grateful & great-full

End of the year, and I’m taking stock. 2009’s been one helluva ride, filled with the most amazing events and people. Both positive and negative. It’s mostly here, so I’m not going to re-cap, just a quick sketch-up of what’s been featuring most prominently in my mental:

I both underestimate my capabilities and at the same time, overestimate my capacities for what I am able to handle. The last three months have been the most mentally challenging of my life, hands-down-no-question-about-it. I was so completely sideswiped with a brutal reality check: I can no longer live my life the way that I have been. Things need to change.

I don’t remember the last time that my life had any routine or structure. There was some semblance when I worked in an office, but I had been brought in as a renegade, someone to bring in fresh thoughts and ideas, and so many allowances were made for me. The first structure to go was hours of work: as long as I put in at least the required amount of hours (which I often exceeded), and as long as all my deadlines were met to a predetermined level of satisfaction (which they were), I was free to start and finish my day when I chose. So, I really haven’t ever as an adult had a fixed, dependable schedule. I eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tired, and book my appointments and meetings around those two needs. This now has to change, and trying to adapt into a routine of any kind is going to be challenging, to say the least. But it has to happen – I need to find a more efficient way of managing my time. And it’s not even about getting more done, it’s about having more free time to engage in leisure activities, visit with friends, go to galleries, shows, concerts, etc.

This leads into the second thing that’s been on my mind; my community is incredibly important to me, but I’ve sort of been MIA on that front. I haven’t had the time or energy, being completely overtaken by the undertaking (and Darkness, more on that in a bit). I need to be more present and more active in my community. A special thank you goes to those who kept on checking up on me when I was AWOL, the ones who brought food over and made sure I got the time I needed, the ones who never got mad when it took me too long to call them back, and especially to the ones who really listened to me. I need no one but you. I want no one but you. And in return, I need to step up to my community.

I’ve been living with Darkness for as long as I can remember. I didn’t know what was going on before, but for the last couple of years, I have known. And apart from the power that knowing has given me, I haven’t done much to reduce my experiences. Naming something is incredible, but not acting on that knowledge means that it’s useless. I go through cycles – things get progressively darker, and I’m so oblivious that I don’t notice what’s going on until I start breaking things, cowering and hiding until I scream the Darkness away and things get lighter. I can’t go on like this – it’s damaging to me personally, and hurtful to those closest to me who end up dealing with it too. So things have to change on this front too. I’ve spoken with professionals about my options, and I know what’s available to me. It’s just a matter of setting things up so I am able to help myself into a better, brighter place.

Friendship has changed, shifted. This year, thanks to one disappointment after the other, I’ve learned that I expect too much from people. And I give too much to people. I got jaded for a while, stopped expecting, but that’s not fair to the people who work in relationships. I’m changing how I define and view friendship, I used to be ride-or-die, now I only am if I know I’m getting the same in response. I’ve also shifted how I perceive people, away from their words and toward their actions. I know whose got my back out there, and I also know who I want to have my back. It messed me up for a minute, the transformations in a couple of relationships that I had thought were solid, and I’m now on a different track. When I was younger, an older friend told me that she categorized her relationships based on what the other person was able to give. At the time, I thought she was being callous and opportunistic; now I finally see the truth in what she was saying. I’m learning that maybe people aren’t able to deliver what I expect from them, and that my disappointment becomes unfair to them. I’m also learning I can’t expect from others what they expect from me, and I don’t like that. I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that I’m expected to adhere to a moral code only inasmuch as it doesn’t affect others. And I’m also learning that I have a really hard time dealing with other people’s selfishness. Which ultimately means I need to deal with my own selfishness. Yeah, like I really needed more harsh lessons to learn. This year’s been all about personal growth.

I believe that I’m nearing the end of a major transformation. I now have to focus my energy on completing my discovery of who I want to be, how I want to be seen, and what – internally and externally – would make me happy. I know that I’m nearing a place where this knowledge is both crucial to my survival and essential for the next phase of my life.

When looking at this past year overall, it’s been great, but challenging. The few positive things that have happened have been momentous in their significance, and have been and will continue to outweigh the hard times of this past year.

I’m grateful for 2009 and I’m looking forward to 2010 being great-full.

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There’s more I need to write, several things that have been so crucial to this year, but haven’t been included above. These include: my own personal ideas of nationality, citizenship, homesickness; family, both blood and acquired, current and future; partnership and support; heritage and legacy; and my own work as a writer. Soon come.

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