Dear 2017: The Queen has left the building…

In News by Kelley Gunter32 Comments

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


  1. This hits home on so many levels. Growing up being physically and mentally abused by my narcissistic mother, then being sexually abused and becoming pregnant. Then he sexually abused my baby.
    I have hated myself for so long. I have a wonderful supportive husband but I can’t get out of this funk I’m in. Any suggestions?

    1. Author

      I hope that you have a therapist who has a clear, concise plan of action to help you heal. If you don’t have one, I would put that at the top of my To-Do list. Perhaps message me privately.

  2. This book had brought me litteraly to my knees , i am so proud of you. I love you even before any hint about anything that you have written about..I loved the part in the begging where you wrote ” If you are reading this book there is a reason,that you didn’t believe in consequences ” i have to say my heart litteraly jumped out of my chest..everything in this book ive read has actually happened to me..One thing i want you to know at the top of my New Years Reservation was to forgive everyone that had hurt me including my father, hes long been gone and im just really sad i couldn’t let him know i forgive him..But i know he knows because i feel like i am 100 pounds lighter. I wish i was. Lol , I just want you to know that wouldn’t have been possible if not for your book, ty so much, i love you.

    1. Author

      I am so happy and thankful that the book was able to give you some peace and resolution in your life. You have such a beautiful heart and it deserves to be lightened with the forgiveness you have found for your father. He knows. I believe that. Happy New Year my friend.

  3. I was throwing my hand up to the sky saying “Amen!” to several of your profound words.
    “…freezing in the coldness born from other people’s apathy and indifference…”
    Self-apathy is a barren tundra. Nothing thrives.
    Bless you for surviving and THRIVING!

  4. Dearest Kelley…my heart is full and singing after reading your proclamation to yourself and the world… what you are leaving behind…and what you are claiming. Beautifully done…I am honoring your wisdom and strength! From my heart to yours…

  5. Happy New Year Kelley, I just finished your book the other night, took me 3 nights, if I didn’t have to sleep I never would’ve put it down ? you are a wonderful person and a great mother. Here’s tho 2018 being the best for all of us xoxo

  6. Amen sister, and I do mean sister! You were a sister to me growing up, you inspired me and made me laugh, you made me feel loved and accepted. You have no idea the impact you and your family had on me. I loved you and your brothers and mom like family. Thank you and Happy New Year!?

  7. Wow, wow, wow!
    Just so very profound and hits me deep to my core, especially since it is absolutely parallel to my life.
    Sexual abuse from a very young age that continued, through several abusers, for many years. An absolute narcissist for a mother that I knew no better but was being drug along through the craziest of crazies. All the while I hid it all as if this was just as life was supposed to be.
    All that abuse has kept me with such self loathing but all the outward smiles that I was taught to do.
    I give and give, tearing myself apart to keep people in my life “because it’s the right thing to do”
    Unlike you, I have been so very blessed with an amazing, protective, tough, loving husband. He taught me I don’t have to give in to everyone and be a doormat. Unfortunately, the absolute most hurtful and threatening part of my life, my mother, I just couldn’t release until last year. I was so programmed for over 48 years and now I am building a different life. A life without the verbal and mental abuse.
    Lord it is difficult to realize I am actually worthy of good and happiness in my life.
    Girl, I just love your blogs!!!!
    Thank you….. here’s to lessons learned and moving forward.
    God Bless you Kelley

  8. While waiting on your book to arive, I can assure you that you have already with your kind encouraging words the orher night, you have helped me emmensely and I want you to know how much I appriciate it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you from the nottom of my heart. GOD BLESS YOUR 2018

    1. Author

      Thank you my friend. I am very excited for all of the changes that are coming your way in 2018. May 2018 be the best year of our lives. God bless you. xoxox

  9. Happy New Year!!! And heres to the woman I have idolized since before I could walk❤️

    1. Author

      I love you with all I have my sweet, beautiful Jessie. You will always be my babygirl. I am so proud of the woman you have become. Happy new year sweetheart. xoxoxo

  10. Beautiful Kelley! This hits home on so many points. You are a blessing, my love! I am so thankful we “found” each other again!
    I am looking forward to making lots of wonderful memories with you in this coming year.
    Thank you for being my friend. Full of compassion, empathy, and un-ending love!
    I loves you with my whole heart…to the moon and back. ❤️??

    1. Author

      I loves you. You know I do. I loves everything there is about you. And I know you loves me….all my flaws and imperfections. May 2018 be the best year of our lives. I am always with you my sweet friend. xoxoxoxox

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