A Love Letter to 2021

Tori Dudys standing on the top of a big hill in Calabogie, Ontario.

Calabogie, ON

May 27th, 2021

2021, you were a year of deep healing, huge transitions, and big hugs (I missed those in 2020). I’ve let go of so much heavy and let in so much light. Every day that passes I put more and more lessons into practice, whether that looks like setting boundaries with family and friends; honestly expressing my feelings in uncomfortable situations; saying “no” to parties, events, and even trips that I don’t think will be healthy for me; or saying “yes” to staying home alone dancing in the dark to Florence and the Machine. I think my 30th year on this planet has been the best yet. It just keeps getting better.

My biggest lesson this year? Don’t fight it, embrace it. Everything. Every sad feeling. Every moment for growth. Every facet of your personality that you think is flawed. All the good. All the bad. All the easy. All the excruciatingly hard. Life is a process and it’s set up to test us, but one thing I can always be sure about is me. Is my intuition. Is my inner knowing.

When I went to Vancouver with some friends this summer, I took a morning on my own to jog along the beach and write by the sea. I cried.

I cried, BIG.

No matter where in the world I am, anytime I sit by the ocean to write, I have grand epiphanies. This one was about absolute self-acceptance. I’m a very sensitive human being. When I say sensitive, I mean S E N S I T I V E. But for a long time, I’ve been far too afraid to embrace it, worried I’d look weak or that I couldn’t handle the intensity of my feelings.

By the sea in Vancouver, I finally realized that my sensitivity is not a weakness—actually, far from it. My sensitivity is my superpower. It’s why I’m a great writer and why I’ve been able to connect so deeply with so many people. It’s what’s driving me to change careers and what allows me to sense things before they happen (I’m not saying I’m psychic, but also, I’m not saying I’m NOT psychic). It helps me really feel poetry deep down in my belly and binds me to music in a visceral way I have trouble describing.

I’ve spent my life running away from my power, my intensity—but I refuse to keep running. Now, I face it all. When the tears start to well and burst, I thank them for showing me my vulnerability. When the loneliness grips its hands around my insides, I welcome it as a reminder of my humanity. When a crescendo of all-encompassing joy sends electricity flowing from my fingertips, I feel it in its entirety instead of trying to tame it. When poetic words smack against my skull like dice in a shaking cup, I let them out free onto a page without judgment of how they’ve been constructed.

I am more Tori than I have ever been, and I’m so fucking thankful to be at this stage of my journey.

Friends and family and anyone who finds themselves reading my little slice of the Internet, I implore you to look back at the challenges that 2021 brought you. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t grown leaps and bounds this year. Sometimes it’s important to sit down and contemplate the you you are now versus the you you were last year. Even if you’re nowhere close to the sea, epiphanies can be found in the most unusual places—you just have to give yourself the space and silence to hear them.

Love always,

Tori