This past Wednesday I took a math test. That might not sound like such a big deal, but to a “storytelling” major who works full time and really loves taking naps, it was. I’ve put this test off for this entire year, knowing I needed to take it, but having absolutely no space in my head for ridiculous, idiotic, non-sensical and irrelevant (to me) math. Between November and December I finally buckled down and started studying. All I needed to pass was a 50, and I miraculously got a 53.
It’s that time of year again, the time when we all post sappy, self-serving, reflective posts on our year. And I’m no different. I’ve written a lot about this year, mostly about how bad it’s been. (Seriously, just scroll down a bit. There’s A LOT.) Which, to be fair, it was. Personally and on a world scale, this year was a dumpster fire. We learned that everyone in the dumpster is trash (I’m looking at you, Hollywood), and then everything went up in flames. Dumpster fire.
I have this predisposition that is sort of hard to describe. I mark upcoming events down on a calendar in my head, and whether they are big or small, I am not able to see past that date on the calendar until the thing is done. That’s sort of how this entire year has been for me. With this math test and the thought of finally finishing my FREAKING novel looming over me in my head, I was barely able to look past my toes. This also kept me from looking back, from truly reflecting. It’s been like calendar tunnel vision. But now, sitting on the other side of this math test, I am finally able to see all that I accomplished this year, and I feel like the calendar has been wiped clean. And yeah, it has, as we’re literally coming to the end of a calendar year, but it’s more than that. It’s like I can see straight again. I feel, and I’m saying this with complete and total honesty, free.
I was told repeatedly during this whole year that sometimes, years of your life are just stressful. I, of course, thought that was bullshit. Why couldn't I be incredibly stressed and also happy at the same time? Why couldn't I have it all? Looking back on the stress of this past year, I realize that I would've lessened the load immensely if I had just NOT TRIED TO HAVE IT ALL. Also, "having it all" is bullshit in itself. If I had not tried to be in balance all the time, I probably would've been a lot more balanced. Ah, the irony. But I also wouldn't have learned as much. And isn't that always the goal?
Looking back on this year, I realize I was sowing seeds for years to come. I put in the work this year. With my degree 95% done, I finally feel like I’m coming back to myself. The hard work is over. It’s time to make art and be happy again. Next year is the harvest. Next year, I will use the tools I gained while desperately trying to do the impossible (be in balance). Tools like: saying no, advocating for myself, and learning how to take time for myself. I will use those tools in combination with my less stressful schedule to do more of what I love, make more of what I love, and do what makes me happy.
I have recently come to the conclusion that I am fierce. Not like Sasha Fierce, though ordinarily I would say HELL YES to that comparison. No, I am fierce in that you could apply that adverb to every integral part of me. I am fiercely protective, fiercely loyal, fiercely hardworking, fiercely creative, fiercely devoted to remaining authentic and true to myself. And though I haven't loved every moment of this year, I am excited to be coming to these conclusions about myself at the end of it. So here I am, 2018. Tired, but stronger. Fierce and ready to welcome the harvest.