and I was slowly moving on and away from that girl. It’s hard to describe. Just like any other relationship in life, you have to treat your relationship with yourself with the same kind of effort and care as you would anything else that you value and love. That also means letting your old self go once you realize that you’ve grown and your old ways of thinking are no longer serving you. It’s not even something that you realize right away. I know I didn’t. I started recognizing changes in myself gradually over the last two years. I’ve had quite a few “ah-ha” moments, so to speak. I often find myself saying “oh the old you would’ve never done this. Look at you go!” For the first time ever, I’ve been able to live my life on my own terms, without anyone trying to dictate my decisions. If I screw up now, it’s on me. I no longer have anyone to blame. I chose to take myself out of my comfort zone and out of the only live that I’ve ever known. It was terrifying at first, yes, but I needed it more than I realized at the time. I needed it to force myself to grow. To find myself. To really truly figure out who I’m meant to be.

There’s no way that I could’ve made it to where I am today without moving on from my past. From an ex. From old friends. From toxic jobs and toxic places. From negative ways of thinking. From the old me. Nothing in our lives is ever meant to be permanent. If it was, then we’d end up leading our lives either incredibly bored or incredibly disappointed. We’d never have the opportunity to mess up, learn from our mistakes, and grow. That’s why moving on is so important in life. It forces us to grow, even when we don’t necessarily think that we need to. It allows us to become a better version of ourselves every single day, and that’s something to be grateful for.

Day Twenty-Three: Quarter of a Century

Day 23: Today is my 40th birthday! Write about a milestone or significant birthday.

Somehow, I’ve made it twenty-eight years in this world. It’s weird to think that I will soon only have one year left in my twenties. I used to think that I would have a lot more of my life figured out by this point, but I’ve realized that I’m not meant to have it all figured out. Plans change, and I let go of sticking to mine a long time ago. The thought of getting one year closer to thirty used to scare me a whole lot more than it does now, but I plan on making my twenty-ninth year one of my best yet.

Since I’m not quite near my next birthday, I’d like to reflect on one of my previous birthdays that was pretty memorable. I’m not typically one to make a big deal about my birthday. I’m such an introvert, and I’ve never liked being the center of attention. Honestly, I absolutely hate it, and it stresses me out. I don’t celebrate the whole month or anything like that. If it falls on a weekday, I’ll go to work, just like it’s any other day. To celebrate, I usually just like to do a small birthday dinner with family and friends. On occasion, I may make a weekend out of it – usually for a milestone birthday. Although I live in Tennessee now, I was born and raised in a town right outside of New Orleans. So, I am most definitely a Nola girl through and through. With that being said, my birthday almost always falls around Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl – two things that I really do love. So, I haven’t minded incorporating those into my birthday celebrations throughout the years.

To date, I’d say the most memorable birthday for me was definitely my twenty-fifth birthday. It was a milestone, and I enjoyed it a lot. I went to dinner with my family that Friday night at Tommy’s Cuisine in the city. One of my best friend’s birthday is the day before mine. So, we celebrated together, just like we always do. My friends, sister, and I spent the rest of the weekend playing tourists in Nola. My mom got us a hotel room in the Warehouse District, so we were in good walking distance to all of the things that we wanted to do. Mind you, I literally did get stuck in traffic right outside of the hotel, due to a parade that was lining up to start, but that’s the kind of thing you just grow accustomed to in the city. It gave us all a good laugh. Anyway, we shopped along the River Walk, strolled throughout the city, caught some parades on Canal Street, went to Fulton Alley for the evening, and ended the night going out at different bars in the area. It turned out to be a pretty fun birthday weekend, and it’s definitely one that I haven’t forgotten.

My next milestone birthday will be my thirtieth, but I still have some time to figure out how I’ll want to celebrate that one. In the meantime, I’m just going to be grateful for making it this far in life and cherish all the time that I have now. Age is just a number, and I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s never too late to chase your dreams and live the best life you’ve ever imagined for yourself.

Day Twenty-Two: Learning to Let Go

Day 22: In Chapter Sixteen, I discuss “Why We Cling to People Who Don’t Love Us.” Talk about a time when you clung to someone who didn’t love you, why you think you had such a hard time letting go, and how you finally tapped into your inner “enough-ness” to walk away.

