It’s kind of hard to reflect on 2013 (and myself for that matter) because it was a most interesting year. A lot of good happened, but also a lot of bad happened too. So, pointing out how I changed and how I grew throughout the year is a little difficult, and sometimes cringe-worthy. But here is a list (I love making lists – you’ll soon see!) of things that I learned about myself in 2013.
1. I am much stronger than I knew I could be.
2013 was a really difficult time for me in terms of self-esteem, self-worth and body image. I had anxiety and felt out of myself for most of the first six months of the year. I suffered through intense emotional breaks and doubted myself and my strength more often than I could count. But, I just really needed someone to listen and when I was ready to ask for help, I did. I began seeing a therapist in June and she has really helped me come to terms with how I view myself and why I have/had such low self-esteem in the past. I’ve learned that I have a voice and that I am able to stand up for myself and how I feel without feeling like I’m being a total bitch when doing so.
2. It is perfectly acceptable to push away the toxic people in my life.
I am usually a push-over. Or at least I was. I liked having people around me because it made me feel like I mattered, even if they weren’t good friends at all. I’ve lost several friends in the past four years; some I was devastated to lose, and others took some time to accept that the change was okay. But, the toxic people who were negative and didn’t realize friendship was a two-way street, I finally realized that they were okay to lose. So, I deleted them from my life. Removed contacts and deleted on my social media sites. And my life has been perfectly fine without them.
3. I have the greatest friends imaginable.
You know how I’ve said that 2013 was a hard year? Well, I couldn’t have done it without the help from my friends. The hardships from the past year and a half have really shown me who my true friends are and who I can count on; and it’s a great group of people! The friends I have now have been with me through my ultimate cringe-worthy, horrible temper, downright ugly days to my happy-go-lucky, let’s party all night, smiles all around days. I am not afraid to be myself around them and let them know how I feel (even if it does take a little coercing to talk in-depth about my feelings). Most of my greatest and happiest moments last year were with my friends, and I’m happy that I was able to share it all with them.
4. I am learning to be more open.
I suck at talking to people I’ve never met. I’m always anxious and nervous and wondering if I have food stuck in my teeth. So, when I aced an interview at an awesome Toronto non-profit, I was ecstatic. And the internship went amazing! But I was always worried about talking and voicing my opinion to my superiors and my co-workers. (I have so much anxiety about talking to anyone who I consider “superior” to me). But, I actually had nothing to worry about. My boss(es) were incredibly nice and welcoming, and I actually made a couple friends there who were also volunteering there.
This year I also worked on an amazing program-wide event called EMERGE at University of Guelph-Humber. Never in my dreams would I have considered working on that project unless it had been mandatory (which it was), but it was one of the best experiences ever! While I may have suffered bouts of sleep-loss, anxiety and nervousness, the event itself went amazing! It took so much hard work and dedication from everyone involved, but to see it come together was wonderful and such a proud moment. I wish I would have done more events and been more involved with the school while I was still there.
5. I really need to push myself to go after what I want.
This is a lesson I am still learning now as I’m contemplating what am I going to do with my life. But last year, I managed to graduate from a four year media studies program at UoGH and I knew I still wanted to continue with school in some way. I love to write (and it’s a little funny considering this post is flowing from my fingers so freely while I’ve been in writer’s block for a month now) and I had originally wanted to study English or Creative Writing when I graduated high school. I had this phenomenal teacher in high school who taught Writer’s Craft and for our final project we could write the first three chapters of an original novel. And the novel I began writing then, I have continued writing for five years. There have been some breaks in there since I only just reached about 3/4 of the novel finished. But, I still loved to write. And I wanted to find a program after UoGH that was short (max. two years) and that was for Creative Writing. I applied to two programs at two colleges and I chose the program at Humber College. I had to submit a piece of my manuscript to be accepted into the program, and I was so nervous about that part of the process, but it paid off since I am currently in the program. Now all I need to do is remind myself why I wanted to be in this program so I can get through my writer’s block.
6. Weight isn’t everything.
I am overweight; I will admit that. But that does not mean I am less than any other person on this planet. Like I said, I have had my ups and downs this year when it has come to my self-esteem and body image, but it has taken me even longer to realize that what you weigh is not the end all be all of everything. I can be happy now if I choose to be. I do need to be healthier but I’m not going to let my weight get me down because I’m still allowed to have fun and be happy at the size I am now.