“Looking back is important. Just don’t dwell on it. Or chances are you’ll get hit by a bus.” - RL
That’s my inspirational quote for you to wrap up 2017:) I do believe it’s important to reflect. I do believe it’s important and healthy to mark the passing of time. I just don’t believe it’s healthy to dwell too long on the what has already happened and cannot be changed. So in the spirit of a way of life that began in 2017 for me…”This Is Me”...last year. May it encourage you in your story.
It was a year of looking in the mirror for me. Figuring out who I am, facing who I am, coming to terms with who I am. I could ramble on and on going into the minutiae of my failures and successes, but that would require I write a book(maybe one day, but not today). So here is one thing I did not do well, and one thing I did well. Hopefully you can relate.
I am an introvert by nature. Which is a wonderful thing! The world cannot work properly without both introverts AND extroverts(no matter what the extroverts tell you:). The trouble this past year came from me being an introvert with serious mental health issues that hit a peak in severity. It was paralyzing(in the spirit of shortish form blog writing I won’t get into the details. BUT, if you read this and want to talk, please, reach out). For every hour I spent outside in the public I spent hours upon hours hiding in my basement, alone. A lot of the time I spent outside my home was spent with earplugs in, secretly taking a lot of “bathroom” breaks.
What I did not do well this year was lean on the people around me, engage my friends, trust my relationships. It’s hard when you feel messed up all the time to reach out. It feels like you don’t deserve relationship. My thoughts always came back to “they’ve got enough going on in their lives without me sharing my crap”. Funny thing is, I want other people to open up and share their stories with me, no matter how I’m feeling. I love and want to help my friends! Chances are, they want to do the same for me.
So, I did not do well this year at leaning on the people around me, engaging my friends, and trusting my relationships. I’ve got some amazing people around me, in 2018, I’m going to lean in and foster relationship!
Alright, here’s what I did do well this year. I opened up. I faced myself. I was ‘consciously vulnerable’. That statement ‘consciously vulnerable’ shaped a lot of my year. It means that I had to choose, daily to be vulnerable, to open up and face myself. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because often, I don’t particularly like myself. I don’t like the shape of my body(I mean I had to start wearing a medium instead of a small! Even a large in some cases. Even typing the word large makes my skin crawl), I don’t like my face, I don’t like my voice, I don’t believe my story has merit, etc, etc. All of which, are lies, made to seem true by mental illness and an unhealthy view of the world around me. But you now what, choosing “conscious vulnerability” has begun the path to wellness for me.
It hurt, SO MUCH, to admit that I couldn't function anymore, it hurt SO MUCH to have to go to my bosses and explain my story and then go on short term disability, it hurt SO MUCH to turn down invitation after invitation from friends and family, it hurt SO MUCH to tell my wife and son no, time after time, because saying yes may have killed me.
Oh but the BRIGHT SIDE my friends! THE BRIGHT SIDE! I made the best piece of art I’ve ever made in LIGHT > DARK, I played the best and most honest show I’ve ever played, I feel more rested than I have in a long time, I’m able to pull on a medium to large t-shirt without feeling a paralyzing self hatred, my son and I’s relationship has deepened, my wife and I are doing much better(I still need some work on the husbandry thing!), I have some very good friends who really really know me, friends that I don’t have to pretend around. The list could go on and on with small things, maybe insignificant to some, but not to me.
So as we turn the page to 2018, take the time to reflect. The passing of time is significant. Celebrate the good, acknowledge and accept the bad, then step off the curb into a new chapter. With your head up, knowing you are not alone, you are never alone. At the very least, you’ve got me to talk to, seriously, if you need to, reach out.
PS. Don’t get hit by a bus:)
special thanks to Melissa Langlois, Jonah Langlois, Heath and Shauna West