My 22nd Year of Life

Late summer 2015 is when I started grad school, got new roommates, started with a new therapist, adopted a dog, and turned 22. Nothing went as planned.
  1. I had no idea what I was in for when I took that picture on my first day of orientation for my Masters program. I never would have believed that when I took the picture on the right, I'd have a Manager position locked up at a company I LOVE, despite having dropped out and survived severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
  2. My very first session with my therapist was unlike any I'd had with the 3 I'd seen before him. An immediate connection. A year later, with over 200 sessions together, I cannot express how grateful I am for our relationship and the work we have done and continue to do. If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend this practice.
    Note: they are out of network.
  3. After graduating in May 2015, I moved in with 3 gay guys. It was the most sex positive environment I'd ever been in. I learned so much and it was a great first experience being the only girl living with all men.
  4. Unfortunately, my next male roommates that moved in with me in the fall were not as great. I felt like I had to manage everything in our apartment, could never really relax, and the crime in our area skyrocketed. I moved out in November. I think making that move is the turning point I am most proud of.
  5. Living alone downtown was incredible. The freedom, independence, and confidence I enjoyed was life changing. My 300 sq ft studio apartment was the first place that was ever completely mine, a safe space I created all on my own.
  6. After needing to call a suicide hotline the week before the spring semester was due to start, I made the incredibly hard decision to take a semester off. In fact, deciding to do it was not hard- convincing my parents to let me was.
  7. I kept my internship, my apartment, and got another job. I went to therapy twice a week. I started group therapy. I confronted my parents about my dad's physical abuse of me when I was a teenager. I became trauma-informed. I started family therapy.
  8. I got a new tattoo.
  9. I shaved my head.
  10. I considered nursing school. I researched my options. I took pre requisite classes. I moved to Arlington, Virginia to establish residency so I could get in-state tuition.
  11. I cried as I moved out of my studio apartment. I cried a month later, when I realized that I truly loved living with my new roommate, one of my best friends from home, and wondered if this is what having a partner was like. I worried that I would get too used to depending on sharing my life with someone, that it would make me weaker.
  12. I let people help me. I let people in. I lost a friend. I got through it.
  13. I got another tattoo. I cried the whole next day because it didn't match what I thought it would be. I came to terms with it, started planning a whole sleeve.
  14. My side job became my career when my boss asked me what he had to do to get me to come on as a manager for our new venture. The answer turned out to be a $50K salary and benefits. I am exceedingly proud of the fact that he valued me enough after working for him for just 5 months to give me that opportunity.
  15. I never could have planned this path. I am scared of how unexpected and turbulent the last 12 months have been. I am also so proud of myself for navigating 3 moves, 4 jobs, half a masters degree, and depression and anxiety at age 22, all while keeping my dog alive.
  16. Here's to 23.