Three years isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things. But it's been long enough for me to do a lot of thinking and realizing and growing and becoming.
I realized who loved me for me and I realized who loved me for what they thought I was or what they wanted me to be. I realized that there were people in my life who wanted to change me, and there were people in my life who wanted to help me.
I'm still learning how to communicate in a mature, adult way. And I'm still learning a lot about honesty. And trust. And vulnerability. And truth.
I've made plenty of mistakes in the past three years... some that went by relatively unnoticed by the general population, and some that changed the course of people's lives (including mine) forever. I've made life choices that strengthened bonds and friendships, choices that reflected love and caring. And I've made life choices that broke hearts and destroyed relationships, some irreparably. I've made a couple emotionally-charged choices, and I've made a lot of painstakingly contemplated choices. I've done the right thing a few times and I've done the wrong thing a few times, and sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between the two, but I did what I felt had to be done.
And everything that is done is done. Every choice I've made has brought me to where and who I am today. And I don't regret it. Regret is for people who don't believe in learning from their mistakes. I don't deny that I've made mistakes... and big ones, on occasion. But to regret those choices would be to regret the very things that make me the person I am.
Over the past year, I've made several conscious decisions to move on with my life and to not let the past determine the future. I am stronger now than I've ever been, and I know myself better than I ever have. I'm in a good place in my life right now, mentally and emotionally. I'm stable and happy. And should circumstances change, for better or worse, I know I can still be stable and happy.
Despite the mistakes I've made (or probably because of them) I am a better person today than I was three years ago. I know more about love (real love) and I understand people better. And I'm still moving on. And I'm still choosing, every day, to move forward, to continue becoming the person I want to be... not who someone else wants me to be.
And to those who have loved me the same, through it all... thank you. You are the sunshine of my life, and I love you.