Dear 2015…

Dear 2015,

#BYEFELICIA

Yours tru…

Kidding. You didn’t think I’d write you off that easily, did you? I have to say, despite the ups and downs, I think we did okay–you & me.

While we didn’t avoid heartbreak or disappointment, we grew. We flourished. I learned. I fought. I cried more than I would have liked to, but well.. Life.

With that, I say thank you–this year started off pretty crazy with one (or five) too many  consecutive days and nights in bed, but I got it together. we got it together. Not fully of course, but enough to start to put the pieces back together again. The glue was only temporary and not as sturdy as I’d wished it was, but the beauty of falling down and being broken is rising up and building yourself again–better, stronger and wiser.

This year, you taught me to let love loose and run free in all that I did. I hope everyone learns to do that–to live independent of their fears and dream a little bigger, smile a little wider and open their minds to things and people that are unknown until the word “hello” is spoken. (that one’s for you, Adele)

From cramming for my GREs, to moving back home and preparing for Miss New Jersey, to getting accepted into Syracuse and everything in between, there wasn’t a day I took for granted. While there were moments I was at my lowest, the sun never stopped shining and the fire in my soul never stopped burning. The bigger picture was always the motivation, and still continues to be.

Thank you for bringing new friends into my life and taking away some others. I firmly believe everyone and everything serves a purpose in my life–whether it be a lesson or a blessing. People disappeared, energy was [at times] wasted, but the spirits and lives that surround me have proven that sometimes you need to weed out bad apples and allow people to walk away in order to facilitate a positive circle. I learned to appreciate all of it and take the good with the bad.

Speaking of the good with the bad, holy shit there was a lot of that this year. If I knew then what I know now, I would go back to February and hold him a little tighter. I would go back to June and tell myself that things have a way of working themselves out, even if some of my dreams didn’t come true. I’d probably take a few text messages back, too. But hey, everything happens for a reason, right?

I’m grateful. Riley Curry brought laughter, the Curry family gave a new definition of #RelationshipGoals, Chrissy Teigen tweeted unapologetically, and emojis got DeAndre Jordan back to the Clippers. A loss was redefined as a victory the second I landed in Hoopeston, IL and gained friends I can now call my sisters. Movements were established, lives were lost, and awareness was raised for issues that are unfortunately still present in today’s society. 2015 was about raising our voices and striving to be heard–I hope people start to listen

I don’t want to dwell on my problems. I don’t want to be a girl who needs fixing. We all have issues, we all deal with shit. I want to be great, and I want to be viewed as such–as someone whose ambition and drive is overwhelmingly inspiring. I want to give people hope, spread love, make writing cool[er] and make every single person I meet feel welcomed and alive.

I’m not perfect, but no one is. I can’t right my wrongs, but I can commit to making better choices. Everyone can. Sometimes all you have to do is try (before it’s too late). 

I pray that people’s ‘I love you’ texts get answered and that holding back is a thing of the past. Because I believe that speaking your truth, shining your heart and making your existence matter is a thing of the future. No more living in fears, in shadows and in doubt. Let the sun shine through your smile and your heart with every person you meet and every conversation you have. Leaving people better than you found them–that was always the prerogative.

So, what’s next?

The ‘new year, new me’ flex is alive and well on social media, but I wonder if those pictures and tweets are posted/written with vengeance and tenacity, or simply fear of being left behind. I’m sure you know, but 2016 will be the judge of that.

I’m thankful–for the family who never stops cheering me on, the friends who hold my hand and keep me up, the job that pays my bills, and for God who allows me to wake up everyday. Life is short, but you’ve taught me to appreciate every moment.

Goodbyes are never easy, but it’s time to leave you, some people and some memories behind. Growth comes from breaking out of certain shells and following the journey less traveled. For too long, I have marveled in the past. But it’s time. Right now, in this moment, to bid adieu to you. You were good to me, but all good things must come to an end.

Be sure to tell 2016 to be treat me right, and I’ll promise to do the same.

Always,
Anna

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