What a year we’ve had. Three hundred and sixty-five days of learning and living. You were my twenty-third year on this planet, the year I’m officially dubbing the most difficult thus far. But I don’t want to place a negative connotation on the word “difficult”, for the difficulties of this year have been my greatest teachers. They’ve propelled me into a year of growth I could have never foreseen. I had no idea the growing that needed to be done and it was only revealed to me little by little, with each blind step I took towards becoming who I am today. 2018, you were a deeply cathartic experience. For washing me away, churning me around in the depths of your wildest waters and graciously sending me back to shore as a stronger and more honest version of myself, I want to say; thank you.
Thank you for manufacturing and subsequently forcing out of my eyes a plethora of tears. Tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of frustration, tears of I literally don’t know why there are tears streaming down my face, tears of what the hell is going on and tears of everything in between. This year I chose to learn how to feel and I guess crying is something that happens sometimes when you actually allow yourself to experience your emotions (weird!) Especially sadness. I learned how to sit in sadness, at times for far too long, but none the less I experienced it instead of pushing it away. I spent months and months working to unnumb the numbness I spent so long creating. My shell of protection, my tin man suit.
Thank you for the abundance of hard freaking days. They pushed me to move. To intentionally work on the things I knew were holding me back. At the time when it felt like my bed had magnetized me to itself and would never let me go, I hated those hard days. I had so many. Thank you for them.
This year I learned just how far into the negatives I could push my chequing account. I learned how to spend wisely, but I also learned how to shift a very small amount of money around to go on a trip. Not necessarily a wise financial decision, but hey I’m still only twenty-three. I hopped on a plane to London, UK with only a couple weeks notice to audition for the Moulin Rouge, which I did not book. Zero regrets. I ate at a different restaurant for almost every meal in New York, which I could not afford. Again, zero regrets.
I hated dance, was indifferent to it, and came to find myself falling back in love with it by the end of the year. I saw Kinky Boots in London’s West End, Chicago on Broadway and Waitress on Broadway. I left all three (particularly Waitress) with a new inspiration for and interest in being on stage. Being an audience member was so magical and it reminded me of all of the different kinds of performing there are and that I do in fact love many of them. Katherine McPhee had me crying at “She Used to be Mine” and she inspired me to get back into singing.
Thank you for making me feel more alone than I have ever felt. I learned what loneliness feels like, I learned how to be alone with myself and I learned how valuable alone time is. I also learned how important connection is. Alone time is so crucial for me and likely most people, but the abundance of lonely days drove me to seek connection in both my existing friendships and new ones as well. My close friendships all deepened in one way or another and I feel more connected to my friends than I ever have. I also made a couple new friends who quickly became soulmates. File under the category: life long.
Thank you for piling on the rejection. I can’t help but laugh writing that because in the thick of it I absolutely did NOT feel thankful for all the “Thank you, NEXT” I experienced from the dance industry. I became so discouraged and constantly questioned what I was doing and just plain wanted to quit most days. Even when I did book a job (FINALLY) it was cancelled after a few rehearsals. At the end of all that, come November, I booked what has been my dream job for many years now. I booked a goddamn cruise ship contract as a dancer. I know a job shouldn’t be what validates you as an artist but this proved to me that I could do it and I’m proud of myself. This year has been the greatest lesson in not giving up. Thank you for that.
I started dating this year. Now this is some personal shit and I’m not sure I’m interested in discussing it on this blog but this was a significant part of my year. So thank you for being the year that finally pushed me to just enjoy meeting people and just seeing what happens. For being the year I finally did the work to figure out what the hell it even means to love yourself and then how to actually do it. This helped me immensely in being open to other people and both their beauty and their flaws.
I finally, finally, FINALLY cleared my skin. I got to experience what it feels like to not be afraid of people looking at your face. I looked people directly in the eyes and now frequently leave the house with a naked face. Thank you for that.
I shared this blog with the world, which is something that scared me for so long. I also fell back in love with writing again and again and made it a priority in my life. Sharing it has felt quite vulnerable, but I have to say once the band-aid is ripped off, you realize it’s not that scary. Having people tell me they read my posts and that they liked it in itself was so cool that it was worth the pain of pressing share. So thank you, for somewhere along the way giving me the courage to do the thing.
I started school for something I’ve been immensely passionate about for years and enjoyed every single day I sat in the North York campus learning about nutrition. I finished a business certificate I completed entirely online. I found a new love for teaching dance and worked extremely hard to be a good and empathetic teacher.
Despite this being a very difficult year, I also had a lot of fun. I went to concerts of people I’ve wanted to see forever with great friends, went on a couple of amazing and memorable road trips, I had nights out where I danced for hours with friends who are basically sisters, I met new, very little, very adorable family members, I reunited with friends who mean the world to me, I rode a mechanical bull multiple times and I did my best to enjoy every day.
Thank you, 2018, for all the nurturing and all the tough love. I’m deeply grateful and bursting with excitement to live in the mind, body and soul of the person you’ve turned me into.
Cheers to a beautiful 2019