nlm 2013!

“Tragedy tears you apart, sure, but it’s your one chance to re-create yourself. You can put yourself back together any way you want.” –Jordan Chase (from the television show, Dexter) Since it’s the last day of 2013, I’d like to reflect on this past year in one of those super-corny-but-thought-provoking blog posts. To say that 2013 was a great year, or hell, even a good year would be a lie. But this year has most likely been the most pivotal and self-developing time in my life. I would never have willingly chosen the events that happened this year, but I did choose to reclaim my life, and for that, I am grateful.

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January: 

After being home for the holidays, I returned to Ohio to discover that snow does in fact exist. I also discovered that I cannot function in actual snow. The “snow” that I was used to was MAYBE getting two inches and the entire town staying home because the world was cancelled until it melted. Ohio however, is a fully functioning snow state. I traded in my car keys for a bus pass and came to terms with the fact that I perhaps wasn’t happy living in Ohio after all.

go.away.snow.

I also realized it was time to fix my financial situation and created No Debt Brunette!

Monthly Moral: Sometimes, it really IS that miserable. Just hang in there. 

Xena and I had the same idea

Valentines Day 2013

February:

I saw my first house fire!

On Valentines Day, Xena, M and I were returning from the vet when we saw our neighbor's house on fire. They were not home but it was incredible to see people bust into the house and save the dogs that were trapped inside. People are nice.

Monthly Moral: Cherish what you have. 

Chancey and I

March:

I started hanging out with a girl named Chancey. After literally seven months of no lady friends, I jumped at the opportunity to hang out with a cool female. We exchanged numbers and quickly became texting BFFs. I would tell M stories about how funny she was and he would ask when we were going to actually hang out in person. I didn’t care if the friendship was virtual or not, I was just happy to have a connection within the state.

Monthly Moral: Be open to everyone. You never know when you’re gonna find a life long friend at the piano bar. 

Xena's birthday was April 6th!

April:

The.Worst.Month.Of.My.Life.Thus.Far.

The month started with Chancey helping me get a job at the finance firm where she worked. Eight days into working there, M told me that he no longer loved me and wanted to separate. This news coming after a night of man-made dinner and cuddly movie watching. I had my first panic attack ever, and then my second, and then my third. I was told the news late on a Tuesday and by that Friday, I was in my dad’s truck, riding home. I will always be thankful to my parents for not only funding the move back to NC but for not saying, “I told you so” for the entire ride. When we arrived in Raleigh, I unpacked my life into a storage unit and moved into an extended stay hotel.  My parents were insanely generous and paid for me to live there for a week while I looked for a place to live/work/survive. I remember Googling how many days you could go without eating before you die (which is seven) and thinking, “oh good, I still have three days.”

Checking out NC for the first time

She obviously didn't mind living in a hotel

Although April was a complete hell on earth emotionally, I am so beyond grateful for the people in my life who supported me during that time:

-My parents who were my rock.

-My little sister, who when leaving my hotel room, hugged me and sang “just keep swimming,” words that I clung to like a life raft in the coming days.

With Kristin and Lisa

-My friend Lisa and her daughter for forcing me to come into public and for not being embarrassed when I curled up in a ball and cried like a child at Mellow Mushroom.

-My friend Philip and his brother who unknowingly became somewhat spiritual guides for me, leading me back towards my faith.

-Ashley who always answered her phone; no matter what time day or night.

-My friends in the band Supatight who invited me out of the hotel and helped me remember my love for music and dancing.

-Jolly, who changed her schedule around to shop with me for things that I had left behind in my quick move...like a shower curtain.

-And lastly, I am thankful for my best friend Anna. For coming to my hotel and making sure I was still alive. For giving me beer when I wanted it and food when I needed it. And for making me genuinely laugh for the first time in what felt like decades. I remember the exact location, the exact story she was telling and the exact feeling I felt. She brought back a piece of myself that had been lost for months. I will never forget her loyalty to me during this time.

Xena welcoming her toys to our new apartment

Within a week of living in NC, I had a job and lived alone in a new apartment. BOOM.

Monthly Moral: Life isn’t about the bad stuff that happens, it’s about cherishing the people who care about you, and most importantly, cherishing yourself. Things will get better if you decide to make them better.

