2018 has been my most incredible year. I experienced a roller coaster of high and lows that constantly challenged me. I left a four year long relationship, moved to the heart of NYC (for 4 months), and was flown out to do my first commercial ever with L'Oréal. I lost a lot of people that once meant the world to me, and I've also gained some of the most amazing people that I'm lucky to have today.
I started the year struggling to leave a relationship that, in the last four years of my life, was all I've ever known. To leave a relationship, not because I fell out of love, but needed to protect myself, was one of the most difficult things I've ever gone through. I was in a toxic situation, with very little support from the isolation I put myself in throughout the years. It was the idea that, this person I've built everything with, my best friend, someone who's watched me grown, who I've planned my entire future with, was suddenly non existent in my life. For a very long time after that, I felt empty and scared of where I was headed - and felt the constant fear of being alone for the first time in a long while. During this, I was able to clean out the remaining toxic people in my life - someone I've known for nearly a decade that had been nothing but negative energy in my life. The type of narcissist that thrive off people's insecurities, and caused drama for personal entertainment. I figured, there was no point in ridding one toxin in my life if I let another stay. Besides, I no longer had the fear of losing anything else because I felt like I've already lost everything at that point. This was one of the most rewarding decisions I've made. (To note, I will not be going into the details of my relationship. I have tremendous love for my ex, and I am in no way trying to bad mouth him. I just want to be honest about my growth this year and this was a huge reason for it.)
In May, I was also given the opportunity to film a commercial with L'Oréal, in which I was flown out to film on set in Montreal for two days. The video that resulted from that trip is currently sitting at 1.5 million views on Youtube, with many friends and family sending me snaps of it when they come across it. What people didn't know was that I nearly turned down this opportunity when it was first presented to me. The idea of independently flying to a foreign place and being thrown in to converse with people I've never met, spiked heavy anxiety in me. I immediately convinced myself there was no way I could do it. Luckily this opportunity came at a time of major changes in my life. If I had the strength to remove the people that meant the most to me, for my own growth and mental health, I could do anything (as corny as it may be). That alone gave me enough courage to just believe in my choices and most importantly myself. To some degree, I knew that if I were still in that relationship, he wouldn't have allowed me (or at least supported me) to go, which made me all the more determined. Looking back it's easy to think wow, how could I have not jumped at the opportunity? But it's difficult to explain the place I was mentally at the time, and I am really proud of myself for forfeiting that fear.
In the midst of all this, I got close with Vanessa, a blogger I met through Instagram. What started as casual conversations about our cats turned into frequent messages, to what eventually became daily messages ranging from memes to rants to serious late night conversations. She became my rock during the moments of weakness I had from the break up. And on more than one occasion, she drove from Pittsburg to Toronto to stay with me. She has been there for me through all my breakdowns, she's seen me cry on the kitchen floor (again, on more than one occasion), and she's been nothing but a blessing in my life. She opened her home to me in New York during the time I felt wildly unstable, and for the entire summer, I was lucky enough to have her by my side. I was incredibly touched. To say she is my best friend is an understatement, because I honestly value her as a sister. Moving to New York for 4 months was something I did that seemed rather spontaneous from the outside looking in. But it wasn't. On top of the break up, I was stuck feeling unfulfilled and pressured working a job I woke up hating everyday. Leaving home seemed like the perfect outlet to escape everything I was dealing with. In hindsight, running away from my problems was never going to solve anything, but I felt so trapped I didn't care if it wasn't logical - I just wanted to get out. Coming to New York ended up being highly beneficial to me. It took me out of the comfort zone and forced me to be independent for the first time. Growing up, I was extremely sheltered and shy. I had severe social anxiety and always needed someone to depend on because I had very little confidence in my own ability to do anything. And while I eventually grew out of my social anxiety to some degree, I never really learned to be independent. There was always someone there I could fall back on to tell me it's okay, and I became spoiled by refusing to stand up on my own. I knew this was a major flaw about me as a person, there was just no push for me to do something about it, well, at least not until I was living in the city. New York was incredible to me. I felt like I was living a dream. I threw myself into experiences I usually would have been too timid to try. I wandered the streets alone to explore the city, I met new friends, and overall just pushed myself out of my comfort zone. These experiences I had in New York is something that will stay with me forever. Waking up at 5 in the morning to see the sunrise against the skyline of the city, exploring all the hidden speakeasies with my best friend and drinking 'til we're laughing hysterically and knocking the hell out when we're home. Trying all the amazing food available at every corner. Standing in the rain at the club to see my favourite DJs nearly every weekend and coming home at 4 in the morning. Cooking late night spicy rice cakes and ramen while bingeing Netflix with my roomies. And then there were the things I've got to do for the first time in NY, like getting a spontaneous tattoo and riding a helicopter over the entirety of Manhattan with my legs hanging out. Every moment of it was so carefree and I felt like I needed that - I felt like I haven't been able to breathe for so long and I was obsessed with just trying to live (or as Vanessa would call it, I had major FOMO).
Along with all my experiences, I've also grown close to a few people that I value more than anything. My best friend Patrick, who has done nothing but believed and supported me in everything I do. He inspired me to be unapologetically myself and not give a fuck about what people think. He taught me to be confident in myself and my choices, and encouraged me to come out of my shell by fully accepting me as who I am. Kristie, who like me, understands that sometimes the best way to deal with life's problem (besides simultaneously crying while eating at a Korean restaurant), is to book a hotel, buy 3 bottles of our favourite alcohol and just go off. And Leo, the boy with the big heart that won me over by treating me with so much care and respect. The nights we stayed up to FaceTime well into the morning, and the times when he visited me in NY while I visited him in LA will always make me reminisce about our summer. But at the core of it all, I was afraid of falling back to old patterns and relying on my relationship to feel valued again. I was at a point in my life where I just started to grow, and still craved the independence I just had a taste of. So while I am no where ready to be in a relationship, I am extremely grateful for our time and that we remain close despite it all.
Now we're in December. I'm thankful that I got to this point where I can just be at ease with myself and all that the choices I've made to get me here. I want to keep pushing and growing. I still have moments where I feel like I'm reverting back to the nervous mess that I was, and here and there I'll still doubt myself. But I'm only human, and as long as I don't let myself get caught up in those feelings, I know I'll be fine. I'm content to be where I am now, and I know if I was able to do it alone, I'll be ready to tackle any new challenge that come at me next year. To those that have stuck around with me this year, I want to thank you for continuing to support me. And for those that have recently followed me, I want to say thank you for coming along my journey to see me grow.