You were both the best and worst year of my life so far. You gave me some of the lowest lows, but they often ended up with the highest of highs. 2018, you greeted me in such a bittersweet way, I was sitting in my step-father’s childhood home in country South London, filled with both excitement and dread for what the following weeks would bring me. I was on my first ever overseas trip, overwhelmed by the new experiences and things I was seeing every day. I fell in love with London, I fell in love with Europe – all while my personal life was falling out of love and would change the path of my life sooner than I knew. Before I knew it, I was not only back in Melbourne, but I was also packing all my belongings and getting ready to voyage into the next step in my life – as a twenty-something learning what it is to be truly independent. My trip to Austria and England seemed so distant in my past it may as well have been someone else’s memories at the time, I was learning that the one closest to me did not see life how I did, did not see our life as I did. It was time for me to create my own path, to live life only for myself (and my dog of course), and make decisions that were purely for myself.
The first six months of 2018 were the darkest I had ever experienced. Being alone carried a weight I didn’t know existed, my thoughts terrified me, my self esteem was near non-existent. I started to despise the things I loved the most, my love for architecture and design was morphing into a chore, similar to that of a pointless part time job. I saw little purpose for things as I begun to see uncertainty in everything. Anything that I valued with all my heart could be ripped away from me at any time, so what was the use? Honestly, if it wasn’t for my family and the new relationships I formed during that time I don’t know where I would be now – and that is a truly scary thought. But I got through it, and oh boy do I love myself so much more for it.
The second half of 2018 was all about learning to love again, but instead of that energy and time being put into another person, it was all for myself. I realised things about myself that I never thought would be possible. I took myself to therapy for the first time in a very long time, debunked the misdiagnosis of bipolar that shaped my perception of myself for a long time. I discovered that the environment I had been living in had pulled me so far away from the person I knew I once was, that I didn’t think I could ever made it back. For the first time in my life, I saw myself as a beautiful, strong woman, in touch with not only their mental health, but their sensuality. I taught myself how to love every. single. inch. of my body, no matter what it looked like. I discovered what it was to not give a shit how a man viewed my filled-out stomach or my squishy, pale arms – but instead, I embraced all of it. Other people will always come and go, but I stay. So why wouldn’t I decide to fucking love the body I’m in!
In 2018 I learnt what it was to be heartbroken, what it was to fail a university subject, and to be in a car accident resulting in losing a job and a vehicle. But, I also learnt what it is to have true friendships, to be completely independent, to budget, to let go of the things that were holding me back, to say yes, to make conscious consumer decisions, and to finally love myself in the truest way I’ve ever known. When I look back at who I was this time last year, I was scared, I was too anxious to give things a go, I was being controlled by the environment that I thought was safe. I never would have thought I could have achieved the things I’ve achieved this year, let alone get through the darkest time of my life. But I did. And I love myself even more for that.
I enter 2019 with a content heart and mind as I know I can get through a hell of a lot, I now know how to manage my time, my health, and my happiness in ways that are the best for myself. Not someone else, but for me and only me. This year, I hope to go on many more dog walks, move my body in ways I know are good for me, eat more amazing food and try endless new things – and I hope the same for everyone else in my life whom I care greatly for.
Much love, Ebony xoxo
** Header image is my goals sheet I filled out from Frankie Magazine. Artwork by Adam J. Kurtz **