I think there is a mutual agreement between every living and dead person on this planet that 2021 (along with its brother 2020) was a shit show. Besides the obvious reasons of a pandemic, 2021 has been a challenging year for everyone physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. With so much time spent indoors, isolated from society we’ve come face-to-face with our demons once again but this time without a way out. If 2021 could be described in a single word, I would choose ‘re-birth.’
*Cue the tarot death card. *
The person I was a year ago feels like a fever dream. Who was I? Looking back at old photos, I feel like I don’t even know that person. Who I am at the core has changed. I would say that I’ve evolved into who I’ve always been meant to be. In an effort to reflect and share some insight into the subject of personal transformation, I’m sharing my highs and lows from 2021.
To begin on a sad note means that the ending will be happier, I promise. My first major low of 2021 was my breakup. No matter how many times I talk about it, I still feel weird about it. Like, get over it already! But this breakup immensely affected me much like the relationship itself did. Maybe the relationship was not built to last but the lessons were meant to forever change me. This breakup came out of the blue. One day, we were riding high, the next I received the dreaded ‘we need to talk' text. And just like that it was over. In my head, I thought ‘this isn’t supposed to happen,’ as if I don’t believe to my core that everything happens for a reason. The worst part of this breakup, overwhelming the belief that this was the man that I legitimately thought that I was going to marry, was that it wasn’t according to my plan. We planned to move in together. We planned to move out of the country. We planned to love each other well into our old age. The true death in this breakup was the death of my fixation on time. Sometimes time isn’t on your side. Sometimes you don’t get enough. Sometimes all you needed was just a taste of what could have been.
I have done my fair share of shadow work – diving headfirst into my trauma, understanding my own patterns, and seeing how I can improve. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that 2021 kicked the shit out of me when it comes to shadow work. All at once, coincidentally right after my breakup, trauma began to resurface, reminding me of hurt that I forgot existed. One after the other, triggers came to light, traumatic events roared their heads, and the past demanded to be acknowledged. I will admit that I did practice the ostrich effect before finally digging my head out of the sand to see what all of the fuss was about. It wasn’t pretty; I ugly cried every day for months.
I bet you saw this coming. After all of this shadow work and trauma needing my attention, it was no surprise when the Universe decided that this was all a part of their master plan for ANOTHER spiritual awakening. When energy within us re-surface or surface for the first time, it’s the Universe’s way to get us to put on our big-girl-pants and deal with it so that we can evolve. Every day felt like a struggle- shattering illusions, seeing my own faults, and discovering who around me didn’t have good intentions. This period of my life was lonely. I didn’t have any close friends to turn to. I didn’t feel In tune with my own intuition. I felt isolated from myself and the world.
2021 might have challenged me beyond what I believed I was capable of but it also taught me incredible lessons that have blessed the trajectory of my life. My breakup although unexpected was needed for my growth. It forced me to take a hard look in the mirror. Who am I in a relationship? Who am I when I’m single? I don’t think that these two lifestyle choices make a huge difference to my personality but diving deeper in I was able to see tendencies to ‘lose’ myself a bit. I would have a hard time creating much-needed independence that I crave. I would let things go more often than I really should have. I would disregard my values. Going through this difficult change made me question whether I was truly ready for a relationship. How could I get into another relationship without looking into myself first? How could I get into another relationship where I disrespect my own boundaries and values? I had to choose myself. Something that I had never really done before.
In the midst of going through a breakup, diving into the depths of my shadow self, and feeling like the world was crumbling beneath my feet; I got my ass to therapy. Looking at this great shadowy monster before me, I knew that I couldn’t do It by myself and for once, I didn’t want to. The beauty of therapy is the support. I knew that I had someone dedicated to helping me every week process, problem solve, and celebrate success with me. For several months, I went every single week and continued my personal work on my own when my therapist went away for a few weeks on vacation. This was my dedication to myself. And I know that therapy does not work for everyone, but for me, it was my saviour. We don’t have to do it all alone and upon realizing that, I started to see my best progress in my mental health.
Among all of the incredible highs that I experienced last year, finding myself was certainly the best. I started doing the hard work, the shit that stung and crushed your spirit. But I started to befriend myself and stop seeing myself as the enemy. It was like after all of these years of judging, criticizing, and hating myself, it all fell away with a simple ‘I love you and you didn’t deserve that.’ I learned to be compassionate with myself, finally seeing after all of these years that I was trying my best with what I knew. That wasn’t something that I had to hold over my head anymore. I could gracefully accept it and move on with love.
After everything that happened in the last year, nothing compares to the feeling of gratitude that I survived it. Genuinely, it was a tough year for my mental health but with the help of some tools and patience with myself, I have never felt more at home, something that I have been longing for years. I am looking forward to what the new year will bring. I hope to experience more highs than lows this time around.