Every birthday, I write myself a letter re-capping the year but more importantly, acknowledging the changes in my life and how I have changed as a person, along with the mistakes I had to make in order to earn these life-lessons. As I approach what will be the last year of my 20’s, everyone is already anticipating the fear I am supposed to have about turning the big 3-0 next year and to be honest, I have never felt more sure about who I am that I honestly can say I have earned the years that make my age. There have been times where I have had to say my age and I didn’t feel as if I had “reached” that point in my life, if that makes any sense at all and no, I do not mean a baby, a ring on my finger and any superficial definition of completion- I mean not being sure of what I wanted in my life, my relationships and even worse, being afraid to acknowledge my desires. I think when we recognize our standards and what we expect out of people and more importantly ourselves, we get paralyzed by the fear that we will be left alone with our expectations. Having standards doesn’t mean you are a snob or you are superficial but rather, you are requiring to have the same quality that you exude into this world and believe me, the minute you recognize what your definition of character is, you don’t need to have your guard up because you have a radar for what you have room for in your life and the guts to show it the door when it is taking room up for something far superior and just because it hasn’t presented itself yet, a placeholder is your ego’s way of reassuring yourself that you are desirable. A person who truly knows what they bring to the table, does not need to have a cheerleader- their reassurance comes from their improvement, not any outside sources.
I took a hard look at my life and my friendships over the past year and realized that I was never going to have any kind of healthy partnership, if I had friends that didn’t have the same core values as me. I do not mean they had to be saints, I do not mean their bank accounts or their mistakes- I mean people who were not reliable when it came to doing the right thing and didn’t have the same definition of what being a good person meant. I knew keeping people like that around me, would mean they would never be capable of telling the truth as they feared their own. A friend will make you look within and recognize the habits your pride keeps falling back on. They don’t turn excuses, into reasons. They are the first to tell you when you are wrong and accept your apology because most of the time when you make a mistake, it is more about you than them. We are all the result of a history that created us, but blaming it for our behavior allows the past to define you. I knew I could blame love for hurting me but then I realized perhaps it wasn’t love, it was people who didn’t know how to love but the bigger question was, why did I keep chasing people who didn’t love themselves? It was on a long car ride to Palm Springs in May, that I saw that I kept giving to those who didn’t recognize their magic, because I wanted to be loved that way. I wanted someone to remind me of my value. I wanted to be loved unconditionally, forgiven relentlessly and to be surprised. It was right then and there that I saw I was never going to receive respect by trying to win someone over and more importantly, I was never going to get the self-respect I was in a way seeking, by constantly trying to redeem myself.
Los Angeles can get quite lonely and I think we will settle for people, because the thought of not having somewhere to go on a Saturday night is daunting and the idea of getting attached, even more so. By eliminating those who weren’t wanting the same authenticity in their lives that I was yearning for, I made room for some incredible individuals who later appeared in my life as I kept improving. This time last year, I was in what could be described as the darkest place in my life and the worst part was, I had no reason to be. I knew I had three choices: remain where I was, ignore what I was feeling or untie the knot and break free from it all. When you keep pulling at the strings of a knot, it tightens- every time I would surround myself by people I “kind of liked” or went on a date with someone who was “kind of” cute, I was pulling at the strings making it harder to untie and putting on a show for everyone else’s entertainment to assure them, I was doing “just fine”. There comes a point in your life, when “just fine” is the agonizing reality that you are living half-alive and defining your happiness by others interpretation of your well being.
There are three things a girl should never fake- a smile, a laugh and who she is. By figuring out exactly what I wanted from myself, I stopped trying to find what I may like, because I knew what I loved. I heard this great line from this song “Find Yourself” by Great Good Fine Ok that goes, “Don’t let someone find you until you’ve found yourself”. Well, I may not have what some may define as the greatest accomplishment, but as someone who has been everyone else’s caretaker, I have to say, I have never been more unapologetic about what I want and although my life may not be perfect, I have become the individual I needed from others and I am a better sister, a better daughter and a better friend because of it. Cheers to another year older and to those who were with me through out this past year- I know I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.