New Year, Same Essence

2019 has been quite a year. I have doubted myself more than before and proven myself wrong more times than expected. I’ve experienced lots of losses in friendships and relationships, but my “spirit” or the essence of myself has not faltered. Similar to last year, I will not change all of who I am to accommodate for all of who someone is not. It would be a disservice both to me and them to pretend we are more or less than who we are.

I’ve learned a lot this year and the one thing I want to carry with me for 2020 is myself. I want to do things that are in service to the life I want to live and the world I want to actualize. As many of you know, I’ve been in treatment for the past few months. It’s been quite a rocky journey thus far, but in one of the groups we were in the facilitator said, “You have to be able to choose yourself first,” and that’s stuck with me.

At 13 years old I found myself in a locked inpatient unit of a mental health treatment center without choice-I was put on a Stay of Commitment. Ordered by the court, I had to be in treatment or do a re-trial with the court. I was spiteful and angry and this carried out throughout my adolescence.

Treatment hasn’t always really felt like my choice. Sometimes it felt like I was doing it to make other people less worried and more comfortable. Sometimes it was because I was legally binded to be in treatment. More often than not, it was because I had a team of people who kept showing up for me and encouraging me to get support. Sometimes this meant having to make the call for the hospital or the police to take care of me when I wasn’t able to do so.

But for the first time in a long time, I checked myself into a residential treatment facility and have pushed myself to really figure out what I need to do to become someone I am proud of. I don’t want my only story to be one of recovery, so I’m doing things that are in service to the stories I want to be able to share in the future.

I am a very list-oriented person, but I no longer want to make a list of all my wins and all my losses and try to find a way to outweigh the other just to prove a point. I’ve realized that life isn’t about tallying or keeping receipts of all the times I’ve proven myself wrong or someone’s hurt me. If we do that, we’re only making room to carry pain and spite and I don’t want to keep doing that. That means there is less room for things like hope, community, curiosity, academia, etc. It also means there is more attention on the things that weigh me down and less attention towards the things that uplift me.

What is your center of gravity? How do you hold yourself? What keeps you steady?

Have you softened your focus?

What we center ourselves upon has a huge impact on what we attract and see. If we center ourselves around the choices we can make, we are centering ourselves around self-agency. If we center ourselves around our values, we are centering ourselves by our moral compass and authenticity. This doesn’t have to be a locked agreement, but rather something you can ebb and flow and flex as different experiences shape us.

I want to be someone I want to love and I want to be able to love others fully and authentically. To be present in conversation rather than living into my anxieties. I want to minimize the pain I cause. Mend the pain and wrongdoings I’ve done. There is so much more to me than just me and I want to honor that.

So for 2020, new year, same essence, but a brighter light and softer spark.

Happy New Years (Eve) to you all. May we remember the things that have carried us as we enter 2020 together.

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