This past year has easily been one of the most brutal years of my life.
After losing myself and everyone around me, I found myself collapsed and at a loss of direction. Where do you walk when you’ve lost all sense of navigation? Who do you look to when everyone has turned away?
I found myself walking toward the mountains.
From January to June, I balanced myself on a thread, treading slowly. Falling to the left meant a complete collapse in silence and falling to the right meant giving into to the perjuries people had coated in my name; I really had no way to win. My voice had been ripped away and others spoke for me instead, but if I tried to do something about it, I was demonized. I couldn’t find the line between self defense and self exploitation, between saying the truth that needed to be known and letting people into parts of my life that they had no right to know. Life was fragile and intensely delicate. It was more than I knew how to balance.
I wish I had found a voice to speak sooner and that people had listened when I did finally speak. I wish that I had known that the people around me didn’t matter; I had far better hearts to be found, come August. I wish I had let myself grieve, breathe, and accept the things that had happened, rather than shoving it away and never acknowledging it’s reality. I wish I had known that my worth is in no way impacted by other people.
With that said, there’s a fine line between wishing things had gone better and regretting the past year, and while I’m not appreciative of the hell and pain I was shoved under, I know I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for that anguish. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the face of genuine friendship when it showed itself in the form of a roommate or the compassionate patience handed to me by an archer. If I hadn’t been suffocated by the toxic city air, I wouldn’t have acknowledged the absolute freedom I feel in my lungs with every step along the Blue Ridge. I know happiness because I have known pain; the two must coexist.
Though it was brutal, I am beyond proud of the woman this past year has made me; I am resilient and infinitely full of passion, and nothing can take that from me, not again. I am delicate, but I am not fragile. Hear me speak.