I entered the year not knowing what I wanted to do with it. Only that I wanted to end it well. I knew I wanted to make this about loving myself more than anything. But, I didn’t know anything else.

I started the year working and I worked hard all year round. The past two years have shown me that I knew nothing about hardwork. I knew nothing about really wanting my work, and the people I work with, to do well. I didn’t know what it was like to really feel success and failure, and seek it actively. My work gave me a refuge, but also gave me the confidence that I could be a lot more than my imagination. I cannot wait for the future. And that is the most hopeful I have been about my life.

I could attribute that hopefulness to the fact that I see my future very differently from when I did a year back — or even six months ago. I wanted the home, someone to love, a dog and a lot of money. That’s it. Now, when I see my future, the house has just me and the dog. Sure, I am not lonely. But, I am the universal definition of alone. However, I am not unhappy with this image of my future. I am grateful for the realisation that I don’t need someone to love to feel love. That freed me.

I am grateful to the men who got me to that realisation. I am grateful for the “no” and grateful they will never be “what if” anymore. I am grateful for the chance to unlearn what I thought was love, but really wasn’t. I am grateful for not letting myself stay deluded. I am grateful for the rules I broke and the new ones I made. I am grateful for the nights I spent crying to myself and coming clean on the other side of them, starting work all over again.

Now that I am free of all the space that love occupied inside me and over me, I feel lighter. I say this with a wide smile on my face and tears in my eyes. I took charge of my body and loved it a little more. I lost some weight and started enjoying exercise. I spent lesser time in bed and more time feeling at home in my home and my body. After seven years of restless sleep, I learnt to sleep soundly through the night. I learned to love selectively, but love anyway. I learned to care less and fight for what I care about. I made fewer friends, but I made them to keep for life. I loved my parents a little more and appreciated the work they put into raising me. I learned that while words mean a lot, they could be ridiculously empty too. Trust yourself to know better. Don’t trust others to always tell you who they are. But, when they do and if you don’t like it, step away.

I am grateful to the women who stood with me, sat down with me, lay down with me and held on to me when I couldn’t. Every single woman who taught me that I have a voice and I need to use it when I am unhappy or when I am happy or when I want to sing or laugh out loud (LOUDEST). Thank you to all the women in my life for making me realise how goddamned amazing we are as a people. Thank you for making me love my femininity more, for making me love my own company and the company of my female friends more.

But, you know what I am most grateful for? In the last few hours of this year, I am doing exactly what I love: writing, listening to music, and singing to myself.

I learned every single day, and I don’t want to stop. I cannot stop feeling the sun shine on me.

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