I turn 38 years old today. And I hope that is just a drop in the bucket of the years I have to come. But I turn 38 years old today.
Today is a new chapter. As I turned the page on 37, I realized that this last year has been the most painful and challenging year of my life...but I also have begun to realize that this last year was such an education for me. I have grown more over the last 12 months more than any year of my life (I mean...THEY say your 4th year is also important but who can remember being 4 in exact detail).
Things I have learned this year:
1.You can't save anyone but yourself. You can't love someone enough in the hopes that your love will save them or fix them. If someone doesn't want to change, there is nothing you can do to make them want it. This has been my greatest lesson, and one of the hardest to accept.
2. You will never be enough for someone that is not enough for themselves. I have spent the last 7 years of my life convinced I was "not enough". This shaped every action and every minute of my life. I spent all of my time, my energy...all of me...trying to prove my worth. But one thing I know now...I AM ENOUGH. I am Amy Irene Workman and there is a shitload of wonderful things about me. I will never be the girl again that sacrifices everything for nothing...or very little...in return.
3. It's the hardest times in your life that you will find the truest of friends. I mean...I can't even type this paragraph without crying. My friends, MY PEOPLE, are some of the most amazing human beings in the world. I don't know what I did to deserve them, but I am thankful for their love and support everyday. From showing up at my front door just to hug me, to care baskets, drinks, slumber parties, paint parties, yard work...you name it. My tribe has been with me over this last year. They saved me from myself.
4. Sometimes you don't get a choice when things end...but you do get to choose when you begin again. It took me longer than I thought to be ready to make that choice. But I have made it. It takes courage to let go of the people and things you built your forever on. Sometimes it seems easier to dance with the devil you know, rather than dance alone. Loving someone is a privilege, but so is letting go. Both will teach you a thing or two about life.
5. Trust your gut. Seriously. Trust it. I realize now that not only did I ignore what I "knew" when it came to the affair, I chose to ignore my gut from the beginning. I don't believe in regret and think that everything from our past shapes the person we become...but I knew from the beginning things I chose to ignore. "We ignore truths for temporary happiness". I found that quote the other day. And THAT is true.
6. Not everyone has a good heart or good intentions. Not everyone is a good person. As a believer in love and people, this is one of the hardest things for me to believe, accept, or understand. Of course I am not naive enough to think that everyone in this world is "good"...but I was naive enough to think the person I loved was. I have learned so much about Cluster B personality disorders...Sociopaths, Narcissists, Psychopaths, etc. You know they say that 1 in 15 people have a Cluster B Disorder? So next time you are in a room of 30, 60, 90 people...look around and do the math (I am not going to do it for you bc math it unpleasant...much like smelling seafood) and know they exist.
7. Closure may never come in the way you think you need it or want it to. Sometimes you have to "close it" yourself. Not just in heartbreak, but in life...things don't always end with a clear cut. You may not ever understand WHY or HOW...you just have to find solace in knowing that you gave it everything you had and hope that when you come out on the other side you will be able to say "I don't know why you did it, but thank God you did...because look at me now".
8. Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide. Okay...so that is Zig Ziglar and not Amy Workman, but through all of this, I find peace in knowing I still have my integrity. That I have been honest. That my spirit is still one of hope and generosity. I am who I said I was. That I am kind. And optimistic. And true. Not just to myself, but to the people I call friends and the family I love. Not everyone can say that. Or they can say it...but their track record proves otherwise. If what you put out into the universe comes back to you, I've got some good things coming.
9. The farther away you get away from negative people, the more positive you feel. I mean...Pinterest told me this but I think it might be true. You also make room for more positive PEOPLE. As an empath, I am greatly effected by people's emotions and energy. As I begin to feel the realm of positive opening up, I can't wait to FEEL how it feels as I truly move farther and farther away from the negative.
10. You will hear lots of good advice...but until you are ready to hear it...you will choose to ignore it. You can read books, every quote under the sun, you can have friends tell you what you should do, you can have Therapist offer advice...but until YOU are ready...you won't be ready to hear it. And I think that is okay. Put all the words in your think box and pull them out when you ARE ready. The grieving process is different for everyone...and yours is YOURS. Give yourself grace (in the words of my friend Brou Boo). Hang out in the hurt once in awhile. Feel all of the feelings. But sometimes you have to say "fuck that shit" when the tears want to come or you want to take a turn to sad sack town. Decide to make it through an hour. Then maybe a couple of hours. Then maybe a day. You get my point.
11. Do good and be good...but know that life may not always feel good. I have asked myself over and over again WHY did this happen to ME? I feel like I am a good person. I save animals. I read with 4 year olds. I try to smile at strangers, leave a place or person better than when I found it/them, and I like tacos. If karma is real...then why? If loving someone with truth, honesty, and loyalty was supposed to be the "right way" to love someone...then why? So many why's. I think the answer is that you just have to have faith. You have to believe that things, the Universe, God...are leading you where you need to go. My sister told me very early on in this process that instead of looking at it like the Universe was shitting all over me, maybe she said, the Universe is pushing you in the direction you need to go. I think she was right. Don't tell her. Big sisters don't need to know they are right all the time.
12. You can love someone with every part of you...but if they can not love you in return...if they hurt you more than they make you happy...if holding on to them is killing all of the good things inside of you...no matter how much you love them...you have to let them go. This will take tremendous courage because you will have to believe in yourself. You will have to have faith in the uncertainty of tomorrow. You will have to believe that in uncertainty, anything is possible.
And finally...the last and most important thing that I have learned...and it took awhile to believe it but...
13. I am going to make it. When I would go over to my grandparents house, Grandpa would always be watching either golf or an old Western. One of the lessons I learned from those Westerns was the guy in the white hat always wins. Always. And guess what? I'm the guy in the white hat. Love conquers hate. Good prevails. And I am going to make it.
I love y'all.
Amy Irene Workman