This summer, I changed. I learned to listen to my own voice. I learned to recognize my own strength. I learned to let go of my past.
But I had set up my little world for success. In some strange way, I was like an alcoholic or a person addicted to drugs. I removed the most challenging elements, those that continuously kept me from being myself, for three months. I worked a little each day taking baby steps toward the goal of accepting myself for who I am.
And just like someone out of rehab, I came back to the real world. Challenges presented themselves, but I handled them. More than that, I took pride in those moments of success.
My biggest challenge came today. The past came at me and tried to drag me back. But I wouldn't go. I stood on my own two feet, said what need to be said, and put myself first. It was pretty incredible.
I even waited for the inevitable. That after the fact guilt, self-doubt, or anger. None of it came. I called my mom, released the thoughts, and moved on with my night.
Obviously, I haven't completely stopped thinking about it. But I'm thinking about it in a whole new way. All those little steps this summer changed me. I'm so much better for those three months of growth and work. I'm so much stronger than I ever thought I could be.