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I’ve been through a lot this past year.

This year I began my struggle to hear sounds as words. Id learned to separate background noise from words and sounds I should concern myself with. I’ve learned about pitch, tone, notes, syllables, and so much more. In my effort to hear I’ve stretched myself far beyond what I thought possible.

I’ve written about these struggles this year. One of the moments that made this year so special was this one. It’s about hearing my sons voice for the first time. Something I’d waited my life time for. From the moment he was born this was one thing missing in my life I desperately wanted and this year it came true.

I’ve questioned what my voice means, and I’ve tried to describe some of what I’m going through as well in my efforts to hear.

I’ve reflected on growing up deaf and some of what I’ve learned in my journey to hear. It’s been an incredible ride if this was my only highlight it’d be an incredible year. But this is a single branch in the journey of this year.

I’ve written much about my love of surfing, the ocean, more about my love of surfing, how surfing makes me feel. I’ve always loved the ocean and it’s as much part of me as my heart. That’s why at times I’m trouble I walk and think in the one place that I feel the presence of god himself. This is my past time and it’s been a great year for my passion. I even got to surf Hawaii.

If this was all my life worth writing about what a year it’s been but there is far more. I’ve reflected on and come back to my creator as well. I’ve taken time to recognize the people who are special in my life. Sarah, TJ and Josef, My father and grandfathers and many more. I’ve reflected upon the gifts they give me. Quiet moments with loved ones. So many moments, so little time to record them though they are seared into my brain and shall ever be part of me.

A full life Surfing, learning to hear, moments of reflection and appreciating those who bring profound meaning to your life but my year is far from that boring!

I’ve struggle with my past and the war inside. I’ve found strength, courage and fear. I’ve meet so many new friends and been able to heal to some measure. I’ve come to learn it’s ok to be broken. Most of all I learned who I can count on.

So many lessons from this year and so much to be thankful for. The blogging community is vast and so many nice people. I can’t begin to list them all but some are just diamonds in the rough like Secret Angel and pastor Dan. Had this been my entire year it would have been enough.

I got to travel to California twice for work and Hawaii for a working vacation where Sarah joined me. My son visited all summer and we got really close. I’ve had moments of incredible hope and moments of darkness. In that darkness I’ve made my mistakes and I’ve come out to the world admitting my secret addiction.

I’ve face the fact I’m a cutter and detailed my lessons etched in flesh. I’ve talked of the struggle, the set backs, the trials, the tears, and all the about why I struggle so.

I’ve gotten very personal with my cutting, my addiction and the struggle to end it. This year has been better than others in the number of times I’ve etched a lesson upon my flesh and next year I hope for the number to be zero. Though I will stumble and mistakes will be made I know I am loved and the next time I sit silently on the beach I know aid will come in my hour of contemplation.

This year I’ve dug deep inside and shared many pains. Many lessons and frankly much of myself. I’m still not sure why I decided to post it for the world but I’m thankful the decision was made. What an incredible ride this year has been indeed.

There is still time for this year to become even more blessed as I look toward another dream of bringing my voice to life and performing what does one voice mean for my father and my son. To a blessed Christmas to be spent with family and looking forward to my long waited embrace. To finally know it’s real.

Thank you for sharing as I coast into a new year. May the new year hold all the wonder and magic of my journey to hear, all the grace and spirit that you can absorb and all the friends and family that may bless your life. Love like tomorrow will never come and don’t let go of those who demonstrate a true friendship and real love. May your blessings be bountiful and pure.

But for everything I am thankful.

~Michelle Styles – December 16, 2013