It’s almost the end of the year and it’s time for me to reflect, on the year that was and also on myself.

It has been a hard year, with soaring angst and despair. It has also been the year in which I reverted to type more than ever. To being strong and independent and detached and self-sufficient. To being the kind of person who can envisage being alone.

I disagree with the quote, though it made me think. We are all always escaping. It’s inevitable. Nevertheless, I am definitely less dependent on anyone else for company than ever before. Maybe it takes your time being completely crowded with people – even little ones – to make you embrace solitude. Ironically, when I have more ties that bind than ever, I found it in me to face my fear of having none. Or the fear of losing one. And I realised, I will survive. Or not. But there’s no point living in fear of an eventuality.

My children are the closest to my heart. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than just being with them, watching them, thinking about them, cuddling them. I am the cliché mother. During this 30-day Gratitude Photo Challenge I realised that I could have written every single post about my kids. But I pushed myself to think beyond them, partly because I know mothers talking about their kids endlessly can be boring but also because there must be other things that I am grateful for, and there were.

I also realised how privileged I am, how I have the best of all worlds. Being able to pursue a PhD after having had two small children is not a choice available to everyone. I still don’t know if I will be accepted and it will all work out for me to study, but the opportunity to really think about what I am passionate about and organise my thoughts into a proposal is something I will not regret. While I was going crazy with the application, so many people stepped up to help me and I realised that there are people out there that care about me and value what I have to offer.

I am more confident than I have ever been. I am secure in the knowledge that I don’t need to live up to anyone else’s expectations of me because my own standards are good enough.

I am more at peace with my body than I have ever been. I have finally embraced the beauty of the unconventional. My second pregnancy liberated me from the tyranny of trying to be thin, and now I couldn’t care less. Part of this is having no need or desire to attract a mate. I pay attention to my appearance at my own whim only.

This was also the year that I really understood the issues around society’s attitude to fat and truly shed my own inhibitions about other people’s bodies. I will not pretend to be fat, though I have some experience with how fat people are treated because of where I live. But I can empathise with and analyse the issues around fat in a way I never could before because I myself had not shed my own prejudice before.

I have come full circle on my thoughts on marriage. There will be posts on that later.

I have realised that my body is the final frontier. I will not have sex if I don’t want to. And good sex for me is closely intertwined with emotion.

I have realised that if all the world’s a stage, maybe it’s okay to self-consciously self-curate. I will still find obvious self-fashioning to a theme icky, but sometimes you just need to pretend to be the person you want to be. Luckily, I don’t have to pretend too much. A post on that later as well.

At the tail end of the year, I feel better. Not lighter but more steady. I won’t kid myself that the turbulence has passed or ever will. But I know that I am strogannof.