Chapter 51: Thank you, 2016.

I remember it so vividly as though January 1st, 2016 happened last week. 

The year started with anxiety and unrest; I allowed my work to invade every minute of my life including my time to rest. Breakdown after breakdown, crying on the floor, distance from my friends- I was at a loss and I absolutely hated fashion at the time. Through this period of my life I learned that a good challenge shapes a person in the most incredible way and it’s most often times temporary; the agony of stressful situations subsides. January and February made the rest of the year the best ones yet.

When March greeted me with open arms I hugged Anthony as we found out we’d be the Editor(s)-in-Chief of The Manor. As a team we aimed to elevate and perfect an existing idea while putting forth extreme effort to achieve the goals we set freshman year. The team I have the privileged of leading and working with everyday makes me a better person; they’ve taught me more than I could ever imagine. We get to do what we love everyday and nobody grades it.

I learned how to make things the right way. My classmates and I stayed up for multiple nights in a row to bring our 2D drawings to life. I understood the importance of my hands, and how gracious they are for allowing me to continue sewing after stabbing myself with pins. I slid my design on the dress form and took a deep breath- that was the vision, that was the intention, I loved fashion again. 

I turned 20 and went to Europe the next day. I was the first one in my family to ever travel to Europe and it was my first time leaving the States. This was another day I remember so clearly; the dutch buildings in Amsterdam had me in tears because I’d never seen something so beautiful. I lived in France for three months while studying and laughing with a group of one-of-a-kind girls. I made all the right mistakes to learn all the right lessons. The day after I came home I looked at plane tickets for next year. I’d fallen in love with being uncomfortable in foreign places. 

Sleeping became a necessity and a practice that could not be taken lightly. While in Europe I learned the value of rest and relaxation. It became very apparent that Americans extensively emphasize work; workaholism is something I’d never taken seriously until I stepped away from it and saw it from a new perspective. 

Beauty was appreciated in a new light when I traveled to Malaysia in December. I stayed there for two weeks with my best friends. I learned how to use a squatting toilet, I saw the jungle, and ate rice with chopsticks. We were exposed to every single good restaurant in Penang, Malaysia and ate close to six meals a day. I was taken aback by how different the culture was and how much I absolutely loved it; again I was uncomfortable and enjoying every minute of it. 

2016 was the year I learned how to be a responsible human being. The roommates and I dealt with a rat infestation. I left the country twice. I took an internship for 2017. I discovered Atlas Shrugged. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. There was a hurricane that left a mark on my city. I got to meet Calvin Klein. I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle at midnight. I learned the importance of giving second chances and I saw hard work pay off. I’m grateful for you, 2016. 2017 has much to live up to.