The Comeback Year

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Vik, Iceland

“Life will hit you hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.”
I've shared this quote before but I wanted to share it again, because ever since I first heard it in this beautiful TED talk on poetry given by Sarah Kay, it's been branded on my heart. The poem she recites is titled "If I should have a daughter..." where she explains the ways she would teach her future child to cope with life's tougher moments. It goes on...

“There is hurt. Here. That cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry. So the first time she realizes that wonder woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.  
Believe me, I’ve tried.”

I posted the above quote on Instagram on April 5th, 2016. Almost exactly one month after we had lost my grandfather to Parkinson's. At that time, his loss was just the latest point in a string of pain and loss we had been experiencing since early 2015. On April 5th, I heard Sarah Kay speak those words and I lost it. I broke down entirely. I had hit the end. I collapsed under the weight of all the hurt and actually allowed myself to believe those words. No matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.

I pictured it. The pain. Coming down on me like drops of rain in a hurricane. Blowing at me from every angle. And then me. Standing there, drenched, with my hands outstretched hoping to catch them all. To fix them all. To stop them all from reaching the ground so that no one could see what was really going on. 

After nearly a year and a half of struggle topped off with a strong six months of suffocating anxiety, panic, and depression, I was done. I was done hurting. I was done crying. I was done carrying the burden and allowing it to control my happiness. From that moment on, I decided to let my hands hang heavy, let the rain fall where it may, and instead focus on moving forward. There were better, clearer, brighter days ahead and I was bound and determined to find them.

Then, it began.

I had been going to therapy for months, but I became more determined than ever to work on finding ways to heal. To rid myself of the burden I was feeling. To work through the guilt. To let go of the past. To focus on the future and the things I could control. Slowly but surely, I gained some traction and I noticed things changing in my life.

A month later, we adopted our puppy, Archie, who has brought an infinite amount of love into our home.


I kept working on myself, learning to identify negative energy in my life and also when I was the one supplying it. My prescription for happiness became: Focus on the positive. Go to therapy. Be grateful. Go to therapy. Do things that make me happy. Therapy. And the climb out of the hole became easier.

We started spending as much time with friends and family as we could. And the more we invested our time in the things that made us happy, the more we actually became happy. It sounds so stupid, but it really was that simple. Find what makes you happy, and do it. From there, our year took off.


In the second half of 2016 we visited five different countries...
{Iceland, Belgium, France, Netherlands, England}


Witnessed some truly majestic moments...


Saw nine epic concerts...
{The Clarks, Ellie Goulding, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Who, Roger Waters}


Crossed off my top bucket-list item...


Volunteered our time serving the people of Baltimore and learning more about the community around us...


And since that day in April, I haven't looked back.

2016 was a life-changing year for both me and Mike. Despite what everyone else is saying, it was one of the best years of my life. 2016 saved my life. Yes, there are lots and lots of negative things that happened in that time, and I could let them consume me or complain about them until I'm blue in the face, but I'd be no closer to changing them. Bad things happen. Good things happen. The best thing we can do in life is hang onto each other and work to find joy. That's why we've officially dubbed 2016 as our comeback year. While it started off in a dark place, we feel so lucky to have grown so much this year both individually and as a couple and I can only hope for more peace, clarity, and growth in 2017.

Happy New Year!

4 comments:

  1. WHAT. A. YEAR. I have witnessed you shine in so many situations and it makes me want to hug you as tight as possible. I can't even imagine some of the hard times you have had to go through, let along so many of them at one time. Letting go of the pain and just letting things fall as they may has been a great step for you. You deserve all the amazing things that can happen for you and Mike, and I can't wait to see where this life takes you. I am honored to have been a part of your 2016 and I can't wait to be a part of 2017 and beyond. xoxoxoxo

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    1. Thank you so much Macy. You and Dave have been such a light for us in the past year. From 4th of July to the Ellie concert to all of the blogger dates, we've had a blast getting to spend time with you guys. We are so incredibly fortunate to have you in our lives. Can't wait for more adventures in 2017! <3

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  2. I love this post. Your words are so poignant. I have tears reading this because you've been through so. much. More than a human heart should have to handle. You've triumphed over your challenges and adversities. You absolutely deserve all the good things in your life. You have been so blessed this year and I hope that 2017 just brings more blessings your way. Either way, we'll all be right here, cheering you on! <3

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    1. Thank you so much Annie. I am so lucky to call you a close friend! We REALLY appreciate all your love and support! <3

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