Who I was vs who I am

There are no circumstances under which I could have ever guess that I would be where I am today. When I look back on the past year and review everything that conspired to put me in the place I am now, it’s hard not to believe that I’m getting help from some hidden hand, pushing me along. I’m not particularly religious (I would love to believe in a God, but jury’s still out as I sort through a number of things), and I don’t like to believe that my life is predetermined and that nothing I do makes a difference in my ending. But I do think that there’s such a thing as fate—probably many fates—and timing. Timing is a big one.

A year ago, I was a wholly different person. I’m not going to say that there weren’t redeeming qualities about the person I was, because there surely were, but I did not like who I was. A year ago, I was just surviving. I got through my days with grit teeth and a smile that I was working really hard to feel as real. I was sad and lonely and anxious. I had a habit of sabotaging myself, convinced that I should stay where I was in life because it was safe and steady and any risk I took might be met with failure.

Today, I am happy. I feel safe; for the first time in my life, I feel quiet and grounded and secure. I am surrounded by purely positive energy, and I am genuinely supported. There are still times when I feel like a burden due to my anxiety, but it’s getting better because of that support, and I’m slowly learning how to ask for help when I truly need it.

Who I am now is someone who is brave, and certain, and headstrong. I take risks. I say yes to things that I want to do, even if they scare me. I push myself to open up, to break through the walls I’ve spent twenty-four years building. I’m learning that I can still be selfless while remembering I deserve care and attention, too.

I still struggle. Anxiety will always be with me, but I don’t let it affect me nearly as terribly as it used to. And I’m always trying to grow more, to be able to put myself more fully in other people’s shoes. I’ve always been an empathetic person—sometimes to a fault, where I let it affect my mood, my day—but I’m trying to look beyond the emotion and go deeper. I may not be able to fix the problem, but I am better able to understand the underlying issue. It’s opening my eyes to a lot of thing.

And this year, I am loved more than I ever have been in my life. I know better what gentle means, how powerful acts of service can be. I value time spent with those I love, and am wholly satisfied to be gifted with just that: time. I know what it’s like to have someone understand me, to see the darkness in me and not turn away or shrug it off as a nonissue but instead grab a flashlight and help me explore it. It’s nice to have someone next to me who cares enough to ask questions, to know when to push me and when to hold me. I am very grateful for that, and I am very lucky.

When I look back on my life, I would relive it all again; good and bad, I will take it all. It’s led me to where I am now, and has pushed me down the wonderful road of opportunity. I think the hard things I went through were put before me so that all the goodness I’m about to stumble upon—that I’m living in now—evens out. Darkness and stars, and all that.

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