By Chace Saumell – Dallas // Sundown United
Autumn in the United States is a time for reflection and thankfulness.
For me, this has always been my favorite time of year. I love the crisp air and the colorful leaves and sunsets.
I love the holidays and the warmth of fires and food and family.
As I have been reflecting over the last year I have come to the realization that I am a very different person at the end of this year than I was at the end of last year. I guess that most people could say that at the end of any given year, but this year for me was especially different.
Last year at this time I was struggling in so many ways.
I was utterly unhappy, financially struggling, stressed beyond belief.
Then I tore my ACL and I thought that would be the last straw.
The only true happiness I had in my life besides my children was Jiu Jitsu and now I couldn’t even do that.
Then an interesting thing started happening inside of me.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” – Anonymous
I felt like I was finally becoming a woman. Which, I know sounds quite odd coming from a 34 year old woman, but I had never really come into my own in that way. Since I was young, I had always been on survival mode. I had always been on hurry up and rush around mode, and be super mom and above all else be hard and strong and don’t let anything hurt you; don’t even let anyone or anything close enough for the possibility of getting hurt.
So, mostly because I was pretty crippled, I was forced to slow down. I was forced to let people help me. I was forced to let myself feel things and be soft and vulnerable. I was forced to grow.
And after the initial shock faded, I started to see beauty beginning to grow.
I saw everything in my life differently.
Life itself had new dimensions and depth.
I felt like I had grace blooming inside of me in ways I had never known.
I started to connect to old friends and see the joy in the little things I had never made time for before. I started to listen to people; I mean, really listen to their hearts when they would offer me help. I knew that it was not an act that I would pay for later, but a simple gesture to show that they cared.
I had never stopped and paid attention before.
I had never understood beauty and love and faith and the connection to myself that most people come into in their adolescence. It seemed I had skipped that part of my development and I was catching up at an alarming pace.
And I went kicking and screaming every step of the way.
I don’t like change, actually that is the understatement of the century, I hate change. But sometimes change forces itself upon you and once you stop resisting and accept it, you realize that things you saw as a curse are actually blessings in disguise.
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
It’s been a wild ride of a year and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.
So now, in the spirit of giving thanks, I would like to take the time to say a few words of gratitude.
This year I would like to take the time to thank the whole Sundown United Nation for how amazingly supportive you have been to me in your comments. I have taken all of your advice and criticism and praise to heart. Some of my truest friends are a result of this little venture that we started a little over a year ago. I love you all dearly.
I would also like to thank my wonderful and beautiful children for putting up with me and taking care of me and being true examples of patience with a mother who learns more from them everyday then they will ever learn from me.
I would also like to thank my boyfriend for being supportive and showing me how beautiful I can be and how to balance my femininity with my stubborn tom boyish nature.
My coach, who knows me better than anyone else on the planet (for half of my life) and loves me anyway. More than that, he puts up with me on a daily basis; trust me, that is no small feat. He taught me Jiu Jitsu and it changed my life and has helped me evolve into a confident and strong woman and I’ll never be able to thank him enough.
Last and certainly not least, I’d like to thank God for not striking me dead all the times I cussed Him out and for loving me enough to send people my way who could love me and show me His love and grace and patience.
That which does not kill me, better start running.
(Yes that’s right, I am still a fighter)