It was the year I left my entire life behind to live in the rugged mountains of North Carolina.
It was the year I left the man I thought I’d be with forever, because somewhere inside, something told me to.
It was the year I fell down—in a way that wasn’t pretty or cute.
It was the year I just plain hurt. Tears streamed down my face, my hair was a mess, and I held a crumpled, broken heart.
It was the year I had so many panic attacks that I struggled to do things I used to think were simple, like running errands and meeting friends for coffee and going into grocery stores.
It was the year I couldn’t push down my shadows or pain or past traumas anymore, ’cause I finally knew they would follow me absolutely everywhere.
It was the year I felt so much goddamn fear that I thought I’d never feel better.
It was the year I almost lost hope.
And yet, somehow, by some unknown magic, because even though it was the worst year of my life—it was also the best.
It was the year I learned I didn’t need to do it alone.
It was the year I rose.
It was the year I fought for myself.
It was the year I surrendered.
It was the year I healed, although I am still healing—learning every day to hold my tenderest wounds with utmost care.
It was the year I went to an ayahuasca ceremony in the middle of the day and swayed my hips to ancient songs of Brazilian drums and sang and smiled and opened my eyes to the powerful softness I really am.
It was the year my mask fell off, and I couldn’t put it back on.
It was the year I stopped blaming everyone else and started to own my sh*t. For real.
It was the year I fell in love, with a totally unexpected, wild and wonderful golden-haired man.
It was the year I realized that being vulnerable is the only boldness I will ever need.
It was the year I tasted the pureness of joy. And laughter. And family. And togetherness.
It was the year I saw that life doesn’t have to be a constant, heavy struggle, that I truly can be happy.
It was the year I starting dancing again.
It was the year I started living again.
It was a year I’ll never forget. And you know what? I don’t want to.
Even though I am still weary, my limbs sore, my eyelids a tad heavy and sticky with remnants of dried tears—I feel lighter.
For I tasted so much joy and released so much pain. I dove deep to plant so many seeds this past year, and the soil in my heart is tilled, ferociously raw and utterly prepared. It’s so fertile. And I am already starting to bloom. I can feel it. A tingling in my toes, a gentle urging in the base of my spine, an opening in my mind. I am tender and lime green with eager new life—buds and leaves will shortly follow. I shall ripen.
Hell, it was a year I’ll never forget.
And I speak now, loud and clear, like a bell on a crisp, cloudless day—freeing myself with every word I utter from my dry, rosy lips. I am freer than ever before.
I light a match with the fire of my heart, and on grateful knees in the pitch dark, draped in nothing but pale moonlight, it burns. The pages, the moments, everything that encompassed this year turns, like magic, to ash.
I exhale fiercely. Everything is quiet.
My eyes rain a few stray tears, tinged silver by the moonlight. I let go, as the breeze tickles my cheeks. I hold in the palms of my hands grey ash shaped by the trembling remains of my old memories, the tough lessons I didn’t want to learn, that I now hold so dear, that I will never forget. And I say my goodbye.
Goodbye, 2017. It was a helluva ride.
Goodbye, you ripped me apart and kicked my ass.
I am humbled. I needed it. Thank you. Thank you so much, and yes—I mean it. You looked into my eyes when I was scared and alone and hopeless, not really owning my sh*t and said “No. Go deeper.” And I did. Your tough love inspired me. You brought me to me knees, so I could face my demons and weeping wounds and dive mermaid deep to dance with it all. You helped me clear all this space—so I could love more.
You brought me to my heart.
And that’s what it was always about, wasn’t it?
And now, 2018, whatever you have in store for me—I’m ready. I’m ready to kick some ass, tenderly, of course. I’m ready to heal some more, cry some more, love some more. I’m ready throw my head back and laugh loudly, enjoying both the raucous bumps and smooth stretches of this upcoming ride. I’m ready to bask in the glow of this stunning mystery, unfolding forever one breath at a time, one moment at a time.
And so another year on the scroll of my life unfurls. I stand awkwardly, in the gaping face of not-knowing. I smile.
Because nothing really makes sense and sometimes the most beautiful times of our lives are tucked into the most painful ones.
I celebrate it all. Absolutely all of it.
I raise a glass to the mosaic of everything that made this year so hard and so incredibly beautiful—the tears, the pain, the joy, the love, and all the wonderful people I met along the way.
So I step into this new year with open arms.
And an even more open heart.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Callie Rushton