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Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness: The best of Life & Love 2016

You, our readers and writers, have come to us with enthusiasm, passion, and most of all, optimism.

At the risk of echoing every online platform in existence, 2016 has been the longest, most draining year ever.

There has been a lot of death, a lot of destruction, a lot of ugliness from people we expect to represent our interests and uphold the moral standards that keep a society together. And as the year closes out, it’s hard not to look towards 2017 with trepidation. There’s been a lot of damage this year. Are we going to be able to handle the fallout? Are we going to be able to fix it?

So here's to a year that heals what was ugly in 2016. #BestofTheTempest2016 Click To Tweet

Throughout this year, The Tempest has been a beacon of light. We’ve always been about empowering women, and now more than ever we’re rallying to bring new, diverse voices – your voices – to the mainstream. As I went through all the amazing stories in Life & Love, I couldn’t imagine picking just four to include in our Best of 2016 series. You, our readers and writers, have come to us with enthusiasm, passion, and most of all, optimism.

Here's to a year that brings out the best in all of us. #BestofTheTempest2016 Click To Tweet

That belief that things can and will get better, that we can take mistakes and hardships, learn from them, and move forward – that is what inspires us here at The Tempest every day.

So here’s to a new year that takes whatever was ugly in 2016 and heals it, makes it beautiful again. Here’s to a year that brings out the best in all of us.

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I hope you enjoy my selections for #BestofTheTempest2016: Life & Love edition.

1. For the first time in my life, I don’t have the right words to say to you, America

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s electoral win, Amani Ahmed grapples with what this says about the country she loves. There’s grief, and a fear of what’s coming, but in the end, Amani says, we have to keep going so that hope, kindness, and inclusion win out. “Grieve today. Fight tomorrow,” she writes. “Do not, for a moment, let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong. Like you are less deserving of being in this country. This is still America. Big and beautiful and maybe broken, but still America. And it is ours.”

2. I had an abusive relationship with my best friend

Abusive relationships come in all kinds of packages, and in this story an anonymous writer talks about how one of her closest friendships devolved into one of emotional harm. When the friend she had supported and trusted turned on her, criticizing her every move and issuing ultimatums, our writer realized she had to cut the cord. “When the drama stopped,” she writes, “so did the depression. I was no longer fearful of how she would react to my actions or how she’d blame me for her problems.”

3. Caring for my grandmother has made me stronger than I ever thought possible

Ashley Barry is battling anxiety as she cares for her grandmother in her old age. Despite her phobia of illness and vomiting, her love for her grandmother gives her the courage and strength to face the things that trigger her.

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“My anxiety pulverizes me some days, obliterates me even, but I know I can power through,” Ashley writes. “I’m much stronger than I realize.”

4. I quit trying to make sense of my hijab

Mona Moneim, one of our fellows, is done explaining her hijab and her choices to people who make assumptions about who she is no matter how she wears it.

“I managed to outgrow my need for self-justification,” Mona says. “It has not been replaced by obliviousness or apathy, but I just let go of overthinking as a result of being more at peace with everything in life.”

Nadia Eldemerdash

Nadia Eldemerdash

Nadia Eldemerdash is the Life + Love editor at The Tempest. A communications specialist by day, her writing focuses on migration and identity. By night, she blogs about media and creativity at CreativeQuibble.com. Favorite things include junk food, packing luggage, and the idea of exercise.

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