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Through Love And Loss, 2018 Taught Me How To Be Strong

Having to endure loss of life and friendship taught me how to rebuild a broken heart even after I didn't think I could mend it.


When the final days of 2017 rolled around and the beginning of 2018 neared, I imagined a picture-perfect year of growing friendships and overall fullness. Unsure of where the notion came from, I expected 2018 to be "my year" of greatness, comfort, and perfection.

In just a couple of months, all that began to fall apart. Unknowingly toxic friendships came to a close, a woman who is both a relative and incredibly close to my heart was diagnosed with cancer, and a girl I spent nearly every day with in high school passed away. I hated an internship, disliked another one and began to lose hope as to whether my life would ever genuinely look up the way it once had in my budding youth.

I began to see the unromantic nature of what true adulthood meant. In my first two years of college, I had a false perception of what being a woman entailed. I can never pretend I didn't experience stress, heartache, and uncertainty, but it was nothing compared to what I've undergone in 2018. I've had to grow and understand life in ways not many people do until they hit their 30s. I don't say that out of vanity or self-pity, it's based on self-realization and conversation with those who I hold dear to my heart.

I've realized Christmases will never be the same. I don't think I can trust in the childlike manner I once did. And that at the end of the day, the only person who can truly handle your burdens is yourself. This past year was both lonely but also filled with a new love.

Through desperation and depression, I found people who were not only there to pick me up but eager to do so, which is something I had never quite experienced before. At the beginning of our friendships, they proved their longevity and heart, and though I've only known them less than a year, I genuinely believe these "grown-up" relationships will stand the test of time.

It felt as though 2018 was a tornado and I was taken in at the beginning of the year and spit out at the end. I'm still reeling from a headache and heartache, but I'm now gaining a new sense of grounding and yearning for progress in the new year.

Unlike last year, I choose not to expect too much of 2019. Part of my problem is that not only did I hope for too much, but I also put too much pressure on myself to try to be perfect. All my life up until this past year, everything felt like an uphill experience with new, exciting adventures on the forthcoming. When 2018 hit, the truth was that I plateaued but because I had never experienced such a stage in my life, I felt like I was on a downward spiral with no end in sight.

I had put too much on my plate and didn't know when to stop. Because I felt like other parts of my life were uncontrollably lacking, I stacked other plates with too many portions I couldn't balance. I somehow never dropped the porcelain, but my arms were certainly weak by the time I was able to set them down. All in all, I've realized that creating time and rest for myself must be part of the balance of my schedule and priority list.

Knowing that 2019 will not be perfect, I choose to be consciously gracious through thick and thin. I choose to find the light again and believe the next day will get brighter, even if I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I will choose to actively be a better friend and support system to the people who lifted me out of the darkness, to work harder and smarter to achieve my dreams, and to build a new sense of energy I dropped when I felt myself fall to my knees.

I have a lot to look forward to in the new year, including graduating from college and potentially moving to New York City to hopefully land a job that will bring me happiness. It's going to be arduous, stressful, and terrifying, but I've moved to a different state once to pursue a dream and I know I can do it again.

If 2018 was not your year, actively work on trying to make 2019 a better one for you and your sanity. Your life will only change if you put in the effort and the drive. It's not going to be an easy road ahead, but I believe it will be one even more beautiful and with more breathtaking sights.

Cheers to the new year.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Open Letter To The Friend Who Continues To Save My Life

No one knows me like you do.


From the day we became friends, we have always had nothing but support for one another. Although we have only really been friends for about seven years now, I feel as if you have always been a part of my life. You know me just as well as you know yourself, and I understand you in the same way I understand my own thoughts and feelings.

You have never made me feel pressured, insecure, or unappreciated. The mutual respect we have for one another is unmatched. We can talk to each other about anything; from some of the most trivial topics to entire life philosophies. We have grown and matured together, and I couldn't be more proud of the person you are today.

We don't always agree on everything, and I always appreciate your fresh point of view, but I have never felt more in sync with another person than I do with you. We share the same birth month, the same age, the same home town, the same anxieties, and many of the same attitudes and values.

I feel as if you know exactly when I want to be alone and when I need company. Since we are both introverted, we understand that the other person needs time to recharge. And when I'm sitting alone with nothing to do, I always get a text from you asking to hang out.

In some of my loneliest, most vulnerable moments, you have been there. When I question how many true friends I really have, you are always sure to make your love for me known.

Through high school, and now college, we have experienced so many life-changing events together. Some that have taught us extremely valuable lessons, and others that have shown us incredible pain and how to grow from our lowest moments.

I want to thank you for showing me what life-long friendship looks like. Thank you for always understanding me and never putting too much pressure on me. I see an incredible future for both of us no matter where each of our lives takes us.

We will always share a unique connection that cannot be separated by any distance. But, for now, I'm glad you're only one text or phone call away.

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