In a couple of weeks I will have reached the one year mark in a major turning point in my life. Nearly a year ago, I ran from a relationship and a living situation that had turned completely toxic – Something no woman should endure. I lost nearly everything – From my health to my kitty to half of my belongings and most of my savings in the process. In doing so, I was free but also truly alone for the very first time. In the past year, I’ve had to come to terms with what true independence means. I’ve spent most of this time single for what felt like the first time since the end of highschool, and in turn, reflective. I’ve always considered myself self-aware, but there is nothing like the silence of an empty home and a more solitary life to draw your mind into all of the places you were ever too busy to see. This was by no means the beginning of my story, just truly the first time I was forced to honestly look back on it.