Today was the two-year anniversary of my dad’s death. He had a heart attack at a Giants baseball game and died shortly thereafter. It was sudden, which was honestly the best way it could have happened. He was 62.
Now I did not have a good relationship with my dad; in fact, it was pretty terrible. I won’t go into details, but I harbored a ton of anger and resentment towards him. For being selfish. For belittling my mom and I and yet expecting us to treat him like a king. For not being the father that I so desperately needed him to be. And that made me angry, bitter, and incredibly independent; so I built up so many walls to protect my heart.
I carried all that baggage until the day he died. I knew that I never could have gotten the closure that I so desperately needed–or even an apology from him–while he was still alive. So when he died, I knew I had to tackle that baggage or risk carrying that burden for the rest of my life. And that has been my primary focus for the past two years.
That first year was all about self-reflection. I spent as much time alone as possible, battling one demon at a time and letting them go. It was tedious work, and I isolated myself from my friends and all the people who cared about me. But I knew I needed to do it, and I succeeded. It took about a year to finally address decades of anger that I had built up inside of me and never let out, but oh it felt so good to finally address it all! After that year, I felt lighter than I had in years. I literally felt the weight off my shoulders, and it was fantastic.
The second year was all about self-care. I re-assessed my priorities, and made sure to always take care of me first. To hang out with the people I love. To not hesitate to cancel plans in order to have some me time. To stay keenly aware of my introvert meter, and spend time alone in order to recharge. To do the things that give my life meaning, and remove the things that held me back. I have fallen even deeper into my love of idols and anime, and sewing continues to be my best form of self-care. I finally learned to say “no,” and that is one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. I have also spent the last eight months dealing with some severe digestive issues, and I had to drastically alter my diet. But I feel more alert, alive and healthy than I have in years. I am in my happy place both mentally and physically.
So this third year is all about self-love. It’s time to embrace the journey of the last two years and finally live my best life. I battled my demons and won. I have slowly worked on breaking down those barriers that I had so painstakingly built in my teenage years. It’s time to tear them down and reveal my true self to the world. I cannot wait to show off this person, because I’m really fucking proud of who I am and all that I have accomplished.
I am also so grateful for the people in my life who supported me through this journey. My mom is an angel, and she helped me while going through her own grief. My roommate and my best friend were always there for me when I needed them, even if it was just for a hug or a laugh. But they never pushed me to do things or to heal faster–they were just patiently waiting for me to come to them. And Lindsay has been with me for every anniversary since he died. Lindsay, Megan and I went to Japan about a month after it happened, and I so desperately needed that trip. We had an amazing time, and they surprised me with a visit to the Alice in Wonderland cafe. Last year, the last day of my Japan trip with Lindsay and Kelly fell on the anniversary. I remember us being at a shrine, and it took every ounce of energy for me to not break down. Because I knew that once I recognized those emotions, the tears wouldn’t stop. But I held it together; and I felt Lindsay and Kelly supporting me in spirit, even if I wasn’t ready to discuss it in words. Then I spent today in Disneyland with Lindsay, and Allie joined us in the afternoon. And I no longer felt the sadness. I felt at peace, and so grateful to have such amazing people in my life. I love you all, and thank you (as well as so many friends and family that I haven’t mentioned here) for helping me through this. I couldn’t have done it without you.
And now? It’s time to be happy. It’s time to be free. It’s time to just be me.