I used to always have a hard time letting things go. It didn’t matter if it was a person, a job, something I owned, my feelings toward a situation, etc., I just couldn’t always shake them. I’m such a perfectionist sometimes, almost to a fault. I don’t like quitting anything until I’ve tried everything I possibly can to make it work. This has proved true time and time again throughout my past.

Touching on perfectionism, I will say that this blog challenge has most certainly become quite a challenge for me. I feel like some of the topics are a little repetitive for me because I don’t feel like I’ve fully lived enough life to have different experiences to write about, and it frustrates me sometimes. That’s where my negative self-talk tries to come in, and I have to do my best to whisk it away. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’ve already been pretty open about my struggles with letting someone go who didn’t love me back. In regards to that particular situation, I’ve realized now that I wasn’t so sure I loved him back either towards the end. I think I clung more onto the idea of what we used to have and just the idea of being in a relationship altogether. It wasn’t necessarily him because I knew that we both deserved better than we were attempting to give each other at the time, even though it took us awhile to admit that to ourselves.

I think, as human beings, we cling to the things that are familiar and safe to us because we fear the unknown. We get so accustomed to people, places, and things that trying to imagine our lives without them seems impossible. Back then, the thought of being alone absolutely terrified me, so I used that as my reasoning to stay in a relationship that was not adding any value to my life anymore. I essentially convinced myself that I would rather stay suffering in a toxic relationship instead of finding the strength and the courage to break free of it. Deep down, I knew I was meant for something so much greater than what I allowing for myself at the time, but I had lost my identity in that relationship and had no idea how I was going to find it once I got out. The fear and uncertainty of my future consumed my mind, and I allowed it to hold myself back from living up to my greatest potential.

Letting go of things in life is one of the hardest lessons we’ll ever have to learn. It takes a conscious effort to choose to put yourself first and say goodbye to toxic people, places, and things that are depriving you of your happiness. Once you finally start letting all of that go, you realize that it becomes easier to reject all of that negativity and toxicity. You start catching glimpses of the good, positive things that await you on your journey ahead, and you’ll find yourself looking back at that rearview mirror less and less as time goes on.

You have to let go of your past to make way for your future. It’s the only way you’ll grow.

Day Twenty-One: Lost Boy

Day 21: Also in Chapter Fifteen, I talk about falling for a “lost boy,” someone who was too broken and too selfish to ever be able to love me like I deserved. Talk about your own experiences with a Lost Boy. What did he teach you? And how did you learn and grow from finally letting him go?

I’ve only really ever had one real, serious relationship in my life, but it taught me so much about myself. About love. About what it means to lose. About what it means to find myself, to grow, and to become stronger than ever. I’ve talked about that chapter of my life in depth already, but I haven’t really focused too much on him. We’ve both moved on with our lives, so talking about the person he used to be with me kind of feels like opening a door that was bolted shut and doesn’t need to be opened again.

Out of respect for him, I’m not going to turn this post into a hate-infused rant about how broken and selfish he was with me because I truly believe that he’s probably grown up a lot since I knew him. I know that I’m definitely not the same person he knew in that relationship, and I think the same can be said for him. Were there moments when he was too insecure and confused about his own life that he didn’t treat me the way that I deserved? Of course. Did I try with all my might to get him to believe in himself and his potential? You bet I did. I became his biggest supporter because that’s just the type of person I am. Eventually, it just got to be too much – trying to save him and save myself. Helping us both try to find ourselves and our purposes in this world. It wasn’t an easy task. It took a huge toll on me, and it made me question myself a lot. It certainly played a role in why we eventually parted ways and realized that we were no longer compatible with each other. Some seasons of our lives are not meant to last forever, and that’s okay.

It hurt like hell for both of us at first. That I know for a fact, but I whole-heartedly believe that we were placed into each other’s lives for a reason. I used to not know what that reason was, but now I can say that it was to teach us both about the people that we are truly meant to be in this life. I always tell myself that people come into our lives for two reasons: 1) they’re going to be a blessing or 2) they’re going to be a lesson. We were the latter in our situation, and honestly, I’ve grown to be incredibly grateful for that chapter of my life. Love is a tricky thing. You can fall out of it just as quickly as you fall into it.

