I was scrolling through my reader and I saw that a few of you has selected a word for the year ahead or reviewed the year and see how it linked to your life. As first, I admit, I thought it was easy but then I started to think about my year. There has been a lot going on and I started to realize that this is harder than I first thought. However, after scrolling the dictionary and thesaurus, I found the word that sums up the year 2016 for me. And that word – in case you didn’t guess yet- is embrace.
embrace (v.) em·brace \im-ˈbrās\
- to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
- to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.
- to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.
- to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): the embrace of Buddhism
- to take in with the eye or the mind.
- to encircle; surround; enclose.
- to include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.
I think that I have experienced every various that this verb could be used throughout this year. And it started in February when I had my accident. If you have stumbled across this blog and have no clue what I am talking about then head over to the about me page. If you are that pressed for time, then just look at the pictures. In brief, I had a snowboarding accident where I hit a safety net at about 30 mph which caused me to fracture my vertebra and required stitches to my face. (Bet you are intrigued to go look at the photos now eh??) I was lucky enough to have no damage to my sight and is on track to making a full recovery. Anyways that accident required me to embrace the uncertainty of what was about to happen to me. I was totally engulfed in the safety net with little awareness of whether I was dead or alive. I couldn’t hear anything but felt the most incredibly direct pain in my face and my back. It was hell. And I can remember it in the blink of an eye. Some say you black out, that you don’t remember your accidents well I do. I have the most vivid memory of that moment. The moment I had to embrace my future without the uncertainty of how it would be. Was I deaf? Paralysed? Bleeding? Going to pass out and never wake up? I had to take in my current situation with my mind. My future unknown and I lay there, alone and afraid.
I think had a choice: get up and fight or give in and wait. I grabbed the net and pulled myself up out of the net. It hurt like hell but I wasn’t going to lay there and wait for my fate. My friend finally skied down to me and he pulled me up. He literally saved my life. He called the patrol, kept me calm, and never let me go. He sat with me in the ambulance and took photos in the hospital once he knew I was okay. He never left me. He took me back to the chalet and never took his eyes off me. He was my absolutely miracle. And before I went to bed that night, I embraced him and truly hugged him. It felt so amazing to be able to hug him. To know I was okay because of him.
When I got home to England, I only then found out I had fractured my vertebra. The T2 and T3 were both fractured. And then I was off work for two months – bed bound his six weeks of them and with a brace on for the whole eight. But during this time I had to embrace many times:
- Not working – I work extremely hard and use to struggle to not work from home or leave on time. That place was my joy and I didn’t have a life outside of it. It was only when I went to Hampshire to see my friends did I feel like I exist. Bearing in mind that I live and work a 3-hours drive away – I did get down to Hampshire that much. So naturally I went to Portsmouth to be with my mother and friends whilst I recovered.
- Intense frustration – Honesty, during this time I have never experienced frustration like that. The pain of being bed ridden for 23 hours a day and in extreme pain if I walked more than 30 minutes. The frustration that came with that. That I took out on my mom and my aunt. They stuck through every tantrum I had and every tear I cried.
- Loss of a lover – my accident made me realize I didn’t want to be without my best friend who had been a lover of mine as well. She had been occupying my heart and mind for about four years. We just never seemed to be right (right time, right mindset). But my accident made me not want to wait for the perfect setting, perfect time, perfect mindset because on the top of that mountain embraced in a safety net, I finally realized that the perfect anything does not exist. So I went to go see her, she rejected me and I left. I never heard from her again despite being in the same town and every day I waited for her to call. She didn’t call or visit. She had her reasons and I do not deny that I didn’t hurt her in the past but I needed her and she wasn’t there. Louis C.K. wrote, “when a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t”. The is true for both of us. Everyone has a chapter in their book that is unheard and I don’t doubt that she is harboring pain from our previous battles, as was I, but on that mountain, in the face of uncertainty, I learned that none of that mattered anymore. I forgave everyone that ever hurt me in that moment because I knew I was going to be alive, including her. However, as I have been previously and now again on the third occasions, I had loved and lost. I can categorically place the feeling of what it is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive as one of the hardest things you will ever go through in life. I grieved her for 2 months and what I didn’t realize is that I let go of her too. She came back and we tried but it wasn’t the same. She didn’t feel the same to me, we didn’t fit. It was love but a different kind of love. So it ended badly and I lost her – her love and her friendship – but thought two things were deeply intertwined. Someone once wrote – some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. So I learned to embrace the uncertainty of what is yet to come and hope that my future sees her friendship in it.
