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The past four years have been major growth periods for my mind and soul. So much has been experienced, so many emotions I've thrived and learned from. I've learned a lot, and could not be happier with my progress. It's a trip looking back at old messages, texts, and journal entries. Seeing all those time stamps and reading the mindset I was in did two things: I realized how badly I needed to help myself get out of such a negative mindset, and clarified for myself just how far I've come from then.

Once the uncomfortable feelings I kept were explored, I was finally able to make peace with them. I can say it all started with the mindful decision that I was not happy, and needed to learn to see the good in everything. I let go of the habits that weren't healthy for my mind, and challenged myself to get out of my routine. I talked to new people, met some great friends, a few lovers, and also burned a few bridges. Slowly over the years, I found pieces of myself that I had forgotten. I healed parts of my heart that I thought were too jaded to be smoothed. I remembered how to laugh, how to be okay with crying, how to open my heart up. When I close my eyes and breathe, I realize the stress and pain I feel are only reminders that I am better than the mistakes I've made. When my eyes are closed, I feel happy with who I am and the life I'm leading.

I'm proud that I've been able to let go of the expectations I have of people. I've accepted we're all just humans, doing what we feel we need to in order to be happy. I can't hold that against anyone, and it has made me more forgiving realizing this. Life can be really complicated, and sometimes you have to pick and choose pathways that hurt people you care about, even when you don't mean to. I've accepted that all of these situations are lessons for growth, and there's no reason to tear myself up over them. With every situation, there's a silver lining that can be discovered. No matter what, there's always room for growth.

To know what light looks like, you have to know what the dark looks like. At the end of the day, I'm grateful to have experienced everything that I have. If I hadn't, I don't think I'd be who I am today. I'm thankful for this life, and all the people I've met through it.

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