Well my friends, today I turn 31, which means it is the end of the worst year of my life! This is a big deal. I have never been more grateful for a birthday in my whole life because it means a fresh start and the end of an era. The last decade was marked by my father’s death, journeys to France that shook me out of my cultural blinders, a broken engagement, my departure from Mormonism and 5 years as a refugee in Vancouver, Canada. This period of time was full of growth and expansion and new perspectives, but also the crashing of all my belief systems and support structures.

It seems like all the last 10 years of emotional turmoil reached their crescendo during my 30th year. It felt like every wound that had ever managed to hide came out in full, brazen fierceness with an intention to destroy me. And in some ways, that was exactly what happened. As I came face to face with all the lies about who I was supposed to be and all the expectations that I failed to fulfill as a proper Mormon woman, something did indeed break. All the parts of me that wanted to be loved and taken care of by my family and community have essentially broken and disintegrated. 

This process has been strangely liberating, and for the first time in my life, I feel like myself. I no longer have any desire to please and appease everyone like I used to. I value who I am more. I don’t feel like apologizing for my unique wildness anymore. I’m tired of hiding and playing small to make others feel more comfortable. I refuse to replicate roles and patterns that were handed to me. Finally, on my 31st year of life, I’ve claimed my sovereignty. And that is a wonderful thing. 

Here are the 10 biggest things I learned during this last year: 

  1. Love who you are - You are lovable no matter what, don’t let anyone bring you down or make you believe that you have to earn love. You are loved, simply because you are. 
  2. You have value - You are a precious, unique soul that has such immense value. You have to constantly affirm your value, especially if you have been dealing with abuse, and after awhile, you will start to believe in your own value yourself. And that is powerful. 
  3. You have permission to say no - It turns out that boundaries are quite useful. For the love, stop doing things you don’t want to do. Don’t say yes to things because you “feel bad.” That’s a terrible reason to do anything. Do things because you want to, and your life will absolutely change. 
  4. Haters gonna hate  - As sad as it is, you can’t change people, but you can change how you deal with them. If someone is reckless towards your soul, you absolutely have permission to say no and set new boundaries in place. You do not have to absorb their hatred, because it’s not about you anyways. It’s about their lack of love for themselves. So treat yourself as you would like to be treated by others, and people will follow suit. Simply do not tolerate abuse. 
  5. You are not a victim - As you learn to take responsibility for your life and how you feel about it, you will step into a whole new sense of empowerment and joy. You are not a victim of circumstance or anything else if you choose to own your life. When this shift happens, a whole new world will open up to you. 
  6. Follow the oxygen mask rule - Take care of your core needs first and then you can be even more helpful to those around you. Throwing yourself under the bus only means that there are more people on the ground and less people able to help. 
  7. Remove agents of chaos - Spend some time weeding out the garden of your life. The less agents of chaos that are in your life, the better. Clear them out. You do not want them in your inner circle. Don’t be an enabler who facilitates bad behavior in others, it only hurts them in the end by letting them act out their violence. Just stop the cycle. You are the product of the 5 people that you spend the most time with, so be really intentional about your circle of influence. 
  8. Say yes to your heart - The more you say yes to your heart, the more frequently it will speak to you and bring joy into your life. You cannot silence your inner voice all the time and expect to be happy. You have to indulge, nourish, and nurture your heart by saying yes to the fun, spontaneous and playful suggestions it has. When you do this, your life becomes more creative, interesting and peaceful. 
  9. Be more outrageous - Stop playing the chameleon game. There is nothing more boring than a room full of posers who are all worried about being cool. Stop trying to fit in and placate other people, it’s boring. Be outrageous and unapologetically original, it will inspire the people around you and give them permission to be themselves too. 
  10. Think bigger- Your life is about way more than your fears. Think bigger! Dream outrageous dreams and go after them. You are not serving the world by hiding and playing small. You are not giving your gifts when you are afraid of being who you really are. So embrace your gifts and your wildness and choose a big dream, then never give up! People who are brave enough to go after their heart’s desires change the world. 

I hope that some of these ideas resonate with you and help give you permission to live the expansive, wild version of who you are. Be free my friends, live life to the absolute fullest with no apologies. 

Wishing you great joy and happiness,