A Very Merry Christmas.

Disclaimer: This may be the deepest blog post I have written so far.

Today, I finally did a thing. I cleaned out a lot of stuff from my years growing up in my hometown. I have been putting off doing so for awhile because I knew it would make me a little emotional and up until recently, I did not think I would be able to handle it.

I said goodbye to pictures, posters, trinkets and so much more.

I am proud of myself. My emotions were not of sadness, but of joy. I threw so much stuff away and feel so much better. As I have decided that 2017 is going to be a year where I do more things to achieve peace and contentment, I believe this was the first step in making that a reality.

I had been struggling for a really long time for multiple reasons, until 4 months ago. I struggled with wanting to be the absolute best for everyone in my life. I wanted to take their struggles, make them my own, and fix them. I wanted to make them care about me as much as I cared about them. One day, I realized that just isn’t attainable. People choose how much they care about you, and you have no say over it. They also choose the reasons for staying in your life, and sometimes those reasons are not for the betterment of you. 4 months ago, I realized I needed to make changes. Believe me these changes were some of the worst I have ever had to make in my short life. I also struggled mentally the most I ever have during this time. I know you, the person reading this, will never know the extent of the pain I was in, but I can tell you in was in a lot of it. I never did second guess the decisions I made, but I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster with more hills and drops than any I have ever ridden at amusement parks, that’s for damn sure.

If you have gotten this far, you are probably wondering what in the world this story has to do with Christmas, as Christmas is today.

This Christmas, my mind is calm. This Christmas, I do not feel anxious. This Christmas, I am not crying. This Christmas, I am not wondering how much I am loved, or if I am loved at all.

This Christmas, I know I am loved, cherished, strong, important, worthy, sassy, and so much, just like YOU!

And so, this Christmas  is “A Very Merry Christmas.”

I made tough decisions, I fought through the consequences of making those decisions, and I rose to the challenge of getting through it all.

I hope that if you have gone through or are going through something similar to what I have described that you find comfort in my words. I am pouring my heart out to you today because I want you to know that the good times are coming. They are not over, no matter how much it may feel like they are. I am sorry you are hurting, but I want you to know how strong you are. Nothing that happened to you has the power to define you unless you let it.

Today, I write this as a much stronger woman than I was in August. I write this as a woman who protects herself, who values herself, who values her time, and who knows that those who take care of her are the only ones who truly deserve her. I write this a woman who knows she will give energy and time to the wrong people for the rest of her life, like all of us do, but that she will be better about not doing it as often. I write this as a woman who has been humbled by the grace. I write this as a woman full of forgiveness and as a woman with perspective. I write this as a woman who has loved and lost, but one who will still choose love, and everything that goes with it, over anything else in the world.

My name is Audra Amelia DeLaney. I am proud of myself, and I am so proud of you for fighting through the struggles and challenges that have plagued or are plaguing you.

Thank you for reading.

With all my love, sass, and positive energy,

AD.

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