Monthly Archives: December 2015
The first half of 2015 was pretty decent, with the exception of getting really sick twice. But it held a trip to the Keys, Syd’s tournament in Oklahoma (Here!), and my first ever trip to the west coast. (San Diego was phenomenal!)
The second half held surgery with complications and setbacks, a serious scare with my Ambassador, a death in my bio family, some serious work messes, and a stress level that never seemed to ease. There were a few bright spots including a weekend of shooting the most amazing fall colors I’ve ever seen, and a trip to meet up with family in Indianapolis.
It’s family that fills my mind as the year comes to a close.
A while back, the Scientist and I were meeting with our therapist, V. I don’t really remember the precursor to this, but I’d mentioned that no matter how hard I tried, nothing I did was ever good enough to win the approval of my parents. V nodded as I continued, “…but no matter how hard I tried to earn my place in that family…” and she did something that she’s never done before. She stopped me cold, interrupting me mid-sentence.
“Wait, wait, wait. Kel, do you hear yourself? Do you hear what you just said?”
“No. Just no. You do not earn your place in a family. That is not how family works.”
I guess I look confused, because she kept going.
“Answer me something. Your parents didn’t want you and let you know it quite clearly. You were molested by one family member. Another blamed you for it, telling a 6-year-old to pray for forgiveness and go to Catholic confession. Why exactly were you trying to earn a place in that?”
And I had no answer. It was like I’d forgotten how to form words.
It dawned on me that not only had I been doing this with my own family, but I’ve done it with the Scientist’s family, and with some of my friends. Years of conditioning made me not even realize I’d slipped into the habit of devaluing myself. What the hell was I doing?
Like V told me, “Family is the people who choose to be in your life and who you choose to have there. They love you for you, no exceptions.”
So for 2016, I’m choosing to focus on that. I no longer feel the need to waste time or energy on the people who don’t bring anything positive to my life. My inner circle hasn’t really changed in several years, but this doesn’t just include them. I’ve met some amazing people recently and the impact they’ve had on me is tangible. Their acceptance, their humor, their intellect all encourage me to just be me, and for that, I am exceedingly grateful.
Dog knows I don’t have enough of my own shit together to give advice to others, but I’m going to make an exception today.
This year, make your only resolution to love yourself. Enough with the crap from the media, the weight-loss industry, the self-help gurus. We’re all flawed. Learn to accept the person in the mirror and know in your heart that you don’t need to be what other people deem as acceptable.
Be at peace. Anything else just isn’t worth it.
It’s been an interesting year, I’ll say that. We’ve had some amazing highs and some dangerous lows in our family, and some of those lows will leave some scars for a long time to come.
I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been changed by some of the events of this year, but I’m also not going to pretend that those changes are all positive. If nothing else, I’m self aware enough to recognize my own character flaws, and honest enough to own them.
But I have had a few things in me change for the better, and I’d like to think I get to own those as well. I controlled my stress level a little better these past few months – not in that I didn’t get stressed, but that I channeled it more appropriately. Normally, I get stressed, and then I get more stressed, and when I finally take some time to just stop – WHAM. I get sick. My immune system sees the rest break as carte blanche to check out entirely. My ear/sinus/tonsil issues go into overdrive, and I’m laid out. I did have one pretty serious bout in June that included pneumonia as well, but the past 2 months have been insanely stressful, but I’ve managed to stave off the worst of the illness. It’s simmering, but I’ve worked hard to rest more, take time to slack off and do nothing – something I do not do well. I’ve swan-dived into my creative stuff by editing photos, making quilts, and designing some projects for Christmas gifts.
I’m also working to get tighter on my organization strategies to help with my AD/HD and focus. After the residual effects of the head injury proved themselves to be longer lasting than I’d hoped, I knew I needed to work within them instead of merely fighting against them. There’s still much work to be done there, but I’m making progress.
I wish I could say that it’s all been about growth and improvement. But we all know that’s not the way life works.
Within the layers of stress that have settled over this year, I’ve found myself withdrawing more into myself. I’ve retreated into this place that’s much more about observation than interaction. Part of that is what I consider “direct” in that the sheer amount of drama and occasionally stupidity I see in people with whom I interact regularly just makes me not want to engage. I’m exhausted from trying to understand the reasoning of people who are seriously enthusiastic about presidential candidates who seek to practically end women’s rights or increase racial divides until the walls are no longer able to be breached. The chasm of misunderstanding is dangerous now, and they seek to broaden it beyond the ability of those who strive to close it. On the “indirect” side, I’m also exhausted by contrived drama, passive aggressive bullshit, and other attention seeking posturing that I see every day. Since I have no intention of rising to the bait, I see no reason to maintain proximity. In short, my bullshit tolerance factor has hit negative numbers.
Physically, my surgery went ok, but a few accidental missteps have set back my recovery by several months. A whole new round of synovial injections were done, and now we wait. The effects of last year’s concussion have improved dramatically in 12 months, but they are by no means gone. My ability to read, especially out loud, is nearly normal again. My speech is nearly normal again, although I still lose words pretty often. My short term memory hiccups quite a bit, which is exceedingly frustrating, so I’m resorting to writing most things down either on paper or in my phone. I’ve gotten quite good at having lists!
The end of this year brought some gut wrenching emotions out in everyone in our family. We’re working through them together, and we’ll get there eventually. One really great thing that has come out of this is that we’ve welcomed a new grandcat. So now the Artist has Jax, the Professor has Newt, I have Jenks, and the Ambassador has Toph. The Scientist is not a cat person in general, but all of the cats love him, and he tolerates them. He does seem to love our Jenks, though. She adores him and even breaks her “no lap sitting” rule to help him when he’s gaming.
As the holiday season builds, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ll have some time off to work on a few projects around the house, rest my body and my head a bit, and spend some time with the family.
And as 2016 approaches, I have to say that I’m excited. Some amazing travel appears to be on the horizon, and that always makes me happy.
Here’s hoping the coming year brings everything you hope it will as well.