2015 Was a Hard Year
2015 has been a hard year.
I’ve hesitated to write about it in-depth up til this point because I don’t think I was ready to see it all in words, on a piece of paper. I didn’t want to seem negative or whiny or discouraging. I didn’t want to be that vulnerable. 2015 was the year I became less vulnerable, and I hate it. I’m more guarded now…less open, less trusting. And it doesn’t so much have anything to do with the whole single thing as it does the whole LIFE thing. Sometimes life is just hard, for no particular reason at all. And while I’ve had some pretty traumatic things happen this year, I also know that I am blessed beyond measure to be ALIVE, to be healthy, to have my family around me, to be able to live life, albeit a modest one, as a full-time writer. You look at the big picture of my life and everything seems to come up roses. But focus the lens just a little…look a little closer…get into the details and you start to see the cracks and tatters and scars of a person who feels more than a little broken.
2014 was a banner year. A year of great professional and personal success. A year of clarity and faith and answers and boldness and risk and dreams coming true and old chapters closing and new ones beginning. There’s a quote that says “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” 2014 was a year of answers. A year for the books. Quite literally, in fact…because it’s a year you will soon read about in my new book Beautiful Uncertainty.
But at the end of it came 2015. A year of silence, on my part, and on God’s. I can’t seem to hear His voice as clearly anymore. A year of questions. Why am I still single? Is my purpose in life really to be a writer? What’s next for me? Where do I go from here? Why don’t I date like normal people? Will I ever get to be a mom? Is this skin cancer going to take my life? Is my grandmother going to live? Am I a good enough daughter, sister, aunt, friend, person? Why do I feel so closed off? Why didn’t he love me like I loved him? Why don’t I feel inspired to write like I used to? God…where are You?
As a result of all these questions, perhaps…2015 was the year my anxiety came back in full force. That old familiar foe dusted himself off and unfurled his long dark arms of panic and fear and worry and wrapped them around me again so tightly at times I could scarcely breathe. I thought I had beat him. Turns out he was just lying dormant, waiting for the perfect storm of events to descend on my life and open the door for his great comeback.
And as a result of the anxiety…2015 was a year of counseling. I even went to group therapy for awhile, something I haven’t felt ready to speak about til now. (And in all honestly, I still don’t feel quite ready to speak of it, but here we are.) I spent three nights a week for 3-4 months in a room with people who felt just as broken as I did. All different kinds of people from all walks of life. Different races. Different religions. Different sexual orientations. Different belief systems, with one big thing in common: We were struggling. Life was hard. And we needed each other. There was no pretense in that room. No fake sugary need to pretend like life was perfect. No masks. Nowhere to hide, from yourself, or from other people. Just real, raw, pure honesty. I think the most healing part of the process was not the therapy itself but the camaraderie. The “me too” moments. The reminder that we weren’t alone in our struggles, and admitting to them didn’t make us weak, it made us BRAVE. Everyone struggles, but so many people aren’t willing to admit it. Let alone go get help for it. So if you’re reading this now and you’ve been running from therapy or counseling out of fear or pride…stop running. Stop hiding. Go get the help you need. There is no shame in being broken. There is no healing where there is no honesty.
I’m a big believer in “always looking for the lesson” in everything. And so I’ve spent long hours and even days pondering the great lesson of 2015 and the truth is, I have no brilliant takeaways or “big picture” lightbulb realizations to share with you. I had struggles and letdowns and disappointments and heartbreak and health scares and panic attacks and creative paralysis and self-doubt and crises of faith in 2015. But I also had healing and breakthroughs and closure and answered prayers and made new friends and even wrote a new book in 2015. So I think maybe the lesson to it all is just that I’m still here. I’m not the same person I was at the beginning of the year, but I’m still here. And maybe sometimes that’s enough. Just getting through the day and the week and the month and the year is ENOUGH. Maybe that’s all we can ask of ourselves.
And maybe…just maybe…those kinds of years are the best kinds of years because they show us how strong we really are. How much we can overcome. And how life can be messy and imperfect and difficult and heartbreaking and still be a very beautiful thing, indeed.
To 2015…thank you for everything you taught me about myself, about God, about LIFE.
To 2016…whatever you may hold, whatever questions you ask or answers you give, whatever battles and victories are hidden in your unfolding…I’m ready.
Click here to pre-order my book Beautiful Uncertainty (on shelves on February 2, 2016.)
And feel free to comment below with your 2015 experiences & 2016 goals. Was 2015 a year of questions or a year of answers for you? What do you wish for in 2016?