You were the year of twenty. The year I didn’t greet well and the year I’m kinda glad to say goodbye to. Having said that, there is a bittersweet element to bidding you farewell.
You marked five years of living with chronic illness’. You marked years of failed attempts at trying to regain my health, feeling isolated from and misunderstood by the world and more importantly feeling as though I’d failed at making something of myself and making my family proud. ‘What have I achieved?’ I asked myself a week before you arrived; causing an avalanche of meltdowns, panic attacks and a whole lot of tear-stained pyjama sleeves. While loved ones tried to console me, I couldn’t be consoled. Your arrival wasn’t to be as happy an occasion as what it usually was and so a smile went on with the layers of makeup, and I grinned and bore it through my birthday tea. I did have a better time than I thought, though when I returned home so too did the thoughts of turning twenty.
Looking back your arrival was hard; just like a lot of moments from your year. I had to drop a lot of uni work because my body wasn’t up to it, I had to flake on friends an endless amount of times, I had to miss out on spending a lot of quality time with my mom at the beach hut and I had to deal with the reoccurring fact of how weak my body has become; a realisation that hit me harder every time I saw it.
Having said this, I’ve also never felt more me. I’ve never felt so in sync with my body. It’s almost as though I’ve deciphered how it works and while that doesn’t take the pain, exhaustion or suffering away; it does make it slightly easier to handle. I’ve also learnt the power of self-care is immensely important in my weekly routine. It’s of great importance, to everyone I think, to stop and take a moment to yourself. Whether that be listening to a podcast, applying a face mask or nail polish or even just taking the dog for a walk and watching the world go by in the process.
So yes, I wasn’t looking forward to you, the year of twenty, and while I’m happy and ready to say goodbye to you I’m grateful for all you taught me -even if your lessons were tough at times.