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Brianna // [bree-ah-nuh] (n) Coffee Snob. |Millennial iPhone Photographer. |People Watcher.|Introvert. |Book Lover. |Detailed Note Taker. |Ball of Anxiety. |Lover of Glitter. |Good for Gluten-Free. |Highly Sensitive. |90% Vegetarian. | All-Heart

It's been a year...

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Inspired by a dear friend's recent bravery and vulnerability I'd like to share something. 

This weekend was the 1 year anniversary of the end of one of the most difficult chapters of my life. And it's only one year later that I'm even in the position to begin to recover from what happened. I spent a the first 6 months ignoring the fact that what happened had affected me as deeply as it had. Then the next 6 months to figure out what it meant to return to myself. Time to unpack, time to process, time to reveal, time to heal.

“You can't heal in the environment that made you sick.”

And it's true. It's also true that simply leaving the environment doesn't simply mean that the healing will begin. When I walked away I took so many toxic thoughts and beliefs with me . I took ideas of who I was, ideas of who I should be, ideas of what I did and didn’t have to offer, and I carried them. I gave them a home in my soul that they didn’t deserve.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, trauma affects us deeply. It changes who we are, and sometimes turns us into the worst versions of ourselves. I think about the last year of my life, i think about how much i’ve fought with myself and those around me to return to normal. I think about how much I’ve cried. I think about how much i’ve longed for a return to what used to be. But now I can see that those weren’t fair goals or intentions.

But I also think about the relationships that I have now that I wouldn't have otherwise. I think about the fact that the folks who sat with me through that decision, through that depression, through the anxiety that followed. Through the months of recovery. Through the deconstruction. Through the resurrection. They were the result of the experience. My entire life here, now, this, is the result of that one experience. And while it hurt, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I said this on that day and I say it again today...

"Sometimes in order to accept what is... You have to let a dream die."

And it’s taken me a year to figure out what dream was dying. I had to let go of my idea of myself. In this year I’ve learned my limits, I’m come to terms with the way that my physical and mental health affect my ability to simply be and be known my my community.

To accept that I have community.

To learn that I can be loved.

To learn that my inner critic has some really fucked up views that amount to mountains of internalized sexism and ableism.

So, this is me moving on. This is me leaning on and borrowing from the people who have held me up this past year when I couldn’t stand. The people who detangled and brushed my hair when I didn’t feel worth it. The folks who helped me put my crown back on when I forgot who I really was.

I found this .gif this spring, and it became really important to me. It visually represents what the past year has meant to me as a woman. As a woman of color. As a woman of faith. As a Southern woman in the midwest. As a friend. As a neighbor.

I found this .gif this spring, and it became really important to me. It visually represents what the past year has meant to me as a woman. As a woman of color. As a woman of faith. As a Southern woman in the midwest. As a friend. As a neighbor.


The last 9 months community has been an invaluable resource to me. I N V A L U A B L E ! I’m intentionally peppering this post with snippets from conversations that I’ve had with the folks who have helped me through this wild and wonderful time. In the past 12 months I’ve:

  • Gone on medication for my “anxiety” which as of recently I feel comfortable publicly identifying as Bi-Polar II Disorder, a diagnosis that I knew was accurate but that I was given and burried the summer of 2011, the day before my 21st birthday.

  • Accepted that though I am both an Enneagram 2w1 and a Virgo, i’m NOT PERFECT. And that’s more than okay. But I will forever intensify as “Type A-, but cool about it.”

  • Walked away from opportunities for no reason greater than they simply weren’t right for me… I’m writing this after finally going to clean out my locker at a grad program that if I’m totally honest I should have never been in.

  • Finished my application for the more difficult grad program that was honestly made for me, and came to terms with the fact that I’m worthy whether they accept me or not.

  • Accepted and been dramatically let go from a job that seemed perfect, but that turned out to be both not a match, and not what I needed in my life at this time.

  • Discovered the restorative and spiritual power of napping.

  • Unleashed the power that comes from communicating with the people who are closest to you and learning what it means to be a member of a team, not a group of individuals.

  • Found joy in what it really means to “Do Life Together.

  • Spent a YEAR in an office with supervisors who mean the world to me, and who taught me what I means to be a true part of a whole… not a disposable cog in a wheel.

  • Had months where I wasn’t sure whether or not I could pay my rent.

  • Had points where my body hurt so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed.

  • Made real life adult friends. And made a podcast about it with someone who’s super special to me!

  • Learned what it REALLY means to live in community. To see and be seen. To know and be know. To love and be loved. And I love it. So. Much.

  • L E A R N E D. M Y. W O R T H!

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“Silences can only be broke by the one who started them.”

So what do the new and the next look like?

Integration.

Finding ways to bring my whole self into the places where I land. Finding ways to accept myself fully, and finding ways to return to the person who I was born to be. I could write so much more about how the life i’ve live up until this point has broken me. How I’ve found so many ways to hide or cover up my imperfections. So that’s the journey I’m going on in 2(01)9 with open eyes, open hands, and an open heart. This is me, accepting my flaws, loving myself regardless, and loving you because.

“And sometimes monster logic can only be undone by the one who made it up.”

Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the past year of growth, of learning, of healing, of strength, of rest, of joy, of hope, of pain, of feeling. Of learning how to feel again. I love you all.

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Goodbye to the Year That Broke Me