My paternal grandmother (I call her Nana) has poor circulation, just like me. Our hands and feet are always cold. When I was little, she used to take my tiny hand between her own much larger ones and try to bring some warmth back to my chilly digits. While doing it, she’d typically intone, “Cold hands, warm heart.” I still say it to myself quite often.
My apartment is cold. It’s only in the upper 60’s, but there’s a chill in the air, and my fingers and toes feel like fledgling ice cubes. I’m sitting on my couch, where I’ve been mulling over what to write for a couple of hours now. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve started and stopped multiple times. In all, I’ve probably already written 700 words or so, then backspaced them all into the aether.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. It will be 2015 soon. I wonder how things have changed since last year, and how they’ve stayed the same. It’s harder to think it over this year, since my concentration isn’t what it used to be. My thoughts scatter like the wind as I reach for them. I’m exhausted with the process.
The negatives of this year have been:
Working myself ragged to make ends meet.
Lying to everyone that I was fine when I clearly wasn’t, then worrying about all of the lies so much that I was even more depressed.
Promising more to everyone else than I had to give.
Not promising enough to myself.
Constantly berating myself for not “achieving” at writing, weight, health, money, womanhood, etc.
Shutting out my family because I don’t want them to see how much I’m struggling trying to be someone they’ll be proud of.
Not handling my money as intelligently as originally planned.
Listening too much to other people’s advice. It’s well-meaning, but we are not one-size-fits-all, and other people need to understand that “helpful” advice for how to build a great life can often come across as a condemnation of someone’s shortcomings. Don’t tell people what to do unless they ask you, and even then, be gentle with your phrasing.
The positives of this year have been:
Making up my mind to leave my relationship – then actually doing it.
Falling madly in love when – and with whom – I least expected it.
Holding down two full time jobs, and using the money more wisely than I would have a couple of years ago (yeah, this is on both lists).
Making a home for myself in a desirable neighborhood.
Rolling with the punches in a new relationship with pre-existing issues on both sides that many would have run from, making the bond stronger and sweeter than anything I’ve ever known.
Finally feeling completely at home with being a geek. Nothing to hide, no one to laugh at my interests – just other people who want to play board games, read fantasy novels, and love to dress up in costume as much as I do.
Reaffirming friendships with some of my most beloved friends.
Creating new friendships with a generous helping of new faces.
Coming to terms with the fact that I’m depressed, and need help.
Having the courage to join a really great gym – AND go to classes, even when I was scared.
Beating the back and hip pain that’s been a constant in my life for the last five years (!!!)
I think that overall I’ve done a good job. I’d love to look back over this year from a place of perfection, but I’m never going to have that. We’ll never be perfect, any of us, and it’s ridiculous to try. What I can have is love, and friendship, and a decent selection of people who not only get what I’m going through, but are humble enough to know that sometimes they can serve best by just being there.
I’ve been sad and confused and worn out for the last few years, and I had somehow gotten used to it. I was treating it with plenty of wine and potato chips, and lots of sleeping late and trying to avoid conversation as much as possible. But this year I’ve been slowly but surely coming to terms with how much of my behavior has been a coping mechanism for depression. Whether it’s something brought on by my as-yet untreated thyroid issue, the constant back and hip pain, or if I just need therapy (or all of the above), I get it now. Being in a great spot with my love life, and having lots of opportunity to talk about emotions and mental state in person and here on the blog helped me to start to wrap my head around the fact that something’s not normal in my chemistry at the moment.
So that’s what I’m going to work on in 2015. I want to be OK again. I want my warm heart back. I want to put it to work again, and shine for other people. But before I can do that, before I can be bigger for everyone else, I need to get better for myself.
Happy New Year, my beautiful, mysterious internet friends. May you have health and happiness in the coming turn around the sun.