Dear 27…

Well 27 is officially over! And I couldn’t be more excited.

27…was rough…and mean…and ugly….and fought dirty.

But I learned a few things…some happy…some sad…

1 – Take care of your body…because ending up on the floor with a back injury bites.

2 – Relationships take a lot of work..and if it takes a ton of work…it’s probably not the right one for you. I spent so many exhausting hours trying to make things work that I didn’t realize that was a red flag. I just thought that was what people did…but I learned from seeking Godly counsel..that a good relationship is easy. There is open communication and mutual respect.

3 – I’m not a night owl…so I don’t have to pretend like I am one. #LarkForever

4 – True friends let you ugly cry on their shoulder.

5 – Family is what you make it…but they can make or break you if you let them.

6 – I control my life. ~ while this seems like a no brainer…it was a huge revelation for me. I no longer let (key word there!) people run over me or bully me into things I don’t want to do. I hung the phone up on people when they chose to talk about topics I said were off limits. I told people to get off my property. I got mean…but sometimes you have to protect you.

7 – Saying No is freedom. There isn’t enough time for me to express how much this changed my life last year. I learned to set hard boundaries. I learned how to politely and firmly say NO. I delegated. I turned down clients (shocking I know!). I said NO for 30 days and it changed my life. #TheBestKeptSelf #TheBestYes

8 – You can be broken….and survive. I literally hit rock bottom last year after my parents separated and filed for divorce. I couldn’t fix it, I couldn’t play mediator, I couldn’t handle it. It was like 27 years of pent up emotional trauma and family drama damage came rushing forth. I spent months processing ugly truths. I was emotionally, mentally, and physically spent. I learned what it felt like to be existing each day. It hurt to see so many happy people when the only thing I felt like doing was crying. I felt ugly and dark on the inside. My bright cheery life was a cloudy gray. I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t want to smile. I didn’t want to do anything but curl up and cry. To top it off, when I told Matt I needed a break to process what was going on in my life..he walked out..instead of hearing me say I was emotionally struggling he took it personally and ended our relationship. The tears I cried that night came from the depths of my soul. I can’t explain the pain I felt…I can’t explain the cries that came from within. It was as if something had finally broken and it was released for me to bear no more. When I asked God to do a work in me, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the storm he sent me through…but now as I reflect back on last year I realized he never gave me more than I could handle.

9 – Beauty is fleeting…so work on your soul. I invested in me. I went to church. I read more of my Bible than I think I ever have. I prayed…a lot. I studied.

10 – When I get stressed out I do two things…binge eat or run till I fall and hit the pavement. I retrained my body last year. Now, I address what’s causing the stress or anxiety and attack it head on. I’m learning what it means to live an emotionally healthy life. I’m learning confrontation skills. I’m learning to process. These are skills I’ve had to teach myself and thankfully God put an amazing couple, the Hiatt’s, in my life that have mentored me and counseled me the past three years as I’ve begun the journey to living a healthy life.

11 – I love my house. Seriously…I’m okay with being an old lady. Let me live on my couch in peace.

12 – Breaking an eating disorder is a life long process. When the stress and anxiety come at you in full force, it’s hard not to fall back into old habits.They’re sneaky…those whispers that come out of nowhere…I’ve fought for seven years to slay that demon and he attacked with 200% last year. It was a daily battle to hold him off. Some days I won, some days I lost… But I learned that he doesn’t control me. God does and with Him anything is possible. He showed me through mercy and grace that I am fearfully and wonderfully created just the way He wanted me to be. Yes that may mean 4 inches above average height, fifteen lbs heavier than my coach ever wanted me to be, and boasting some softball thighs for life..but as I struggled to learn to love myself last year….I learned more than I’ve ever known before. It’s a hard place to be…when you want nothing more than to harm your body…but God’s screaming how much He loves you and doesn’t want you to harm his temple. Having an eating disorder is not something I share with many people. At this point in my life only three people who are very close to me know how much of a struggle it is. But I learned some skills I needed to handle the stress and anxiety so that I can stop the spiral before it ever

13 – If your warning lights go off in a situation, pay attention to them. Sometimes I think I get so caught up in wanting to be loved, that I forget to let God love me. I fall into relationships that aren’t always healthy. I tend to like to fix people…I learned that fixing people isn’t my job. It’s God’s. I learned what signs to look for, what guys to avoid, and what I need to work on to make sure that I’m where I need to be. When you come from an emotionally unhealthy family…you’re naturally drawn to unhealthy people. Because that’s what you know. But! You don’t have to fall into that cycle. You can teach yourself what signs to look for and learn what a healthy family looks like :)

14 – Parents make your life crazy…but you don’t have to live a crazy life….Becoming an adult is a growing process. I’ve never walked this path before so I’m learning as I go. But I learned that it’s okay to tell your family you love them, but you’re not going to participate in their crazy. I told my parents harsh things last year. I ended my relationship with my father because he could not speak to me without respecting boundaries. It was a hard four months, but he finally learned that if he wanted to have a relationship with me he had to respect the boundaries I set. It doesn’t mean our relationship now is perfect, but it is on my terms and within my boundaries. I don’t let him guilt trip me, I don’t let him speak down to me, I don’t let him buy my affection with gifts….and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for me.

