Friday, January 1, 2016

NYE 2k15

Welcome, 2016. Welcome. As we ring you in for all new opportunities you present to our lives, I think it only fair that I reflect on everything that 2015 has given to me. So if you're not into cliche New-Year's-past-reflection posts, then you should probably skip this post. Or just look at the pictures. I'm okay with that, too. But this year has been so life altering for me, I find it only right to give all my respect to all that 2015 has left me with. This year (or last year should I say) has left me with more lessons than any other year. So on The Stares today, I'd like to leave you guys with a few of the things I've learned and experienced in 2015 besides this really festive New Year's Eve outfit.
Like I said before, 2015 was one of the most life altering years of my 22 years of living. From start to finish, I dealt with a lot of things I never thought I'd have to deal with before. And it wasn't in just one aspect of my life - it seemed to be hitting me at every angle. Family, friends, finances, relationships, health, school, work. It just seemed like I was constantly going through something and I didn't know why. But low and behold, I made it out alive. And that in itself gave me so much happiness. It still astounds me what the human spirit can endure. It truly is an indestructible force. It's the very thing that keeps us fighting one more day when we don't think we can.
I've learned that while rest of the world has also had its fair share of problems this year, I have been able to realize that there is still so much good that we have not given people credit for. Especially in times like these. In a strange way, I've seen destruction and violence bring people closer together and love each other that much harder.
I've learned that life is a constant motion of moving forward, and moving on. And the sun will still rise whether you get up or not. Each and every day presents you with the luxury of a little more time, and it is up to you what you choose to do with it. Time can never be taken back. Life is something that is also not always in our control. And it's okay that things don't always go according to plan. That only means it wasn't meant for us because something else is. Once we can accept that the things that happen to us and what people do are out of our control, we allow peace of mind to present itself. Trust the pace of of your life. Embracing life means embracing all of it, the beauty and the anguishes. We weren't made to be invincible, and that's okay, too.
I've learned that people will come and go out of your life, whether you're ready or not. And that's okay. Sometimes it's death. Sometimes it's a simple case of staying out of touch for too long. Sometimes, things just go sour. Sometimes someone's stay in your life entirely temporary. Whatever the case may be, someone's presence in your life is always for a reason. What we fail to realize is that the reason may not always be for us, but for the other person. Life will have a way of using us as tools in other peoples lives so that they have an opportunity to bettered, even if we get nothing out of the relationship in return. Everyone deserves a chance to know everything beautiful life has to offer. It's not always our turn to be on the receiving end of things.
I've learned that soulmates do not necessarily equate to lovers. Soulmates come in the form of friends, family, and even complete strangers. I find a soulmate to be someone who comes into your life and ultimately changes your soul and spirit for the better. This person makes you feel things you never knew you could feel, and allows you to experience something so incredible and beautiful, you have no choice but watch some part of yourself change. They leave an ever lasting impression on your life.
I've learned what forgiveness means. In understanding the human condition, we simply know that no one is perfect. People make mistakes, and sometimes it is at the expense of our well being or happiness. While it may not feel fair, I truly do believe that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. Whether it be for you, the other person, or both. And knowing that people have given me second chances when I have not necessarily deserved them has allowed me to be open to what forgiveness really is. Through the mercy of forgiveness, we also allow the other person to forgive themselves, which is indeed a wonderful gift. But just because you forgive a person does not mean you have to let them back into your life. Forgiveness lifts heaviness from your life so you give yourself the opportunity to embrace life with an open heart once more.
I've learned what it truly means to love yourself, and how it can be the deepest and most complicated kind of love we may ever experience. It runs deeper than loving your physical features, or your accolades. It runs deeper than loving that other people love you. Self love is believing in yourself and your potential, even when other people can't see it or are not constantly praising you. It's appreciating the small triumphs you've worked so hard for. Self-love is knowing when to walk away from those who are causing any kind of mental, emotional, and or physical harm - even if you love them and don't want to. But at some point, you have got to love yourself more. If any kind of relationship causes you more grief and pain than it does happiness, it is something that is no longer healthy for you or gives you value. If you wouldn't allow someone to put poison in your body or break your bones, why would you let them damage your heart, mind, or spirit? Be kind to yourself by only letting positive energy surround your life. Because you deserve that.
And lastly, do anything and everything that makes you happy. Even if you're a afraid, and even if it means leaving comfort behind. Live according to your rules and take risks, otherwise you will never be able to receive the true fulfillment life could truly bring you. And you'll never completely come into who you're meant to be. I read once that if you wind up unhappy because you ended up doing what you were told to do instead of what you truly wanted to do, than you deserve it. I support that statement. Life is far too fleeting to play by rules someone has constructed and is overall irrelevant to what makes you happy. You may struggle on the way. You may make mistakes. But overall, you will never be unhappy when you're doing what youlove. Thank you for all the support you've shown The Stares in 2015. I love you guys, truly. Thank you for always believing in me. This is only the beginning.  
Photography by Joy Etuk

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