It’s been forever since I’ve posted to this thing. 2012 was . . . quite a year, to put it mildly. I didn’t believe in all that “end of the world” nonsense until I was about halfway through the year, when I started seriously questioning whether there was something to the idea that 2012 was the end of the world as we know it, if not a literal apocalypse. Just about everything got shaken up, and not only for me — it was a trend I noticed in the lives of damned near everybody I know. The old order was thrown out, and a new order established itself.
I know it’s awfully late for a 2012 summary post, but these thoughts have been percolating in my head and trying to get out for almost a month now, and, well, better late than never. The condensed explanation for my absence (from this blog, anyway) goes like this: major abdominal pains beginning in February, an unnecessarily drawn-out process to figure out what the problem was that included two major surgeries, the removal of two cantaloupe-sized tumors engulfing both my ovaries (which also meant removing my ovaries, along with my greater omentum and appendix, both of which had pre-cancerous cells on them) in May, healing up all throughout June, finding out that a beloved former voice teacher of mine also had cancer, a couple of cancer scares with a couple of friends, health issues with other family members, quite a few people whom I either knew personally or know people who were close to them dying of various causes (cancer being the cause for some of them, because apparently 2012 was the year for cancer-related issues), close friendships of mine that had lasted for years suddenly splitting up with no warning, jobs coming and going, and my heart getting broken way too often for way too many reasons.
So yeah, I haven’t exactly had the energy to do much more than post things on Facebook, as far as the Internet has been concerned.
Nevertheless, I learned a hell of a lot last year. And as painful as some of those lessons were, I’m better for having learned them; I certainly know more about myself than I did before, and quite a bit about how other people work, too. So here are some of those lessons that I either learned for the first time or had reinforced, in no particular order:
– When you’re suffering from a major, potentially life-threatening illness — like cancer, for instance — you find out who really gives a damn about you.
– Unfortunately, you don’t find out about some of them until after it’s over, and that’s when it can really suck.
– I’m not the politely tolerated burden to my family that I always thought I was.
– It’s one thing to be betrayed by your blood family. To be betrayed by your chosen family, however, is infinitely more painful.
– The grass is not greener on the other side.
– Every single time I ignore my intuition, I get into trouble. Every. Single. Time.
– Intuition and lizard-brain paranoia look and feel very similar. However, if you’re trying to find reasons to stay in a situation instead of finding reasons to leave it, there’s a pretty good chance it’s your gut trying to tell you something, not lizard brain freaking out.
– Ignoring a couple of red flags here and there is not a good idea. Ignoring or trying to rationalize red flags for years can only end in explosive disaster. When you’re one of only a couple of people who’s stuck around after literally everybody else has headed for the hills, mostly independently of each other and all for the same reasons, you should probably start seriously thinking about why that might be happening. Hint: it’s probably not because you’re one of the only people who truly understands the person or thing to which you’ve been loyal.
– Being treated badly by someone really makes you appreciate the people who have treated you well.
– My boyfriend may drive me batshit crazy sometimes, but he’s still the best partner I could have asked for, and I will never take him for granted.
– “All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.” — Cyril Connolly
– Some periods of time — years, for instance — are about moving forward. Others are about battening down the hatches and waiting for the storm to clear, about simply enduring.
– However, doing your best to endure is no excuse for thoughtlessly hurting other people. You either give a damn about someone besides yourself, or you don’t. And there is not a single thing that can excuse the latter.
– That being said, certain first offenses are more forgivable than others, and someone who actually cares about you as a person should be willing to work it out. If said someone isn’t willing to work it out the first time you hit a bump in the road, that’s a pretty good indication that zie wasn’t worth getting so worked up over in the first place.
– Some offenses really do cross the forgiveness event horizon. They’re few in number, but they exist. At least, they shouldn’t be forgiven, unless your greatest aspiration in life is to be hurt over and over again.
– You really are the company you keep. Guilt by association isn’t always complete bullshit.
– I’m at a point in my life where I need stability a lot more than I need excitement or perfect fulfillment. This is especially true for my career goals: as much as I love bartending, I’m not at a place in my life where I can deal with the general instability of the restaurant/bar industry without putting the rest of my life on hold — including school. Maybe that will change in the future. But right now, my needs are what they are, even if they’re not what I wish they were.
– I need to play more video games. My geek cred has been slipping over the past several years. And quite frankly, books and movies can only take you so far into another world (much as I adore books!); there are times when being an active participant is far and away more satisfying than being a passive observer.
– While I wouldn’t say I’m a passive observer in the rest of my life, I could stand to be even more of an active participant in it than I already am. Letting go of my nigh-paralyzing fear of inconveniencing, burdening, or steamrolling other people will be a good start.
– Sometimes, even when you do everything “right”, you still get fucked over. There actually are cases in which one party is entirely at fault for how things went down, and searching for some measure of equality by finding reasons to blame yourself in fact only perpetuates the unfairness of the situation. There comes a point where it’s okay to stop asking what you could have done better; sometimes, there really is nothing.
– Endings are frightening as fuck. But “frightening” is not always a synonym for “bad”.
– Even when you’re better off for something having ended, you’re probably still going to mourn it in some way. You might mourn a single aspect of it, or some aspects, or all of it. You might mourn in a subtle way, or in a far more encompassing way. All of these ways of mourning are okay, and beating yourself up for not being able to completely move on within a certain timeframe will only prolong the process.
– It’s okay to want justice, no matter what your religion, somebody else’s religion, or popular opinion says to the contrary. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should try to serve it yourself, but wanting it and hoping for it are not wrong. To want justice is to affirm your belief that the forces of good should ultimately prevail.
– Still, some things — and people — don’t deserve to be held onto.
– You don’t have to have faith that the bastards will get what’s coming to them, because it’s not a matter of faith, but of probability: you can’t be shitty to person after person after person without eventually pissing off someone who will make you pay for it. The bastards might even piss off the wrong people over and over again, all the while wondering why on earth everything keeps going wrong for them. This fact has helped me sleep many a night.
– It’s worth figuring out whether you’re reacting badly to another person because you’re seeing someone else who hurt you in them, rather than because they’re actually mistreating you.
– People who say “I’m not afraid to be honest” to excuse being rude and hurtful to other people are actually cowards. They’re deliberately rude because it’s a more socially acceptable way of taking out their aggression than straight-up punching their targets in the face. Even though, you know, punching people in the face is more honest than trying to pass off unnecessarily blunt comments as “having the courage to be honest”. (Not that I’m advocating punching people in the face. What I’m advocating is not being an ass to other people in the first place.)
– Haters gonna hate. When they hate, it about them, not you. Do your best not to take it personally.
– When the truth hurts, it becomes all the more imperative to deliver it with as much compassion and concern as you can possibly muster. Piling more hurt on top of what already hurts can only backfire.
– 2012 was especially hard on a whole lot of people. None of us are alone in having suffered.
– Even when you feel like you’re all alone, no one is ever alone. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting yourself and your pain out there, so that the people who share in your pain will see you and come to you. And sometimes it’s a matter of letting yourself see that you’re not alone, of not resisting the people who are with you.
So I’m still here. 2012 tried valiantly to break me, but it failed. And two weeks into the new year, the whole world feels lighter, cleaner, freer.
Let’s all make 2013 a better one, shall we?