15 – I really like to run :) I gained some weight while I was dating MB and through the whole parental situation. The night MB and I broke up, I cried and then I went for a six mile run. And I ran the next day, and the next day and I kept running. I hated how much weight I had gained. I hated how my body looked. I hated that my clothes didn’t fit. I literally locked myself in the bathroom during a girls trip to the beach and cried because I couldn’t wear a dress I wanted to wear. I stayed curled up in the tub while my cousins went to dinner because I felt like a whale. So I started running again and slowly the weight stared coming off. I changed my pizza for Paleo and it came off faster and faster. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m a whole lot closer than I was last year in August.

16 – God’s got an amazing guy somewhere that is going to be loved by this girl so hard when he comes along. I love my husband. I know you might think it’s funny…I mean I’m not even married yet. But I do! I love him so much even though I have no idea who he is. I keep a prayer journal and I pray for my future husband daily. Sometimes God gives me specific things to pray for, sometimes I just pray for him to know he is loved. Last year, he went through a difficult situation. I don’t know what..I just know that for two weeks I prayed constantly for him day and night. God didn’t give me a release to stop until the wee hours of a Saturday morning. I knew in my heart he had made the decision he needed to make, that it had been tough, that he had wrestled with it and I prayed for peace and rest for him. Meanwhile, I thanked God for pulling me away from MB and for doing a work in my life. He broke me down last year and is building me into the virtuous woman I need to be for my husband. So far, He’s been cleaning out some closets in my life that I haven’t wanted to touch or deal with. He’s shown me the blessing of submission. I’ve often struggled with that word in relation to marriage..but more about that later.

17 – Just because you come from a family of hoarders…doesn’t mean you have to be one. I’ve learned a lot about emotions and their ties to physical objects in our life. I’ve been working my way through the Japanese Art of Tidying up by Marie Kondo and it has changed my life. I realized that some of the underlying stress in my life is caused by all this “stuff” in my house. It’s everywhere….so I’ve been slowly and methodically cleaning out my earthly home until it’s a place of joy for me.

18 – Friends are a precious commodity. Invest in them wisely. I was very blessed to have a new friend walk into my life at the moment I needed her. I can’t imagine how the end of my year would have gone without long conversations with LB. I’m thankful God moved this sweet girl from Chicago to a random town in SC and then crossed our paths one night. She truly has become one of my dearest friends in such a short time. She’s been my rock and my encouragement for the last season, and I’m excited to be her encouragement through this season of her life.

19 – I need me time…lots of me time. I learned the art of resting last year. I spend so many hours of my waking day on the go that I began to pay the price with my body. I was utterly exhausted and depressed. I had a ton going on with my family and began to feel ill quite often. I began resting on my lunch break. You’d be amazed at how much an hour nap in the middle of the day can help. I set a sleep schedule and stuck to it. I set an eating schedule and stuck to it.

20 – Not moving causes stagnation. I learned that I have to get out of town…otherwise I really can’t appreciate how much life I have. I went on several trips. I spent time with my sister. I left my dog in the hands of my best guy …and she survived lol :)

21 – Do things that make you uncomfortable. I learned how to unglue myself from the wall. I am a hard core wall flower. But part of growing means doing things you don’t like to do. I made myself speak to people at the gym. I made myself talk to the cashier at the grocery store (we’re now buddies..her name is Hannah). I learned the names of all of the custodians in my building. I made myself learn how to be an extrovert (but balanced it with me time!).

22 – I love crocheting. I admit it. I’m an old lady at heart. Give me a fire, apple cider, and yarn any day. I made and actually sold crochet items. I shared part of myself with the world and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

23 – I jumped off of a cliff…and lived to tell the tale. I have longed to start my own business ever since I was in high school. I’ve always let fear stand in the way and I’ve stood on the edge of the cliff begging myself to jump. This past year, I started taking a class through the local arts alliance. I learned all of the skills I needed to start, and I did it. I filled out the paperwork, I wrote the check, and I filed for my LLC. (It took me three weeks to actually work up enough courage to send the paperwork in!)

24 – Hitting one of your goals is an amazing feeling! I hit the halfway point for my graduate degree in December! It’s always amazing to me when I do things that other people tell me I can’t. I won’t pretend it’s been easy…it’s pretty much been a struggle from the first day of class, but when I walk across the stage next spring..it’s going to be worth every second.

25 – My self worth is not determined by a relationship. I can’t tell you how many friends I have that define their worth by a man. It’s completely freeing when you realize that a guy doesn’t determine your value. I enjoy being single. I really do! I want to use this season of my life to the fullest. I want to pour into others while I can…because there’s going to come a day when I might not be able to do that.

26 – Don’t let an ended relationship, end previous friendships. After MB and I broke up, it was slightly awkward separating the friends we mutually had. Most of his went back to being #TeamMatt..a few of mine jumped ship. But I was determined to keep my bestie. She got caught in the middle, and I didn’t want that. So we talked and I expressed how much her friendship meant to me. We established lines..no talking about Matt, no telling Matt about Kat..and we kept a friendship that was longer than MB & I were ever destined to be. It’s not always like that when you break up and have mutual friends. It can get ugly and I didn’t want that.

27 – I am extraordinary. I pray my daughter never doubts her beauty the way I doubt mine. I’m working on loving me…and I hope that one day she’ll see a beautiful, confident, happy woman whom she is proud to call mom.

So 27, it is with mixed emotions that I bid you adieu.

And with a warm heart I say, hello 28! Let’s have a beautiful year!

XoXo!

One Older & Somewhat Wiser Lemon

 

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