EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is the 4th in a series, intended as a space for the various authors and contributors of Embracing Ambiguity to reflect on the past year in each of their lives. 2014 has been a tumultuous year for each writer, from transitions and changes in the physical spaces they live in, to the internal turmoil of life changing decisions. Each post follows the general prompt of thinking back to where we stood one year prior, and the head space we were in at the time; reflecting on what has brought us to where we are now and the change that has occurred in that 365 days of time. Happy reading and an ambiguous 2015 to you!
I’ve been struggling a lot with writing about my past year. Feelings of discomfort overwhelm me with every effort, and I arm myself with words and filled pages to try and fight them back.
How quickly I fall pray to old habits.
Yet I continued to return to the keyboard, determined to write something about this past year. A year that brought so many tears, so much anger and resentment against it, such fear and frustration. I wanted to write something about it, but I didn’t know what. Or why.
My fingers struck keys like soldiers wielding swords, attempting to protect myself from the feelings and the everything that came over me every time I even thought about something to write about this past year.
How quickly I fall pray to old habits.
I wanted to write something, but I didn’t know what. Or why.
I think I understand now though.
Unknowingly, I had been trying to write a eulogy for this past year. I didn’t want the year to change, for me to wake up in 2015 and just move on. I couldn’t–can’t–just move on.
I couldn’t begin 2015 without properly mourning 2014.
2014 was a hard year. It brought many of my demons to the surface, despite my best efforts to have kept them hidden for the past 13 years. I learned, and am still learning, to differentiate between myself and these demons. To call them out when they act up, and to distance the blame, shame, and guilt that they bring with them. I learned what asking for help–and not on a math question–can look like. Help to get through the day, to find motivation, any reason, to do so. Help to listen to myself, and find worth in what I hear. Help to love, and be loved. I learned what all of this felt like, and even more so, that it is okay to feel it. The struggle, tears, and relief all tangled together in one terrifying and new and strange and comforting bundle. I learned that vulnerability is distinct from weakness. That self care is different from selfishness. That depression is not only sadness, and anxiety not only stress. I learned that I am worth fighting for.
I am still learning to believe it.
It was a hard year, not a magical one, after all.
Nearly every day of the past year, I learned and learned again, that life is painful. Life is exhausting and frustrating and sad. I have also learned that life is not always so hard, not always so terrible, not always so draining. I am still learning to value the fight for those good moments when the bad ones seem always around the corner, and always stronger, adapted to my new defences.
For each thought, each moment, each day that I lost to the stillness, the void, the emptiness, in 2014 and in the years that preceded it, I mourn.
And so I write a eulogy for 2014. I acknowledge my struggle, my losses, and I try to accept them. I hope that those dark moments of 2014 will be buried deep, never again to resurface. I want to never think about it again. I wish that my eyes will open in the morning and I will wonder if 2014 was just a bad dream. I want to believe that 2015 will bring joy and sunshine and renewal. Sure, I’ll squint in the beginning, but soon, soon my eyes will adjust. To the joy, the sunshine, the renewal.
Yet, that does not feel quite right. Not quite enough.
I continue to try to write something about this past year. I just don’t know what. Or why.
I hated 2014, with all of its hardships and suffering, but it is because of 2014 that I know I cannot cross my arms and blink it all away. There is no magic solution. And there is no moving on without taking with me what I have gained from it. This past year freed me from what could have otherwise been a lifetime of bondage to my demons. I know deep down that if I can survive 2014, I can survive anything. This fight for freedom that I have started, that I already have one year under my belt of, is the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I have hit rock bottom, and I am climbing back up.
I wanted to write something about this past year.
I had to memorialize 2014, make sure I in fact never forget it. So I never forget how far I have come and how hard it really was. So I never forget what shapes strength can take. What glimmers of sunlight feel like against my cheek amidst the darkest of days. So I never have to retrace my steps. And, if one day I do, I know the route, and who I want to bring with me for it.
And so I wanted to write something about this past year. I wanted to prove to myself, to show once more to the demons, that I am not hiding anymore. I am not letting my fears or discomforts prevent me from accomplishing what I know I can do. If I can survive 2014, I can survive anything.
I will not fall prey to my old habits today.
So long, 2014.