hello to this beautiful year of expansion…

Oh my goddess, welcome to 2023!! I am absolutely loving the fact that this year’s numbers end in “23.” Especially as this month is it 1/23…which equals 6, which is two 3’s, and basically any number that is made up with 3’s is my favorite. I don’t know exactly why “3” means so much to me, but it does.

This is my year of Expanding/Expand and I am quite literally dancing around with excitement about this year. And this is the first time in almost a decade that I am not dreading January. As I have written before, for many Januaries in a row, my health tanked and was excruciating and devastating. But this year, I am [mostly] stable health wise, and I am so grateful for the education I put myself through last year, and the choices I made with regards to my health. Those things have paid off so well, and I like where I am.

Back at the beginning of December, I bought myself a tarot planner for 2023. I have never used one before, and I am holding it gently and with compassion for when I inevitably forget to open it. But, I am going to do my best to stay consistent and actually jot down the notes and thoughts I frequently have that then slip out of my head in the next second. I have some really solid goals for this year, and I think it may be the first time I am actually purposefully long term planning for myself.

I have been holding some things, dreams, ideas, goals, close to my chest for a few months and I’m excited to actually start putting those into play. I’m proud of myself, all of the things I have sat down and intentionally set up and done today are all things I would never have been able to do even a year ago. Granted, one year ago I was suffocating under some of the worst burnout I have every experienced, and am still on the way up through recovering from that. [aw, it’s 1:11….see another thing equaling 3] For possibly the first time in my life, I am choosing things for myself solely because *I* want to do them, and because those things mean significant things to me. I am not choosing to do things for myself because someone has convinced me that it’s the best thing for me, or because someone else wants me to do it. And that is an incredible freeing feeling. As I am beginning to build new connections, and seek out new connections once again, I am being so much more concise with my communication, and not clinging to things because of FOMO.

I was talking with a new friend a few days ago, and they said the very same thing that I’ve been thinking lately – they are no longer living their life with FOMO [fear of missing out] but instead of living with JOMO [joy of missing out]. Basically, choosing to live by the choices and experiences that make us come alive and feel that are true to us to the utmost. I feel that I cannot explain just how excited this makes me feel! Truly and wholly I am ecstatic about what this year is going to bring. Will there be hard and really heavy days? Oh, I have no doubt. But look what I have survived so far?? I am still here. I am confident in who I am, and I know my worth. There is no doubt in my mind of what my worth is, and I will no longer settle for any less than I deserve.

As a survivor of many types of abuse, I am in awe of what I just wrote in the paragraph above. The humans who abused me and manipulated me and did their absolute to make sure I was under their control would be so furious that I know my worth and what I deserve. Much of their harm was making sure I never knew those things about me, and for most of my life thus far, I believed them. Not anymore though. I am done with being under anyone’s thumb, including the voices in my head who still try to silence me and push me back into that box.

In two days, my editor returns my manuscript with the first rounds of edits. I checked in with them the other night, asking how the editing was going. Their response was “it is going well. it’s an intense read, but you are a compelling writer.” Which, I mean, I know it’s an intense read, I lived the whole damn thing. But I am excited to see what my editor has pulled out of the things I have written, and I am ready to jump back into creating a powerful and expansive book. It is time. And to just write those words sends a chill down my arms and back.

It is time.

I wish I had kept better records of the words of the year I have chosen in the past. I only reliably have the words from the 6 years. But even with having those 6 years [it’s 1:23…equals 6] I can see where I have come from and what I chose each year. I have been picking a word of the year for longer than 6 years, but I really cannot remember past 2017.

In 2017 I chose the word “Measure.” I knew that was going to be the year I was going to find the measure of my strength, my hope, my belief in myself and the ability to make it through really heavy and painful situations. Little did I know that would be the year I would be left holding my younger selves in my hands, and facing the reality of what was done to me as a child. That would be the year I also chose Maeve, and began the evolution of who I am today.

