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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Turning Twenty Three

Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Turning Twenty Three

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

Man oh man. Today was filled with love galore. A remarkable song by SZA, by the way. I’m ending the day feeling so whole. So hopeful. So loved. Lately, I’ve been feeling the best I’ve felt in a while. And for that alone, I’m feeling immense gratitude. 

Last week, I had an evaluation to discuss the progress I’ve made since I started my therapy sessions. I don’t always take time to reflect on how far I’ve come in my healing process, or in general for that matter. I’ve had habits of constantly worrying about the future, or planning ahead to a tiring degree. Worrying about the future has caused me to create scenarios that don’t exist, and believe them to be true. It was not easy to talk about my progress at first. I was hesitant. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to fully articulate things at first. It’s kind of like the first few days at a new summer camp. You feel awkward, shy, and kind of out of place; but by the end, you are filled with so much love, growth, new relationships, and valuable experiences. Well, those first 10 minutes of the call were the awkward phase. I needed them in order to come out stronger on the other side. And I’m so grateful I trusted myself enough to have had that conversation openly, at my own pace.

For those of you who don’t know, 2019 and 2020 were some of the hardest years of my life. I was presented with challenges that felt insurmountable. Grief and trauma broke down my doors and shattered the glass ceilings of many old versions of myself and what my world used to be. To sum it up, I was very lost for a long time. And sometimes, I still feel lost. But what is different about right now is this; I’m ready to surrender. I don’t want to be at war with myself anymore. I am ready to apply the skills I’ve been taught to my own life. I’m ready to move on. And it’s terrifying. Yet exhilarating. 

My hesitancy in discussing my journey of healing is complex. I’ve been so used to seeing myself as the pain and trauma that’s been inflicted on me. I assumed for the longest time that that’s all others saw me as, too. I created this version of myself in my head that was so far from who I am. I believed that, in order to validate my grief and trauma, I had to stay in those painful places for as long as possible; or else, I wasn’t honoring my pain enough. This is a gross misconception of grief and trauma; that you have to be in pain 24/7 in order for the experience to be “valid.” This is not okay, nor the way any human should be subjected to living. You are worthy of healing. You are worthy of better days. You are worthy of living life alongside yourself, as opposed to against yourself. You are worthy of finally feeling what it means to be happy again. 

We need to stop shaming ourselves for feeling better after we’ve been struggling. We need to normalize the notion that good days are just as real as bad days. We need to teach each other and ourselves how to properly welcome in healing with open arms. 

Once I started moving through that initial awkwardness in my discussion, things started to shift. I started looking at myself thinking “Wow. You never thought you would come this far. Yet here you are. You made it into another year. I’m so proud of you.” I had no idea just how much progress I’d achieved until the opportunity to see it stared me right in the face; and I couldn’t look away. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt substantially clearer-minded. I absolutely have this beautiful weather and presence of sun to thank for contributing to this. For the first time in a long time, I’m ready to celebrate myself; especially for my birthday. I’m ready to celebrate the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful, the beautiful, the painful. I’m finally able to look at the big picture and know that, despite any uncertainty I have for the future, being able to find something to celebrate now is worth its weight in gold. And right now, that’s enough for me. 

There have been countless people who reframed my means of thinking in ways I never thought were possible. There have been exhilarating moments of romance that swept me off my feet, that were dripping in other-worldly love and beauty. One thing about all of these experiences will remain true; the love never left. 

I don’t know where I’m going after my lease is up. I couldn’t even tell you what the next 6 months will look like. But here’s what I can tell you; the other day, I received the first bear hug I’ve had in almost a year. I’ve been spending more time with family, and making more time for my loved ones. None of this is tied to having it “all figured out”, but rather, holding onto the little grand moments that help us remember what life is truly all about. 


Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

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