I've been 29 years old for only 7 months, yet these past 7 months have been possibly the most powerful age for self growth amid trials. I've never had a year go by without the good and the bad, but this year, at this age, it feels different than any other year. 

BEAUTY & SELF IMAGE.

At 28 I decided to embrace my natural hair. That was a huge step for me. i went from once in a blue moon wearing my natural hair, to once in a while NOT wearing my natural hair. Maybe that was the first step toward self acceptance. Without going into depth, at 29 I also was hit hard with a skin condition that decided to take over my body and at times my face. As I write this, I am in the middle of yet another flare up. This year I have realized I will battle autoimmune issues. Yet despite the pain, the frustration and many tears, it has subtly given me the push to accept myself yet even more. When you experience health issues, whatever they may be, you see things in life much different, much more precise, and more in focus than ever before. Having "good days" actually mean something to me now. I never thought I'd experience that at only 29. Through the painful days when I just needed to get out of the house, it didn't matter if my face was covered in rash. I didn't care. Of course it affected my self esteem to an extent but it also showed me that beauty truly is skin deep. Who I am within is what will give me strength. Not the makeup I slather on that face. And so many many times, I have left the house with no makeup on, hair curly piled on top of my head and just so happy to have the strength to walk, to move. When I have "good days" I no longer want to cover myself in makeup, or create a perfect illusion of what I should look like. Those days are gone. I am actually more confident in mascara and chapstick than I ever was with 15 steps of makeup on me. 

BALANCE & LISTENING TO MY BODY

When I was younger, "listening to my body" literally meant nothing to me. I would push myself to extremes never feelings its effects. I didn't really care about how fast, or how hard I pushed myself. I was young and full of dreams so it didn't matter. Man how that changed. It slowly creeped up on me at 26 and hit me quite hard shortly after marriage. It was as if my body finally said "enough is enough. stop." And so it has. It has hit me hard, and in not the best ways. With that said, now I do understand what this means. To truly listen to my body. Now I know when I feel tired, I need to sleep. When I feel agitated, I've probably pushed myself too hard. When I feel anxious, I may have not had the alone time I need. I may sound more "needy" than others, and that is okay. No-one knows what I feel better than me. No-one knows what I went through better than me. And no-one can take care of my body better than I can. What a wonderful feeling to feel. I do not care if I do not fit the mold of other healthy 29 year olds. For every 29 year old who is working full time and sleeping 5 hours a night, there are others fighting for their lives. I have now had to see the blessings in the smallest things I can do, and let go of the few things I cannot do any longer. I have also realized that my mind and body need me to give myself time to be creative. Whether it is playing guitar, writing, or dancing. My soul needs me to stop. And to let my mind, hands or body move. Even when I am in the midst of the worst pain, I need to remind myself to grab a pen at the least, and let my hand flow with doodles and drawings until I can feel the calm surge through my veins slowly. 

FRIENDSHIPS

I could write an entire post about friendships, and maybe one day I will. What I will say is that I know better than most, the pain of losing friendships. I have seen my best friends choose to walk out of my life and never give me a reason why. From having them these girls in my life, at every moment for years, to never speaking to them again. The pain is real. It is deep. I truly do not believe those kind of scars will ever be removed. They are my battle wounds, and ones I now am not ashamed of. I am not ashamed of spending my time and energy creating friends, and creating bonds that became deep. The alternative is loneliness. It is not something I want. Even now.