Next month, it will be one year since my divorce was finalized.
I moved halfway across the country and began a new job one year and three months ago.
I moved into my current, cozy little studio apartment with my dumpstercat Chet one year ago this week.
I began casually dating eight months ago, convinced that I wanted to “play the field” and try out “ethical non-monogamy.”
About five months ago, I began dating this super cool guy, and about three months ago, I realized that I had no interest in non-monogamy or “playing the field” anymore and I was perfectly content to be in a “real” relationship again. No anxiety about what I could be missing, etc. And no weird residual hangups about my divorce. It’s pretty awesome.
I have settled into my new life. My New Normal. Nestled into the cozy reliability of a routine, a steady paycheck, a great health insurance plan (for now…), a place of my own, and reliable snuggles.
If you read my most recent post, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with how to balance activism and staying informed about the current state of events in our country with my own mental health.
I struggle with whether or not I’m just using it as a crutch or an excuse. I struggle with guilt in not participating in ways others are.
As the Women’s March approached, I wrestled in my mind with it. While I now live less than 100 miles from Washington D.C., I am nowhere near my amazing, strong feminist friends. And I have pretty crippling anxiety regarding crowds and loud places. So the idea of going to one of these events, let alone by myself, seemed impossible. There were some smaller events locally, but even the idea of going to one of those stressed me out.
And so I stayed home, glued to social media. I was inspired and energized and filled with love and hope, witnessing literally HUNDREDS of my friends attending these events all over the country and even world.
The crippling depression and anxiety that followed a divorce and move across the country to a place where I knew absolutely no one
Becoming more active and trying to eat better
Between May 2014 and March 2015, I had lost (at my most) 50 pounds.
And, although my rapid weight loss has stabilized, I’ve managed to solidly stay down 40 pounds over the past year.
According to the BMI, which many people hold as a whole lot of bullshit because it alone can’t tell me how healthy I am, I should still lose 30 pounds to put me squarely into the “ideal weight” category. When I was that weight while I was in grad school, my professors, coworkers and classmates were concerned about my health, if that says anything.
I was a little disappointed that my medication didn’t keep easily shedding those pounds for me, but I think my body has kind of reached the point of stasis. Ideally, I would like to lose 10-20 more pounds, but I’m pretty proud of my progress and the fact that I have kept it off.
So. Now that my body has decided that I need to do some work to keep it this weight, what have I done?
I’ve seen dozens of think pieces, of Facebook posts from friends and strangers, telling me how I should feel about myself and my outlook on this year. I should feel lucky, I should take a good hard look at myself and realize that it’s all my damn fault that I’m not happy (forget about the fact that we have no control over some very serious shit that can happen like death and poverty and mental illness and abuse and it’s a very victim-blaming way to think about it to tell us we can just snap out of it.)
Personally, I’ll admit that 2015 was the bigger dumpster fire for me. That was when my depression had gotten its worst ever, and shit hit the fan with my marriage. 2016 has been a year of growth and rebuilding my life.
But for this country, 2016 has thrust me into a huge amount of worry. But that’s out of my control in many ways.
So what are my take-aways for 2016? What have I learned? How have I changed?
*NOTE: This piece was written entirely in December 2015 with no edits since that time. This is extremely important to note, as there are some small parallels to current events in my life and if they are read into too much it will make me look like a SUPER CRAZY PERSON.*
In early April 2015, I had one of the most fascinating, puzzling, vivid and unsettling dreams I’ve ever had. I had been married to my then wife, now ex-wife for less than 8 months, and so the themes in my dream, as you will learn, were quite troubling to me. I recorded my retelling of the dream on my way to work one rainy morning, and I set it aside. It was a strangely beautiful story, complete in its own right. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing again, and I just remembered that I had tucked away this idea. What follows is a rough draft of this oddly timely, slightly prophetic, poetic dream, written December 2015.
If you glimpsed something so perfect, would you give up your life for the promise of holding it once more?