A Difficult 2015

I was always raised to be strong and independent but there is no denying that my will and emotional state were tested this past year. January marked the beginning of a defining year that took me too long to gain clarity of.

As of January 5, 2015 I was single. For the first time in three and a half years, I no longer had a partner. This hadn't been the case since junior year of high school and the idea of it initially excited me. That excitement wore off when I realized all of the friendships I had neglected due to that relationship. For so long I was content with it just being him and me that I didn't really bother to form a friend group or even a true best friend my first year and a half of college. He was my best friend and I put my entire world into him. That's where all the trouble began. I was terrified when I woke up one day and realized that what we had was no longer enough. I craved new friendships and experiences that would shape me into the person I wanted to be. With all that being said, for a few months in the beginning of the year, I struggled to find a friend group that I felt I could be myself with. I couldn't seem to find where I belonged and instead of having secure friends to fill this internal hole that seemed to be growing, I threw myself into dating. The amount of relationships, both serious and casual, that I was juggling was absurd, but it made sense to me at the time. It kept me from feeling alone in a time that I felt nothing but that. This was when I realized what a disaster dating is. It was like as soon as I found something good, it would slip away. Failure after failure has a way of shaking your confidence and I don't think you can be ready to handle that hurt when you feel like you're all on your own.

Finally, in March, I met Josie. It took us some time to fall into a pattern but before too long, we were inseparable and for the first time in months I didn't feel like I was completely alone. We went cliff jumping, attended concerts, threw parties in our too small apartment and became those two friends that when traveling anywhere without each other would be asked, "Where's your other half?" In a way I would call her one of my soulmates because she gets it; she gets it all.

Just when everything seemed to be getting on track again, fall semester came around and everything fell apart. An emotionally abusive relationship along with roommate problems, a death that hit too close to home and a really heavy class load drove me into a downward spiral. Sleeping and eating became almost impossible and I looked to alternative, unsafe methods to get all my work done and yet still feel okay. So much was thrown at me over the course of a month and I didn't know how else to respond than to just shut down. I had thoughts that I had never had before. I started to scare myself. This is when I realized that like my mom, I struggle with anxiety and the fact that it can drive me to such a low place.

Truly, there's nothing more I want in life than to feel complete on my own. Without going into too much detail, dating did not particularly work out in my favor this past year but I learned a lot about myself through it.
I learned that I get attached. As much as I'd like to say that I like to keep things casual, I know myself better than that. I hold onto the little things so much. If we've ever had a personal connection, know that there's always a little piece of me that misses you and the moments we had.
I learned that I'm not the only one who has a broken heart. I became so selfish to a point that I wasn't realizing the pain I was causing. I hate that I can make someone feel the same way that so many heartless guys have made me feel. I had to learn to be kinder, gentler.
I learned that I focus too much on what makes me unhappy. You can only drag yourself down for so long before you have to stop the self-sabotage. Upon recognizing this, I channeled my energy into the people who do matter and said forget about all those people and situations that upset me. There's no reason to let a guy who doesn't know what he wants ruin a great night out with your friends. Don't ever forget that.
I learned that I am in the place I want to be. It may have taken a year to get here, but I finally feel confident in my entire being.
I learned that I should never let anybody define me. When you let people mold you into what they want, you lose yourself and when you finally see the corruption, it is a lot harder to get back the person you were before them.
I learned to let fate take its course. Another element to anxiety is trying to make sure everything is working right and trying to maintain absolute control over everything. Life doesn't work this way. You can't go around seeking out something that is supposed to happen naturally.
And lastly, I learned to never go backwards. All relationships end for a reason. If someone walks out of your life, let them go and don't ever look back because there's a damn good reason they left in the first place.

My emotional and mental limits were pushed to the edge this past year and at times I didn't know if I wanted to keep going at all. It goes to show that if you keep trudging along and moving forward, things do get better. I no longer let others control my happiness. At almost 21, I'm still growing and changing. If I can make it through this year alive and well, I can only imagine the positive growth that will come in the next few years.
Looking forward to 2016, I wish for less heartbreaks, more dance parties and even greater memories with the people who I know care for me and my well-being. I will try harder to stay away from those who treat me badly and make me feel small. I won't dwell on the things that I can't control and maybe, just maybe, I'll find someone worth my time, effort and heart. If not though, I'm not concerned. I have too much road ahead of me to let anyone ruin the ride.

"It's always darkest before the dawn."