This has been such a wonderful year for me; a life changing year; really. I can’t even begin to describe or list all of the wonderful blessings I have had in 2018 but I am going to try. I started out the year still working at Sears and starting an internship related to my degree in developmental disabilities; it was actually kind of rough and I had doubts about my ability to work in the disability field; I had a lot of stress and anxiety and felt overworked with both my regular job and internship; I turned to only comfort I knew; prayer and my writing; I just had to go on faith that I’d get through this period in my life. I found myself turning to God more and more and growing in my faith; even if I couldn’t make it to church. And I was blessed to have so many caring and supportive friends on social media; it made such a huge difference; I really appreciated all the comments and messages from people. I felt I became a better writer as well ( and began calling myself one); I wrote blog post after blog post and it really helped me to cope with some of the anxiety I felt. My blog grew like crazy; it went from 300 or so followers to over 1200 followers in less than year; you don’t realize how grateful I am to ALL of my followers; just to know that people can relate to what I am saying; just vindicates all of these feelings I have had for years and I no longer feel as alone; this blog has been my saving grace. This is such a great community and not only did I connect with writers on my blog but my instagram has also grown and I connect with so many writers, mental health advocates, educators; its amazing. My social media feed is full of positive messages and I love interacting with people; it makes my day.
In 2018 I also was able to take a trip back to where I grew up; after not being there for 10 years. I left in 2008; feeling like I never wanted to go back home; too many painful memories. But I decided that I wanted to face the past and see my old friends; it was very emotional leading up to the trip; I was sort of reliving all of those memories and it hurt; and people around me didn’t understand it; so I kept it myself; I only expressed it through writing. I went back to DC in July of this year and stayed with a friend and I think a lot of the memories of the past came flooding back; I was gone for so long that I had forgotten what the area looked like and it was like being a tourist in my own city. But I did have a lot of fun; I saw many of my friends and family. They even had a welcome home party for me; which was crazy because all these people showed up and I just felt loved; to see those faces again was indescribable. I was happy but anxious at the same time; these are people I really care about and they all showed up to welcome me home; I think I was just overwhelmed; and I am already overwhelmed at social events to begin but it turned on out nice. I went back to my old church where I had spent a lot of time and I just broke down crying; thinking of all those memories; the good and the bad. It was painful but healing; I finally let go of all that pain and anger and sadness in a matter of minutes; it’s what I needed. And I feel God was watching over me the whole trip; comforting me. I will never forget that trip and I hope in 2019; I can come back again and hopefully it will be less emotional.
About 3 months; I finally had a Sunday off and I was able to attend church. They were talking about something called the Rainbow Ministry; which serves the needs of the developmental disabled in the community. I was impressed and I asked the pastor about it and he told me that he wanted me to be a part of this ministry. Before I knew it; I met with the leader and her daughter and we talked about volunteer opportunities. I helped with this lunch called “Feast with friends” which is where the young adults; make and serve lunch at the church; the crowd can be up to over 100 people on some days. I helped a young man dry dishes ( we make a great team by the way). I got to know all of the young adults and the volunteers and grew to care about them and I think they feel the same way about me. I started spending a lot of time with Rainbow; I went on a trip to the mountains with them and it was such a wonderful experience; I bonded with a lot of people. Again it helped grow in my faith in God and gave me a purpose; I no long felt as depressed or anxious. We have done activities at church and at the cabin in downtown Matthews; just a lot of fun. It was one of the biggest blessings of this year and it has changed me; I am different person because of this group and I only have God to thank for it. It also has given me more confidence that I can do well in the disability field; with the right guidance.
And lastly I recently just started a new job; my old job was closing it’s store and I had to scramble for a new job quick and by the grace of God; I found one and it has been so much better for me. I have about a 6 dollar raise, I am treated better; have better hours; am more productive and have so much pride in what I do. Yes, there are challenges but it wasn’t like at Sears where I got paid nothing, was treated terribly and it just made my anxiety and depression 10 times worse; I felt antagonized most of the time and I felt stagnant; I prayed for God to get me out of there and he delivered on that promise. I am so much happier in this new job and my confidence has increased; both as a worker and socially. It’s seasonal and I have anxiety about whether they will keep me or not but I leave it leave it God; it’s in his hands at this point. I work hard every day and can only do my best.
So yes, 2018 was a life changing year and sometimes I just sit back and I can’t believe all of the good things that have happened; it feels like a dream to me; like it’s not real. All the wonderful friends and people who have actually come to Charlotte to visit me. I get overwhelmed by the good things sometimes and I tell myself I have to take it a day at a time and learn to accept praise and love and to be easy on myself. I pray that in 2019; my life will continue to be good and I can grow as a person and hopefully help and inspire others; through my words and videos. Thank so much for all the support friends; you guys mean the world to me. Please take care of yourself in the year to come and I hope we continue to connect and support one another