I ended 2015 and started 2016 in prayer, away from home, after crying too much for something that means nothing now. It still amazes me how life gifts us with different people, experiences and lessons in a timely manner, and all that matters is for us to keep showing up and do our best.
For a very long time, I struggled with choosing between showing up and numbing down. You know how it is. The latter comes easy, because shutting down and moving on is what we’re told to do constantly.
Life seems just a process of losing things we never thought we’d lose and then filling the spaces as best as we can after. It’s a cycle of getting hurt, getting broken, and then healing, getting up on our feet slowly, and then trying again.
In the face of something potentially heartbreaking or painful, it’s an animalistic response to fight or take flight. But we’re not just animals anymore, we’re feeling beings who think. It may seem the most rational response to deny and shut down emotions, and ply through, thinking that time will heal the wounds and we’d be okay soon enough.
But the thing is: You’re supposed to feel, however you feel. We put all kinds of limits on ourselves to feel safe about our own shortcomings; to block the pain, the disappointment, the growth. If you stop feeling the pain, you stop feeling joy too.
I’ve learnt to allow my feelings – be it pain, grief, passion, joy – to show up in whatever ways it needs to and express it. It’s important to be attentive to my emotional needs, as much as my physical needs, and to take time to really give myself care.
I’ve had the opportunity to show up in the face of pain recently, and it looked a lot like talking myself through the experience. It was navigating through, understanding what I was feeling, and accepting it as it is, even if it means doing all these under the sheets. I had to constantly tell myself, “This was the risk I took when I made the decision to show up in life.”
And feeling everything – all the hurt, the pain, the joy, the love – is indeed a risk we take when we decide to live life fully. To take on life by the head and honour it. To face the very things that we fear, and to allow the experience to help us grow.
So I’ve decided to keep trying. I still can’t do a lot of things – like listen to “All of Me” – but I’m trying. To try my best, and when I know better, to try better.
Because trust me, the moment we choose to show up in life, to dare to feel everything greatly, and to live by grace and through grace, there is no turning back.
After all, like Maya Angelou said: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
So thank you, 2016. It’s been an incredible year of healing, love, and growth – making it incredibly difficult to choose only 9 photos. Thank you to all the beautiful souls who showed up in my life and made a difference.
Here’s to showing up in 2017 with courage, love and kindness, in darkness and in light. God knows we’re going to need them.