"The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it.
 Memories need to be shared.” Lois Lowry

Memories are all we have to make life real. Memories are what we cherish to carry all that has come before us. Memories are all that we truly are. What a year. What happened this year? What the actual fuck happened this year? How could this year be real? I have struggled to write this post because life is not some absolute balance weighing the benevolence of this isolated period of time. Simple me wants to say this has been by far the worst year of my life to date. Complex me knows that life not a scale that tips positive or negative. Life has nuance. Life has meaning when we assign it meaning. Life is life. 

I think there is profound meaning in memory preservation, and there is immense importance in memory creation. We are tasked with doing both in our lives - holding on to the remnants of the past, and maneuvering to create our presents and futures. Our memories tell the story of what has occurred, and our dreams give us glimpses into what we imagine may come. Memory after memory we construct our life narrative. We are writing our legacies. We are showing the world who we are. We are becoming us. We are manifesting the meaning of our memories. That is what this year - the most challenging year of my life in more ways than one - has been for me. Memories, and more memories. Memories that helped me make critical decisions. Memories that showed me what I wanted and needed. Memories to sustain me for a lifetime, and the rest of this life without my fondest love - mom.

It's been a year to say the least. It's also been nine years since I started writing this blog. 899 Posts, 1.30M words, and just over 467K pageviews. This blog has been a constant in my life of uncertainty. This blog has saved my life. This blog has helped me see who I was, where I am, and how I will be. These are my most memorable posts of the year.  

Memorable Posts of 2019:
December: Therapy
January: Brand | February: Joy
March: Bystander | April: Grace
May: Better | June: Seen
July: Teachable | August: Centered
September: Connect | October: Mother
November: Careless

It's been through searching through this blog and memories that I realized that my mom knew she was going to be called home. She did things that we more like than ever before. When she apologized for my childhood, for me growing up too fast, and for the obligation I constantly feel to care for others at my sister's college graduation - it was big. She specifically said that I was free, and that I didn't have to take care of anyone anymore. It wasn't my job to make sure my siblings were okay, or my parents, or the countless other people that I had given so much of myself to. She wanted my law school experience to be about me. She wanted me to make my life about me. She wanted me to prioritize me. She knew. When we went to see Aladdin, she squeezed my hand and sang to me in the dark of the movie theater like we used to when I was a toddler. It paralleled this year when she was going through chemo, and I held her hand, to tell her that I loved her, and that hope was what would keep us going. She knew. When she texted me that I was her sunshine, that I was the light of her life, and that she had hope for all of us because of me. She was telling me what I didn't know but was always there - light was the most powerful force in this life, and being it was my greatest ability. She knew that I would have to be light through the darkest time of our lives. She knew. Mom knew. Adjoa knew. In her memory, I carry light. I shine light. I am light - because of her. She knew who I was, and who I could be.

Biggest Lessons
What is this there to say about this year. I am almost at loss for words. Much has changed, for better and worse. If you had told me all that would happen this year there is no way I would have either believed you nor thought it possible. This year I learned how to create my own peace/equilibrium. I don't think I would have survived this year without it. It was this thing that I did not realize was possible to develop, and when I did my entire experience of life itself changed. I tried to describe it here: . Instead of being constantly nervous, worried, anxious, or scared I have largely found my regular state is floating gently on top of water. I still flail, scream underwater, get splashed, etc. but I get to return to that peaceful state. If I had not been able to cultivate that new normal through therapy and practice what came next would have been unbearable. 

This year I learned about accountability, and the importance of being firm with others. Being accommodating is compassionate, AND ensuring others take responsibility for their words/actions and who they are makes a world of difference. I came to understand the pitfalls of obligation and the significance of revoking access. Those who have caused harm and apologized are not entitled to me. I can accept apologies and still choose to distance myself from people.

I learned about the possibility for better - that I don't have to settle, and that someone who wholeheartedly understands me, and shows up the way I have longed for exists. I learned about heartbreak, devastation, and the explicit communication. I learned what I wanted was not too much to ask for, and that my expectations weren't unrealistic. 

Lastly, I learned about loss, sorrow, grief, and pain. I learned firsthand about the performativity of mourning and railed against it. I learned to call people into conversation, to express what I needed, and most poignantly to let people go that had long since let go of me. Disappointment, isolation, and unrequited love and friendship were the themes of the end of the year. I am carrying all that I learned with me, leaving what can remain external behind. I am holding with me memories of the most astonishing year of my life. Nothing will ever compare to this year. The journey has changed drastically - many who I thought were along for it have fallen by the wayside, and as always, new people have entered into my life. What I know definitively is that there is always more love on the way, more love out there, and more love to give and receive. 

I want to say thank you for continuing to follow my life journey. I am so grateful for the time, effort, and energy it takes to take in what I put out. Now more than ever, it seems that people are resonating with the content I get to share. What an immense gift it is to be a small part in helping people clarify who they are, process through experiences, and articulate what they need. I am so glad that people find this meaningful and/or useful. I appreciate the messages, engagement, and subscriptions. I value the discourse, sharing, and feedback. I know that this my sanctuary, and those who honor it are special. Thank you for being part of my life story. X


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