Three hundred and sixty-five days of this life have come and gone again and just like all the other years, this one felt like it went at the speed of light. 2018 felt like it was filled with a lot of pain, but I know it also had some fun and some accomplishments. And although I shed a lot of tears, it wasn’t all bad. I try really hard not to let the pain of a year overshadow the whole thing and that’s why I wanted to make a list of things I’m proud of this year.
-Got a book deal [& lost a book deal] - This is the defining moment of my 2018. I spent the majority of this year thinking I had achieved a lifelong dream of my mine. I spent a lot of time fighting imposter syndrome, experiencing daily anxiety of whether or not I had written enough, constantly wondering whether the writing was good or not, and if I would finish by the deadline set by my publisher. I arranged my life with writing my book as my top priority. Because of this I took part-time jobs instead of full-time. I said no to a lot of things. When I found out in November that my publisher was shutting down and could no longer publish my book, I felt heartbroken. I felt angry and sad, and I haven’t written any words of my book since then, but I plan to in the new year.
-Wrote 62,000 words of my memoir - This fact makes me feel better about losing my book deal. All my work wasn’t in vain and it is quite an achievement to have written 62,000 words of my memoir. I also reached out to my writing coach Anna David, my spiritual advisor Kassi Underwood, and a few other trusted friends who did a good job of holding me up and supporting during that rough time. I’ve been reassured this occurrence is actually normal in the publishing world, to earn a book deal, only to lose it months later. I was also told I should dedicate a good amount of time to finding an agent who will help me shoot for the stars with my book, instead of accepting the first book deal I was offered.
-Started trauma therapy - I specifically looked for a trauma therapist in my area and the one I found was recommended by a friend who is also in recovery. I wanted someone who understood recovery and is trauma informed. I haven’t attended therapy since my drinking years and at 5 years sober I thought it was time. I probably should have been seeing one since the beginning. Luckily my therapist has been a godsend, especially this year when I needed her most.
-Helped facilitate and took Revolution After Abortion, the seminar - I don’t think it was a mistake that I started therapy and took this seminar all in the same year. 2018 was definitely a year of healing for me in many ways. I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with a group of other women over this shared experience, having concrete lessons and spiritual tasks to complete, and learning so much more about myself during this seminar. I am truly grateful to Kassi for creating it and to the women who opened up their hearts with me.
-Became a certified life and recovery coach with a She Recovers Coaching Designation - I started my recovery coaching journey in late 2017 when I got laid off from my full-time job and this year I finally completed it. I now have cool letters at the end of my name and feel more equipped to help those in my community who need it. I even set up an LLC to help keep my business more official and I plan on offering several new coaching services in the new year. Stay tuned my friends.
-Made Kundalini a regular practice and chanted for 4 hours straight on Yogi Bhajan’s birthday - 2018 was definitely the year I strengthened my spirituality. One of the ways I did that was starting a consistent Kundalini practice. I went to my first Kundalini yoga class in December 2017 with Carly. Before going I was expecting that I wouldn’t be a fan. What I knew about Kundalini was that it had to do with chanting, singing, wearing white, and that it was weird and super woo-woo. I’m not too much of a woo-woo kind of girl so I just assumed it wouldn’t be for me, but I was definitely wrong. I felt refreshed and alive after my first class and I wanted to experience and learn more. This year I took a 40-day Kundalini meditation challenge and attended Kundalini classes a few times per month. In August I woke up at 3am to chant mantras and meditate for 4 hours straight in honor of Yogi Bhajan’s birthday (the creator of Kundalini yoga). Crazy I know! Last weekend I attended a Winter Solstice and Kundalini yoga session to close out my year. I’ve found some pretty awesome local teachers and even purchased a book about Kundalini. I love the way the practice is organized from the different kriyas, to having shavasana in the middle of a class, to the chanting, singing, and the meditation. My teachers have taught me that Kundalini yoga is the yoga of awareness and it’s for normal people who want to go out into the world and be the best versions of themselves every day. That could not resonate more for me.
-Became a student of A Course in Miracles - I bought A Course in Miracles from Amazon in 2017 after hearing a lot of people in the recovery community talk about this spiritual text. I didn’t start reading it until this year. I started the year off by trying to do the exercises in the workbook portion of the text and quickly lost interest. Then later this year I found out much of Kassi’s work and the Revolution After Abortion seminar would be based on The Course. It kept coming up for me. I started reading the real text and I’m still working through it today. It’s very dense so I only do a few pages at a time and I highlight a whole lot. After the seminar I was all in for The Course again and I researched if there were any classes or groups studying it that I could join. Almost by chance, I was googling a local church because a new Kundalini class started there that I wanted to go to, and on the same website I saw the church also offers A Course in Miracles study group that meets on Friday nights. Of course I had to go check it out! It was awesome and I found a great group of people who are also students of The Course. Work and other commitments have prevented me from going for the last month, but I definitely plan on returning in the new year. I also purchased Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Miracles Daily lessons.
-Increased my love for CrossFit - This year I increased my snatch PR by 10 lbs and my clean PR by 10 lbs. If you know what this means, then you already know how important and amazing of a feat it is! I also learned to handstand walk, another amazing accomplishment since I am the least gymnasticy person you’ll meet. I competed in 5 CrossFit competitions, one less than last year! And I even said no to a few! Look at me. I took a week off from CrossFit after a two-day competition in July which is basically unheard of for me. Normally, if I take off one day a week that’s a lot. Additionally, I had the opportunity to start working for my CrossFit gym which has been a pretty cool experience. I love that I am getting paid to help them grow, do marketing and social media work that I love, and interacting with the community I am a part of every day.
-Won a Women’s League championship - I’ve been on the same women’s soccer team since I moved to Florida in 2014 and we have only won a championship once. We normally rank pretty high and make it to the finals, but we almost always end up losing. This last season we won! It was incredibly satisfying after being in 2nd so many times. I’m proud of my team.
-Attended my first AWP writing conference - Just after I was offered my book deal I saw in a bunch of my online writing groups that there was a big conference heading my way. The Associations of Writers and Writing Programs Conference is a big deal and it happens every year in a different city. This year it just happened to be in Tampa, which made the decision for me that I would go. I’m so happy I did. It was a wonderful two days of attending different panels all about writing, hearing people read poetry, getting a ton of free books, and even meeting an idol of mine, Melissa Febos, who is sober and the author of Whip Smart. I attended a panel at AWP about book deal contracts and publishing your book with a small publisher, which ultimately led to me signing on the dotted line with Passageway Press.
-Spoke at The Sober Experience event - I had the privilege of attending two local sober events in 2018 hosted by my wonderful friends Lara Frazier and Austin Cooper. The first in July was a wonderful time, seeing and meeting many of my peers in the recovery community. The first one went so well they decided to host a second in November. They asked me to be a speaker! I was amongst a group of dynamic and articulate speakers at the Sober Experience event. You all know how I feel about public speaking, but accepting this speaking engagement felt right to me and I came prepared with my words written down. I was still nervous and my hands shook, but I did it. And I am proud of that.
2018 was hard and amazing in countless ways. I cried a lot. I loved a lot. I meditated a ton. I started the journey of knowing who I am again. I am excited for 2019 and as always, I have a lot of plans that I know won’t all pan out how I want them to.