It’s pretty insane finding photos of yourself from just a year ago and thinking about how different everything is now. Everything really can change in a year.
For background, please hear me when I say that 2016 was a terrible year for me — I spent most of it in a difficult relationship, horrified by the weight I’d gained by using eating to deal with my depression, and pressuring myself into law school. However, in the final weeks of that dreadful year, I made the choice to take control of my life — I left that relationship, began my weight loss and fitness journey, and started to become who I’d always wanted to be.
In 2017 (a.k.a. last year), I put on my first pair of boxing gloves, completed my first year of law school and spent a summer at a legal firm in L.A. before moving to start fresh. I spent most of my time in the city back then, working as a [content, social media, and digital] marketing, design, and cinematography intern for a nonprofit organization. When I wasn’t there, I was at home or at nearby coffee shops slaving over my fashion blog, building a name for myself, and running 8 miles in an empty parking lot every evening.
The crazy thing is that I was easily on my way to success with my endeavors. I’d managed to attract opportunity from every direction, and my work was taking off. But then, I left my safe zone of poetry composition to attempt novel-writing for the first time last November (thank you, #NaNoWriMo) and, in turn, decided to take all of my writing more seriously for the first time in my life.
A month later, in December, I finally plucked up the courage to enroll at the MMA gym I passed on my way to the city every single day — I had [and still have] a passion for fighting, and I decided to really and truly make it apart of my life this time around. I also managed to squeeze an entire graduate school admissions process (GRE, recommendations, and all) into just a month and a half after completing my internship in December (I held off on graduate school for a year, though).
I felt afraid about embarking on a path that felt so risky, but I knew that it was finally time for me to be brave and pursue my own happiness. It’s funny how now, none of the things that mattered to me last year matter to me anymore — real world standing, posting on my blog every day, securing a job in NYC, dipping my toes into modeling, earning online certificates, obsessively building a photography portfolio, attempting to make friends, wearing makeup everytime I left the house, rocking fake nails, sacrificing my health for a small waistline and extra work hours… In fact, it all seems crazy now.
Last year, I was aspiring to be something great in the eyes of the world. This year, I’m aspiring to be happy. I’m living out my dream of being a full-time writer and [MMA] fighter. I’m currently working on two separate novels (one of them is the first installment of a trilogy), composing poetry collections for publishing, and improving in my fighting and fitness every day. In fact, I even just competed in my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition a few weeks ago (and I have the hyper-extended elbow to prove it). I lost almost all of my friends in 2018 as well, but I quickly discovered how much better off I am without having people in my life who didn’t necessarily have my best interests at heart.
The last two years of my life have brought so much drastic change with them, but I have to say… I think I’m better for it. I know it all looks crazy, and I’ve heard the whispers that I’m wasting time and potential, but just wait — I’m already well on my way.