So yes, he was a lost boy once, but I was also a lost girl. We couldn’t find ourselves together, but I don’t think we were ever meant to. I think we were meant to give each other the courage to find our own ways. To pave our own paths.

We had to break each other. We had to fall apart. Yet, somehow in the midst of us being lost and broken, we realized that our strengths and happiness were never in the other person to begin with. They were always within ourselves, and that’s the most beautiful thing about heartbreak.

Days Nineteen and Twenty: Apologies and Loss

Okay, so I’ve fallen behind on the You Are Enough 30 Day Blogging Challenge. So, now I’m going to take my best shot at catching up on the last three days. I thought about combining all posts into one, like I have before, but it doesn’t seem like all of these topics particularly flow well together. However, I will post days 19 and 20 here, since I can discuss more on one topic than the other. Here it goes…

Day 19: In Chapter Fourteen, I get “An Unexpected Apology.” Share a time when YOU got an unexpected apology from someone, and how it impacted your life.

To be quite honest, I can’t exactly think of a time when I got an unexpected apology from anyone. In my past, most of the times when people have apologized to me, it was none the less expected. I’ve lost good friendships and relationships over the years, and not all of them ended particularly well. Some weren’t so bad. They just ran their course, and we grew apart. Over the years, I’ve looked back on those times in my life, and I realize that I might’ve been too harsh in certain situations. Like I said, I used to spend a lot of time being angry at people and situations, to the point where I often placed blame on others, as opposed to taking some responsibility myself. So, if anything, I probably owe certain people in my past an apology for hurtful things that I might’ve said or done. With that being said, if any of you are out there reading this, just know that I’m sorry for making you feel like less than you really are. And just know that I’ve forgiven you and have realized the error of my ways.

Now, onto Day Twenty…

Day 20: In Chapter Fifteen, I talk about losing someone precious to me, my grandmother. Talk about someone you’ve loved and lost, either to death or circumstance…and how loving them made you a better person.

I’ve been pretty open about the loss of my grandparents in my life, and I already talked about how difficult it was losing my grandmother at eighteen. However, there’s another loss in my life that I don’t remember as vividly, but I feel the effects of its grief every single day of my life. I have for the past 24 years.

And that’s the death of my mother’s dad: my Pops.

I only had four short years with him, but I was his first granddaughter. From what I’ve been told, the bond we shared was different than it was with all of my older, male cousins. Simple things like holding my hand on walks outside when my parents and I would go visit him at the nursing home or him being insistent upon feeding me during our annual beach trips to Destin. I have this one vivid memory of going see him at the nursing home. He always had these yummy chocolates next to his bed, even though he knew better than to eat them or to give them to me. I remember him specifically waiting until my mom walked out of the room to sneak me one, in typical grandfather fashion. We both laughed. It was our own little secret. I guess he spoiled me a little bit more than my mother wanted him to, but isn’t that how grandparents usually work? Now, we typically have those chocolates every Christmas in his honor.

The next memory I have of him is his funeral. I remember being in the church my mom grew up in. It was Pops’ church, too. I remember kneeling next to her in the pew, watching her cry, and her telling me “okay, it’s time to go see Pops now.” Then, we walked up to the casket, knelt down beside him, said our prayers, cried, and walked away. That’s it. That’s all I remember. I was four, but I somehow understood that that meant I wouldn’t be able to see my Pops anymore. What I didn’t know then was the magnitude of grief I would feel for years to come. The jealousy that would sneak into my heart when my friends would talk about going to lunch with their grandparents. Or go shopping with them. Having them around for birthdays, dance recitals, holidays, and graduations. The feelings of being left out when I had no one to come to Grandparents’ Day at school growing up. Eventually, they changed the name to GrandFriends’ Day, so it was welcoming for those students who no longer had their grandparents in their lives. My aunt and uncle often came to this event for my sister and I, since they are the closest thing we’ve ever really had to grandparents. But still, it never fully was the same.

