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If I could hold you by the hands and tell you all I have learned this year, I would.

I would tell you what is coming and what is going to hurt. I´d show you how to ease the pain.

Through tears, I would also describe the profound joy you have yet to experience.

The slow summer nights that await, the conversations with friends that change you from the inside out.

Your favorite songs you haven´t even heard yet.

I would calm your fears and validate your big, big dreams.

I would offer you my perspective, a year out, on the other side.

If I could write you a letter and tell you all about 2023, I would.

And then I remembered I can, so here we are.

I call it time traveling.

Exactly two years ago today, you hit rock bottom.

No, you body slammed it.

December 31st, 2021.

One of the worst days, if not, the worst day of your life.

The rug was ripped out from under you, and reality crumbled as a result.

The year that followed was an intense, transformative, beautiful journey of building back your self worth.

You move differently through the world when you know who you are, when you know what you deserve.

And sitting here, two years later, it´s starting to make sense.

This year brings you chaos, pain, days that feel thick with grief.

In some ways, from where I´m sitting, 2023 was even more challenging than 2022.

2022 was painful, because your lack of self worth made you feel broken.

Like there was something inherently wrong with you.

Out of conditioning and survival, you convinced yourself everything that happened was all your fault.

It actually hurt less to take the blame.

Because at least then, there was an answer. At least then, there was an explanation to the betrayal.

It was because you deserved it.

With all of the responsibility on you, you could do better, be better. You could fix things.

You could fix yourself.

You could make things normal again.

So you spent the entire half year in therapy.

You woke up at 6:30 every morning to journal, meditate and walk around the neighborhood.

You made friends with the trees at the park.

You switched your scrolling habits with reading.

You worked through patterns, unhealed wounds and childhood traumas.

Like a scavenger hunt, you searched through the depths of your soul to find out why you are the way you are.

Why your default mode is defensiveness. Why you seek out emotionally available friendships.

Why you hold too tightly to the things you love.

But to your shock, the things you found end up being more empowering than they were depressing.

After a year of many long hard looks in the mirror, you find a deep sense of compassion for everything you went through.

After a year of nurturing her, you grew fond of the girl you were.

You started 2022 in pursuit of fixing yourself, and you ended it with the realization that there was nothing to be fixed.

All of this "self help" was simply "self discovery."

Without even looking for it, you landed at self acceptance.

And that is the exact reason why this year is so hard for you.

In 2023, with a newfound sense of worth, all illusions are dissolved.

The rose colored lenses are shattered.

You see life through a different lens now.

The lens of brutal, unfiltered truth.

Looking at December 31st 2021, through that lens, is soul crushing.

It knocks the wind out of you, even harder than the first time.

Because this time, there is no illusion to sugar coat the cruelty.

Through the harsh lens of self worth, you finally see what now seems painfully obvious.

You didn´t deserve it.

Any of it.

The stronger you get, the more you realize just how bad things were.

The layers of manipulation reveal themselves to you throughout the year and now that youre out of survival mode, it finally hits you.

The feelings once too potent to process slowly rise to the surface, your body´s way of showing you it finally feels safe enough to allow it.

But the sensations are so overpowering, your body is convinced you´re sick.

Your heart aches for what you believe to be real.

Sadness fills your lungs and weighs you down, keeping you numb for days on end.

Resentment swirls around underneath the surface of your skin, resembling a fever.

And a childlike confusion lingers in your bloodstream, still desperate to know why it happened.

Still desperate for answers.

Still desperate to take the blame.

Still desperate for a better ending than this.

Because at least it makes sense when you believed them

That you deserved it.

That you were broken.

That you were too much.

When you accept that it was done willingly, intentionally, and meticulously, you also have to accept that you never knew them at all.

That maybe none of it was real.

For months, you replay every moment, every conversation, every hint at what you now know.

You feel a sinking, shameful feeling recalling the past.

Pin pointing all the times you ignored your intuition begging you to protect yourself.

You remember the gut feelings you labeled as anxious thoughts.

You remember the warnings from family and friends who sensed something you didn´t.

But mainly, you weep for the girl you were a year before.

The same way I weep for you now, writing about the pain you will endure in the seasons to come.

Your heart breaks for the girl who went to therapy to fix herself. Who believed she needed to be fixed.

The girl who fundamentally believed she was born broken.

