Dear 2017: The Queen has left the building….

I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who is happier than me to bid 2017 farewell.  It has been an incredibly difficult, hurtful year. Actually, the last several years have not been stellar years for me.  I was a very busy woman.  After all, self-destruction takes a lot of time, energy, and hard work.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.  Self-destruction is tricky like that.  I talked quite openly about that in my book, but that’s not what this blog is about.  This blog is about the woman who came crawling out of the ashes, begging God and the world for another chance.

I learned many things in 2017.  There was extreme hardship and hurt, most of which was a direct result of my own mistakes.  It’s a difficult journey to learn to forgive yourself and to acknowledge and soothe your pain when you brought most of it on yourself. In the middle of all that, though, I had to learn to accept the fact that there was an unthinkable reason for my illogical behavior.  The acceptance of that fact was by far, the most difficult task I had to accomplish.

I am actually thankful for the nightmare I have endured for the last twelve months.  Self-induced or not, it was my reality and I was broken to the core.  I learned that because of horrific, brutal, sexual abuse I suffered as a child, abuse that I had kept secret for many years, I made very unhealthy and disastrous choices in my life.  It’s actually mind boggling to put it all together and come up with a new plan to heal and begin to slowly build a new life.

But sometimes all you can do is begin again.

In the midst of my darkness, I experienced both the best and the worst in people.  I have learned so many truths about life in the last year.  As odd as it may sound, some of my most profound teachers were the people who treated me the worst.  I’m sure they had no intention of providing me with a useful lesson and they were completely oblivious to what they were instructing me on.  But what they taught me was that no matter how great my mistakes were, I still deserved love and kindness.

These people, obviously had none of that to offer me. They easily turned their backs on eyes that had looked at them in the past with love, generosity, and friendship.  Even through their cruelty, though, God’s message was delivered.  When I finally quit crying long enough to be still and listen to the voice of God, I heard him loud and clear and knew that I deserved better than how I was being treated.  That day, is the day I passed their class.

I learned that I needed to steer clear of people who made me feel that I was hard to love.  I was actually having dinner with a world champion athlete a couple of years ago and he asked me why I was single.  I replied that I had been told I was difficult.  To be honest I didn’t expect any words of wisdom from this gentleman, but his response stunned me.  He said that I wasn’t difficult, but that the man I had been involved with just didn’t want to understand me.  He said, “we understand what we want to.”  I had to let that one sink in, but I realized he was so spot on with that assessment.

I learned that if people are doing nothing to keep me in their life, why am I running myself ragged, fighting to stay?  I shouldn’t have to rip myself into shreds and pieces to make other people feel like they are whole. It slowly became apparent to me that sometimes I have to forget how I feel about something and remember what I deserve.  All of us, in spite of our mistakes, deserve compassion and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the funny thing.  God forgives us the second we ask, but we take much longer to forgive ourselves.  Why is that?  We seem to believe that we must punish ourselves until we think we’ve suffered enough and lost enough and then maybe, we will consider forgiving ourselves.  I have done that for the last year. I have repeatedly tortured myself and berated myself and loathed myself.   And guess what I’ve finally learned?  Enough is enough.

On December 31, 2017, I forgive myself.

I know my heart.  I know that I am more than any mistakes I have made in my past.  The way others treat me is their path, the way I react, is my path.  No more first-class tickets on a guilt-trip for me.  No thanks.  I released a picture of myself about a month ago with the statement, “You don’t know this new me.  I put my pieces back together differently.”

That is my truth.

So, I’m leaving it all behind in 2017.  All of the hurts, the mistakes, the tears, the heartbreak, the fake friends, the fake family, the emotional baggage that only weighs me down, the anger, the “whys?!” the frustration, the devastation, the nightmares and monsters that were real, the grudges, the doubts, the exes, the toxic people, the insecurities,  the guilt, all of it.  It stays in 2017.

I know the tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough that it can break a heart.  I choose to use my words to heal and to bless.  So many people are hurting and crying this very second and why would I not reach out to them with compassion?  Who am I to ignore their hurts?  Obviously, I can’t reach everyone, but I try to sow seeds of warmth and love with everyone I encounter.  What I know for sure is that no matter how far apart we may live on this earth of ours, we all look up and see the same moon.   I pray I never become a person who turns a cold shoulder to a breaking heart.

There are so many people freezing in the coldness born from other’s apathy and indifference.  It is not that difficult to instill hope in the lives of others.  All it takes is the right spark to ignite a fire.  Many people just need someone to believe in them.  Here’s what I know for sure—if I can learn to believe in myself then I can sure believe in you. And if I can believe in you then YOU can believe in you.

That’s what new beginnings and new years are all about- believing in creating something better.  No more feeling bad about things that can’t be changed.  I’m not a big new year’s resolution person, but I am a person who believes in moving forward with a new plan.  I want to do great things in 2018.  I want to help make other people feel great. I want to wipe away more tears, instill more smiles, laugh every chance I get,  and be the face of compassion.  When I go to sleep at night I want to be certain God is happy with me.  I’m not worried about making myself feel great, I believe that will come.  I am planning a new year that is bursting with hope, love, joy, and kindness for myself and everyone I encounter.  I just want to sprinkle that amazing, life-changing magic everywhere I go.

So 2017, I am leaving you behind me. I will, however, retain the lessons you taught–they were powerful and life-changing.

Thanks and noted.

Happy New Year