Last year was really rough for me. It made me take a hard look at who I was. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like her. I separated her, the persona I was in the outside world, from the person I wanted to be on the inside. I put her away in a box because I thought she was a hindrance to where I wanted to go. I thought she was the weakness holding me back from reaching my potential. She wasn't quiet nor amendable enough to wear in public so I picked up a different identity. One that didn't really fit but I knew I could pass off as close enough. When I was alone and faced myself in the mirror, I knew I wasn’t happy but who cares about that? Everyone else was happy so I could find a way to believe this is who I really was.
And it almost worked.
I hid so much of myself that I didn't recognize who I was. While I knew that was the point, I didn’t understand how damaging the effects were. I became a husk of the vibrant woman I actually am thinking that maybe just maybe I could turn myself into someone who could make everyone happy. The humdrum of someone else's routine took hold of me. Last year I began to splinter into pieces that didn't even fit anymore. I tried to make it work until the heartbreak came and I couldn't pass it off as nothing.
Weeks before my 25th birthday I started to get panic attacks. I’d cry whenever the thought of getting older slipped into my mind. My breath would become short. Walking out of the subway in the morning was difficult because that’s when the attacks would strike. Here I was going to a great job, moving forward with my goals and the world would slow down. Suddenly I couldn’t focus. When my birthday came, I was disappointed. Not due to anyone else’s actions, but to my own. I broke down at 2 AM into silent sobs. I didn’t like the persona anymore. She didn’t serve me anymore. So I decided to go with a scorched earth policy: no more casual hookups, no more fake connections, no more meaningless actions. If a person or action didn’t enrich me, I didn’t allow it. I burned that fake ass version of me. And I vowed to go back to the basics of who I am.
This year I’m giving myself permission to thrive. To stretch myself out of the cramped box I was stuffed in so long ago. I wish I could remember when it happened but I do remember the feeling before the real me was gone. I wasn't safe enough to expose myself and for that I apologize. I never deserved to feel ashamed to live openly in the outside world and have it actually embrace me. I didn't think that was extended to me. But now I know that's not true. So this is what the title says, a cheers to my truest self. I need it now more than ever.