- A new view – During the last weeks of my time in Hampshire, began to see real differences in me. My mindset, my attitude, my posture (six weeks in a brace does wonders for your back). I realized that only I control my happiness and I embraced the opportunity to see the world in a more positive way. I found the courage to let go of the negativity that dampened my dreams for too long. This began to bear fruits quickly and continues to shine a light through my darkest days.
- The ends of “friendships” – Karen Salmansohn wrote,”If you wanna find out who’s a true friend, screw up or go through a challenging time…then see who sticks around.” This has been a defining quote for me or some of those people who have not been in contact despite hearing about my accident. I had to embrace the inevitability that friendships don’t just stay the same and it’s okay to grow apart. The parentheses around friendships are to highlight that I am questioning the existence of these friendships now that I see them more clearly. It’s amazing what you see when you raise your own self-esteem and demand more respect from yourself and others. So I did a social media clear out of the negative people in my life that decided to hold onto their pain that I may or may not have caused them instead of wishing me well. To them, I am sorry you felt unable to contact me and wish me well and I am contented with the memories you have given me and wish nothing but a beautiful life ahead.
- A new world – I have never been a blogger but since my accident, I decided I would start as it was on my list. I really looking hard for my title and it fit perfectly with my mission, my journey. It has brought me friendship and balance to my life with the confidence to say exactly what I feel without the worry about what others think of me. This platform is so supportive and positive and I have privileged to learn about all of you. Thank you, you made this so easy and rewarding. Owning your story is the bravest thing you will ever do but it’s worth it.
- Every opportunity – When I was off, I was forced to move out of my current home. I lost a friend and a seven-year-old boy that I felt, at the time, were family but this was not what it seemed. I moved in with a young lady which was not so far away and I started to be more independent. I realized that the friendship I had and my past accommodation (before my accident) was restricting and limiting. I was able to do what I wanting to do when I wanted to do it and without the tutting of the housemate’s disapproving finger. This lead to more me time, a happy person and the feeling of control. I love it. I even started to go out and meet new friends, go to coffee shops, be brave – which were all things that I had stopped doing without realizing. I haven’t felt more like myself in years. This led to the meeting of my new fiancee – Liv. We meet over coffee and despite all of my protest, she pushed through and showed me that she was here to stay. She loved me from day one and has since built a home and a life with me. She has been consistent, thoughtful, deep, sincere and unfathomable. She reminds me of Ellen DeGeneres in her personality and she is undoubtedly the love of my life. She proposed to me after 3 months and we go from strength to strength. We are at 6 months and guys – I have found my own love story.
- The end to a beginning – This year, my grandfather passed away. He was the lost one of my grandparents (on both sides) that was alive. He taught me so much from the importance of traditions to the art of painting. I had the pleasure of knowing him well and loving him dearly. He was the first individual who I get to say goodbye to whilst he was alive (sleeping) but alive nonetheless. This made the loss of him a little more bearable. He had held the responsibility for the traditionally large (24 people plus) family Christmas’s meal. You see my mother is one of five children and I was one of 14 grandchildren. We always all got together at Christmas. This was always my Christmas plans and without him here – would the families do their own thing? I knew that this Christmas was going to be one of embracing change. Which leads on to number 8.
- New life – I have become an AUNT!!! In April, My older brother and his wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Lilly-Emma. She is gorgeous and I adore her already. We facetime as often as we can and she has brought a new life shortly after the loss of a loved one.
- New traditions – As previously mentioned, Christmas was up in the air. My mother had decided to go see my little brother in Las Vegas and I was invited to spend the holidays with my future family-in-law. Seven whole days with the rents in a cottage in the peak district. Interesting but daunting. So a few mini meltdowns later and here I am embracing the uncertainty of if they would like me, happy to have me as a part of their family, oh the uncertainty were endless. But it’s been amazing and I am well and truly pleased that I fought through my anxieties because I have been accepted and welcomed back again. Liv and I cooked Christmas dinner and it has been an incredibly lovely experience. I like to think a tradition is a good feeling that you want to recreate. I am happy to make Christmas with Liv my newest tradition. This is a new tradition that I new will stay.
WOW, so that’s the year in a review. It’s been an experience. I have learned that resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fall, you hurt. But, you keep going. Here is to the next year ahead.
In addition to this, I have decided that the word for 2017 is going to be…… BALANCE.
I hope you enjoyed it.