this year

This year I lived in downtown Los Angeles for the fifth and final time. I rented a loft that was bigger and better than anything I could afford before, and every cent of it I earned on my own. 

This year I walked hundreds of thousands of steps a month, from January through March, until I was vaccinated and could take the bus again. I walked to and from work in West Hollywood every single day, some three and a half hours of walking, five days a week. This year I memorized every magnificent house and manicured lawn I passed on my daily treks through Hancock Park, marveling at the beauty but wishing none of the excess for myself. I spent the best of these hours in grateful reflection, and the worst of them in agonizing rumination. 

This year I saw that last year, I had pinned my happiness to someone who barely felt the needle's prick. It took me most of this year to see my mistake and finally come face to face with my own codependency. This year I found the resources and tools to crack open dark parts of me that desperately needed sunshine, understanding, and a lot of consideration. 

This year I learned how to be my own best friend. I learned what a massive and important role that is, and that it's about much more than taking myself to music festivals. This year I shed poor self-esteem like an old skin, and found peace, safety, and relief in boundaries for the first time in my life. 

This year I wrote over 140 blog posts, including some of my new favorite creative pieces, painful as they were to bring forth. This year I started using Instagram Stories, and fell in love with it. 

This year I went to Houston and San Diego, to spend weekends with two of my best friends. This year I laughed as hard as I ever have and felt as loved as I ever have, in their company. This year I took less MDMA than I ever have. This year I had fewer than ten drinks. This year I was gifted so much psilocybin I'm not sure I'll ever get through it. 

This year I turned on my TV maybe three or four times, not including the nights I ran a fireplace reel on YouTube. 

This year I learned new strategies for managing the difficult parts of me. I learned to accept good enough in place of perfect. I came to understand that while life will continually throw pain and misfortune at you, your suffering comes not from the events themselves, but from the meaning you attach to them. This year I discovered the Symptoms of Inner Peace and began using them as checkpoints and signposts on my way to a better me. This year I magically, wondrously lost the ability to worry.  This year I flexed my natural cheerfulness and good humor even more, using them to catapult me past stress and anxiety more often than I succumbed to them. 

This year I learned to say "Who cares?" about things I once cared way, way too much about. This year I learned that conflict is never, ever, ever, ever worth the disruption to my inner peace. I learned to keep my opinions and feelings to myself, form my judgments silently, then disengage and move on.

This year I turned off comments, likes, and replies on my social media wherever possible. This year I cut the mics of dozens of internet strangers who had spent years making inappropriate, overly familiar comments on my photos. This year I instituted a zero tolerance policy on my social media, immediately and with finality unfollowing, blocking, or removing anyone I want, for any reason I wish, without explanation. 

This year I threw off the training wheels of external validation and binned my people pleasing tendencies once and for all. This year I printed up and laminated a sign that says I'm sorry, but no to remind me that it's okay to put myself first. 

This year most of the men I interacted with bored the fuck out of me. This year I decided I will reserve all of my energy, attention, and magic for someone amazing, available, and a solid match for all that I bring to the table. This year I realized I am willing to wait as long as that takes. 

This year I got the promotion I rather aggressively pursued, then another one almost immediately. This year I was moved to a salary so high I secretly thought my boss was a fool. This year I lost my job when my company folded, but decided I was done with restaurants, anyway.

This year I completely changed the course of my life. I marshaled every bit of courage and devoted myself to finding work in a new industry, dreaming of the day a year or two down the road when I could leave LA on that new footing. This year my wildest dreams came true when I was offered a position in a new industry, in the exact city where I wanted to move. 

This year I made two of my own dreams come true.

This year I started to understand what I'm capable of. 

This year I started to see what I'm worth.