Monday, December 19, 2016

I Became Braver This Year

Driving home in the dark, my eyes are so tired. I don't get enough sleep. I spend time staring at screens too much. I need to make an appointment with the eye doctor. I probably need a new prescription. But here I am, driving home in the dark from an evening that just included myself and my words. Coffee was thrown in there somewhere too. I left my glasses at home again. I'm distracted.

I was never the girl that people described as sweet. I mean, I'm nice to people. I'm compassionate. But I'm not a sugar-coated gal that gives cheeky grins and has a genuine lightness about her. Put me in a lineup with several other ladies and that's just not the adjective that would be pinned to my shirt. What words could be used though? According to my friends: unapologetically caring, committed, vivacious, sparkling, dynamic, intelligent, unique, loving, bold, authentic, resilient, confident, loyal and brave. You see there? Not a "sweet" to be found. I'm sticking with brave though. Because I became braver this year.

2016 is winding down and it's hard not to be part of the cliché bunch that shares their Facebook "Year in Review," except this time mine is different. It included big, sad, terrible things. I've never cried so much in a year. I've never felt truly heartbroken, devastated, blindsided or cheated before this year. I've never questioned myself so much or questioned my worth more than I did this year. Thinking about it all, it's a bit pathetic actually. Because aside from all of the times I laid in bed crying my way into the changing seasons, there were some unbelievable moments too. There were times that I surprised myself. There were moments I never thought I would have. I changed, I grew and I found myself again. I didn't become new but rather I became old, I reverted back to everything I loved.

"Hello Grace. It's nice to see you again," is an unspoken thought that I have more often than not when I look in the mirror these days. I'm more confident in that too. I have round, green eyes that strike a nerve with some. There's a wrinkle above my nose that made an appearance when I was pregnant and never left. I wear jeans again, most days actually. And heels, and odd lipstick shades and a lot of the time I walk out of the house with half my hair still wet but that's okay because those insane locks are messy perfection. I like myself and I'll openly admit it now.

But most of all, I became braver. I used to place my anxiety into a ball, gently drop it in my purse and carry it around with me everywhere I went. It stopped me from experiencing things and jumping into things and having days that were a little brighter. Now, that anxiety has been placed elsewhere. It's not gone, instead it holds steady around Claire and our future - wishing that we're left alone to grow and heal and share life together without turmoil. The progress I've made in this corner of my life has made the biggest impact though. It's paved the way for a heartier spirit and adventure.

I never thought I would ever have to walk into a lawyer's office, suck up my pride and file for divorce. I never thought I'd have to get an STD test. I never thought I'd be a single mom. I never thought I would shimmy into spandex and hit up a spin class alone - and love it. I never thought I'd learn to kickbox either. I never thought I'd have to pack up his things with my friends. I never thought I'd actually get more tattoos. I never thought I'd kiss anyone else ever again let alone some strangers. I never thought I'd be throwing a couch out the front door alone. I never thought I'd be driving in and around Nashville so much, at night and in the rain, without feeling anxious. I never thought I'd take a sip of a beer. I never thought I would demand respect from those who failed to show me any. I never thought I'd be selling so many memories right out of this home. I never thought I would go to a therapist. And I certainly never thought I'd be writing a book about my personal life and willingly want to share it with everyone, everywhere. But I did all of those things. I became braver this year because I had no choice.
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