In what ways am I pouring inward? And how does that change the way I pour outward onto others?
Dear 2023, I walked into my year of self-respect because
*I have been a punching bag and a doormat.
*I am mean to myself, really mean.
*When I feel taken advantage of, I become the worst version of myself.
*I spent 13 months walking my father to his death and it was really hard.
*I was hurt, my heart, my toes, my eyes, they felt the physical pain, but I was hurt.
And the year did not disappoint.
I was bombarded with pain and loss and loneliness and times of deep sorrow.
There were times I felt sought after and attacked.
But, I will say that those moments made me the kindest I have ever been to myself as I poured inward.
I reminded myself that I am a good friend with a good heart and I carry people with me.
I reminded myself that I was in trouble for allowing this to happen to me and I really really looked at why.
I reminded myself that I was the common denominator and I needed to find a different way or different loves.
I backed off and backed away.
I got quiet and sad.
I held on to memories but also forced myself to remember the hurt, shock, and pain.
I looked at old photos and I read old letters.
I walked down memory lane after lane after lane.
I thought through who I wanted to be and who I wanted to show up for.
I felt empty, most of the year, I felt empty because I wasn't sure I could be myself anymore.
And I realized a lot.
Grief is fascinating and it comes out in outrageous ways and at the damndest of times.
I spent three solid months crying on every single run I was on and every single time, I was stunned.
Grief is experienced even when the people you love are still alive.
And most significantly, I feel so honored to feel grief because real/true/limitless love was once there.
I realized that many people can only take me in small doses because I am, in fact, too much.
I also realized you can shrink not to be too much but be careful because you will start to feel invisible, if only to yourself.
If you are a lover of love, you have a superpower and a kryptonite at the same exact time.
Your superpower is how you make others feel - how loved they feel - and that feeling gives you life.
Your kryptonite is that you will make others feel stuck and like they have no out with you.
And if you try and control your superpower and extinguish its light, you will feel as though you are no longer part of the living.
I also spent some time figuring out what and how to pour inward.
I realized that I could find some space.
I found my breath on my mat again and I found my quiet in the slowness of it all.
I found people who reminded me I can and will find love again. It will take time and it will take some trial and error but it will happen. And although I don't believe it in my heart yet, I know that logically, it has to be true.
I spent time with my mom. I watched her try and re-emerge. I watched her handle grief in a very loving and healthy way. She is still deep in it, but she is also finding moments of levity and reasons to smile.
I spent so much time with my littles.
One comes home and tells me everything but nothing.
The other is a tornado in a storm and I get whisps of information in a blur.
We continued to do a lot of traveling.
I fought and made up with my husband.
I found a really loving routine for my body.
I walked thousands of miles (or so it feels).
I lifted heavier weights and trusted the process.
I bought new clothes for my new body - the one that is now athletic - yes, on purpose.
I start my morning with a glow - -candles, a clean home, warm coffee, relaxing walks and sounds, and of course, puppy snuggles.
As my year of respect wraps up - I cannot say that I am better for it or worse.
Worse because of the blueness that I feel engulfed in at times, better because I did pour a little more love inward.
No, my cup did not run over, but I did pour a little more than the year before.
As for 2024, I will look to the beauty in this world and show more gratitude for what I have in front of me.
But, like most of us, I lived another year full of ups and downs and joy and pain.
I know that is how all of my years will go - because I am part of the living.