Our time on Earth is sacred, and tomorrow is never promised for any of us. Grief doesn’t know a thing about timelines. It never fully goes away. It doesn’t exactly get easier. We just learn to live each day as best we can, and we hope we’re living it in such a way that makes our lost loved ones proud. Not having my grandparents in my life has made me envious of those fortunate to have theirs in their life, but it’s also taught me just how precious life is. How important it is to cherish our time with the ones we love most. Honestly, the loss of my grandparents has become a driving force in bettering my relationship with my own parents. They both lost their parents at fairly young ages, in their early to mid-twenties, to be exact, and I cannot even begin to fathom what that must feel like for them. So, I do my best to be a good daughter to them. I strive to make them proud. And every day, I hope and pray that my grandparents are looking down from Heaven with that same sense of pride. It makes the grief a little bit easier to deal with. Knowing that I’m living my life for them.

Day Eighteen: A Walk to Remember

Day 18: In Chapter Thirteen, I talk about a favorite movie that has had an indelible impact on my life. Talk about YOUR favorite movie or movies that help you reconnect with who you are.

I have several movies that I love watching, but I’ve never actually been able to pick a favorite. Honestly, I’m usually pretty terrible at picking a favorite of anything. In my head, it always seems unfair for me to choose one particular thing above all of the others that I equally enjoy. So, with that being said, I’ll talk about a movie that’s been resonating with me deeply, as far as the message of the story goes.

Disclaimer: I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan. I’ve read a lot of his books and of course, I’ve seen nearly all of his movies. The one that I love the most is A Walk To Remember. It came out in middle school for me, and I’m pretty sure my friends and I had all begged our moms to take us to the theater to see it. We were all obsessed with Mandy Moore and Shane West was most certainly a pretty face to look at (both of these still ring true for me). In the movie, Shane’s character, Landon, is your typical popular boy in school who is always getting into trouble, while Mandy’s character, Jamie, is the simple, reserved, devout Christian girl who is branded as more of an outcast that no one fully understands. She’s also battling leukemia, but she keeps her diagnosis to herself and her father. In true Nicholas Sparks fashion, Landon ends up falling for Jamie. He slowly realizes that there’s more to life than the same old things he’s been doing, and for the first time, he finds someone who truly believes in him. The thing that I love most about this story is Jamie’s perception of the world. She doesn’t care what people think of her, and she sees the good in others, even when they can’t seem to see it in themselves. She faces a lot of adversity at her young age, yet her faith in God’s plan for her is unwavering. Landon recognizes this in her, and he realizes that she makes him want to be a better person. He loves her because she is the greatest person he’s ever known. Slowly, he starts to view the world as Jamie does, and he’s amazed by it.

I love this movie so much because it shares the story of two very different people who fall so deeply in love with each other, even though they get criticized by their peers because they don’t exactly fit the “norm.” They see the good in each other that other people can’t see from the outside, and it changes them. It helps them to become better people not only for themselves, but for each other. To me, that shows what true love should be. Never ending respect and support for each other, no matter what you’re going through. No matter what people say or think. Just two people completely committed to each other through all of the good times and the bad. It’s pretty inspiring to me.

Everyone loves a good love story, even if they don’t want to admit it. Landon and Jamie’s story is so captivating, even though it doesn’t have a cookie cutter “happy ending.” It actually ends in sadness, but it’s a great testament to how valuable our time here on Earth really is. It reminds us that tomorrow is never guaranteed, so we must cherish each day like its our last. We must do the items on our bucket list that we say we’ll eventually get around to. We must tell our loved ones how much we love and appreciate them as often as we can. We must live our lives without negativity and dismissing those kinds of opinions from others. We must love deeply and do the things that bring us joy. We just have to live life like we’re dying, as cliche as that sounds. That’s exactly what Jamie did, and she never expected anything in return. She didn’t want sympathy. She just wanted everyone to love and be kind, and I think that’s a pretty beautiful message to send to the world.

 

Day Seventeen: Turning Darkness Into Light

Day 17: Also in Chapter Twelve, I talk about how sunflowers are called sunflowers because they literally “turn toward the sun.” Talk about a time in your life when you turned toward the sun and chose the light when it would have been easier to settle for darkness.

