For the past few years, I have written a New Year’s Reflections post because I think it is important to look back on how we have changed and grown in that time period (the 365 days itself is arbitrary, but it serves its purpose as a unit to measure ourselves). This year, however, I was seriously considering not doing one because of how difficult the year had been, and how many failures I seemed to continuously come by. However, after thinking it over, I realized, as a writer, it would be wrong to do so, because writing isn’t necessarily about sharing happy endings (if it was, Hemingway would’ve been out of a job). It’s about trying to express some sort of truth we have come to know through personal experience, and about connecting with others. Sadness, loss, change, and death are all parts of our human condition. I had many ideas about how I wanted to do this entry, spanning from comedy to discussion about major world events. I’ve decided, however, to just share some simple thoughts and reflections.
Late January last year I ended a painful relationship, and in a sense most of my major growth this year stemmed from that ending. I learned that I was not the exception to the rule, and that I was not going to be exempt in life from the lessons that we are forced to learn when relationships don’t work out. I was pulled into a very bad place due to the vacuum that sprung from its collapse, and I had some very dark days. Thankfully, my family and my friends came to my aid, and honestly, most of that was just them being there to listen. The friends who let us cry as much as we need to, who watch us pity ourselves, the ones who see us continually make mistakes and fall, but do not walk away from us: those are the friends who will never waiver in their devotion to us. We do not see the strength of the bonds of friendship and love in the everyday mundane; rather, we see them in the dark times, when we are at our weakest and most pathetic.
I learned that nothing in this life lasts forever, not even the excruciating pain of infidelity and shattered ideals, although for a long time I never thought it would end, and I blamed myself for everything that had transpired. I lost weight, I exercised furiously, trying to “make myself better.” I had to be prettier, I had to be thinner, I had to be better. A voice inside repeated to me: I wasn’t good enough. I deserved to be treated the way I did because I wasn’t good enough. I was too demanding, I came with stipulations. It was all. my. fault.
Those are some of the thoughts that plagued me for months on end. Jealousy, anger, fear, and sadness made homes for themselves in the broken places of my heart. It was the complete loss of self in despair. I went to a very, very dark place. I wish I could say that I had a magic “ah-ha,” moment (well, in a sense, my run-in with Crazy Internet Mike DID help a few lightbulbs go off, oh Hey Mike!), but really, it was just the passage of time that allowed me to get to the point where I am now. I also wish that I could now say, on this first day of the New Year, everything in my life is all better, magically fixed by some cosmic super glue. I can say, however, that I am not in the place that I was five months ago, and that only through this hurt did I experience the true depths of love from others and the true meaning of compassion.
I can also say that I am finally at a place where I recognize the truth that relationships are hard, and oftentimes people will hurt us along the path. People are complex, and like I discussed in a previous post, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, not everyone views reality in the same manner, and just as they are under no obligation to treat us with dignity and respect, we are under no obligation to keep them in our lives. I think many of us become hung up on the idea that those who hurt us deserve to experience the “karma” of their actions. We need to let go of this flawed idea. In his book Hogfather, author Terry Pratchett writes:
…take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
We have no business “waiting on karma” for the other person. What occurs in our lives, versus what happens in our former significant others’ lives are two completely separate and unrelated things. We must cut ties so as not to constantly compare our journey with theirs. You aren’t weak for cutting ties; you are strong in that you recognize the path to self-recovery.
I want to say, THANK YOU, to Natalie Lue over at Baggage Reclaim; without her words of wisdom I would have not come to peace with myself. We must always remain true to ourselves and to our morals and boundaries. If people challenge those, it’s time to say, “So long!” Remember, how people treat you is a reflection of who THEY are; not who YOU are.
I chose the Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac (one of his poems) as the theme for the entry because the idea of something beautiful coming from an impossible place is how I want to enter 2015. The idea that life can still flourish in difficult situations is one that I want to hold dear for the next 365 days.
I hope 2015 brings peace to us all. Weirdmaste, my friends