It’s funny how deflecting things and avoiding them can get easier and easier the more you do it. My 2015 ended in some major health issues (which I’m still dealing with), some catastrophic friendship failures and a good helping of correcting bullshit in my life. One thing I’ve prided myself on lately is that, for all my bitching and moaning about things that upset me, I still make effort to change them – why bother complaining if I’m not going to do anything about it?
My blog has been very quiet in the last few months. Between emotional, physical and the rare social expense to my energy, I’ve been left with not much to engage in things I’d like to do and have spent more or less all my ‘free time’ trying to mitigate the crippling exhaustion I’ve been dealing with. It’s not ideally how I would like to spend my time, but it’s what I need to do right now, and I’m making a pointed effort to place myself and my needs – as a physical body, as an emotional person and as a loving creature – first. This means certain things have been discontinued, boundaries of friendships have been made clear and even (god help me), standing up for myself, politely, when things upset me. The last is something I have a great deal of trouble doing, but you have to start somewhere.
I suppose the reason for this blog is that, while most people are shouting about “it’s 2016, time for a new me!”, I wanted to make a point of saying that I’m going to continue on with the positive changes in my life that I made in 2015, and will keep attempting to develop myself as a person and to meet my needs. I’m putting it down in this blog for two reasons.
The first being that it’s been a bloody long time since I’ve shown my blog any love. I miss the wonderful connections I’ve made with people here, the unconditional love and support I’ve received through my tough times and as a promise of sorts that my resolution to make myself a better person involves really outlining what makes me me in comics. I’ve found it a fantastic medium to convey bits about myself that I couldn’t otherwise describe, and if my scribblings make a difference to just one person who feels a little lost with the shit they’re dealing with, then it’s all been worth it. That and I get to draw stuff. Fuckyeah.
The second reason for this blog post is that this is now in writing. This is a contract I’m making with myself. Not just for this year, but as an ongoing thing. This is my way of etching in ‘stone’ my agreement with myself, and I feel anyone who reads this blog can bear witness to it, and hold me to this should you think I’m not meeting my own goals in a healthy way.
Dear Abigail from this moment onwards,
This is a promise you are making to yourself. Not just for 2016, but from now on. You need to remember this when you are in both good times and hard. Even if you can’t apply it every day, you need to remember it is here. From now on, you must remember:
- You are loved. So very loved. More than you realise. From now on, you must remember to be gentle with yourself, because there are people that think you are incredible, even when you can’t see it yourself. You also must learn to love yourself. This doesn’t have to mean stroking an ego, but it means treating your body with care. Nurturing your creative side when you need to. Laughing because you can. Sleeping when your body needs it, regardless of how much you want to watch Netflix. Not fretting over things you can’t change. You need to stop putting yourself through your own punishment and learn to live with the body you have, and love it because it’s the only one you will get.
- Abi, you must learn what your boundaries are in friendships and you must learn to apply them firmly. You don’t need three hundred friends, but you do need people that build you up and encourage you as a person. You need people that don’t always put their own needs first and you need people that, though they may not be there all the time, people that will be there when you need them the most. People that do not respect your boundaries as a friend are no good for you and will use you because they have no boundaries of their own.
- You need to realise that friends are not family. Yes, you are allowed to be close, but trying to replace the empty space in your heart left behind by a bad family will only end in more unhealthy relationships. People who value you, and who you value, will be around in your life because they WANT to be there, not because you call them brother, sister, mum or dad. And sometimes it can be hard to accept this, and that’s okay. You have all the time in the world.
- You need to stop putting on the brave face. The war is over, the battle has been won. You don’t need to keep on keeping on. Take time out to rest and look after yourself. Even the best warriors need to sleep. If you need to cry to feel better, then cry. It doesn’t make you a lesser person, it makes you one that tends to your needs and this is a good thing.
- It can be so easy to compare your own life to others, and see nothing but shortcomings. You don’t live the same life as them, nor they you. You will do nothing but make yourself unhappy if you put them side by side, because you have climbed mountains to be where you are today, and you are still standing. Remember how far you have come and realise that it’s okay to have days where getting out of bed and surviving is your biggest achievement. That is enough.
- Abi, I want you to learn to love again. I want you to let your guard down and put trust in people that deserve it. I want you to realise that sometimes the first step towards love is to forgive people, and that sometimes that person is ourselves. We are only human, and if gods can err, then what pedestal do we put ourselves on by thinking we would not do the same?
- I want you to live more. I want you to appreciate the small things like the smell of rain or being out with friends, but I want you to do this in a way that won’t harm yourself. Stop pushing yourself so hard to have fun, because the day after isn’t worth it sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.
- I want you to break these rules when you need to. Only you can be the judge of that, and I will hold you to this. Follow your own gut and stop looking for the approval of others to do what YOU need to do, because nobody else is going to know if you don’t.
- Most of all, Abi. Keep dreaming. Go to far off places, read books, write stories, make beautiful things and turn the world around you into something beautiful. When all else fails and our body doesn’t want to work, we still have our dreams. And when our body picks itself back up, we will march towards them again.
You are an amazing, talented, young woman that is worthy of love. You are not broken. You’re just built differently to others, and those worthy of your love will see this and never hold things beyond your control against you, and they will never throw your illnesses in your face. Stop being afraid of this, please.
It won’t always be easy, and sometimes you will need to sit in a blanket and cry because things aren’t going the way you want them to. But don’t give up. Never give up. Your body may be against you some days, but you are still a warrior woman inside with a passion that burns bright enough to illuminate the world around you. You will make it through the dark night and, when you do, the sun itself will be jealous of how bright you shine. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be true to yourself. Never stop being you.
– The Abigail that believes in you.