I survived 2012.
No, that's not an apocalypse joke (though I won't lie and say I didn't worry about it a little bit). It's actually a true statement.
This year has been hard. Lots of heartbreaks, lots of challenges, lots of new things to overcome. I lost several close friendships, began dealing with the pain left behind from abuse, watched my dad begin a battle with stage 4 prostate cancer, saw my sisters get hurt by boys and shattered dreams, tried to help a friend who had some awful stuff happen to her, was diagnosed with some of my own health problems, faced seemingly insurmountable challenges in school, changed jobs multiple times, met people with opposing perspectives that shook my world, moved out on my own for the first time, saw life-long dreams put on hold indefinitely, and, as always, wrestled with the darkness that comes from depression and anxiety. I've felt myself being molded and shaped into something new; that shaping and molding hurts.
This year has also been incredibly wonderful. There have been countless miracles, small and big. I gained greater closeness with the people who are my real friends, took steps necessary to heal, received the news that dad's cancer is in remission after only three months of treatment, watched my sisters band together against the unkindness of classmates, learned that tough love is sometimes necessary, humbled myself enough to go through treatments that have improved my health exponentially, pulled a shocking 3.9 GPA despite all of the difficulties, did well in all of the jobs I had and made connections for future opportunities, made wonderful new friends and new insight about life and people, gained greater independence from living as I desire, and, as always, still wrestle with the darkness that works its way into my mind and heart. I have been molded and shaped into something new; that shaping and molding has been worth every bit of pain -- I'm happier than I ever have been in my entire life.
I've done things I never would have done before. I'm taking chances, making mistakes, getting messy in life -- I even let the dishes sit in the sink overnight now, rather than staying up late to clean the entire house because one little thing is out of place. I'm living my life -- I'm not letting memories and fear live it for me.
I'm still scared. I'm taking risks that a week ago I vowed I would never do. I'm considering new, big, exciting, terrifying things. And, I like it.
2012 has been full of ups and downs -- the downs were hard. Really hard. I'm not perfect, and I'm not complete yet. There's still a lot of shaping and molding needed. But I've learned this year that fear really is the opposite of faith. With faith, anything can happen. Literally anything. Dads who are given two to three years to live can suddenly be faced with fifteen to twenty years after only three months of cancer treatment. Finances can suddenly fall into place perfectly, with just enough left to hold over until the next paycheck comes through. People who are complete strangers can, in one conversation, say exactly what was needed to help heal a broken heart. Family and friends can stay close and get closer, no matter what happens. And girls who have been damaged, inside and outside, by guys can find themselves swept off their feet by good men in a matter of days.
Miracles happen. Fun happens. And mid all of the tears and sorrows, laughter happens. It happens a lot more than we'd think, if we let it.