It’s currently the 30th of December, 2016 at 8:30pm. When I sat down a few minutes ago I planned on making myself finally put together a round up of the most popular posts of 2016, but when I tried to write an introduction nothing sounded right. I wrote a few sentences, deleted them, wrote a few sentences, deleted them, changed some adjectives and moved sentence structure around, and it all got deleted. How hard could this be? It’s a list. Normally I sit down to write and the words just fly out of me, but this time nothing was working.
It was basically the perfect metaphor for my 2016.
If you’ve noticed the total lack of regular content going out on this site, it’s because 2016 has kicked the crap out of me. When the year started, I was convinced that it was going to be my year. I know that’s cliché, but I was starting to feel like an adult and like I was going to really get my shit together over the next 12 months, maybe even start to make this blog a second source of income? Who knows! The world was my oyster!
I kicked the year off by paying off the remainder of my student loans, which was a $30,000 achievement (would you guys be interested in a post about how I did this? I know it’s not typically what I write about, but if you want to hear more I’d love to share). I felt great. But after that, life started to throw a lot of curve balls at me.
My mom had a serious health scare and my bad roommates situation escalated to bullying and in the beginning of July I had finally had enough. I moved out of my apartment early to live with my grandma. I wish I could say this was a graceful transition, but it wasn’t; those girls had really gotten to me and I cracked. It wasn’t pretty.
This was the opposite of the independent, well-rounded and successful adult life I had envisioned for myself in January. What was I going to do when my boyfriend visited over Thanksgiving? I honestly felt like a child. Who still lives at home?
On top of all of that stress I’m sure it’s no surprise that my skin was atrocious. Honestly, some of the worst acne of my life and it wasn’t going away no matter what products I used. My dissatisfaction with the state of my life drove me to pick at my skin until it bled, making everything worse. I’m not a person who wears makeup every day, or really any day unless I’m going to a particular event or out to a nice dinner or something with friends. So looking in the mirror every morning, afternoon, and night to see nothing but redness, bumps, and scars covering my face started to take a toll on my self esteem. On top of that I had just chosen to cut a lot of people I had once called my friends out of my life due to what will henceforth be known as the bullying bullshit extravaganza of 2016, so my social life wasn’t exactly exciting. I felt isolated and alone, like people just didn’t like me. Why would anyone treat someone this way? Did I have any real friends or did all of them secretly hate me?
I can’t tell you what the tipping point was between “currently dealing with some stuff” and full on depression, but I do know that I eventually fell into the later category. It feels strange to look in the mirror and not even recognize yourself. Aside from my acne, technically nothing had changed, and yet every time I looked in the mirror it was like a totally different person was starring back at me. Like someone had picked up all the lines that normally made my image, and put them down again just slightly askew. Like a Photoshop job gone wrong. I just looked off. Who was that? People don’t like her. I don’t like her. She’s not successful. She’s not independent. She’s not pretty.
I stopped enjoying cooking, I stopped getting excited about getting dressed, I stopped enjoying doing my hair and makeup before a night out with friends, I was just going through the motions. In hindsight, I was totally withdrawn.
At the time I didn’t know I was depressed. I just thought I needed to keep pushing through everything in order to leave this mess behind me. I blamed all of my crying on PMS and kept telling myself that I had nothing to be sad about. Everything was fine. But at the end of September I finally started coming around to the idea that this wasn’t temporary; it was getting worse. In what had become a routine fit of crying, I was able to book a facialist and a therapist for the same week. Honestly, I feel very lucky that I was able to reach out to my therapist via email because I didn’t have the balls to ask for help out loud. Was I really that girl? The girl with a therapist? I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to stop feeling this way.
Unfortunately, for my relationship these changes were too little too late. I’m sure it’s not surprising that a long distance relationship isn’t able to survive very long when one member becomes depressed. My boyfriend of two years broke up with me a week after my first therapy session. He was my first boyfriend and my first love. I am not someone who is optimistic about romance, and I can honestly say that our relationship at its peak was higher than the highest high I could have possibly imagined. But looking back, I can see that all of the signs that he was falling out of love with me were there. The combativeness, the lack of support, the apathy… I just didn’t want to believe it. I was in denial that something that had started so great could possibly turn sour.
For a little while I was the saddest I’ve ever been. Now it really felt like people didn’t liked me. I guess I’m lucky to be able to say that having a boyfriend fall out of love with me is the most painful thing that’s ever happened to me. But then, slowly, things got better. I blocked my ex on social media to avoid being reminded of the way he treated me, pushed me away, and replaced me. I see my therapist semi regularly and it’s nice to have someone to talk to who can explain what I’m going through and who knows the right way to comfort me. I purchased a discounted bundle of facials, which I’ve been getting every month, and my acne scars are slowly fading. I became a candle person and they’re weirdly comforting (when they don’t explode). I found a new (nice!) roommate online and we got a cute apartment with a great location in Providence. I was feeling myself enough to post a selfie, and then, a few weeks later, another one. I went to New York for a much needed weekend with my best friend from college to celebrate my birthday. Today I even tried a new recipe for turkey breakfast sausage. I still cry and feel alone sometimes, but those periods are starting to get shorter and farther apart. Overall I’ve started to feel lighter. There’s no more onslaught of pettiness or bullying, no more failing relationship that I feel like I need to fight to maintain, and no more people actively surrounding me with negativity. For the first time in a long time, I can just be me.
I’m not writing this post for attention, or to make you feel bad for me, or to slander anyone else. Shit happens, relationships fail, people make mistakes and they might not be self aware enough to know when or why they’re treating others badly, or even treating themselves badly. But I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be, and I’d like it to be more than just a place for recipes and outfits. Sure those things are fun to talk about, but that’s not all there is in life. Life is messy and the last thing I want to be putting out into the internet is something with an airbrushed finish. I think we have enough of that if you ask me. So I thought I’d start the new year with something different.
Just in case there’s anyone out there who can relate to this story or is going through something similar, just know: you aren’t alone, it does get better, and you don’t have to be a punching bag for other people’s issues. Anyone who would use you like that isn’t a true friend and you don’t deserve them in the same way that they don’t deserve you, because you’re actually pretty fucking great.
This year I’ll be focusing on self care, because caring for myself is something I managed to totally lose track of last year. I’ll keep getting facials because I deserve to recognize myself when I look in the mirror, I’ll go to therapy because I deserve to feel happy again, I’ll buy the shoes I want instead of the look-a-likes that are on sale because I deserve quality over quantity, I’ll choose who I associate with more wisely because I deserve to be treated fairly and with respect, and I’ll be looking out for myself, because no one else is going to.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this post.
Here’s to 2017.