A year later and I feel this even more now:
"I hope that if you're reading, and you're tired, and you're sad, and you're lost, you know that you're not alone. We all get lost along the way and we can all find our own paths in the darkness.
Celebrate life - Be with ones you love - Give onto others - One day can change EVERYTHING - You have a place in this world - Peace on Earth, which especially means Peace within YOURSELF."
As I write this, I'm sitting on my new couch, with the dog curled up by my Christmas tree, Yule Log on TV, Christmas music through the stereo. I'm between writing content for my website and finalizing a speaking gig in Boston in the summer. Oh, how times have changed.
This day last year, I was running around like a mad woman trying to buy presents, addicted to caffeine, throwing a pity party for myself, and all around not excited for my favorite holiday of the year. How had I gotten here? To feeling resentment, exhaustion, overall shitty?
2015, you were so great to me, yet missing Christmas and not feeling the spirit of joy, giving, and thankfulness crushed me. I knew I could not go living this way.
In March, I quit my job. Cold turkey. No plans. Jeff by my side, cheering me into the unknown (for which I am not sure I'll ever be able to repay his love, patience, and steadiness these past 9 months!).
I also started weekly therapy - I knew my issues were more than overwork and burn out, they were deeper but couldn't figure out what. It's funny - I always thought therapy was for stupid people (couldn't someone just FIGURE IT OUT?!) but what I realized was that we all need help. There are things in this life that become bigger than us, and we need some help. Doesn't mean we fail, doesn't mean we're weak, but it does mean we're committed to better - whatever that may be.
Through my time in therapy, I tackled beasts, demons, tormentors and sadness that I have never known inside myself. Apparently, we as humans are very good at tricking ourselves; hiding away things so they won't hurt us. I admitted to anger at others who I loved. I came face to face with success and winning and told it to go fuck off, because that's not what truly is in my heart. I let go of my identity that I had created for myself and let the true Rachel come into play. I meditated. I cried. I was honest with MYSELF, which was the hardest thing of all. And I loved it, because here I am now. (and my therapist, Jenny, who would say I did all the work, was absolutely amazing and she is truly an angel sent to me. I will never forget her.)
So here we are at the end of the year - how did things go?
Well, I've gained more frequent flier miles than any other year. I said YES to every new experience that came my way. I took every last minute trip, every late night party, and every long conversation with energy and passion that I thought I'd never have again. I did things I've always wanted to do with people I love. I've celebrated people genuinely without envy or comparison. I stumbled upon my true calling, a passion for helping other women and the joy I get from public speaking. I experienced the earth-shattering feeling of unconditional love for myself, and continue to work on it every day.
The moral of the story? I invested in myself and I didn't feel guilty about it. Others around me thought I was crazy, but I followed my gut, and leapt off the side of the cliff of the unknown. It was scary, but it was SO. DAMN. WORTH. IT.
I think back to the shadow of myself I was this day last year, I feel for her. I know her heart was good but her heart and mind were tired. Since I am now strong, I promise to never let myself get back to that place. I no longer feel selfish when I take time to care for myself, but instead feel liberated and peaceful. Where martyrdom and bitterness was, only joy and a giving heart remains. When I looked in the mirror, I finally see myself again - not as anyone wanted, not as I wanted to be, but just as I am - which is pretty damn awesome and special.
I hope that if you're reading, and you're tired, and you're sad, and you're lost, you know that you're not alone. We all get lost along the way and we can all find our own paths in the darkness.
With that, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas - the spirit of this season are ones that we all can get behind:
Celebrate life - Be with ones you love - Give onto others - One day can change EVERYTHING - You have a place in this world - Peace on Earth, which especially means Peace within YOURSELF.