“But I had to fall yeah
To rise above it all
I’m grateful for the storm
Made me appreciate the sun
I’m grateful for the wrong ones
Made me appreciate the right ones
I’m grateful for the pain
For everything that made me break
I’m thankful for all my scars
‘Cause they only made my heart: Grateful” ~Rita Ora – Grateful
New Year, New Decade
The beginning of the New Year always brings a certain reflectiveness of the past one, but this year in particular, as we begin a new decade, brings even more self reflection and cognitive probing of personal growth positive and negative. I don’t know if you can ever fully recap a decade. Even after rereading and editing this, I still feel like I have so much to write and keep forgetting minute, yet mighty details. But I am going to try.
The last ten years have been a highway paradox of growth, loss, grief, illness, addiction, self discovery, love, confidence building, discovering myself, friendships, moves, travel, career changes and so many twists and turns on back roads and freeways I don’t know if I could ever ascertain a real path. Chapters were closed and new ones begun, and still there are so many left to put pen to destiny. It is a crazy journey called life and sometimes it felt like I was traveling at a hundred miles per hour, and others it felt like even the tortoise was going faster then I was.
In many ways I feel like I have come full circle, and yet the person I was when 2010 began and the person I am as 2019 ends feel like they could be two different people. I feel like I have lived a dozen lives and that very well could be true. Lord knows I am not the same person even if the start and ending are the same.
Brokenness in 2010
2010 began with aimless dreams and no exacting help as to direct the boat I was on. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have the confidence to get there. Fear was very firmly my enemy. That year ended with the boat sinking of Titanic portions. I experienced the worst emotional and mental pain of my life, and honestly would have been happy if I had drowned with it. In many ways I was drowning myself anyway. While I had battled eating disorders and disordered eating pretty much all of my teen years and even before that, it turned into a full fledged attempt at slowly and methodically killing myself without actually pulling any trigger.
Yet, when 2010 ended, I did experience hope no matter how fleeting and hopeless it seemed, light did shine through, and yet I brushed it aside ignoring it, cementing my lone ranger status of hiding, fighting, and dealing with my emotions with just me, myself, and I.
A New Home
2011 began with me firmly wallowing and that is the most positive word I could use. Yet, through the pain, I felt that tug, that pull to a city I had escaped to at the end of the previous year. It also saw my first real trip abroad (sorry Canada you don’t count, we share a continent) and that planted the seeds and giving me not just glimpses, but something to physically grasp and not let go of. It was after my trip to France, that I said fuck it to fear and rather then let it stop me, I drove right over its roadblock to a positive place where I could find health, love, and healing.
My first months in New York weren’t easy, and sometimes I shake my head and ask myself how in H.E. double toothpick I am still alive after all the crazy things I did those first months. And yet, I handled my first shitty apartment (I subleted for three months) surprisingly well. I decided to get help and went to an outpatient center for eating disorders. I found a community that embraced me for me and all my imperfections both on the outside and inside. I discovered my heart wasn’t really made of stone and that I could do relationships…even if I refused to label them as such.
As I began to grow and explore, I became more firm in what I did and didn’t want. While I loved yoga and was incredibly knowledgable in nutrition, I knew in order to fully recover from my eating disorder, it couldn’t be my whole life or career. Yoga was an outlet, it was my chance to delve deeper and heal myself and while the thought of healing others appealed to me, I also knew it wasn’t something I could do in that moment. I decided to go back to school for my bachelors and got into NYU where I decided to say fuck it to everyone urging me to be practical and delved into the world of no holds bar poets, espionage, and revolution, in other words the mysterious, beautiful gilded world of Russia.
It was also the year I decided to finally take my writing seriously. In 2014, I became published for the first, but certainly not the last time, and the blog (just the latest in a long line of blogs) I had created before my move to New York, Small Town Asana, morphed into Live In The Nautical. Though it had quite a few identity issues before I finally settled on that name two years ago. Finally deciding to make it a side gig, and not just a hobby, new doors began to open. It was through blogging, that I not only pushed my own personal boundaries, but discovered another incredibly supportive and positive community. Through blogging, I have made and met some of my best friends, and some of the most creative, strong, and inspiring women, I have the honor to know.
While I explored New York extensively, I finally decided to step out of the New York/New Hampshire bubble and began traveling. After being in France, I had been bitten by the bug, but had made to many excuses as to why I couldn’t feed it. That changed. For years, I thought New York had my heart, (and it does own a piece of it) but I still wondered if there was another place that I could love just as much if not more. If the old quaint, yet up and coming city I had read about in a book, didn’t just have my heart, but my whole being. It was in Charleston that I found that was very much true. I could say that the whole Coastal South stole something from me, but in reality it helped me to find me again. And whether it is in a year or ten, I know I will be calling Charleston my home.
Whether it was from living in a beautiful, yet hard city, or just the fact I was growing and adulting, I discovered a back bone and a voice. After being assaulted, stalked, bullied, and harassed, I have learned that strength does not mean you have to be nasty or bitter. In fact having a voice is the exact opposite. You can be strong AND still be a nice person. Advocating for yourself does not mean you stoop to the other persons level, but rise above it.
Many of the friends, and even family members, I began this decade with, are no longer in my life. And THAT is okay. Sometimes you grow separately. It doesn’t mean they or you are bad. It just means you no longer fit together like a puzzle. There are people who break your trust and your faith and do horrible things, and those actions say more about them, then they do about you or anyone else in their life. People change, people grow, yes, people can be nasty, but to isolate yourself and never take a chance is letting fear win. Something that this new year, I refuse to do.
Everything Happens For a Reason
2019 saw the close of many Chapters, but at the end new ones were written. I (finally!) graduated from college, and decided to make the kind of scary decision to leave New York after calling it home for the last seven years, at least for the foreseeable future. Nowhere does it say I can’t go back. We write our own stories, and the Concrete Jungle will forever have a prominent place in mine. The spring was incredibly stressful as I was not only dealing with the stressors of finals and moving, but also incredibly bad and scary bouts of hormonal depression. Yet, I persevered. I discovered so much strength and courage and did it all by myself. Which moving a mattress down three flights of stairs in a walk-up is NO joke.
Originally, I was going back to New Hampshire for a couple months, (spoiler, still here) before I did some traveling and finally settled into a new home and career. Yet, the best laid plans go awry and even when you don’t see the full picture, God does. Everything Happens for a reason and I ended up right where I was suppose to be, supporting and helping my family especially my nephews and niece through some incredibly tough times.
Life is filled with cracks, cracks you WILL fall into at some point. No one has an easy life and we all fight our own demons, even those who look like they have the most instagrammable worthy life. But it is up to us to decide whether we stay down or pull ourselves up and fight for the life we want. It isn’t handed to us, but worked for as we navigate obstacles we have no control over. We do control our own responsive actions. WE decide what path we take it might be the most convoluted, steep road, but it is ours to conquer. It is OUR choice.
We create our own happiness and it takes work, a hell of a lot of work, but it is worth it. All the good stuff, our dreams, joy, adventures, come with a certain amount of fear, and instead of treating it like an adversary and running away, we need to embrace it like a friend, because once we get past that, is when our dreams, strengths, and happiness are realized. I don’t do resolutions, but I do mantras. This is the year, as I myself begin a whole new decade where I have arrived at that intersection and am discovering which way to turn, that I am not going to shy away from the more difficult one out of fear, but embrace it and go after it. Because I know ultimately it will be so worth it.
Happy New Year dear friends. May 2020 be an incredible, fruitful, and joyous year for you!
How did the last decade treat you? Do you make resolutions? What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?