Music. Fireworks. Glasses being raised. Kisses being exchanged. Screams echoing. Tears falling.
Okay, so I could either be describing a Bond film or the scenes that play out at midnight at the end of each year. I promise it's the latter.
What a year. I've watched so many peoples' lives playing out around me. I've lived through another year of my own life. And it's the first time I can honestly say I lived rather than simply surviving.
I took the leap and launched the website. I've been telling my story in its entirety. I've met so many incredible friends, hugged so many wonderful people, and grieved so many beautiful souls. I've been handed unbelievable opportunities. I've been sober, and I've also been drunk. I've collected countless more books. I've even had a few books signed.
It's been quite the year.
But I'm ready to say goodbye to it. This year brought more experiences of sexual assault and harassment as I attempted to travel for the first time since my first assault. Whilst none of those experiences have been nearly as haunting as that first experience, they did shake me, and they seemed to open up the wounds created by the first one. It's time to let those wounds heal again.
Most importantly, though, I'm still here. I've arguably had more reason than ever to give up this year, but I've kept fighting. I've had friends holding me upright, and I've tried to hold those same friends upright when they've needed it. There are a few people in particular who have been incredible, supporting me despite the fact that they were going through their own pain.
Perhaps most significantly, the majority of the people I've shared my life with this year have helped me learn how to let myself lean on others. In the last three years, I've come to rely on myself, never trusting anyone enough to let them help me stay afloat. Now, though, I'm very much a person of community. I wouldn't have stayed in recovery this year had I not had the support of my truly remarkable circle of friends.
This year has been a year of healing and growth.