Greetings from the South,
As we head toward the end of 2015, it’s good to take stock of where we’ve been.
This year, had its ups and downs: I traveled to a copy editors’ conference and felt more at home than I ever have anywhere else. My husband and I celebrated seven years of marriage. (No need to make any divorce jokes, y’all; my mother-in-law made enough of those for everyone.) We’ve settled into our new house, and we’re slowly making it ours. I started a podcast. I learned about the iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb” function in group text messages, and it has been a life-saver. I discovered “Hamilton,” and I haven’t stopped listening to it on repeat since.
I continue to be childless by choice. This is a blessing for me and something unforgivable to my parents and in-laws. I’m OK with that.
Still, the year had its downs. Our cat, Remy, continued to try to kill me (in the form of massive allergies developing to the point of need multiple shots per week and the shape of a super fun, near-constant asthma attack), and so we had to bring her back to the animal shelter. This was absolutely the right decision—but it was still horrible and difficult, and I miss her terribly. (On the upside, she was adopted the day her mandatory hold was lifted, which was amazing.) I still feel a lot of guilt over letting her go—obviously, if I loved her enough, I just would have sucked it up, even though I couldn’t ever get a proper breath in my own home. But I am learning to be OK with feeling the feeling and not letting it dictate my actions. We loved her for as long as we could, and then we found her somewhere that could—and did—find her an amazing home.
Health-wise, I’d give 2015 a C. I’m down two teeth, thanks to the incredibly barbaric surgery to have two wisdom teeth removed. My autoimmune disease continues to stubbornly resist most treatments. I had a health scare that, thankfully, turned out to be nothing—probably. But the biggest change I made this year for my health was finally getting my ass into therapy after waking up one morning and realizing I felt absolutely nothing—about anything. Therapy is hard and vulnerable and draining. My therapist constantly kicks my ass. But even after a few months, it’s slowly changing my outlook: about my childhood, about why I act and think the way I do, about my relationships. I learned I have mental illness: an anxiety disorder and cyclothymia, which causes emotional highs and lows that are not as pronounced as those in bipolar disorder. I struggle with the fact that anxiety affects me as much as it does; I’ve never considered myself an anxious person. I’m learning, however, that that’s just because my response was extreme avoidance of whatever made me anxious plus massively suppressing my emotions.
I also sort of, maybe, a little bit came to terms this year with always feeling as though I should be doing more: working more, writing more, reading more, playing more video games, sewing more, seeing my friends more, cooking more, being a wife more, being healthy more, cleaning more, decorating more, being in the community more, attending church more, walking the dog more, listening to podcasts more, trying to get into grad school more, applying to better or different jobs more—I could probably go on all day, but you get the idea. I struggle with the idea that what I do is enough. I don’t have any answers for that, but I’m trying to internalize the idea that I am enough as I am. I don’t need to always do more.
My relationship with my family continues to be superficial at best. I’m learning to be OK with not wanting to be closer to them and to acknowledging—to myself and to other people I trust—that they are not safe and that their behavior when I was a child and their continued gaslighting had, has, and will have negative effects on my sense of self, my self-esteem, and my general perception of how other people will react. But most importantly, I am learning, so slowly, that I am not the person they have always told me I am. So, there’s that.
Because of work and illness, I fell off from exercising as much as I’d like, and I’m trying to be OK with that. I’m also struggling with distractedness, disorganization, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed—but I have an appointment to talk with my doctor about that. I’m trying to be more aware of myself and how I feel and then take that important next step: doing something about it.
2015 has been an emotional ride of some sort. It had its moments.
But from my family to yours, here’s hoping 2016 sees you happy, healthy, and whole.