I struggled to write this piece.
In fact, what I really should say is, ‘I’m struggling to write this piece.’ My brain just wasn’t ready to write it. And if I may be quite honest, I was almost afraid to.
I did everything I could; I tidied my room, had a shower, ate a good breakfast, drank plenty water, read, put on some smooth jazz, stared at the ceiling, phoned some distant relatives. Everything I thought I could do to get me to start writing this post.
Except actually writing it.
The reason I hadn’t begun this post up until now was the very same reason I ended up starting it: the fact that I just couldn’t find a suitable way to write it. I wanted to find the right words and the best method for this post. I wanted it to be just right. Short and sweet. But maybe there are no right words, and isn’t a best method.
I felt weirdly obligated to get something – anything – down before the New Year. It was like I owed 2014 a review.
I almost felt guilty for not being able to write. Like that attendee at a funeral who’s praying vehemently in his heart that he doesn’t get asked to give a speech in honour of his deceased friend. Not because he doesn’t want to, or because he has no words. But simply because he can’t. In this incident it isn’t the death of a friend though, it’s the death, or rather, end of a year.
So I just started writing the damn thing. It won’t be perfect. Maybe at best, it just escapes being awful. But the important thing is that it’s written.
I guess I’d like to begin this post with a reoccurring, though, somewhat explicitly apparent thought: that we’re all still here. We’re all a part of today. A part of the majority that get to witness the beginning of a new year.
Whether you spent the countdown alone in your apartment, whether you spent it on a memorable night out; whether you had a terribly tragic year or whether it was the greatest 12 months of your life – you’re still here. You lived to tell the tale.
And in saying that, we should all show gratitude. We’ve all (in a very specific sense of the word) successfully completed another 365 page story. Every page entailing its own numerous reasons to give up, and countless, though sometimes unseen, narrowly escaped opportunities to die.
But you didn’t. You’re here.
My year was… crazy. Full. Eventful. No so much in terms of activity, but more so in regards to emotion and understanding.
2014 beat me up. Broke me down. Then left me stranded and alone. It was harsh, and at times desolate. I started the year as one person, and left it as someone else. Someone different.
2014 swallowed me in the middle of my very own Great Depression.
It began while I was living away from home in London. Life on the surface seemed to be going decently; I had a little money, I was free from my parents’ nest, and I had a gorgeous girlfriend. Everything was okay. Except me.
I was far from okay, I was anything but okay. I wanted to die. I told no one, though. Everyone thought I was just as happy and acquitted as them. My girlfriend at the time had clues, but I never fully told her I was suffering terribly from a self-destructive depression.
I broke up with her twice solely because I didn’t want to hurt her. Or disappoint her. I was afraid. I couldn’t feel. I had no emotion besides pain, and desolation. And so I was no longer whom she had fallen in love with. I was a ghost. An empty, decaying shell.
I accepted that depression was a real thing, and I was one of its unfortunate victims. I didn’t figure I’d make it out of 2014. But I didn’t care.
By the time around my birthday in May, I had no one. I’d managed to make my girlfriend leave me. My old friends all gave up on me as they no longer recognised who I was. My family were like strangers to me. I was so distant from everything and everyone.
But it was not until I lost everything (including my mind and emotions), it was not until I found myself entirely alone, it was not until I had exhausted chasing after temporary highs and satisfaction that I eventually found myself with nowhere to turn to but within myself.
The first 6 months of 2014 were so incredibly lonely. It left a scar on my soul. I can never erase the impression that the loneliness and despair inflicted. But like one song says; How stubborn are the scars when they won’t fade away / or just a gentle reminder that now are better days?
All in all, I will never despise my discontentment. It made me who I am today and positioned me where I am. It made me hungry for joy. It taught me to love myself when everything else around me crumbles and people disperse.
It wasn’t a case of looking for joy, or even creating it; it was merely a matter of unveiling it. It was a matter of facing my depression. Addressing it head-on. Embodying it, along with all its minions – anxiety, stress, despondency – instead of running from it. I had to tackle it. And win.
It wasn’t a sudden thing, it was a journey. Ridding myself from depression took time and effort, as well as reflection, desire, sometimes more discontentment, persistence, self-love, and many other things.
It took an entire transition of mindset. Each day for five months I had to wake up and tell myself I love myself, I love my life. I had to show gratitude. I had to learn about this person I was, and all his emotions and thoughts, and accept it all. And all the things I didn’t like about him, I had to change.
I had to remind myself that…
In this life, as close as everything and everyone seems, you are all you have. You are only you. As swift as the world may be revolving, you have to live at your own pace. Digest each day one at a time. Remove yourself from everything, and return to yourself.
Know yourself, know your abilities, learn to handle your emotions. Find out what matters to you, what’s important and of substance to YOU.
Shape yourself, don’t let society or your negative perception of your circumstances determine who you are and how you feel. YOU are in control of the way you feel, and with enough desire and understanding, you are also in control of your circumstances.
And I can say that’s been my biggest discovery of 2014. Myself. One of the most difficult to upkeep but most liberating steps to take is knowing, accepting, and loving yourself. And improving yourself.
In 2015 I wish only to know more and more about myself, and about the world. There’s something about knowledge and understanding that seems far more precious and eternal than material possessions.
I wish only to explore, to share, to love, to learn, to live. To read books, to write books, to grasp onto truth, to embrace my emotions, to clasp onto every minute of my life while it’s there, and to just evolve. Mentally. Perceptually.
Let’s not let another year pass us by without us being able to account for what we’ve done. Without us leaving our comfort zones and chasing the horizon that so enticingly but tauntingly whispers our name. Without knowing who we really are.
Yes, it sounds cliché, but as I’ve also come to realise in 2014, the more cliché and “cheesy” life lessons tend to be the more relevant, most effective, but least practiced.
Happy New Year.