I hear everyone saying that 2016 was the worst. Coincidentally, it was a tough year for me and it was not just because of the elections. However, the elections was some pretty disgusting icing on a cake straight out of the Trunchbull’s oven (read the book Matilda). This year was full of moves, new jobs, dealing with some painful family issues and relationship trouble. I was in the thick of it for about six months and I never want to be there again. But I know really important lessons come from pain and I need to look at 2016 as a teacher.
So what did I learn?
I do not have control over a lot of things. Like all external things. It is not my responsibility to fix everything and it’s okay. Focus on me and my inner calm.
Connecting with friends is so important for my own mental health.
Writing and journaling are my healers.
Worrying did not help any.
Kind people are the best!
Doing something different, something new, will help you.
Plan more next time when a transition is heading your way. You need it and deserve it.
Give yourself the time to transition and rest.
Sister are angels.
What did I accomplish?
I moved closer to family and I see my sisters more often
I journal more
I read more books
I am earning the highest income ever and saving roughly 50% of my income.
I found a job with coworkers I like
I started a blog with my sisters
I have a new and lovely home.
What do I want for 2017? I am still designing my master plan for this year but I am really excited and optimistic and unicorns and rainbows are involved. Yes, that excited. -Leti
I have had three major depression episodes. I do not fully recollect my first one, it’s mostly a blur. I was in third grade. I cried, so much. I barely spoke. The days I was sent to school I remember being picked up early by my sister in our brown aerostar van. It’s probably the clearest image I have during that time. Laying down in the second row of seats while wearing my Old Navy matching shirt-short outfit crying and being taken to my mothers work. I spent a ridiculous amount of time lying awake on the bottom shelf of the stainless steel worktable in the laundry room my mother worked in. I don’t remember crying anytime I laid there, it was probably my favorite place lay and just be. I am not sure how long the episode lasted. I was taken to a physician where they asked a ridiculous amount of questions and suggested I be put on medication or maybe get a cat. Yes, those were the two options presented. Not therapy of any sort or change of regimen. Pills or cat. I was given a cat, we named it Tigger. It was a tabby that ended up being my worst nightmare. It may have snapped me out of it, at least I think, I don’t remember the day I started to feel normal again. But I do remember being terrorized by that cat. I did not think much about this part of my life until my severe depression resurfaced years later and I realized I needed real help. -Bella
(sisters and nephew sleeping in one room while visiting family during Christmas)
I have four sisters. Maria, Laura, Irene and Aurelia. They are the loves of my life. They are all crazy, beautiful women.
The dynamics of our relationships as sisters have evolved over the years. These relationships have undergone really bad times and really good times. I feel like we are in a good place right now. By good place, I mean we are not fighting ALL the time. There are sixteen different relationships among these sisters. Each sister of ours is on this earth with four other women who came from the same people, who know you really well. Who know your strengths and weaknesses. Who you spent your childhood and adolescence with. Isn’t that crazy? Having a sister comes with all tons of joyful memories as well as life-long potential rival.
Even though we all grew up in the same household, it’s very important to note that we all grew up and were raised differently. These differences are in part due to the number of siblings younger than you, the household financial situation, your parents’ everchanging parenting style.
Growing up in a house of 5 sisters who are completely different from each other brings plenty of rivalry, betrayal and covering up. It’s just like a novela. Some days are really fun and we’re building a great tree house and planting beans in the sandbox. Other days, you’re watching your back because one sister has sworn revenge after you outed her that school progress report just came out. With all the bitchiness and craziness that happens as you grow up, I’d like to think that some of this stuff balances out when you grow up. As you grow, you also realize that your siblings were all raised very differently. You start to recognize their personal struggles and their own sufferings.
In our family, at this moment, with the middle girl being 29, it seems like the rivalries have calmed down. We still complain about how lazy and bitchy the other sister can be. Things will never be perfect. My family has gone through very traumatic events which could have easily broken up apart. Easily. Instead, we have chosen to love each other unconditionally to heal the pain. Our focus is each other and moving forward.
I started yoga years ago, it’s a practice I take breaks from but always find myself coming back to. At first I used it for my constant back pain, picked it up again in college for pure enjoyment, third time around was for the depression and anxiety. This last phase was ignited once again by the depression. After practicing yoga for a couple months in how I was originally taught, I decided to try something different inspired by one of my favorite yoga teachers. During our practice she would turn on an amazing playlist. It wasn’t the traditional soothing yet energetic instrumental songs most play during yoga. Some songs were sweet, melancholic, energizing, uplifting but still had a mellow melodies to them. It helped with concentration and it tapped into my emotions, checking in on things I’ve been holding on to or truly feeling but hiding/ignoring. So when it was time to leave town, I had memorized the flow of the practice and had also started a playlist of my own with similar melodies if not more melancholic. These days I am still very much in need of yoga that calms and centers me, but I am a person who needs to physically exert my stress and frustrations through high intensity activities. After accidentally adding a Run the Jewels song into my usual yoga playlist and it coming on during my practice I just continued with it. My pace became faster, I began to change my sequences to more challenging poses, my breaths deeper and I loved it. Yoga had made me feel strong and healthy but ever since I’ve made another playlist with less conventional yoga music I have felt more empowered. –Bella