Choosing light in the midst of darkness is never an easy feat. Whenever we go through hard times in life, it always seems to be more convenient to just give into the depths of despair. Trying to find the silver lining in a difficult situation often appears to be near impossible for most of us. I’ve definitely had many moments when I’ve struggled to see the light in some really dark times, and I’ve talked about the majority of those moments in depth already. So, I won’t reiterate any of them in this post because I don’t want to sound like a broken record.

What I will say is that when I was going through those dark times, I initially adapted a pretty negative mindset that was so closely linked with deep anger. I held onto that mindset and that anger for awhile. I literally allowed myself to get so consumed by it, and it wasn’t good. I just could not see any positivity at all in those situations, and it was pretty terrible. I’m very much a person who internalizes a lot of things, and it always takes me a long time to process situations and the emotions I’m feeling. So, sometimes, it just felt better to throw myself an indefinite pity party instead of putting on my big girl pants and dealing with it. Essentially, I’d take the easy way out of just avoiding my feelings, so to speak. Until it all built up and became too much.

In the moments when the emotions would build up, I’d eventually just explode and hit my breaking point. The tears would fall, the anger would subside, and I’d finally allow myself to feel and process all of the emotions that I was feeling. By the time this would happen, I would naturally start to let go of the negativity and anger. I’d slowly start to realize that the difficult situations I was in were slowly improving. I eventually understood that those dark situations weren’t breaking me or defining me. They were shaping me into becoming an even better version of myself. Once I started catching little glimpses of the positivity and the light, I held onto them. I used them as my motivation to keep moving forward. I’d allow myself to just let go and trust the process of my life journey.

Now, I’ve grown so far away from negativity, not only with others, but especially with myself. I no longer have a tolerance for it. When I go through tough times now, I only choose to see the light because I have to believe that there are better days ahead in this world. It doesn’t make sense to me to give into the darkness and the negativity because I don’t like the person that I become when I allow that into my life. Especially with our current political and societal climate, I strive to cling to the light. To the good. To the positive because I know we are all in desperate need of it. I don’t have room in my heart for darkness or negativity anymore. I only have room for light and positivity, and I whole-heartedly believe that everyone should at least try to see life the same way, too.

Day Sixteen: More Like Family

Day 16: In Chapter Twelve, I share about how my group therapy family became like family to me. Talk about a friend or friends who are like family to you…and how they remind you just how ENOUGH you are when you’ve forgotten.

I’ve stated previously how I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have some of the best friends and family in my life. Not only do I have a good amount of people back in my home state of Louisiana, but I’ve also gained so many amazing friends that have turned into family since I moved away from home nearly two years ago.

When I first moved to Tennessee, I didn’t really know anyone, with the exception of some family members whom I had recently re-connected with after not seeing them in many years. Growing up, we kept in touch all the time, but it was always difficult getting together since we lived so far away from each other. They took me in for my first few months here, and now, we see each other quite often. I spend my Thanksgivings with them, and I often see them to watch football games with since they understand and whole-heartedly support my die-hard appreciation for my LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints. It’s so nice having family close by, especially on the days when I’m feeling homesick. They offer such a level of comfort to me whenever I need it. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have them, and I know that I can always count on them for anything.

I’ve also been very fortunate to make several new friends here. We literally all consider each other family, and it’s one of the greatest things ever. Everyone in Nashville has a story of how they ended up here, and nearly everyone is a transplant from somewhere else. The natives are often referred to as “unicorns,” since that’s how rare it is to find them. All of my closest friends know exactly what it’s like to not have our immediate family members close, and it’s a bond that continues to strengthen for us. We help each other in times of need, and we’re constantly doing things to lift each other’s spirits up. We have family dinners, absolutely ridiculous group chats, random adventures, and so many laughs that almost always turn into fits of happy tears.

Five years ago, if someone would’ve told me that I’d be where I am today, I never would’ve believed them. I never would’ve thought I would gain the courage to move out of Louisiana to a state where I barely knew a soul. I never would’ve imagined that I’d be living the life I’m living now with such genuine, kind-hearted, and like-minded people. It continues to amaze me how much my life changes for the better each year. I’m even more amazed by how much I continue to strive and grow as an individual. I’ve gained friends that will surely last a lifetime, and I’m just so grateful for it all.

