Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflections On A Year Past

Last year I wrote this not-so-inspiring list of resolutions for myself in 2012.  I probably should have included surviving the predicted end of the world on that list.  I did survive the predicted end of the world, by the way.  In case anyone was worried.  Looking back at last January and the goals that I set, I find that while I was more successful in some areas than others, the biggest things that were nagging at me as 2011 ended are no longer issues this year as I find 2012 coming to a close.  I think that, more than anything, I've been able to make peace with myself over this past year.  Not one of those super awesome inner peace feelings where you're suddenly super confident and know what to do in all situations, but the kind that at least makes you realize that being yourself isn't as bad as you've been led to believe.  I realized this year that I've spent a lot of time allowing others to dictate my self-worth for me.  I took their poor behavior and mistreatment of me as a sign that I was somehow broken, or wrong, or ill fitted for the world I was living in, and it made me feel terrible.  I let myself believe that when others were bad friends who simply stopped speaking to me for months at a time, or when my values were criticized, or when my world outlook didn't fit what someone else thought it should be, that the problem was rooted somewhere deep within myself, and I was in the wrong.  I never allowed myself to think that someone being a terrible friend was perhaps their fault, or that my values not fitting what someone else believed they should be was a problem they had with my value system, not an actual problem with me.  I had gone so long believing that I wasn't worthy of anything good, that I think I stopped looking for anything good to happen, or for anyone to treat me as a true friend instead of someone they needed to "fix" or change.  I am not broken.  I. Am. Not. Broken.

Making that journey this year has been terrifying and liberating.  It has given me the strength to remove those who do not deserve a place in my life, no matter how close they were to my heart at one time.  It has given me the strength to stand up for myself, to refuse to be bullied, and to refuse to constantly bend and reshape to be who someone else thinks I should be, because it is easier for them.  It has also opened my eyes to some really wonderful people who have never asked me to be anything more or less than what I am, and that removing someone bad doesn't mean that no one else will fill the hole.  I realize now that those who truly care about you are those you know are there in a pinch, who share your joys and your sorrows, your ups and downs, and if there is someone out there who does not fulfill that then it's ok to move on and find others who will.

This year has, without a doubt, been a struggle.  My family has been slandered, ridiculed, betrayed, mistreated and hurt beyond measure.  Wounds have been open that I'm not sure will ever really heal, and there are voids in our lives that are not easily filled.  I miss our work with the drama department daily, and I love those children as much as I possibly can, but I'm slowly accepting that there are things that will never be changed, no matter how unjust they are.  It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's the only one we're being prescribed lately so I feel like I either have to accept it or go mad.  This incident coupled with struggles at work, which have led to struggles at home has made me open my arms to a new year and a fresh start, and a new hope that just as the rug has been so swiftly pulled out from under us in the past, it can just as swiftly be replaced with a newer, better rug that sticks around for a good long time.

To be truthful though, despite the struggles and despite the discontent that has hovered at the edge of our lives throughout this past year, there have been some very beautiful bright spots.  The addition of Jasmine to our family has been one of my favorite things about this past year.  She made a transition into our lives as seamlessly as if she was meant to be there all along.  She plays the roles of daughter, sister, and friend every day, and she fills our lives with her eternal optimism and her cheerful nature.  I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want her around all the time.  She brings light wherever she goes.  I  am so glad we have been able to help her along her journey into adulthood.  With Jasmine we have also added this quirky group to our lives that are like a second family.  We have taken a house and made it a home with the addition of people to our lives that have been around a long time, but now suddenly feel permanent and make us feel whole.  We now have former students who are just as dear to us as our own relatives, and it's really quite an amazing feeling.  Beyond that, we have been able to enjoy time with friends and family more this year than usual, since we're not constantly busy working on a show for someone else.  We have been able to expand our theater company, and perform more shows than expected.  We have been able to travel a little, and share our home with so many people who just needed a safe haven for a little while.  And movie club, which is awesome.  These bright points in a year that has felt dismal are really what has kept me going, and kept me moving forward toward something better, something happier, something that is out there waiting to be found.  I hope we find it.

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