I felt like I was “supposed” to reflect on my experiences in 2013 earlier but I wasn’t sure I wanted to or was able to think about what I’ve gone through.
Anyone who knows me realises that 2013 started off relatively shitty and ended much better than I could have anticipated. My life isn’t perfect but I have control over so many aspects of my life that were previously out of my grasp.
Having control and being able to affect changes more readily in my life has been empowering. The more I exercise my control and my choices the more secure I feel in my own skin. I’m almost 35 and I’m finally able to stand up for myself, to push back, to challenge and not be afraid that I won’t be liked/loved or wanted or useful or important.
It seems insignificant to most people I’m sure but I’ve started to make people respect my body. To not touch me if they aren’t invited. I am more assertive with my consent and withdrawing my consent. It’s amazing how strong the words “yes” and “no” make me feel. How saying “I want x” or “I don’t want y” can bolster how I feel about me. Who knew?
I have begun to understand that I don’t need to feel bad for what I cannot do. I see people running marathons or engaging in some kind of activism and I realise that I am not “less than” because I can’t participate. This is the year I learned to cut myself some slack. I was never a super active person before I was diagnosed with #rheum but even less so now. I am slowly becoming more and more active as I adjust to my new normal.
My new normal means a quiet activism. I do what I can handle mentally and physically. I have made my well-being a priority. I had to in order to survive this last year. I struggled to get up, to get dressed and to make it to work five days a week so I could continue to support myself. To survive 2013 I had to shoot myself full of drugs, take pills and vitamins daily. To survive 2013 I had to stop exposing myself to triggers and to toxic people.
When others dive head-long into twitter debates or discussing difficult subjects, I just keep scrolling or seek out cute pictures and happy stories. Occasionally I do engage – some times that just means reading and learning; some times that means not at all; some times that means pushing past the the triggering feelings to contribute. I no longer insert myself when I am not in the right head-space to handle it. And some times if I am in the right head-space, I don’t want to ruin it by bringing that into my life. Whatever I choose is OK because it’s what I need to do to survive.
2013 was also the year I landed a dream job. It’s been four months and I am still happy and eager to go to work every day.
It was the year I learned I could still get butterflies over someone new (it didn’t work out but it was a nice 4 weeks).
It was the year I bought myself a car (used) after 5 long years without one! Freedom is incredible!
So now I look forward to 2014 with dare I say, hope?