In 2016, I wrote an article for this paper about self-love. In the following years, life ironically decided to truly teach me what that meant. I’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly with friends, family, and relationships and I’ve had to face myself: learning to accept the parts of myself that I don’t like and to work on them is the biggest battle I’ve faced.

This last year I’ve been very alone, kind of by choice, also just by fate I guess. I suppose the universe or God thought “it’s time for Savanna to hit the lowest point so she can face everything and become the strongest woman she can be.” Going through a lot alone, I was angry, confused and sad but I realized I was also pushing people away by not realizing I needed to stop and get my crap together.

I’ve had to spend the last few months trying to forgive myself and really learn about discipline and self-love. Doing that isn’t easy; it’s been a battle. My body image has been a huge struggle and insecurity for me, one I know that many other men and women struggle with. I’ve finally started to be more active and have enjoyed the success from doing that and I decided “F IT! I am sexy and everyone deserves to embrace their bodies.”

After years of struggling with different battles, I’ve finally left the town I’ve lived the last many years of my life in, that I was born in. Now I have goals, I have direction and I’m so excited to see what’s out there and see what happens.

Moab will always be a big part of my heart, and it’s a beautiful place. I’ll come back to visit family, but I am ready to see other parts of the world. I’m not starting out big, I’ve only moved 5 hours away, but I’m going in the right direction.

I am now enrolled in college, which I never thought I was going to do, and it’s been so amazing learning new things every day, getting out of my comfort zone, and gaining new confidence. I am working hard, which I’ve learned is the key to success, and it makes you feel good about yourself. Doing it for myself is even better. People come and go and all you can do is work on yourself every day to become the best version of yourself.

Someone who does not need to be named, who saved my life, made me promise this: when life sucks and you don’t want to get up, don’t give up. Pick just your arm up, then follow it up. Get up, and get going.

I haven’t had a drink in four months, I stopped smoking cigarettes about 7 or so months ago. I took the time to think about what it is I want in my life, who I want to be, what I want my future to look like. It’s a great feeling to be making choices to be the healthiest, best self that I can. It’s still a struggle every day but I’ve found ways to be able to accept when I feel sad and not let it ruin my day or my life.

Now I’m able to see what was holding me back was myself and no one else. We all have to learn to let go of what we cannot control. Otherwise, it leads to fear, which leads to destruction, and it’s a black hole that’s hard to get out of.

Eventually, I’ll have a drink again, but it won’t be to hide from my life, or try and avoid any emotion or pain. At the end of the day, we are all humans, just experiencing this world in our own bodies and none of us are really that different. We all just want to be happy.

In all honesty, I’ve accepted that each day, year, and decade will be a learning experience. You’re never too young or too old, to learn, and progress, and begin to love yourself, somewhere, someday, maybe today is your start.

Savanna Christensen