Reflecting on 2018: This year was totally ass.
This title is only… 60% clickbait. This year was fucking hard as balls. This year was kind of like a double entendre of being so stressed with my personal life that I had to forcibly tune out all of the buck wild shit happening in the world, like children being held in detention centers at the border and an attempted rapist being appointed to the supreme court. If you know me at all in person (actually this is probably easy to figure out online as well) you know i’m not usually a glass half full birds chirping in my ear kind of girl. But as hopeless as shit seems to seem right now in December of 2018, I do feel significantly tougher and like I have a better understanding of myself and my needs now than I did a year ago. So let’s talk about what I learned.
At the beginning of this year I was lit on being a tough ass business bitch. I had just gotten my job at Rochester Brainery and so I was working 2 part time jobs, hustling to the gym in-between, and maintaining my healthy eating regimen. Quickly the gym fell off the table as the 8am to 10pm work days piled up and began to stress me out. By July I had lost 50 pounds but I was wracked with stress of long work hours and shuffling back and forth between two jobs, never feeling like I was doing a good job at either. This also took a toll on my relationship with Sam, who I depended on to make dinner and then I would just immediately pass out after coming home and eating. We never spent any time together and I could tell it was bothering him. It was bothering me too obviously, but I was blinded by the masochistic need to be “good at my job” and be a productive millennial.
In July we moved out of our house in the South Wedge and into our new apartment near the public market. We moved on the hottest weekend of the year and I’ll tell ya, if you need to test your already stressed relationship, move houses in the heat by yourselves with no help. We were grumpy, hot, and dehydrated but when it was over we had this sort of post move euphoria where we flopped around our new loft like happy salmon, just thrilled to be there. Easily the best decision we made as a couple was to move into our loft. We love our loft. It’s also felt like our first “adult” apartment, where we weren’t just looking for the cheapest living situation but actually decided to buckle down and commit to a nice home to grow in.
The loft actually drove me to my next big make-or-break decision of 2018. Days ticked by and then weeks and I was just never able to unpack. Sam tried his best to unpack but I felt terrible for leaving it up to him while I spent all my time at work. Finally after being in the apartment for a month and feeling so frustrated at how beautiful the space was but living out of boxes, it broke me. I stepped back from my job at the Brainery into a smaller position which let me move back into a full time position at the Florist. I had no idea how much I needed the stability of a 9-5 (or 8 to 5:30 in my case) and just a little time off during the week to work on my own stuff. I still am working a roughly 50-60 hour week right now but the decision to foster my relationship with Sam and take care of our home before my “career” was the biggest decision I had to make this year. My mental stability immediately improved and had been on an upswing until, well, it wasn’t.
I spent all year working on launching Sablecraft. I have been making banners for months, tirelessly, just hoping it would be a worthwhile use of my time. It was a success, in my opinion, but after our first craft show in the end of November I just totally crashed. I’m bipolar, on meds, and generally pretty stable, but I fell hard into a depressive episode after using all of my energy to launch this small business. I was prepared to take care of this. What I wasn’t prepared for was the call I got on the 26th of November saying my Aunt Sheryl’s health had gone down hill and she was now in hospice care preparing to die with her family.
Have you ever been limping down the road, trying to keep going but maybe you have a sprained ankle or something? And then suddenly you get hit by a bus? That’s how I felt that week. My Aunt Sheryl just a week ago had announced to our family that she would no longer would be pursuing chemo treatment for her colorectal cancer. This was one huge shock for our family, but for her to go so far down hill and just a week left us all totally unprepared to deal with emotions long ignored in not only myself but in my family at large. I stumbled around at both of my jobs, making it work, going home to cry, swinging back and forth between feeling terrible and pretending not to feel terrible at work.
On the 9th of December I got the call that Sheryl had passed away at home with her family. I was about an hour into my work, prepared to work an 8 hour day at the Brainery when my mom called. I thought I would have been more emotionally prepared for it but I completely lost it right there at the front desk. I could honestly wax poetically for pages and pages about trying to grapple with the death of my aunt. I don’t know if it’s helpful for me to share all the things I’ve been thinking about, but coping with it has mostly boiled down to dealing with the anger I felt at the complete injustice in the situation. I don’t want to overshare my aunt’s life on the internet but she lived a short life pocked with tragedy I can’t even begin to fathom. She was kind, selfless, determined and had a beautiful family to live for. I’m still dealing with these feelings of frustration, and it’s emotional work I still need to do coming into the new year.
Halfway through writing this post I saved it as a draft for a week and in that time Sam’s grandmother died, I was in a car accident, and a very good friend lost his brother. At this point I’m kind of just standing in the middle of a long, dark road, holding my hands up in the air saying “what the fuck is going on?” I’m not even going to start on the fact that Christmas is an extremely difficult florist holiday and currently while finishing this post I’m curled up in bed icing my shin splints after working a long week with my dog and a glass of wine.
This post was supposed to be about what I learned this year. If I had to sum it up, I guess it just reiterated something I already knew to be true: life’s short and unbearably unfair. As a teen I tragically believed in fate and destiny and all that until it was snuffed out when I was 18. I stopped believing in any kind of greater plan, but I also think I secretly was holding out that losing my horse at 18 and shattering my heart into a million pieces would be my one “big hurt.” I’ve never put this into words before but I guess I thought every person was designated one “big hurt” and that was the thing they learned from and grew from and the rest of their life is judged by how they deal with that one thing. This year reaffirmed that lots of loves are big and lots of hurts are big too. I don’t think I’ll ever be as particularly shattered as when Roy died unexpectedly when I was 18, but I love Sam and our dog Jayne just as big now. I didn’t think that was possible. It hurt just as bad to know something deeply unfair had happened as a pillar of my family died before she had the chance to enjoy to rest of her life. There are many, many big hurts. I’m 25 years old and I still have (god willing and the creek don’t rise) 3 more of the life I’ve had. More big hurts are coming and no one is designated any peace in this life from pain.
This year also taught me my priorities. Yes, Sam and I still struggle with our finances. But that’s not an excuse to work to the point of exhaustion. Sam would still argue that I work way too much and I’d love to get to a place where I have more time to take care of myself and my family in 2019. I’d love to take care of a few things I’ve been putting off, telling myself I have loads of time to still do in my life. I’d like to finish the sleeve on my right arm, be more financially secure, start saving to get married (it’s okay guys, Sam doesn’t ever read my blog), work seriously on writing my graphic novel, be able to visit my best friend in Utah. The biggest thing I’d like to man up and do in 2019 is just to get on a horse. Even if it’s one time. I kept telling myself “oh I’ll get back into horses when I’m financially stable and less busy” but that’s a weak ass excuse not to do something that makes my blood sing. I’ll figure it out, but I can’t let the equestrian in me sit dormant inside me while I keep walking around pretending that that’s not who I am anymore.
I suppose if I have anything to tell you, my precious reader who has made it to the end of this long ass emotional blog post, is to do the things you tell yourself you’ll do later. Love harder now. Take the time to take care of yourself. Trust your gut and love fiercely while you can.
I will if you will.