You guys know a lot about the shit I was coming out of two years ago. But in the last 6 months, I feel like I have become a completely different person. During that time I haven't been around GT as much either, mostly because of the insane amount of processing, working, doing, and experiencing in my life. But you guys have helped me with so much of this stuff, and you're responsible for so much of the initial healing I did, that I feel like you deserve to hear the parts of the story that have happened lately.

Maybe most importantly, I don't think of myself as a victim anymore. I don't even really think of myself as a survivor anymore. I don't define myself by the Abusive Asshole anymore - I don't think about him very much. Actually I just realized, I haven't had any nightmares in awhile. He called me a month ago and I handled it without a panic attack, even though I had to call the cops and report it as a violation of the restraining order. Someone asked me to think of a defining memory that made me who I am yesterday, and the first thing that came to mind had nothing to do with being abused by anyone.

I can honestly say I mostly like myself now. I know I have faults and I work on them, but I don't say to myself, "I hate you," anymore. I acknowledge my feelings but don't immediately blame them on others. I wrote on my chalkboard wall by my bed, "Your feelings are always okay, but they aren't necessarily anyone else's fault." I look at it every day and I remember it any time I have negative feelings.

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I've been facing my fears. I've been going to Muay Thai class with GreenHunk and there are a bunch of buff guys and I mostly haven't freaked out and I've even made friends with some of the people in the class. I might even be brave enough to learn how to swim soon. I've started learning to be in touch with my body in a way I never have before. I'm planning on taking dance classes soon.

I've made a ton of new friends. I've learned to stand up for myself and I've dumped the users out of my life. The people who are left are people I feel confident are my real friends. I'm learning that trust isn't something you either give 100% or not at all. I've stood up for myself about spending the holidays with people I love and avoided ruining them with guilt-ridden and awkward interactions with people I don't like. My house is full of people I love now and my terrible ex-roommates are gone forever. We also have a dog in the house now (the roommate's, not ours), which GreenHunk loves.

I've figured out how to get to where I want to be with my career. I'm planning on going back to school for a master's of social work degree next fall (part-time, it's a distance program where I'd have to travel a few hours for one day every 3 weeks), if I can get all the paperwork and letters of reference together by the end of January. I've been doing a ton of volunteering stuff in the meantime. One of my friends and I got to give a presentation on body image a few weeks ago at a conference for teenagers. My job (surprise!) actually got better with the move to a new boss, even though it was scary. I'm a lot less bored now and am getting to do some marketing writing, which I prefer to writing instruction manuals. My boss actually makes sense and gets stuff done.

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GreenHunk is in school full-time now, and he's actually doing pretty well and getting mostly A's and B's on everything. It's been sort of a rough transition for us as far as how he manages his time and how long studying will take, but we're getting there. He's a lot happier to be working toward his goals and not at a shitty job.

I'm not so ashamed of my sexuality anymore. I'm starting to feel like maybe I can express myself without feeling terrible. We're struggling with managing our busy schedules and GreenHunk isn't always sure how to deal with stress, which has affected our sex life a little, but we're getting there. We're talking about things and trying to figure out solutions that work for both of us, even though some of it has been uphill and has involved more drama than was probably necessary.

My relationship with GreenHunk is still scary sometimes. Two of my good friends have gotten divorced in the past 6 months, including GreenBud (if you remember me talking about her), who has only been married just over a year. It makes me realize how precious relationships are and how they have to be nurtured like their own entity. I don't totally know how to be good at that yet. But we've both been working at it. I think the last 6 months of me being in therapy has really helped me learn a lot about healthy role models and what my relationship should look like. Sometimes I still jump the gun and think, "We're doomed!" but it's less frequently than it used to be.

Anyway, that is a lot of stuff about me. Ultimately, I just want to say thank you guys for all the help you gave me. You pushed me toward therapy and you gave me advice and encouragement. And it worked! I am a much, much happier and healthier human being than I was last year at this time.

What about you, GT? What have you learned lately? What epiphanies have you had? How have you changed recently?