Oh, you guys. I was not sorry to say goodbye to 2017.
(Yes, that is a photo of me cannonballing into a glass of wine. Isn’t it EVERYTHING??)
The funny thing is…nothing majorly awful happened. No one in our family died or got seriously ill. I just…spent most of the year feeling “off.” I mean, sure, I can pinpoint a few of the issues — I lost a major full-time gig that I did online, which was a huge financial blow. My husband and I experimented with some changes to our jobs…and I had difficulty adjusting.
I had struggles in some of my important friendships. I let myself get in a slump. I stopped doing things that really brought me joy.
BUT. Despite all of that…
Today is my 38th birthday and I feel like…really, REALLY great.
As awful as my year of being 37 FELT at times…I came to some really important realizations. And 38? Well, you best believe that I’m all over this situation.
Last March, I began regularly working out for the first time in my life. Not to get skinny, but because just once, I wanted to experience feeling strong.After spending an hour a day on the elliptical that had been collecting dust in the corner (while watching Netflix…I mean, I’m still me), I began to see muscles! In my legs! And being strong? FELT SO GOOD. Why didn’t anyone ever tell me?
I walked into a yoga class, not having a clue what I was doing. I let myself be okay with being the worst one in the class. I watched. I practiced. AND I LOVE IT. Not only is yoga a major relief for my anxiety issues, but I leave feeling powerful, restored, and capable. I don’t have the best body. I never will. But there’s something about spending an hour being twisted really up close and personal with yourself that makes you understand what a damn miracle you really are.
Another thing about yoga? I spend a lot of time with men and women of all ages and sizes. And all wearing very tight clothes. And what I learned, looking at these people who looked beautiful and strong, regardless of size or age, is that I can wear the dang fitted top. I care less about the way my stomach still hangs over my leggings and more about the fact that my body is beautiful because of what it does for me. And THAT changes everything.
I let myself try things that scared me. From white water rafting to roller coasters to zip lining. And I realized that I won’t die! Like, I’m actually still here! And as it turns out, feeling brave is kind of wonderful. How have I been missing out on this for so long?
I stopped saying, “I won’t talk about politics.” Because that doesn’t work anymore. Because I owe it to my kids to actually care and TALK about what is going on in the world, and fight for what I believe in my heart to be right. Because, as a survivor of sexual assault, I don’t owe it to anyone to pretend ANYTHING. And this crap is too important to sit by in silence.
Funny thing about feeling strong, and brave, and loud — it also makes you feel incredibly sexy. A year ago I would have NEVER used that word to describe myself (not to myself and certainly not to others — I’ve always struggled with that), but now? I do. I truly, honestly, one million percent feel the sexiest I’ve ever felt.
And when you feel sexy…
You kiss your husband longer. And sometimes the kids see. And usually they think it’s gross. But also? They see a loving, fun, and healthy marriage.
You let your photo be taken — and you’re grateful for the opportunity to capture this particular moment of your life.
You stop stressing about your clothes and how they fit. You stop spending an hour throwing stuff on the floor, nearly in tears. GIRL YOU LOOK GOOD IN ANYTHING AND YOU KNOW IT.
You laugh until you snort. Loudly. In public. And you give ZERO CRAPS BECAUSE YOU’RE STILL HOT, I MEAN COME ON.
You let go of the BS. Because you are brave and sexy and strong and omg what did Carol say about me I forgot because I’m too busy looking at my awesome calf muscles.
You focus on things that make you happy. Because for real, you are too dang fabulous to waste your life on things that make you miserable.
And after a year of feeling like you’ve lost your groove, you write a blog post to your favorite people in the world to say IT’S MY BIRTHDAY AND I FEEL DAMN GOOD AND LET’S ALL DO THIS.
So, can we?
You might not want to work out. You might want to take a painting class or learn to crochet or adopt a cat. You might not want to ride a roller coaster. But maybe you want to face your fear of rejection and go out on a limb about something. You may not care about politics. But you may care about the Humane Society or The Girl Scouts or your church community.
A running joke in my house right now is that 2018 is the Year of the Woman. “It’s the Year of the Woman, ” I tell my husband, when he asks what we are having for dinner or if I’ll choose the movie or what kid has what going on tomorrow. “Figure it out, not my problem.” Of course then I (usually) laugh, and he shakes his head and continues to adore me (miracles do happen, y’all), but you know…
It really can be.
You guys! It’s 2018! Be loud, laugh hardest, tell the truth, take the class, and know that you are one smokin’ hot gift to this world. Because every woman deserves to feel that at least once in her life, and no one can make you believe it better than yourself. And if you need help believing — I”m here! I’m an email, a Snap, an Insta DM away. And I want to be your biggest cheerleader.
Happy birthday to me! And to all of you this year.
It’s going to be a damn good one. I love you.