I honestly thought that I couldn’t get through this year. I had to pull my shit together and survive.
I used to want to thrive. But this year knocked me off up to a point when I just couldn’t take anything anymore. I can’t. I just can’t. So what did I learn in the past year?
1. There are traitors.
You can be a genuinely good person to someone. You can be really kind to them, but still they will betray you. Kindness doesn’t guarantee kindness. If people see any sort of weakness in you, some of them will use that to stab you while you aren’t looking. Sometimes I ask, why did this happen to us? How can someone that you’ve trusted and treated as family betray you? With everything that has happened, I decided that I will be a good person inspite of everything. Even if people did things that made me lose my faith in humanity, I will still be the person that my dad raised me to be. I will be kind. I will establish boundaries. I will still trust, but only to people who deserve it.
2. Blood doesn’t equate to family.
Family surpasses blood relations. I choose my family. I choose who makes me feel safe. I choose who I will listen to. I am estranged from my mom. I come from a family who values power and prestige. Honestly, I don’t even know why they are like that. They made a scene on my dad’s funeral and I just can’t bear being in the same room as them. Again, even if it’s difficult to cut toxic family ties, I have to and I am taking a stand. Your family should make you feel safe, loved, and protected. If they are not, then they aren’t your family. Choose your family. Whoever values you deserves you.
3. Love sets you free.
Despite everything that I have gone through, I still choose love. For those people who hurt me, I do not wish for ill things to happen to them. I just don’t want them anywhere near me. But for those who stood by me in the hardest year of my life, I love them fiercely. We became more close as a family. My siblings, step mom, and I have a tightly knit bond, that just can’t be destroyed that easily. I also saw who my real friends and family are, and now I value them so much. I also met the love of my life. It’s a win win. You lose some, but you win big time.
4. Gratitude will help you survive.
I still am in awe of how the Universe took care of things. We survived as a family, and we are very much blessed. We are financially secure, and we have the opportunity to reach for the stars. We are lucky. I guess if you keep on planting seeds of love, it comes back in ways that you couldn’t even imagine. I still write at my gratitude journal, and honestly, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Again, thank you universe.
5. Courage will get you through.
This year, I had to be at my bravest. I had to roll up my sleeves and take a stand for my family. I thank the Universe for giving me the courage to be very firm in my principles. If you know that you are right, you should never ever concede, especially to people who do not have your best interests at heart. I now understand why I have to be feisty and bossy as a kid. I had to build my strength because there will be people who will test my courage. A lot of older people tried to tone me down because it’s weird for a girl to be really brave and tell bullies that enough is enough. But thank God, I was like that.
6. Family is your shield.
Having a non-traditional family is still frowned upon in my country. Some of my aunts and uncles do not understand why I love my stepmom so much. As a physically abused kid, I needed a mother who made me feel safe, and sadly my biological mom isn’t that person. And surprise, she’s not even the least bit apologetic about it. All those mental and physical abuse stole my childhood. So when my stepmom has shown up, I felt the genuine love of a mom, that I never felt from my real mother. She became our pillar of strength when Papa died. Should I choose my mom, even if I don’t feel safe with her? Should I choose to love my blood relatives, even if they have done and said so many hurtful things. I choose my stepmother. She never left us. She has always chosen us. Family is supposed to be your shield.
7. Being neutral in the midst of adversity means that you are on the side of the oppressor.
There are so many neutral people. They make me want to barf. I know that kindness is imporant but if you see someone getting hurt, are you supposed to do nothing? No. Just no.
8. Having a creative outlet heals you.
Writing has been my best friend for the past seven months. What could I have done without this safe place to pour my heart out? Somehow, being able to articulate my feelings takes the weight off my exhausted chest. When I read what I wrote it makes me understand myself a little bit more. It makes me more self-aware and humble. It makes me reevaluate my decisions, responses, and perspectives.
It unloads the heavy baggage. It frees me bit by bit. I will never understand the reason behind everything that happened this year, but I have writing. I can express my pain and healing in this space.
9. Let your dream pull you.
Med school became my distraction. It has allowed me to focus on something else. I was forced to think about exams instead of my dad. My dream is still here. Even if everyday I am still in pain because the person that I am dedicating this dream to is gone, I still try to take one step at a time. Maybe if I don’t have an MD degree to look forward to, I would have been a complete pile of mess. Thank you MD dream, you saved me.
10. Strength is a muscle.
Just when I thought I was strong enough, I was tested even more. Grief is a whole new level of experience. It’s been seven months but I still feel the pain. I needed to learn how to be mentally and emotionally strong this year. Strength is a muscle you build through time. I wish I can say I am happier, but I am not. However, I can truly and honestly tell you that I am stronger. In losing a lot of people, my dad, my grandmother, and my toxic family members, I discovered how resilient a human being can be. I am amazed by how a hurting person can choose kindness and courage every single day.
Pain and loss transforms you. It makes you better, if you choose to.