I’m sure your blog feed, Facebook wall, and whatever other social media you may look at has been flooded with new year’s resolutions, surely that market is saturated now, so I promise you this is not one of those.
On the last day of 2015 I read a post about choosing a word to use as a theme for the year as an alternative to making a resolution. It was an excellent post but when I read it I thought it sounded a little cheesy for my taste (I love cheese but cheesiness, not so much). The word you choose is supposed to capture the essence of the year or embody a quality that you want your life to have over the year. Or something like that. Then you write the word on a candle and put it by your bed or something. Based on my excessive use of “or something” it’s safe to assume that I’m very broadly paraphrasing here. In the comments of the post it was mentioned that ideally the word should just come to you in a magic cloud of inspiration, maybe on a moonbeam or a ray of light. Again, paraphrasing. It’s a nice concept but you see what I mean about it being a little cheesy right? My typically
cynical skeptical self read all this and scoffed a little. Inspirational theme words, psh.
But then a weird thing happened on New Year’s Day.
I was driving home from the usual type of New Year’s Eve festivities feeling a little wobbly of head when I slid around on the freeway just a tiny bit. It was a warning slide; I heeded and drove like a near sighted grandma the rest of the way home. I was cautious, maybe excessively so. Generally speaking I’m not sure I can be considered a cautious person, but when it comes to driving on bad roads my motto is Slow and steady keeps you safe. Or Go around me, you fucking asshole, there are three lanes here! As I was crawling (okay, going between 50 and 65 mph) along the freeway I began to question whether it was actually necessary to be going quite that slow. Maybe I truly was being ridiculously overly cautious, maybe a little paranoid. I couldn’t really tell though and wasn’t sure I wanted to take a chance and go faster. I seriously doubted my ability to judge the state of the roads in that moment. And that right there is how I’ve felt about everything the past few months: I have seriously doubted my ability to… I don’t even know…
Somehow in the last half of 2015 I lost my faith. I’m not talking about religious faith or faith in a belief system (though that has been seriously faltering as well), I’m talking about something that’s kind of like confidence but runs a little deeper. Something that supports the foundation and this past year it’s gotten a little cracked. I saw it during the microbiology class that was so tough for me this past semester. It really should not have been that bad but even when I knew the answers and had a grasp of the material, albeit a tenuous one most the time, I chose the wrong answers on tests. Over and over. I didn’t trust myself and because of that ignored my instincts. I had no faith in my intelligence, no confidence in my knowledge. I have doubted myself, not just academically this year but across the board. I’m sure this has something to do with being back in court with the ex husband. It’s not easy to sit quietly and listen to your parenting abilities and your personal integrity be attack. Even knowing the bombardment is one built on exaggerations, faulty perception, and flat out lies doesn’t help in the moment. That combined with my past dealings with the family court system leave me feeling scared. The most important situation in my life is being evaluated, so much is at stake, and it’s almost completely out of my hands. I’m probably doing something to fuck up the small part that’s not. My lack of organization, my lack of foresight, or something else I’m missing or just not doing will probably bite me in the ass and cost me more than I even care to think about losing. Not only do I have no faith in myself but my faith in the system is totally shot. That belief that everything will work out one way or another and that we’ll all be okay is gone. I need to find a way to restore some semblance of that. I need to be able to trust that things will work out, that people are okay, that the system can and does work, that I am competent and capable of handling what’s being thrown my way (or what I’m choosing to pile on top of that). You can’t have trust without faith so my Not Resolution this year, my word for the year, is faith…find faith.
When I was standing here a year ago looking back I was able to say that 2014 had been monumental. As I look back at 2015 I’m not really sure what to think. In some ways all I did was maintain this year and often barely even that. No huge changes, just day to day. Work, kids, school, and a feeble attempt at dating (that ended in me realizing that I just shouldn’t actively try to date right now). That’s it. It’s tempting to regard the year with disappointment but I know that’s not entirely fair to myself because even in the maintaining there is growth. It’s not leaps and bounds growth but slow, steady development, the kind where you maybe don’t realize is happening at the time but when you glance back to where you were you can see how far you’ve come. Outwardly my life doesn’t look much different than it did a year ago (other than the court bullshit) but through the process of navigating my day to day I’ve identified some of the ghosts at the back of my closet (to employ the phrasing of The Mountain Goats). Now it’s time to eradicate them, to burn the fucking house down (so to speak), to forgive some of the difficult things about myself and move on.
Okay, I guess this was a resolution post after all. You’re just going to have to deal with that. Next time I’ll write a post about running or making something. It’ll be lighter, more fun…maybe.