What a year this has been!! I still get overwhelmed with emotion every time I reflect on all the life changing experiences I have encountered in 2017.
When I reflect on 2017, 4 dates and 4 words pop into my head
3 April 2017 – Control
10 May 2017 – Betrayal
15 September 2017 – Heartbreak
4 October 2017 – Grace
I’ve never fallen so low, I’ve never cried so hard to the point of sobbing with no tears coming out of my eyes. I broke down in front of my bosses, I couldn’t contain it, I couldn’t pretend that I was okay and that I was strong, I couldn’t fathom the level of betrayal I had encountered and I had never been so vulnerable in all my 25 years of living. I don’t know how I survived, I don’t understand how I went through everything and still managed to come out a stronger and happier person.
I remember calling my sister in tears and telling her:
“I’ve never been so broken Zenande, I’ve never fallen so low. I don’t know how I’m going to get up from this. I don’t know how I’m going to survive”
I recall some time in May this year I went to the bathroom and prayed to God that I get into an accident and be hospitalised for at least 2 months so I wouldn’t have to deal with everything that was happening. I wanted to escape, the thought of buying a ticket for the first flight out of SA and going to start a life elsewhere also came to mind. For the first time in my entire life I didn’t have the strength for tomorrow, I didn’t have the strength to wake up and face the world, I just didn’t have the strength to fake it.
Have you ever had a group of people betray you and still manage to talk to you and look you in the eye as if nothing happened? Have you ever had someone stab you in the back and when the truth resurfaces they play the victim? I betrayed you to save you? WOW! Humanity is deep.
I don’t believe in karma, I personally think believing in both Karma and Grace is contradictory. Grace lets us know that we all fall short of God’s glory for we all sin and are imperfect, but it is through Grace that we are justified. I am a firm believer in Grace and I know that we all sin in different ways. I never speak karma upon anyone for I know whatever happens forms part of the will of God. I remember reading 2nd Samuel on the bible and being frustrated at all the bad things that were happening and how God was not doing anything. 2 Samuel 17:14, while reading the verse 3 words stuck on my mind “The Lord had decided”. I sobbed and I thought to myself, God sees everything, He is all knowing and all powerful, He watches and He decides. He decides to restore your happiness, to bring prosperity, health, peace, joy, honour and pride.
I didn’t turn vegan for dietary requirements or for fun, I turned vegan as a way to discipline myself. I knew I had addictions – I was addicted to the pain of my failed relationship, I was addicted to having a glass of wine every day and I was addicted to binge eating. I had to train myself to let go of things that no longer served me and I knew if I could control myself by not eating certain foods and completely cutting out coffee, alcohol and social media for some time I would be able to control some urges. I could have meat/alcohol/dairy products if I wanted to, I had a CHOICE, it was all up to me. I CHOSE not to eat any of those things because I wanted to train myself to be aware that I can CHOOSE to stay miserable or to get up and try again. I had to CHOOSE to get up and start afresh, to learn from everything and to grow. I turned vegan because I CHOSE to fall in-love with myself again, to fall in love with my life again and I knew the only way to do that was to cut out all my addictions and concentrate on the core of the problem. I always give people this shallow reason when they ask why I decided to turn vegan, but it goes much deeper than cutting out certain foods. Forty days later, I still have a glass of bubbly now and then and I still have my coffee because I know that I possess the power to control myself should I choose to. I turned vegan because I loved myself and I knew that the things I was currently doing were not serving me any purpose besides sinking me deeper into this pitiful hole that I had let my circumstances create for me.
For me the greatest thing about 2017 is the fact that I didn’t just survive everything that happened to me, but I thrived. I’ve never been so content as I am right now. I have formed the strongest bonds with people based on strong principle, relationships where I can comfortably sit with people and speak about God for hours on end, people who encourage me to wake up at 00:00 to pray. I’ve never had a better spiritual relationship with God, I speak to Him everyday, I trust in Him more and I have found strength and contentment in giving Him control. The rain falls more often on my head and I no longer run but I appreciate it. This might sound vain but I feel like my body is getting better and I just fall more in love with myself everyday. I speak up more, I stand up for myself more often, I love deeper, I laugh harder and I appreciate humanity more. I am seeing more places and speaking to more people. I’m not yet looking for a relationship but I am more open to the possibility of dating again.
This year has taught me forgiveness, self-discipline, self-love, acceptance, vulnerability, letting go of the need to control everything, spontaneity, gratitude, courage, strength and acceptance. It has been a difficult year but it has also been the greatest year for learning, growing, overcoming and connecting. Looking back now, all that betrayal, the heartbreak, all those weeks I cried myself to sleep, they all helped me become the person I am today. I am so thankful for all those moments, for all those people, because each and every one of them has played a huge role in shaping the woman I have become today. My God, I’m breathing underwater!