When a new year begins there is a sense of fresh new starts. The feeling that everything and anything are possible. But why? What is the difference between yesterday and today? The ending of one year feels like such a releasing experience to be immediately followed with a sense of grasping for the stars. This is ridiculous and nonsensical.
It should be either reversed or even. There is so much to be thankful for and to reflect on at the end of the year that there should be an epitome reached not a letdown. Conversely, there is nothing but a terrifying expanse of the unknown at the beginning of the year The endless stretch of the not yet unfolding of events. New Year’s eve focuses so much on what we did not get accomplished last year, what we have run out of time to do when in actuality we should be celebrating the gift of yet another year to improve on our successful but not quite fully fleshed out goals, plans and accomplishments. Why lament over not losing the 100 pounds this year, but instead rejoice in the 50 that are gone? Much better to party in the slightly bigger, not so sketchy neighbor, 2 not 1 bedroom apartment that you were able to afford this year because of the 50 cents an hour raise that you got.
Don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that we celebrate the mediocre but instead the milestones. As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day.” There is such astigmatism associated with not achieving all of your goals yesterday. A room full of shaking heads when the youngest graduate, summa cum laude, only bags an internship at the local non-profit instead of taking the high paying offer from the company that made her feel like a number the second she walked in. Why is it so awful to be better than yesterday but not quite perfect yet? And what even is perfect? Perfect for who? The parents that pushed so hard all through high school and college and drove a straight A, lettered, full scholarship child to jump off the roof. The boss who instills fear of themselves but has steaming hot, mocha latte double shot half cafe constantly on hand. Who deserves and decides perfect?
These past few years have shown me not only a good number of false hopes and goals that I had pressured myself to believe and almost kill myself to achieve but also what healthy goals and ambitions look like. Two divorces, broken familiar ties, lost friendships, enough credits to graduate with two degrees and several other failures have accumulated because I allowed other people to determine my perfect To tell me what would make me happy. To make my successes feel like failures. Allowed other people to make my dreams seem unworthy. This has put me in a place that feels uncomfortable and doesn’t resemble me at all.
This past year, I have been taking me back. It is not easy. Every day is a struggle to not only chose me but to discover even who I am. I am learning that some mornings tea is the only thing that will calm me and other days coffee is required to see straight. The silence of the house soothes me into a work frenzy some days, whereas other days I need loud, rhythmic music blaring from all rooms just to shut out the barrage of thoughts screaming through my head. No two days are the same. My reactions to the same stimulus are rarely the same.
I have found that living with my montage of a family is both a help and a hindrance to this growth of mine. Having five children at home is both a blessing and a curse. There is always something to do which occupies my mind and distracts me from the work at hand. This is how I survived so long with Him. He was so chaotic that there was no time to focus on me, only time to prepare for the next onslaught or repair the damage from the last episode. For most of my life, the idea of dealing with what goes on inside my head was incomprehensible. My head has terrified me for as long as I can remember. I have no memories of not feeling betrayed by my own thoughts, actions or memories. Very little memories that I am confident are mine. My childhood is a spliced together movie that features me. It replays over and over as I happily watch from the audience, eating popcorn and jumping at the scary parts. I don’t tell people about this, don’t volunteer funny story from my youth for fear they aren’t real memories but someone else’s story that I have heard repeated too many times.
This past year I have learned to not hide my downfalls but instead guardedly show them off all shiny and new to the select few that have proved themselves. I have learned that being in a better place today than yesterday is something worth being proud of. That it really is ok that today I love something and tomorrow I can’t stand it. My family is discovering that it is not easy being me and that does not make it ok to hide away from all of them. This is me and this is who I am. I wake up every morning like everyone else. I feel pride, pain, jump for joy and scream in terror sometimes. What I have always hidden away from the world makes me unique but not unwanted. It makes me hard to understand but not unworthy.