A Blog Post About 2016 (Part 1)

A Blog Post About 2016

2016 was a tough year—for all of us! The general consensus by November was “when will this be over!?” and even after that, the world seemed to experience trauma after trauma up until the very last week (Aleppo, George Michael, Carry Fisher!?).

I found this year to be a series of personal ups and downs that forced me to stand up, sit down, look at the world differently, see myself differently, make decisions, cry, laugh, struggle, be broke, quit my job, travel, get a new job, keep traveling, love deeper and greater than I ever have, and also lose that deep, great love, I found the love of my life (both in human form and non-human form), and I made a decision that will change my life forever (more on that later).

The greatest lesson I learned was about love and heartbreak this year… I realized, without one you can’t know the other. Your first true, jolting heartache makes you love everything else so much more after. It’s also something I’ve stayed quiet about since it happened. Earlier this year I got a puppy, Tahini, who instantly became the love and center of my life. He taught me about responsibility and how to prioritize. I had never felt what it was like to be needed by another living thing that way and each day I felt more and more in love with my Tahi. My life changed (for the better) and the beginning of this year showed me what it was like to be an adult, while also teaching me about unconditional love.

Then, later, during the summer I took a vacation and left him with a family member. Just a few days before I was supposed to return, Tahini was in an accident and did not make it. I still remember the exact moment on a hot LA afternoon when my heart broke.

They say that trauma causes a before and after in people’s lives and that’s true. Everything before that day in July is Part One of my life and everything after is Part Two. Part One Andre had never truly felt heartbreak or loss. I was spoiled in that way I guess; I’ve gone through life with all my family, friends, and loved ones in tact. Now Part Two Andre is learning to live with a scar made of memories and something missing. I’m passed the part of blaming myself (and occasionally others) and realize that life is a funny and also fucked up thing. Healing is a slow process, but, eventually (with strength), it happens. I can finally look at photos again, although videos are still hard. And when I look at the scars on my hands from where he used to bite me or the holes in my jeans that he snagged with his claws, I remember the happy moments, not the void I used to feel once he left.

So while I felt like many parts of my life experienced a stand still in 2016, my heart and emotions grew. I found a strength in myself I didn’t know I had; in a way, I understand the world (and people) a little better now. And while I would never, ever wish this on someone else, it is from these types of events that we truly grow. I was speaking with a friend shortly after it happened, and he said something that stuck: despite how terrible and sad it was, at least now I know I’m capable of feeling a love like that. I think that’s a pretty great thing to learn.


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