For the first time in my life, I feel happy and loved.
Nothing has changed, I didn't miraculously find a new group of friends or change schools, but the way I feel now is worlds apart from how I have felt in the past.
Over the past 2 years, I have been working on myself. I've been working on challenging my automatic appraisals, giving up expectations that were no longer serving me, letting go of people and pain that was only fueling my depression, and learn how to sit with discomfort (among many other things).
Prior to this entire experience of fighting for recovery, I had no idea that all these mental processes were a possibility, and there was no way that I would be able to comprehend the freedom that would come with making these changes.
The past few weeks have been incredible. I can securely say that I am happy. I am confident in who I am, what I value, and the type of person I want to be when I show up for others. I hold all of this close to my heart, and it has allowed me to accept myself in the most authentic and powerful way that I have ever done before in my entire life.
I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people around me, especially the people who have stood by my side throughout the years. The people who fought for my happiness alongside me, didn't give up on me when I had no faith in myself, and continually supported and pushed me.
I have no idea what I did to deserve this support or love, but I do know that my gratitude is so incredibly genuine.
As I am able to be present in my life, I am able to recognize that my value and worth does not lie in my appearances or actions. I am valued, as a friend, daughter, sister, or whatever else, for the quality that I bring to people's lives. By being present and continually reminding myself of this, I have been able to experience the most fulfilling sense of joy and acceptance that I have never felt before in my entire life.
When I move my body, I move it purposefully. I feel strong, I feel powerful, and I feel confident. I don't move out of hatred and abuse, wanting to sculpt, burn, trim, or fix any part of myself. I am so thankful to have found a group of individuals who share these same passions as me, and have complimented or pointed out my strength on numerous occasions. For the first time in my life, I have found joy and excitement in moving my body.
I am learning how to set boundaries in my friendships. I am learning how to say no without guilt and how to put myself and my needs first. I am learning how to remember that everyone is on their own paths, that my struggles are my own and I can only find it in myself to want to change. In the same way, other people's decisions do not affect me in a way that can be perceived as triggering or competitive. You are you, I am myself, and that's what makes our friendship and overall appreciation of each other as people so beautiful.
I am learning how to spend my time meaningfully, and surround myself with people who make me feel valued, loved, and full. In the past, I was driven by a feeling of obligation, rooted in my beliefs of what a friend should be or is. Now I am able to let go of some of the anxiety that comes with feeling like I am not living up to whatever expectations I have constructed for myself, and just live my life - for myself.