2016 was simultaneously the best and worst year that I’ve had so far. It was filled with breakups, breakdowns, sadness, self-hatred and so much more.
However, within the negatives, there were so many positives that I can’t overlook. Instead of focusing on the bad things, I want to think about the good: there’s no use dwelling on my upset, especially on the day before my birthday.
At the beginning of this year, I had a boyfriend who was – and still is – a great person. I broke up with him in February because I realised that if you don’t have feelings for someone, you absolutely shouldn’t be with them, and then a month later I was with a girl who is a wonderful person and got me through the last few months. She broke up with me in May, which sparked off a whole chain of shit I don’t even want to think about. The events that happened after all of that have resulted in my emotional state now, but it taught me a lot.
I stopped lying to myself, and accepted that I could be unhappy and faking it wouldn’t make it better. I hold onto the great memories: the texts, laughter, smiles, holding hands in secret by a fire, walking down the streets of London or the ability to be entirely honest with someone whilst holding their hand, not just whilst on the phone.
Taking my exams was an experience, not least because I got great results at the end of it. I made new friends, drifted away from old ones, loved until I cried with the weight of it, and got a few radio and journalistic opportunities.
After everything, I became much more comfortable in my own body, and the thought of physical experiences don’t scare me any more – or at least not heavily. I set boundaries for myself and others, feeling less shy about expressing myself. My blog helped me to be more confident, and I hosted the 2016 Blogger Awards as well as making numerous friends who are the best people I could know.
I had the best summer of my life, going to Italy with Robin, relaxing in the sun, and really thinking about my priorities. I got my shit together, perhaps too late but I still did it, and I knew exactly what and who I wanted. That started a relationship that lasted two months, but even for that, it was one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to me and I’m grateful for all the happiness I got out of it. I don’t feel bitter towards anybody, and at the end of the day if people are happy, I’m happy.
Meeting bloggers was the highlight of my year, and I want to continue to do that because I’ve never felt so free. I realised that I can be closed off, which makes me sad, but I’m working on improving it.
I spoke to Ash again, finally coming to terms with everything in my head, and I let go of all the confusing grudges I held towards people like Birch. I started Sixth Form, went to a party, made new friends, and got my hunger back for learning. In October, I went to Paris and through all the tears, I fell in love with life for a short while, sharing experiences with people that were perhaps morally confusing to others, but it made me happy and that’s what matters.
I think what I’m most proud of is that this year, I learnt a lot. It’s one thing to read about hearts being broken in books, to shout about the injustices of people cheating on others but when it happens to you, you realise that the lines aren’t quite so clear-cut. It’s not so simple to say that I should hate people who hurt me, because I don’t at all. I still think I’m not as important, but I’m taking time for myself to think about who I actually am. If someone never tries to help you, or tries and then stops trying, or even if you feel like they’re sick of you, you are STILL worth other people’s time.
I want next year to be a year of letting go. I’m sick of getting hurt, getting smashed to the ground, and so I want 2017 to be easier. I just want to be happy.
Not knowing what will happen is terrifying. This time last year, I never thought I would have got through the worst patch of bad mental health ever; I’m still going and that’s what I think about to stop the tears. I’ve found out who I value as friends, and just why you shouldn’t let people treat you like shit without kicking up a fuss.
I miss too many people that couldn’t give a shit. Over the last year, I’ve become stronger, and more resiliant; I was able to work under pressure and achieve highly. I didn’t stop, even when I wanted to: I’m not at my best, but at least I’m still trying.
I haven’t given up yet, and I won’t.
Maybe I started this year off happily and I’m ending it sad, but that just means that 2017 can be the year where I pull myself together. The year that I’ll look to for hope, because I survived 2016.
Having people around me has really pulled me through. I know that next year, I’ll be by your side as much as I can; bloggers are the reason I still smile, and I couldn’t ask for more amazing friends. If you ever need anything, you can always talk to me, and we can make the coming year a better one through all of the violence, injustice and discrimination that certain people and groups of the world give us.
If I’ve got through this, who’s to say I can’t get through the next load of crap life throws at me? I can love, and be loved, and I’ll be more than okay. I’ll be happy, and it’ll take mountains of tears and shattered hearts to climb out of my sadness, but I can do it.
Bring it on, 2017. I’m still fighting.
From Elm 🙂