Hey you, happy new year, we made it to the other side, that is, if you follow the same calendar as the west of us ;). So, fun story, more than a year ago, I remember being in Brazil and having Portuguese classes with a friend of mine and we talked about ‘shitty years’. I remember telling her that I had never really had a “proper” shitty year. Shitty times? Yes, those I had plenty of but a WHOLE year, not really. Right after saying that, my stomach sunk a little, as though the universe had heard me. I felt like the kid in class that had just triggered the teacher, to remember that she had forgotten to assign homework to the class. And boy did the teacher have some emotionally exhausting homework to assign!
2019, by far, is a year I can pretty much mark as a gloriously shitty year. One with amazing tenacity to just keep sending blow after blow. Yet, at the same time, it has been glorious, not in the value of fertile and stinky manure it has thrown my way, but also the gardener it has turned me into. If I had the option to opt-out, cancel 2019, I would not. That is of course because I ironed through it, not because it is now 2020 but at around mid- October, things finally started looking up, within before they did externally. The sun started peeping through the dark sky. Yet, had I not experienced what I did last year, I don´t think I would have learned to trust that the sun had always been there, even when I couldn´t see it.
Last year I dipped an all times low mentally. The only time I remember being that depressed was in my late teens. Depressed to the edge of suicidal thoughts, where the only thing I could hold on to was “let´s finish this one task before we give in”. I share that with you not to depress you or worry you but because being able to talk openly about how dark my thoughts had become is exactly what started making space for lightness to breathe through my psyche. Going to therapy, being open and painfully vulnerable. I know there are plenty of people out there pushing through each day and moment on one single prayer, on one more task and they fear to ever speak up about what is going on mentally. But trust me, speak light into it – breathe air into your mental wounds, it´s how they heal, how you heal.
My wish is for mental health or illness to be as openly spoken about as having the flu or a broken arm. We never feel ashamed about having a headache, the flu or stomach ache, why should we feel ashamed when our minds break and need care? All that to say that, 2019 taught me how to to take care of my mind even more. To be aware of the daily thought patterns that slowly could build up and clog my peace of mind. The little weeds we give too much space to flourish. I learned how to not overwork my brain with fears and worst-case scenarios that have not even happened and therefore, can have no real solution. 2019 taught me how to keep a peaceful mind and how to become a constant gardener of peace and tranquility in my own life. A wellbeing that needs little from the outside to stay abundant. If that is all I got from 2019, I am beyond grateful and I never want to forget these lessons and experiences.
Money was really tight and sometimes almost non-existence last year. I was not able to buy the things I usually buy to feel like I am taking good care of me. I was eating foods that I would normally not consider buying. Saying no to events (well, I say no to events even when I do have the funds haha, but the funds were sometimes a reason in the last season). I could not wear the things I truly wanted to wear. I had to ask for money sometimes and that was a blow for my little usually self-sufficient soul and ego. Yet, that exposed how not so self-sufficient I truly was.
Lesson: You can´t ever base your security or comfort on the kindness of others. Whoever can give, can take away and the best you can do for yourself is be aware of that, receive openly but be always aware to not depend on that as a sure thing. Regardless of how close or love-bonded you are to the giver. I am grateful to have learned that, I am grateful that it did not make me bitter but just helped me know better, also how to give, to be aware of how much I take, how to be there for others, how to give back.
For a portion of that time, I was sleeping on my mom´s couch. Even writing that made my belly turn a little. I cried a lot on that couch, so we had time to become rather intimate haha. All of this really really humbled me in a way that I am truly grateful for now. But trust that I did give myself permission to feel very sad, defeated and sorry for myself before transitioning through it. I learned to make magic with less resources; like spending more time in nature on walks, when I could not go to the gym. This made me rekindle my love for walking and I felt connected with nature even more, in all her season, even in the cold.
I learned to budget with less and get only what I needed and make that delicious. I learned to be grateful to be able to come home each night and make my bed, yes, on a couch, but it was a comfortable couch. I was warm, I was safe. Sometimes if I worked late at night, my mom would make the bed for me so I did not have to when I got home, and that almost broke my soft heart. I got to receive a different kind of care and love. I got time to get really close to my youngest sister and my mom. Especially, since I had not lived with my mom for years. Traveling a lot and living abroad meant that I have only seen my baby sis grow in small time-slots.
Eventually, we got a little routine going and my mom and I got to know each other more as adults. I felt comforted and like life was making a sort of full circle in our relationship. I saw her differently and I know she saw me differently too. At the end of that experience, I was no longer crying from being disappointed with my life, but from the gratefulness, I felt. Of all the people around me who reached out in care, who were checking on me and who were showering me with blessings in all their forms. I learned to have so much with less than I was used to and that is a lesson I am utterly grateful for. I have enough, I am enough and I am loved even when I feel less than, even when I have little to nothing to contribute with. I am whole.
A lot happened in my love and sexual identity too, and finally, started a new garden in Lisbon but for all that, I´ll have to share in the next post before this becomes a full novel.
For now, I leave you with this friend, may life find you blooming – may you remember to be like the sun, whether up or down, you are still sun 😉