By: Gabriela Yareliz
I started off the year feeling like I was punched several times in the stomach and knocked to my knees to cough up blood. I didn’t say much at the time because my goal is to always uplift. So, because I write the blog mainly for myself (it’s my self reflection), I wrote some cryptic lines about tears and some Rumi quotes that comforted my soul. (See Reflections Before Bedtime #61).
It was a year of trial. I had a lot of pressure on me to perform well and keep my new job (as most new employees do). I was preparing for something important and the next step in my professional career. I was working full time and feeling drained. I had tight deadlines at the beginning of the year.
The first week of 2016, there was crazy stress at work. I had been sleeping on an air mattress for six months. My unlimited metro card locked me out of the train station for twenty minutes; I filled my cash metro card and the turnstile ate my fare. The temperature went into the teens. I got slightly sick. My phone uninstalled important apps I needed. Then, my phone became half functional. I tried to get a new phone but ended up wasting my time because what I was looking for was not there. I was a mess.
You are reading this all now, but I wrote all of that in January 2016. It was Feliz’s idea. She told me to write how I started out the year, so I could post this at the end of the year. Why? Because we were both convinced that 2016 was going to be amazing.
So, now that the year is coming to a close, this is what actually happened in the year that started like a TKO (total knock out). By the grace of God, I am still standing.
January: I ended up lost in probably the worst neighborhood in NYC, twice. Phone died. Met an old colleague who was visiting from Iowa, and we remembered our good old Washington, D.C. days. I was gifted an amazing book called Just Mercy. I got a new phone. *enter iPhone era*
February: I was consumed with professional development and cases. Trying to make those dreams happen.
March: Went to an awesome networking event hosted by my LatinoJustice familia. Worked on a fellowship proposal.
April: Case-heavy month. Finalizing our fellowship project proposal. Saw Journey and Santana in concert at Madison Square Garden. I was reminded to never stop believing. After this, I got some heartbreaking news. I had to find the inspiration and pray for the strength to get up again and keep pressing forward.
May: Crazy work schedule. Struggling with my career dreams, which seemed to be shattering. It was my birthday. Ate Ethiopian food for the first time. Realized, as I was looking at signatures on a birthday card, that I was looking for a particular signature. Someone special was in my life, officially. My childhood friend had her bridal shower. I traveled to surprise her. We had a blast. Throughout this month, my stress led to what seemed like a stress-induced eating disorder, where I couldn’t keep food down. I lost a ton of weight, and I was pretty much crying myself to sleep.
June: Work and pursuing career dreams is a tough thing to balance. A massive case I had prepped for finally went to trial. My childhood friend got married, and I traveled to be a part of that. It was pretty magical and nostalgic. It clicked with me that we are grownups. I learned to be Wedding Coordinator/ Maid of Honor. I started dating the special person in my life. My special person started forcing me to eat more and focus on wellness.
July: All my preparation culminated in July, where I delivered a performance that would change everything. My family came to visit. We had fun, and they met the special man in my life. Our 4th of July was filled with love, fireworks, cupcakes and rain.
August: My massive trial continued. Work and cases seemed to pick up the pace. I start healing my health, which had suffered from so much stress. I started eating again and retaining my food.
September: I interviewed for another position (pursuing professional growth), and I concluded our massive trial. I attended a wedding with my special person.
October: I found out and celebrated our massive trial win. I hosted a Prayer in the City location for my church’s week of prayer. I was told that all my hard work had paid off (July was a success). I was finally seeing the growth and accomplishment I wanted to see in my career.
November: It became official– I got the new position I had applied for. I began cooking new dishes and improving my skills. I decided I love cooking. Donald Trump won the election. A nation divided is revealed.
December: I realize that while this year has been brutal, I am so blessed. I have a job that gives me satisfaction; I am learning new things and growing; and I was asked by my law school to become a mentor for new law students.
This year, I learned so much about my flaws, strength I didn’t know I had in me and the fact that persistence sometimes wins the game. I learned that love is hard and complex, but that when you find a person unlike anyone else, it’s worth it.
To my family (mom, dad, bros, Ignacio, grandparents), friends and that special person who came into my life: I couldn’t have done this 2016 journey without you. Your strength held me up when my legs were shaking, and I couldn’t stand. Your prayers spoke for me, when I had no words to speak. You fed me, literally and spiritually. You were there when I felt surrounded by so much darkness and discouragement. Thank you.
I learned that with a growth mindset, a God who always goes above and beyond, and incredible people– we can do anything. We really can.
2016, you showed me what I was made of. The good, the weak, the strong and the bad. You brought the most amazing man into my life. You were filled with family and once-in-a-lifetime moments. And for that, you will be unforgettable.
2016 was a year of hard work and planting. It was filled with a heavy yoke, sweat, tears and blisters. A year of dark faith. I hope 2017 is a year of growth and more harvest.
Feliz, 2016 wasn’t all bad (even though it started like hell). It ended with a bang and taught us so much. Ready for 2017?
This week, the blog turned 7 years old. As I end this year surrounded by those that I love, I am also so grateful for the love and support all of my fellow bloggers and readers have offered me throughout these 7 years. It has been an amazing ride. Journalism school, law school and now, this newborn career. It’s amazing to see how far we have come. Take time to reflect on your journey, and I hope that if you take anything from my experience, it’s that God is faithful and never give up on what God has placed on your heart.
We will be marching into 2017, together. More experiences and more amazing things to come.
Wishing you abundant blessings, peace, love and joy in this Christmas season.