Recently I wrote a reflection post about 2016. This was a very open an honest post, however I knew from the start it was missing something… something important. I sent the draft over to a couple of my girlfriends, asking them to review it, in hopes they would catch the missing piece. They thought it was worthy of publishing, so I went ahead and did, avoiding the weird, egoistic feeling I had felt in my stomach. I re-read, re-read, and monitored the responses and feedback from friends and family, until one of my closest friends spoke up, one that I had not sent the draft to.
The missing piece that I had been looking for was not just one, but MANY people who helped and supported me to get to where I am today. When my friend pointed this out to me, my heart sank below the ground, and my tail went in between my legs. I instantly began to put myself down, and question how on earth I could have forgotten to accredit those who have been along the journey with me. After watching a couple Golden Globe acceptance speeches, I began to feel as though I had won an award for making it out strong from 2016, but I ran off the stage, taking my trophy without a thankful word. This is why I had felt an uneasy, shallow feeling within myself prior to posting, because ultimately I had framed it from a position of someone who does things alone.
“How could I have done that?” I kept asking myself. I value my friends and family an incredible amount – and am typically okay at showing them that – so how could this not have come into play in my writing? I am not a person for excuses but rather reasoning and understanding, which is why it has been so necessary for me to dissect the root of which my actions became. Here were a few of my thoughts:
- American culture can sometimes reflect a “fend for yourself” kind of mentality. I think that from a young age, I recognized and adopted this mentality on an unconscious level, not truly letting others fully in out of protection for myself (hence making myself feel alone on a more deep level).
- Until I was a teenager, I was raised an only child. I grew up ‘alone’, not necessarily in a bad way, but I didn’t really have siblings to support or be supported by. Yes, I did have friends, but I also moved a lot, and friends seemed to come and go a lot as I passed through. Geographically, Arizona is very spread out, which creates physical distance between friends, making it difficult to be ‘close’ with them on a regular basis. This laid the foundation of my fundamentals of friendships.
- I have had a lot of support in my prior years from my family and from boyfriends. I didn’t necessarily ask friends as my first resource to rely on. 2016 was really the first time (aside from the first couple of months in Sweden before I met Tim), that was necessary for me to rely firsthand on friends. This meant it was necessary for me to open up a bit more, be honest, and ASK FOR HELP… something that I was not really used to doing with friends. So in a way, when growing up, I closed myself off from helping friends and allowing myself to be helped as well.
- My ego has grown! Which can be fine in some ways, because I think it is important for one to have confidence and pride in their accomplishments, however, it is important to see the full picture, rather than just one frame. I think because I have heard so many people tell me this year how proud they are of me, it makes it easy for me to unconsciously think that it is my doing. Yes, I have personally done a lot of growth, but, I have only been allowed room for that growth because other people have been there making space for it by doing other tasks for me, or being there for me in difficult times.
So here’s my acceptance speech to you, my killer ‘A Team’:
This is to my friends, family, near and far. This past year was really hard, and you were there for me every. fucking. step. of. the. way. Whether you were sending me a message on Messenger to make sure I was okay; endlessly house searching (and possibly risking your credibility on behalf of me) to give me and Skye a place to stay; demanding a Skype call; setting up a GoFundMe account to help me financially during a time of distress; donating to my GoFundMe account; reminding me that ‘life will go on’ regardless of what happens next; giving me furniture and presents; helping me to hurry and deep clean my old house so I could get my security deposit back; helping me with taking care of Skye and/or helping me to find care for her; complaining with me but ending conversations with hope and optimism; being a ‘step-in’ parent because my own couldn’t be there physically; giving me a hug or a shoulder to cry on; sending me links to job vacancies; calling me or picking up the phone during spontaneous painful moments; dealing with my ‘on-edge’, ’emotional rollercoaster’ moments; HELPING ME MOVE (double thumbs up to you people 😉 ); sending me a Christmas card, gifts, dinner, message; rubbing my feet and watching movies with me; turning my cries into laughs; and/or simply just being there. I know there are probably some really amazing things that I am missing in this list, but please know that your actions and thoughts have not gone unrecognized.
I am in a happy, ambitious, fulfilled, independent, and thriving place because I have had your help, support, and reliability. That, dear people, is the best gift a human can have in life: companionship. I’ve learned from you all this year truly what that word means and its significance. I hope to be as good of a friend to you as you’ve been to me. Thank you.
Ready for 2017? …because I am continuing to take you along for this crazy adventure, moving “one foot forward” together! 🙂