On Why 2017 Was Hard and Looking Ahead.

Let's be honest. 2017 was not great. Outside of the political climate of our country and issues that I think most of us are still learning to understand and act upon, the year was personally a very tough one to swallow. Like most of you who blog, a curated Instagram feed and product posts often hide inner thoughts and hard-to-face challenges that do happen on my end. You know, all the things you don't see.

Aside from my post on the heartbreak of my long-term relationship and feeling a bit lost several years ago, I don't think I've really opened up lately about everything going on. Of course I tell you the easier things, like how I moved home and how sometimes I need a breather because x, y, and z. But topics that truly affect my family and our well-being can often go unshared for multiple reasons. Those are the events that we want to keep personal and close to our hearts. I also strongly feel that these things should be kept private because I'm the one who chose to blog and share things with you all, but that does not mean that those close to me have. 

Last year became somewhat of the bittersweet ending of a family relationship that was ultimately affected heavily due to the result of alcoholism. A disease that in my mind is still extremely confusing and frustrating. And while we now know so much about it now after dealing with it for years, I still have so much to understand. Most of it I probably won't ever understand. With the ending of this relationship, we've begun dealing with the repair of it all. Learning to go through the motions and pick up the pieces. Learning to deal with ourselves mentally and physically. Learning to continue our lives with all the changes that have been made and will continue to be made. Learning to understand and forgive, but also learning to move forward and to not look back. And while all of this was happening, we faced separate challenges as well... I won't get into those. Then to top it all off, we found out our wonderful little Roxy's (our Scottish Terrier) cancer had returned and this time there is nothing we can do. 

All this change came during the months that I had moved home and took away time to mentally focus on myself. When your loved ones go through something tragic and sad, you do all you can to be there for them. And ultimately, that can have a major affect on how you take care of yourself. Most days, I'd come home from work and crash into my bed and pass out for several hours. I wouldn't blog. I let emails go unanswered for weeks. I felt like I let clients down. I stopped working out. I stopped cooking and eating healthy. I stopped doing things I really loved. Instead of focusing on the good in my life, I fell back into the bad habit of complaining and sulking over all the things wrong with it.

My mind has been boggled down and filled to capacity with all this emotional struggle and I've felt that the little space I have left has gone to supporting those who needed my support. I often opt to keep things light here. I never want to bring down the mood, but I also have found (especially in the past year) that you all are amazing and so supportive. You relate to me more often than not, and appreciate these posts and the occasional break from sharing pretty things and good links. Though, I will be getting back to that... don't you worry. For now, it feels good to be writing it all out and being honest, without sharing too much.

I've slowly been getting back to taking care of myself again. I made all my doctor's appointments I've put on hold, I chopped my hair, I organized my room and desktop, and got back to making to-do lists and responding to emails. I'm making a point to make plans more often with my friends because I need them more than ever. I have been getting back to my usual skincare and nighttime routine. I've been staying conscious of what I consume and how I treat my body. I've been getting back to things I love like reading and creating. I've really paid attention to what brings me joy and what doesn't. I've accepted that our relationships and our interests change and it's totally ok to let go and move on when needed. And that you shouldn't feel guilty doing so.

I mentioned before that I hope to be more personal here in the year ahead and get back to chatting to you all on Instagram stories too. Just being more real about life in general feels good. I'm not really sure this post has a conclusion, but chatting about it and letting you know all my feels seems like a step in the right direction. On that note, this new year is all about rebuilding and getting back to taking care of myself.

Whether that means less screen time, meditating more, or taking two-week-long breaks from this space... it is what is it. Maybe it means using social media with more intention and deleting accounts that don't inspire me anymore. Or maybe it means not giving a f*ck about posting a photo there for several weeks because I simply don't have anything meaningful to share. Maybe it means not sharing every moment of a vacation with you all and instead staying present with my friends and family, with my phone left in my bag. Maybe I will be joining more events in the city and be more sociable, or maybe I'll order a small Dominos pizza for myself and stay in on a Friday with a rom-com that makes me cry for the rest of the night. Maybe it means going on dates and attempting a new relationship, or maybe it means staying away from stupid boys. It might mean being super productive for three hours or napping for three hours. Maybe it means getting back into my workout routine and eating healthy, but with a glass of wine snuck in every night before bed. Maybe it means cuddling with Roxy on the couch and saying no to a really fun night with friends.

Case and point, this year is all about doing whatever it is that makes me happy in the moment and putting myself first. The relationship I have with myself is the most important and it's about time that I focus on it again. I hope to spend 2018 doing more of this and getting back to a healthy state of mind. I'm endlessly thankful for everything I do have and am not blind to the fact that I live a very privileged life, but we all go through sh*t and sometimes I feel that as a blogger, it's part of my job to make sure you do understand that my life is not curated and sometimes it's not all so great. But these less beautiful moments do in turn make me stronger and I'm excited to see where the year ahead will take me. It can only go up from here! 

For the love of god, please let it go up from here!

MusingsNatalie Catalina