I hope all of you had a wondrous Christmas (if you celebrate!) and if you didn't, I hope your days off were filled with good food, lots of love and plenty of laughs! As the year pulls to a close, I think everyone reflects on the highs and lows of the year. 2017 was a doozy. Outside of the national dumpster fire we all witnessed (anyone else feel like they need a glass of wine...or a bottle, to read the news?), on a personal note for me, it was a year of so many peaks and troughs.
Travel: The year started in an ashram! I was in the middle of Amma's ashram in Kerala and it was a really peaceful place. I went to Florida with my friends in March. I moved to New York. I visited Montreal on a bachelorette party. I flew to Edinburgh for a long weekend. It was a beautiful year for seeing more of the world and expanding horizons.
A Big Move: In high school, I was so certain I'd live in New York City. But as time went on, the fear of the unknown and the "bigness" of the city became daunting. I grew terrified of it. Of course, the only way to tackle a fear is to face it so I applied for an internship, got it, and moved to NYC anyway. I'm so glad I did. There's so much beauty here.
Book deal: I can't possibly reminisce on 2017 without thinking about this. After a manuscript that got put on hold, and a deal that fell through, it was a huge relief to land a three-book deal with Sourcebooks. It's been a learning experience about working on contract, on deadline and writing on proposal and working with a company that lines things up way ahead of time. I'm really excited.
Family support and loved ones' support: When you make a big change in your life like moving to a city that never sleeps and taking on school, writing and a full-time internship all at once, you begin to realize how much you need the support of the people in your life. I have been so lucky this year that even in moments of despair and depression, or moments of overwhelmed panic, I've been able to pick up the phone and text or call someone in panic.
This blog: I had lost interest in maintaining my author website but my interest in life and paying attention has been renewed since relaunching this site, working on Instagram and connecting with people. It's been a fun ride taking photographs and getting creative again (outside of writing!) and really soothing to the soul to feel the fire again.
Well, now I feel like a total ingrate after writing such incredible highs, huh? But I'll be honest...the lows were all tinged by one thing that wove its way through every inch of life.
This year, my depression was a journey in and of itself. The hardest part of the year was being unable to get into a routine and constantly feeling like I was running at a high octane, disorganized level--that doesn't bode well for me and I felt fried. It took a toll on my work--which consequently felt disorganized--and on my self-esteem, because when I felt so on edge all the time, I thought my efforts in everything were sub-par and things began falling through cracks. I didn't feel "on" and life felt as though I was always missing a piece. Add in getting invested in the wrong people and feeling a few heartbreaks with both friends and boys, the depression only got worse, as if I couldn't control ANYTHING or keep ANYTHING in line.
In the middle of it, there was the move to a city that teaches you about standing up for yourself, forces you to look at yourself in the mirror and reevaluate your successes and failures, and where everyone moves to achieve their dreams. In many ways, stripping down that way is a blessing. In the long run, it'll be better for me. But combined with feeling inadequate, I feel like a naked joke in the middle of the room (sorry for the visual, y'all!).
It's deeply personal for me to admit that I've struggled with depression at all, not because of the stigma associated or because of what people will think, but because admitting weakness is tough. Ambiguous weakness is equally as tough. When you seem to have everything going for you and you aren't happy, you feel ungrateful and your voice is muted because you have no right to feel unhappy with life. To say, "I am unhappy and I feel exhausted but life is really good," sounds so arbitrary. After all, there are so many men, women and children who have faced "true" adversity in genocide, health problems, deaths, war, and violence...who am I to have the right to complain about a beautiful life and say it doesn't feel good enough? But I suppose one ray of light through the darkness is being able to keep that perspective--to know you are lucky despite it all and consequently, to find a way that brings peace to your heart because you know it could be worse. And, likewise, it's important to explore all the options you need in order to feel satisfied with life because life isn't a contest of who has it worse, and at the end of the day, everyone deserves to go to sleep feeling contented with their achievements. I'm still on that journey. I hope 2018 brings a climb to a peak rather than ebbs and flows and I am confident that I'll continue to find my way...After all, when I look at that list of highs again, my heart can't help but feel thankful.