Making it to 2022

This was the darkest year of my life. My family and I were homeless when I was 14 and so many things happened that year that just made me think nothing could ever top it. Somehow, this year did. It’s a year I’ll reference for the rest of my life. 

I’m in a better place now. Somewhere that feels familiar and safe. Where the long rows of tall palm trees remind me of the street I grew up on and the olive tree beneath my current window reminds me of my mom’s stories of Barcelona as we looked out at the olive tree beneath my childhood window. Every turn has a reminder of the happy places I’ve been in life.

I’m in a better place, yet my blood still boils and I find it hard to breathe when I think about everything. Dealing with intense sensory issues and being called weak and “unresilient,” losing my dad completely alone, having a herd of cops at my door sent by my dad’s landlord accusing me of trespassing, broken windows, broken doors, no power, no water. Apparently being betrayed by people pretending to help. Break-ins. Being spooked and harassed almost nightly so that I leave immediately. Relentless judgment from family that found me messy and bratty. Videos taken of me crying and overwhelmed… 

Not having a home. Dealing with actual PTSD and being talked about like I was on drugs because I appeared “jumpy and paranoid.” I don’t know how much more I can say without this sounding made up or like I’m looking for pity. There’s a lot I’m not sharing. I’m not trying to put people on blast. I’m not a victim and I refuse to see the world as an ugly place with horrible people. These times have definitely brought out the most vile in some.

I also want to make it clear that I’m SO incredibly grateful for those of you who checked up on me and who showed up for me in one way or another in February and March. 💗

Really, all of this to say: 

THANK YOU. IT’S BEEN A YEAR. 

But it’s also been a year like no other in a different way. The reason I used to let people’s insults get to me was that I had no trust in myself. I couldn’t tell myself they were wrong about me because I wasn’t sure. And that caused me so much pain. 

In a matter of months I went from not knowing where I was going to live (and not even wanting to live), to living in an area I’ve dreamt of living in since I was a child (when my mom would babysit another kid here,) to flying past financial goals and building securities for the future, to receiving a degree 👩🏻‍🎓 (it might seem like small potatoes and still a long-ass way to go for a physics Ph.D. but it’s a start), to learning to cook well(ish😆).

None of this is to say I couldn’t get depressed, lose it all, and hit rock bottom again. I’d be lying if I said the holidays weren’t tougher than I anticipated and that I’m just sitting here with absolute certainty about the glowing future. 

Something I learnt from the cheesy morning sales meetings at my teenage job was, “once you’ve earned your first million…even if you lose it all, it will never take as long as the first time to earn it again.” 

And such is life. I hit rock bottom multiple times this year. Each time thinking that was the last. But each time bouncing back faster and harder.

I can’t help but think of where I’d be had I not isolated myself from people’s “advice” and critiques. Had I operated under the usual guise of how I think others perceive me. Worrying if people think I’m trying to impress them or appear “smart”, or that I’m a weak damsel in distress waiting to be saved and guided towards the correct, normal, sensible path after going through a traumatic experience. I can’t say I would’ve accomplished anything. In fact, I can’t say with certainty that I’d be here at all to be brutally honest. 

And it’s hard not to feel resentment about that. 

But no one owes me anything. Even respect. Because I respect myself now. I trust myself. I still have my days. My insecurities. I still get annoyed wondering if people think I won something or didn’t do anything on my own. I still occasionally feel the need to overexplain or justify myself. I still get frustrated. I still get down. I still scream in horror when I fall. (Literally. I fell and broke my nose last month. 😬) But I will never again doubt my ability to get back up. Eventually, circumstance or biology will do its thing, but at least I’ll know I lived making my choices, my mistakes, and my life.

Betty White passed away this morning. 

She passed just one day short of the new year. Just 2 weeks short of her 100th. That’s the focus of seemingly every headline today. Does not reaching this arbitrary number or time render everything that came before obsolete? Of course not. I’d like to think it was her goal to live a life on her terms, no matter the length. 

May 2022 be kind to all of us, but may we be all the kinder to each other and never forget how far each of us has come.

Even if we never make it to 100.

~ by Keira Dazi on December 31, 2021.

One Response to “Making it to 2022”

  1. Keira, my heart pours out to you. I applaud your survival, admire your resilience. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Congrats on your degree!

    Onwards and upwards,

    Steve

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