New Year Loving Me

Bench-Bailey-Museum Photo : Alanna Bagladi

I’ve reached this point where I’m in love. Fully, disgustingly, in love. In love with myself. My heart is so full nowadays. In a new, exciting, healthy way. I can feel it; the warmth, the happiness I used to reach for and sometimes reach only to lose hold despite my best efforts.

I’m nowhere near completely healed. I’m still a riddled ball of anxiety. I still suffer from depression. I have sculpted a routine, a lifestyle that allows me to thrive with my diagnosis. I have surrounded myself with only those that wish the best for me and are the best for me – even if it was hard letting go of the ones that weren’t.

I used to hate myself. I used to blame myself, second guess myself – see no worth in anything I did. I did not love who I was, I didn’t want to try. There’s a calmness and familiarity that comes with the sadness I used to feel. It’s not easy to suffer from this sadness but it is easy to befriend it and sit idle with it for days on end, months, years and do nothing to get better.

I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to know how. I’ve written essay after essay of how to focus on self-love and beat mental illness but the truth? I didn’t practice what I preached.  Not nearly as much as I wish I did.

I didn’t know how to make myself want to get better, want to thrive and feel alive again. There was always a grey overcast on my mind. One that I held hands with until it led me to such a dark place I contemplated some of the darkest thoughts of my life. Therapy led me away from this. Best friends and mentors led me back. My family. School. The future helped.

This grey, it still visits every now and then. Now, though, I am capable of saying hello, letting it settle for a bit, and then telling it to fuck off.

Emotions are what guide me in life. I feel so deeply. That will never change. Something I used to do, though, that was so unhealthy was not feel these emotions. I can tell you I’m sad, tell you I’m angry, happy – whatever the hell it may be. At a moment in time, though, I wouldn’t allow myself to feel these emotions and let them fluctuate. I stuffed everything down. I let myself cower from anything that would bring more grief – or relief to a situation or circumstance.

Sometimes it still confuses me, how and why I would let myself suffer. I try not to let the past draw me back for too long because I am at a point now where I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how much healthier I am. I handle situations and life so differently now. Looking back to a year ago, I was a completely different person. It makes absolutely no sense to me but I know I am thriving because of it.

That’s the thing about progress, so many people, including myself, just want to control it. We want to manipulate our progress to where we think we should be at, and we try hard to do this. We judge ourselves for not rising to the task of being ‘happy.’ Trying to control your progress, though? It won’t work. It doesn’t. There are no ‘shoulds.’ Progress comes in waves that you aren’t expecting. It doesn’t ever end. Progress, growth, is a lifetime commitment.

Becky Harrison, OWTL Contributor
Becky Harrison : Certified klutz, free spirited, go-get-em goof ball. Loves writing poetry and the beach. Strong believer in bucket lists.