Day Fifteen: Surrender

Day 15: Also in Chapter Eleven, I talk about the power of SURRENDER. Share a time when you had nothing left to do but surrender, and how it impacted your life to just let go and let God.

“Let go and let God.” So much easier said than done, isn’t it? Throughout my life, I’ve found myself reciting these words to myself fairly often. In recent years, I’ve grown to appreciate the endings of certain things because I truly believe that it’s paving my way onto a greater path in life. I’ve always told myself that God has a plan for me, but I can’t say with one hundred percent certainty that I’ve always whole-heartedly believed it. I definitely struggled in times of despair, but I really didn’t start fully trusting God with all of my struggles until the last two years.

Earlier in this challenge, I wrote a letter to my younger self. I addressed it to the me that I was two years ago, and I touched on a few reasons why that was a pretty trying year for me. I was working full-time and enrolled in an accelerated graduate program full-time. My schedule was so jam packed that I sometimes barely felt like I had time to sleep. I look back on that year, and I get exhausted just thinking about the insane amount of stress that I was under. I also mentioned about some health issues that I experienced toward the end of that year. It was something that was pretty eye-opening and scary for me personally. It definitely put things into perspective for me, and I’ll explain why.

In March of 2016, my dad went through some pretty scary stuff with his health, but he made it through. In October of 2016, I went through a similar situation with my own health, although my experience was much less severe. At the age of 26, I got a DVT (more commonly known as deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot) in my right leg. Working in healthcare, I knew the significance of what that meant for me. I knew it wasn’t something that should be taken lightly,  so I wasn’t too surprised when the urgent care physician immediately referred me to the ER. It’s important to note that this was my very first experience of being a patient in an ER. It wasn’t exactly something that was on my bucket list. After finally getting seen by a physician that evening, I was immediately placed on blood thinners, and was told that I would likely have to stay on them for life. This terrified me because I am not a person that likes to be dependent upon medications at all. Not to mention the fact that anticoagulant drugs are incredibly risky, and prolonged use of them for anyone is extremely tricky. Hearing this news definitely took a hard hit at my psyche. Again, I found myself asking God why this was happening to me.

For the most part, I had considered myself to a pretty healthy individual. It was hard for me to understand how this could’ve happened. Even my doctors were stunned because they couldn’t find a reason for it. Eventually, they attributed it to my prolonged use of hormonal birth control pills (yes, I fell into that .1% of people that suffer from those risk factors that they always rattle on about in the commercials – so if you’re a skeptic, I’m proof that it actually CAN happen). Anyway, I felt pretty defeated after getting this diagnosis. I fell into a state of constant paranoia that I was going to get another clot somewhere, and it would travel into my lungs, cause a PE, and damn near kill me. I was so in my head about it that I found myself talking about it out loud so often to family and friends that they got annoyed. I guess I was just trying to process it out loud, I don’t know.

I soon realized that I just had to accept it and live with it. This was the hand that I was dealt, and worrying about it wasn’t going to help at all. This diagnosis happened right in the midst of my busiest semester of graduate school, so my stress levels soared to an all time high. In addition to getting my blood clot in October, I had resigned from my job at the hospital in August of that year to complete an internship for one of my classes. The week before my last day of my job, Baton Rouge was hit with record-breaking floods. I had family members who were directly affected. So, not only was I helping them rip up carpets, tear out sheetrock, and try to salvage some of their most cherished possessions, I also was on the recovery team at the hospital, so I had to be there indefinitely.

When I say the end of 2016 was trying, I’m not joking. I faced a lot of unpredictable personal struggles, and I also supported family members through some of their most difficult times. There’s also the fact that I got rejected from nearly every job I applied for after graduating in December of that year. It was just rough, and I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but eventually, I reached a point during all of that where I just stopped asking God why, and I started putting my trust in Him that all of these tests that He was putting me and my family through were going to be worth it.

