Hello, lovely people out there; as the year ends, I realised the only way to say goodbye to 2023 is by writing this year’s journey. This year has been a battle where I had to fight for a stand I took; I had to defy society and, of course, my dear little friends called inner demons. The good part is I won; I am at a better place, but the tricky part is, am I fully healed? Maybe, maybe not. There are days when I feel proud of how I have come so far in life that sometimes I doubt if I fought it all alone or how I survived it all. And then there are days when I question my existence and have this self-doubt of being happy per se. You know, it is very, very hard for a survivor to open up and accept that they have won and are out of that shit hole. Getting into everyday life or the idea that people accept the way you are without any judgements is challenging. I often wonder if the day I spoke about mental health was like a calling for me to tell the world that the way you talk about physical illness, it is entirely okay to talk about mental health or trauma. People will always judge/question you for who you are, but what needs to be done is you get to choose your own story.

This year, I have learned a lot about myself, my resilience, my strength, my weakness and the idea that when your body says rest, you must rest. You need to listen to your mind and body. You need to accept your feelings or how your emotions are overpowering you. You need to speak up to yourself, analyse what it wants, and take care of it because if you dont, who else will? I won’t deny that there are days when I don’t want anyone to be around except my baby girl, Puzo, because she understands my silence. She knows this silence is like “calm before the storm”. She gets it when I am anxious or will just burst into tears. I dont know how she plays the role of my support dog, but without her, I could not have fought these endless fights. I am grateful for her, but along with that, I am thankful for life despite bombarding me with shitty situations. That’s what life is; you must move on and keep going because life doesn’t stop for any. By now, life has taught me that your most challenging times often lead to the most significant moments of your life. One needs to keep going. You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness.

2023 taught me that I have stayed strong in some tough moments. I was sometimes alone. I battled loneliness, still struggling, but I somehow discovered my inner calm, and I survived! Now, what I am left to learn is that I deserve the happiness I have denied myself for so long. I still accept this fact, but I still doubt that it is possible for me. I am working on it. The biggest lesson I have learned lately is that healing is possible. You can’t look at the bright side when you feel at the bottom of the pit. The pain you feel will make you stronger no matter how much you hate it, and you will realise it when things become alright. But this is not the time to feel alright, and it is okay. But it takes courage to change your life. It takes strength to keep going when you’re ready to quit. And there is beauty to be discovered from realising you overcame what you thought you could not. Some things cannot be explained solely by words. It is okay to be a person who is still healing. The truth is that we always will be. It is a forever practice and that forever kind of love with yourself.

And this, my friend, is a learning I am sharing with you all. Your mind is a ship; it can sail across the universe if you don’t allow negative thoughts to sink it. I won’t deny that it is tough, but it is not impossible. There are days when my inner demons overpower me, but now I have learnt not to let them dominate my mind. Some days are a lot more tricky, but sometimes I sit and let them pass by because it is better to accept than ignore that they exist. After all, you don’t command wind in the direction it blows, but you control a ship in the direction it sails. I am still a work in progress and will always be because that makes us human. There’s always room to improve. So I thank 2023 events for making me understand what Maya Angelo has beautifully written: “You are only free when you realise you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” And I belong to myself; I dont quite have it entirely, but at least I am getting it.

I hope you carry with you all the learnings you had this year or the idea that what if I start working on myself in the coming year? Just know that you matter. You are beautiful in your own ways, and life may be a roller coaster of good or bad times, but what won’t stop is the idea that you love yourself and keep moving forward because this year is almost over, but the journey is long. So keep sailing. When all seems to be against you, remember, a ship sometimes has to flow against the current, not with it. There will always be rough and easy days. Like a ship, we must sail through both.

I will end this year’s blog with my favourite author’s quote –

“Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness — an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

― Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Sending you lots of love, hope and strength. See you next year ❤

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