2018 I chose the words Dancing & Triumphant. I had to give myself some sort of handle to hold on to because I knew that year was going to be difficult…again. I brought one of my youngest selves home to me that year, I traveled back and found their spirit in the place where I had been shattered and splintered, and I asked them to come home to us so we could be whole again. I learned how to take care of my child like joy that year, I found the beginnings of joy and real happiness that year. But all of it was still out of reach, I just could feel the teeniest tiniest sprouts starting. I remember having some of the hardest memories return that year, and those continued to beat me bloody and raw.

I knew what I was getting into when I chose the word “Reckoning” for 2019. I had had several premonitions that I would be losing a lot in 2019. And I knew those losses wouldn’t be confined to just that year. It was a year that I faced the memories I had been uncovering for the prior two years, and I began to put together a much, much bigger timeline of abuse than I had originally thought. That alone overshadowed my entire year, and I hit one of the deepest darkest lows I had ever experienced late summer that year. Unbeknownst to me, people I had wrongly trusted, spent a lot of that subtly pushing me into another box. I ended that year feeling that the progress I thought I had made no longer mattered. As we reached the turning of the decade, the words for 2020 exploded in my consciousness. 2020 would be my year of Burning & Hope.

I was going to be actively burning away anything and everything that no longer served me in 2020, and I was going to be learning to truly hope again. I didn’t know how utterly heartbreaking and devastating the beginning of 2020 would be, and how spot on my words for the year would be. But by the end of 2020, I was beginning to shake off the piles of ashes, and I found those teeny tiny sprouts of joy and happiness were little saplings now.

2021 was my year of movement. It was the first time in my life that I made huge leaps forward in choosing and making decisions solely for my own sake. I made decisions because I liked how they felt, and I wanted to experience that. I was leaning into the small circle of people who truly had my back, and had over and over again proven to me that they were true kindred spirits. Those are the people who are still in my life to this day. And as with any new adventure, it takes time to find those boundaries and the limits, and I pushed myself way too far in 2021. I turned 30 that year, and one of the decisions I made was intentionally rebuilding a connection between my mind and my body, and tackling my body dysphoria from an entirely unexpected and different angle.

I ended that year at the beginning of a new exploration in my life. And, once again, I knew the absolute chaos that would most likely come from choosing a word like Alignment for 2022. When I choose words that I know are literally about stretching and pulling until things sit just right, I know I am in for that pain and change. 2022 I walked away from so many things that were no longer in alignment with who I am and what I need and what I can give. I truthfully do not regret anything I walked away from. And that alone tells me that I 100% made the right decisions. I chose to trust myself and my intuition more, and while I still made mistakes, I learned from those mistakes, and I am confident in making the right decisions for myself.

Thus, with choosing the word Expand for 2023, I know exactly what I am asking for as I stand at the precipice of this brand new year. I am willingly and eagerly holding my hands open and ready to welcome the beauty and fulfillment that will arrive this year. The past decade has been full of a shit ton of inward work, and now, now it is time to expand outwards. The inward work has been completed as much as has been able without this expansion out. I have reclaimed my brain, and while I am still a bit shaken by how hard trauma can shatter me, I have so much more compassion for myself. I know why my brain and body splintered the way it did this past September/October. I know the trauma those situations and the circumstances brought forward with very heavy pain and grief. And the work I almost lost myself in during that three month period paid off significantly as I rushed with my youngest to the ER on Christmas, this time for a broken leg. I was able to stay present, I was calm, and even able to be happy while we sat in the ER and dealt with this new situation. I have continued on from that moment and have not spiraled out, or been triggered, and in fact, have been able to hold my own quite well despite the difficult circumstances.

I still eagerly hold on to the wonderful reality that is me knowing who I am. I refuse to apologize for the wild and sometimes chaotic things that make me me. And I accept those who come into my life only to turn around and go back out again, I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and that absolutely okay.

I know this year is going to bring some heavy things, but I also know that the wealth of knowledge and wherewithal I now hold is equal to whatever comes my way. I fully believe that the way I chose to handle the trauma of the fall with wholly immersing myself into the grief and loss and trauma helped me come out on the other side renewed, healed, and able to continue with forward momentum. So here’s to this beautiful year of 2023. My year of Expanding.

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