And guess what? He was right. I faced a lot of adversity in the latter part of 2016. I tried to hide it pretty well from others because I wanted everyone to believe that I was okay. I didn’t want people to worry about me. In time, though, God delivered. In the beginning of 2017, I was offered a job up in Nashville, and I soon found myself making the move from Louisiana to Tennessee. My aunts and uncles were so resilient in rebuilding their homes. By July of that year, I was completely cleared by my hematologist, and today, I’m getting closer to being the healthiest I’ve ever been.

I realized that once I finally stopped worrying about all the tough things going on in my life at that time, everything would slowly fall into place. I surrendered all of my fear, anxiety, and worry. I just let it all go and I trusted that whatever was meant for me would come my way. And it is. All because I finally set my stubborn pride aside. All because I finally let go and let God.

Days Thirteen and Fourteen: Surviving

I missed posting for the blog challenge yesterday. It was a busy day, and by the time I finally sat down to try and write last night, my eyes just couldn’t stay open, nor could my brain formulate any reasonable thoughts. So, now I will attempt to combine the topics from the last two days into one…

Day 13: In Chapter Ten, I talk about how sometimes survival is about whatever gets you through the day. Share what has “gotten you through the day” or held you together during tough times: faith, family, friends, alcohol, food, TV shows…whatever your glue is, don’t be afraid to get real.

Day 14: In Chapter Eleven, I share some of my experiences in group therapy. Talk about your own experience with therapy…what it has taught you, how it has helped (or not helped) you, how it has helped you see how ENOUGH you are. If you’ve never been to therapy, talk about why. And what you would hope to learn from it if you ever went.

Therapy is most definitely something that has gotten me through some tough times in my life, but I will touch more on that in a moment. First and foremost, the main things that always get me through a bad day are my friends and family. I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with some of the best, and they never hesitate to make me laugh when I’m feeling down. Some people just pick up on it, and they are quick to crack a super cheesy joke or send me funny pictures or videos that they know will bring a smile to my face. I’m so incredibly grateful for all of those people in my life.

In addition to my friends and family, sometimes, I’ll just write to make myself feel better. Maybe, I’ll read or binge-watch one of my favorite TV shows. I almost always find comfort with chocolate or ice cream or tacos. Maybe even some whiskey or wine. It really all just depends on how I’m feeling, to be completely honest. However, there have been moments in the past when none of those things helped at all. I exhausted all of those efforts and realized that I needed to talk to someone who could offer an unbiased opinion on all of the emotional struggles that I was dealing with in my life. When I first decided to go to therapy on my own at 24 (I went as a child, but that was mainly my parents’ doing), it was a gradual decision. I initially spoke to a close family friend about it. She’s like an older sister to me, but she is also a professional counselor. She offered me some good advice, and she even referred me to the counselor that I ended up seeing for nearly 2 years after that.

I’ve stated before my disdain for the stigma against therapy. Taking care of one’s mental health is so incredibly important in life. From my personal experience, I know that I tried to “fix” all of my problems myself, but eventually, it all just became too much for me to handle. Even when I was going to therapy, I felt that there were very few people in my life that I could admit it to because I was afraid of being judged. People don’t look at therapy as a means of bettering yourself and your life, they look at it as something being wrong with you. It’s so twisted, in my opinion. I think therapy is the best decision that anyone can ever make for themselves. Your world doesn’t even need to be falling apart to seek help from someone. You could just be struggling to find your purpose in life or maybe you’re suffering with anxiety problems. The beauty of therapy is that it doesn’t care where you’re at in your life, it’ll embrace you with open arms and help you overcome whatever battles you may be fighting.

Therapy most definitely taught me so much about myself. I was forced to really dig deep and examine my greatest strengths and weaknesses, my biggest hopes and dreams, and especially my greatest fears. I was forced to face emotional traumas of my past that I had swept under the rug for so long. Dealing with my past helped me overcome it. I noticed a change in how I viewed myself and my life. My relationships improved with those closest to me. I slowly gained more confidence in myself again, and I gained the courage to move forward to a life that I previously never would have imagined for myself. Therapy helped me repair the most broken chapter in my life.

And I couldn’t be more grateful for the person that it’s made me today.