This past year has been one of the most emotionally and physically stressful in my life. I lived on my own, I dealt with an insane work schedule in combination with school, and learned how to be an adult. In comparison to this last year, I feel like any sort of normalcy will be pretty freaking sweet. I learned how to take control of my mental health, take responsibility for it, and deal with the not so pretty stigmas that come with it, especially while working a full-time job.
Recently, I was told that I’d have to return to working Saturdays as we are transitioning back to our fall hours. I panicked. I don’t feel like I’ve been keeping it together very well lately, yet it is significantly better than what would be occurring if I didn’t have Saturdays off this summer. So I got a letter from my therapist explaining that I need the weekends off for school work and for my mental health. Even though I’m happy that it worked, I feel bad that I had to do that. With mental illness, there’s always this fear that we’re faking it. I know that I’m not. I know what not having weekends did to me in the spring. I know how low I got, and that is a very real low. As I explained to my bosses, I can’t do that to myself again, and I can’t do that to my family and friends again. It was incredibly hard to stand strong long enough to see this thing through. To hold my ground even when I felt their annoyance at the inconvenience my leaving Saturdays presented. But I know that this is what I need to do in order to make it through school, in order to deal with all of the ups and downs in my life, in order to kick ass at my job.
I love my job. It has taken me a year to admit that, but I do. I love doing social media, I’m actually really good at helping people download library books onto their electronic devices, and I love coming up with innovative ideas and programs to make the library better for people. This is not what I want to do with my life, but it is rewarding work, especially considering the political climate. This feels like a safe haven for information. Everyone who works here, regardless of their political party or affiliation, believes that everyone deserves rights, and the right to information the most. It feels politically gratifying to be putting information into people’s hands for my job, to show them that even though this world is scary as hell right now, we are a safe haven for all people. Everyone deserves to be informed, and everyone can be at the library. That honestly feels good. Of course it has been hard to navigate the work-life balance. I’m not the kind of person to be grateful for pain. By now I have established that on this blog. But I am ever-so-slightly glad for what I’ve gone through this past year, because now I know how to be in balance. I know what I need to do, I see the end in sight, and I’ve learned how to stand up for myself in almost every situation in the meantime. This has been a truly transformative year. This time last year, I was taking an incredible leap. Now I feel like I’m finally starting to get my footing post-leap. I am a foundation girl, a girl who loves to be in balance, who loves when the gears are working and everything is flowing. It is just beginning to feel that way again. I have made incredible friends at this new job, who understand and support me, who I feel like I can truly talk to. I have strengthened my relationship with Eli, with myself, with my body and my health. I have floated away from my creativity at times, but I always float back.
September always brings up memories for me, and I usually spend the month riding the waves of nostalgia, grief, and elation. Right now, I am marveling at the fact that this time last year, I was taking a huge chance. Now, I have just watched my best friend get married, I have finished my book and am querying agents, and I am much more certain of what I am doing. There are still things I’m trying to get a handle on. Where I’m living and how to control my mental health, for example. But I’m also marveling at the fact that this September marks the four year anniversary of my car accident, and the two year anniversary of my relationship with Eli, both of which happen to be on the same day. When I got in that accident, I thought it would be a day I’d dread forever. I realized with a shock the other morning that I am looking forward to September 24th, my anniversary, and hadn’t remembered that it is also the day my life changed. I love when things come full circle. I love when dates take on new meaning. I never would have imagined that when this thing happened, I’d one day come to look forward to that day. It isn’t because everything happens for a reason, although I do see the ways in which my life is always informed by that day. “The past dictates the future,” as David Lynch noted on the recent season finale of Twin Peaks: The Return. But the future also informs the past. My life was changed on September 24th, 2013. It was changed again on September 24th, 2015, and I suspect it will continue to change on that day, because it now holds some mystical, otherworldly meaning in my life. The 24th is the day on which my life changes. That’s cool. I know that now. My head is swimming with Twin Peaks references right now, because the finale haunted me so. What I am most struck by is the theme of trauma- that we can never escape it. We are running in circles away from it, but it always comes back.
But now, I find myself called back to September 2015 more than September 2013. The nostalgia of that day holds so much more weight than the dark memories of 2013. Last week, Eli and I saw the new Nancy Meyers movie, Home Again. Driving there I was swimming in memories of the night we went on what could pretty much be classified as our first date. I went to Starbucks the day after we started dating, to visit him. He gave me a free Passion Tea Lemonade, as always, and we discussed what we would do that night. He asked if I wanted to go to the movies, to see a movie our friend Lottie had recommended. The Intern. I said sure, having no idea what the movie was even about, but knowing that if Lottie liked it and Eli was going to be there, I was in. What followed was one of my favorite romantic comedies and one of the best watching experiences of my life. I spent the entire movie frozen with fear that Eli would hold my hand. I wanted him to, but we hadn’t, and holy shit how fifth grade was that? After the movie, we went to a park and sat and talked. He said, “I don’t want to- you’re so feminist. You’re such a strong independent woman, and I don’t ever want to take that away from you, like the guy in the movie.” I know, right? Our first date, and he’s telling me he’s here for my feminism. Spoiler alert: we did hold hands that night. And last week, when we saw Home Again, we held hands the entire time, and I wasn't even nervous about it.
P.S.- Sorry it's been a month since I've written a post...I was finishing my book!