Loving the WARM NC weather

May:

I got a dream job at a dream company through which I met so many incredible people who are now some of my closest friends. I bought a new car and threw myself face deep into love with a new man. Instead of taking the adequate time needed to heal from the loss of a two year relationship, I dove into D: a handsome, compassionate man who loved me despite of my flaws. He appreciated me in ways I had never felt before and although he was unfortunately somewhat of a rebound, that’s never how I viewed him. He restored my confidence and opened my eyes to the possibility of unselfish love.

Monthly Moral: The best way to get over someone is in fact, not to get under someone else. But it sure as hell was a great distraction. 

reunited with wifey

June:

I completely lost myself in love with D. I had gone from an emotionally abusive relationship directly into an all consuming one without time to get to know myself. Although I was happier with life, I was not happy with myself. I showed D a version of me that I thought he wanted to see instead of being honest about who I really was as a person. The small white lies turned into big stinky ones and the “perfect” man helped me face the fact that I was not so perfect. I moved into another apartment in order to shorten my commute, which made it the fourth place Xena and I had lived this year.

Monthly Moral: That whole, “you cant love someone until you love yourself” is true. 

Celebrating Jollys bday

July: 

I got asked to join a smaller, more specialized group at work. Instead of working in a group of 80-100, I was now working with fifteen. Since I have no computer or business background, there had been a serious learning curve in May when I started this job. With my new position came a whole new subject to learn, and a whole new set of challenges. I was struggling mentally to believe that I was capable of working the job and even seriously considered quitting. I'm so glad I stuck with it.

Monthly Moral: Keep pressing forward, you are capable of a lot more than you’re willing to admit. 

Chancey's excitement over her gas station donut

August:

Was spent trying to convince D to love me back. I had lied about stupid things early on and just about the time I became whole again as a person, D was ready to move on. I’m not sure why it happened the way it did but I am sure that he helped to heal me. He taught me to be honest to a fault; that being myself was all I could be and that was enough. He called his mom and friends often, a trait that I try to uphold in my own life now. He firmly believed that the world was good and that people should be kind, no matter the situation. D taught me patience and peace. While my love for him has shifted, he will always remain one of the most influential people in my life.

Also, Chancey from Ohio came to visit! She flew in on a Friday night and flew out Monday morning. It was way too short but so incredibly fun. It made me feel great to know she cared enough to travel and visit me.

Monthly Moral: Sometimes, even though you give something your all, it isn't meant to be and that's okay. Because now you know that you are capable of giving your all to something. 

Jolly and I at the Taylor Swift concert!

September:

My first month alone mentally. I had recovered from the drama of April and accepted the heartbreak of August. I was able to focus on myself for the first time this whole year and I found that I enjoyed being alone. I read books and worked out and started writing articles for money. The dust was settling and I was seeing life clear for the first time.

Also, thanks to Raleigh Music, I was able to go to see Taylor Swift for free and wrote a review of the concert for their website.

Monthly Moral: Peace. It’s already around you, just be still and acknowledge. 

Anna, Jolly and I

October:

My most favorite month of 2013! One of my best friends got married to the love of her life and had literally THE perfect wedding. I went to VA to visit my best fella friend who I hadn't seen in two years. Then I traveled to DC and reunited with two of my close friends from high school. Seeing how everyone had grown and changed was so therapeutic for me. I was also extremely proud of myself for sticking to my commitments of traveling so much in one month.

Monthly Moral: Show Up. Just being there for people is rejuvenating to the spirit. 

Dear sweet baby Jesus.... (Photography by Christer Berg)

November: 

I got a promotion at work! I applied for a new job, and got it. With the increase in pay I am able to pay ALL my bills every month.

Halle-fackin-lujah

Oh yeah, I got to cover the Justin Timberlake concert. My life will never be the same.

Monthly Moral: You have to apply in order to get what ya want. Stop complaining and change your situation. 

My 26th bday

December:

Ahh, my birthday and Christmas. I am thankful I was able to go home for the holiday and see my beautiful family. I had one of the best birthdays of my life thanks to all my friends who got together and just enjoyed each others company. I am so lucky to have them.

Monthly Moral: ....no idea...but....I made it!

yes, Xena, thats how I feel about a fresh start too

This year has felt like I was running a marathon without training. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I ran, at times I even stopped and cried but I made it. Crossing the finish line of this insanely long year tonight and I am so surprised to be where I am. I am the happiest, honest, most confident and loyal person I have ever been and I have this year to thank for that.

Thank you to those of you who consistently send me encouragement along my financial freedom journey and for everyone who actually takes time to read my blog. 

Cheers to a New Year...I’m making 2014 my bitch, you probably should too.