Two Years

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I am spending the night at my mom’s house tonight, and I took the opportunity to go through all of my clothes in storage to figure out what I still wanted to keep and what I was going to donate. I came upon this dress. I wore this dress two years ago to my sorority formal (left photo) and I decided to see what it looked like on me tonight (right photo). Needless to say, when put together, these photos are pretty shocking.

This post is about how beautiful, forceful, and rewarding time can be.

Two years ago I looked like this. Happy (ish), yes… but unhealthy. I ate (mostly) well but ignored my body. I was a typical 20-something who didn’t really worry about how I treated myself.

Today I am continuing on a path that was started almost a year ago. Every day I have to put effort into my body and every day my body rewards me by being stronger, healthier, and happier. Only time has allowed this progress.

Two years ago I was in a relationship with someone who I let define me. Someone who unintentionally held me back because of the love and comfort I felt with her and of the love and comfort she felt with me. I  allowed myself to believe that I had found the best partner I could, because I wasn’t that great of a catch, anyway, so she had to be it, right? I found myself defining my worth by my relationship status. I was worth more in a relationship, even a bad one, because it proved I was desirable.

Today I have been single for almost two years. Time has healed the wounds of our messy break-up and time has taught me that I can love myself without having someone else to love me. Time has shown me that I can be happy, fulfilled, and confident without being in a relationship. Time has taught me that dating can be fun, that it can suck, and that it is entirely up to me what I get to do in my life. I am making decisions based on my ideas and feelings and not factoring in a partner’s, and that is a very liberating feeling.

Two years ago I was less than six months removed from the most traumatic experience in my life. I was broken. I hid behind a relationship, classes, Greek obligations, and two jobs. I hid behind a smile and alcohol. Two years ago I didn’t see a road to recovery, I saw a road full of mediocrity leading to possible salvation from the absolute horror that was my daily life.

Today I can say that I am truly happy. I get frustrated sometimes, I get sad sometimes. But I am happy. I am confident. I love myself, and time has taught me that only I have the final say in what happens to my body. Time has taught me that not all men are monsters. I have learned that with love and a little help from family, friends, and the college therapist, time really can heal wounds you never thought would mend.

Two years ago I was a junior in college. I had a year left of school and I had one last summer on the campus staff. I was wily and rebellious. I had just been elected president of my sorority. I was on the verge of a major success or a major failure. I was afraid of making decisions and terrified to write a research paper that decided my final Honors grade.

Today I have a bachelor’s degree in History. Today I can look back on my three incredible summers and the work ethic they instilled in me (that’ll make my boss laugh if she reads this- but it is totally true). Today I can call one of my very best friends and he will answer and talk to me about nothing… or anything. I can thank that summer for his friendship and our bond. Today I can thank my presidency (and my sorority) for instilling in me a sense of responsibility and accountability I had never experienced before. I have taken these two years to reflect on my experiences and adjust my personality and decisions based on my final year in school and this past year of soul-searching.

Two years ago I didn’t have a clear goal in mind for what I wanted to do. I didn’t have much confidence in myself or my abilities. I had friends and relied on their, and potential suitors’, opinions of me to validate my feelings and myself in general.

Today I have a job that I am moving partially across the country for. I know that I deserve that opportunity. I know that I am smart. I am hilarious. I am kind, caring, and determined. I am a stubborn asshole and I am honest. I am proud of who I am. Today I know that I am beautiful. I have a great smile and a bomb-ass haircut. I have biceps (kinda) and abs (kinda) and that’s freaking awesome. Today I love myself. And that I owe to time and all of the wonderful people that I have decided to keep in my life and spend that time with.

Spend your time doing the things that bring you joy with the people that bring you joy. Time is so precious- you can’t get it back. Invest in yourself and your happiness and you will see that time will reward your efforts. Spend your time wisely and reflect on your time spent regularly.

Oh, and I’m totally keeping that dress.

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