Free 

The year 2016 will always represent a pivotal time for me. The end of my 20s.

It has been a year of immense struggle–of pain, fear, anxiety, and darkness.

And, it has been a year of immense growth–of insight, strength, and bravery.

The other day, I was getting ready in the bathroom, mind whirling around with too many thoughts, as usual. As I looked at my reflection, I froze. I had a realization.

I realized that, while my struggle has been very real and very difficult, I have been allowing it to define me. To define how I am doing and where I am at any given moment.

For years and years, I buried so much pain–so many secrets and so much of myself. This year, I have set a lot of it free. It has been real, raw, and very messy. I haven’t really liked it, or myself, as I have journeyed through it. After acknowledging that these things have happened, I have struggled with letting them go. I have focused on what was done to me–the injustice of it, the grief from it. I have focused on my anxiety, allowing it to rule my life. I have focused on the depression–resisting it, and sinking even deeper into its clenches.

I am still doing all of these things. Letting go is hard…and I am not completely sure how to begin. BUT, I do know that I am traveling in the right direction.

This week, I made a decision I never thought I would make. I decided that I would get a permanent reminder of what I have done in this year–2016. As a generally straight-laced, goody two shoes, the idea of a tattoo was never something I have considered…until my life got messy.

I needed to do this thing…this thing will remind me, every day, that have the power to set myself free. It hurt. It was uncomfortable. But, the end result is beautiful. Just like this journey.

I define myself.

I can believe in myself.

I can put my self worth in my own wings–not any one else’s.

I am strong. I am brave. 

I might not always believe it…or even believe it right now.

But…

I can be free. 

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