Friday, January 1, 2016

An Open Letter to 2015

As the new year begins, I find myself caught up in the typical end-of-the-year reflections, mostly thanking the fuck out of the Universe that 2015 is over. Please trust I am everyday grateful that I am alive and able to live each day to it's fullest, that I have an abundance of family and friends who know me better than I know myself, and that I am (finally) employed at a job I do not vehemently hate every second of. That being said, this past year certainly gave 2014 a run for its money.
It's natural, then, to look back and bid adieu to all the fucked up shit that happened in 2015. Taking this reflection a step further, I have decided to address the main source of my discontent in 2015: my bad attitude. Because, basically, it all comes down to that. After 2014 proved to be misstep after misstep, I expected the Universe to grant me a break, without even considering my role in the equation. I assumed 32 essentially good (at worst decent) years + 1 tough year = I deserve all the things. But that, my darlings, is not how Life works. Life just is-it gives and it takes in a cycle that most of us pay little attention to. And when Life takes, the outcome depends almost entirely on our reaction to it. Pissing and moaning, blaming others, exclaiming "I'm cursed!" (something I am ashamed to admit I have said more than once in 2015), and throwing hissy fits is not going to force Life to give back, it's just going to make the situation that much harder to accept. 

I have even gone so far as to declare: "In the past two years, I can't seem to have more than 2 or 3 days of peace without the rug being pulled out from under me." Now, as extreme as that may seem, it's actually fairly accurate situation-wise, BUT it didn't have to accurately describe my attitude. Instead, I let each situation puncture me, seep into my veins, and (worse of all) define me. I'm going to say that again: I let those bad days, awful situations, and heartbreaking moments DEFINE me. For two fucking years. Me! The person who always thought of herself as spiritual, positive, affirming, compassionate, understanding, open, "silver lining" adjacent.

I had become cynical, sardonic, skeptical, smug, bitter, jaded. All these alarming adjectives I never could have imagined associated with myself. And not because I've never felt these feelings in my life, of course I have, but never for so long, unrelenting to the point of attempting to forge itself into my core, my very soul. And I was afraid there was no way back. As scary and dark as these feelings were, I experienced a sense of superiority. Equivalent to the moment I asked my mother (at age 9) if there was really a Santa Claus and she confirmed there wasn't. The magic was gone, but I felt eerily superior, enlightened, "better." That is precisely the feeling I have held onto for two years, each day growing stronger: The magic was gone, but I felt eerily superior. Like I knew the "real" meaning of Life and everyone who was positive and happy was being duped. Trust, I recognize how absolutely miserable that sounds.

The magic I am referring to is the wonder of Life. The fascination of connecting with people, sharing common goals, allowing your heart to love, being open to hurt, putting yourself "out there." Everything I had come to love about Life, I was now belittling and demeaning. And it has affected my psyche, my heart, my well-being, and, most tragically, my soul.

Sure, I could blame dysfunctional relationships (I've had my fair share!), a crazy family (check!), unsupportive partners (yep!), career burn-out (yes, ma'am!), or a strong case of wanderlust (Lord, yes!) OR I could look at the preceding reasons and conclude my poor attitude likely played a large part in each of those areas, as well. Had I been more confident, comfortable in my skin, and trusting I wouldn't have sought out partners, careers, and locations that would eventually disappoint, most through no fault of their own. (Especially since I am not the only human on this planet who has ever experienced the previous.)

So, 2015, you have given me many opportunities to face who I really am, even when it hurt. You have given me reasons to cry and scream and shut down from the people closest to me. You have given me grief and struggle, but also resilience and hope. In truth, last year was never about you and Life conspiring against me, it has always been about you giving me reasons to trust Life loves me and gives me exactly what I need, exactly when I need it. I can't promise my attitude will magically alter today, I can't even promise to go back to the wide-eyed optimist I was in my 20's, but I can promise not to give up, not to succumb to the bitterness, not to expect the worst from people. I can promise to try harder, laugh more, take Life (and everything!) less seriously while I am blessed enough to be here on this planet. In closing, 2015, you gave much more than you took, because you gave me a purpose, you pushed me to my breaking point and trusted I would find my way back. And I am beginning to. Thank you.