You weep for the part of you who ever believed she ever deserved this level of cold bloodedness in the first place.

You mourn the girl you were before you knew people could be so sinister.

When you still saw the humanity in everyone you met.

When you believed that people were inherently good.

That people meant what they said.

You mourn what it felt like to live with such an open heart.

You wonder if you´ll ever get it back, or if that´s just another thing that´s been taken from you.

This year hurts.

But it´s also important to know that it hurts for a reason.

It hurts because you love yourself more.

You love yourself enough to sit with your feelings.

To let them pour out of you instead of continuing to keep you sick.

This year, you learn to voice how you feel, regardless of how it is received.

It hurts to be rejected, and you will be.

But you love yourself enough to keep doing it.

Life hurts without the rose colored lenses to soften the blow.

No distractions to momentarily soothe our discomfort.

No substances to numb the suffering.

It hurts to look life directly in the eyes.

But if you are anything this year, you are brave.

In order for you to embrace the beauty of life

You finally understand you cannot keep running away from the darkness.

You don´t get to numb the pain and also relish in ecstasy.

You feel both or you feel nothing.

But you love yourself enough now, to know that to be human is to feel it all.

You love yourself enough to stop running, and let the darkness catch up to you.

There is poetry to be found when you surrender to the dark.

But the beauty requires little searching.

The beauty finds you where you are.

Vulnerable, sacred, lost and purposeless.

It sits with you until your fear melts into solitude.

You can´t see anything, but in the stillness, you can sense it.

The unexplainable comfort of kowing you´re not alone.

In the darkness, time ceases to exist.

Three dimensional laws lose their hold.

We settle somewhere between space and time, where all versions of ourselves join as one.

In the darkness, you greet your intuition like a sister seperated at birth.

You apologize for negelcting her, for forgetting she was always right there.

She simply smiles and says,

Welcome home.

In the darkness, you effortlessly find your younger self.

Vulnerable, scared, lost and purposeless.

You wipe her tears, validate her dreams, quiet her fears and tell her that she is loved beyond measure.

You try to explain that this pain won´t last forever. That you know it´s hard for her to understand, because the feelings are so big.

But you encourage her to trust you.

Because you know that the best days of her life still await her.

You lived them.

She had no idea how good it was going to get.

If only she knew.

Your little self has guidance for you too. Poems to show you, dances she made up, imaginary friends she invented.

She shows you how to create again, how to play again.

In the depths of the shadows, you dance together.

In the darkness, your older self is also there.

She braids your hair and holds you while you cry.

You tell her how scared you are. How lost you feel. How much you miss who you used to be.

You beg for perspective from the version of you who has it.

And with the same compassion you showed your inner child, she wipes away your tears.

She validates your dreams. Quiets your fears. She tells you that you are loved beyond measure.

That this pain won´t last forever. She says she knows it´s hard for you to understand, because the feelings are so big.

But you trust her.

Because you know that the best days of your life still await you.

She lived them.

In the darkness, you´re not scared anymore.

It´s the three of you, the three of us, holding hands through space and time.

Knowing you are never alone.

Knowing the girl you used to be is always there, just a few deep breaths away.

Knowing the girl you are supposed to be can´t wait to meet you.

And maybe that´s what this letter is.

Reaching through space and time to tell you that it´s going to be okay.

It´s going to be beautiful.

Not despite the darkness you will face, but because of it.

It changes the way you see things in the light.

Your eyes eventually adjust to the harsh glare of reality, and you find richness in the real.

You realize that you don´t need rose colored lenses to see the beauty in all things.

Because you have a super power now.

You can see in the dark.

Sitting here today on the last day of the year, I feel grounded.

I´m in awe of the places this year has taken me.

I´m in awe of the bravery I didn´t know I possessed.

I know someday this will make sense. Even more sense.

I know there is a version of myself out there who has put more of the puzzle together.

About 2023.

About 2022.

About what actually happened.

Somewhere out there, not too far away, I know this version of myself exists.

And I know her heart is wide open.

I know, because she told me herself.

All while she braided my hair.

To the girl I was in January.

You have no idea how good it´s going to get.

If only you knew.

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He was charming, kind, handsome, Smart, caring, independent, Close with his mom, bestfriend with his sister, a mothers picture perfect son in law. "The ultimate dream boyfriend." He was everything. I

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