When everybody and their brother is doing 'end of the year'/'best of the year/'year in review' posts.
And who am I to buck tradition?
2013 was not nearly the shit show that 2012 was (although it certainly was the year a lot more curse words showed up regularly in my vocabulary), but it was the year when the hell of 2012 caught up with me. (And a lot of other people, I think.)
So I spent the majority of the year swamped with a grief that was terrifying and incommunicable for me - I was constantly feeling that it shouldn't be this bad, or still this bad - and couldn't seem to explain to people just how bad it was, so I shut up about it. As is evidenced by the severe lack of pre-November posts on this blog: the smallest number since it's inception 8 years ago. It seems it's easier for me to write through illness and pain, and people dying and caring for the dying, and betrayal and hurt, than the feelings that all of those things leave in their wake.
I still can't explain how the first half of the year passed by so quickly, and how the second half of the year felt like I was waking up from a coma. Somewhere around my birthday, though, there was a shift, and I started to think "Ok, if I don't snap out of this soon, it's going to get really bad." So I made myself do some things that were good for me - and I really mean made myself: getting out of the house seemed even more Herculean than ever, but I sometimes managed it. And, slowly but surely, somethings started looking up.
For example, 2013 was the year I became a fledgling Whovian & Nerdfighter; It was the year I finally did some of the things I said I wanted to be doing - going book signings (some more successful than others); outings with grown-ups!; Investing a large sum of money (for me) in a camera that does (mostly) what I tell it to do!; Joining tumblr (and letting the reblogs begin!) & finding spoonies to connect with, locally and all over the world.
It was the year I stopped giving (so much of) a damn about what other people's expectations of me might be, and just embraced my inner geekiness to a level that still does not plumb the depths of my inner nerd-capabilities. (I dressed up on Halloween for trick-or-treaters! I bought a skirt with comic book print all over it to wear to Boston Comic-Con next year. I claimed my Hufflepuff-ness! I did Disney crafts and showed them to people! I made my niece and nephew watch The Hobbit (which they liked)!) I'm going to keep on going, and one of these days my family will be embarrassed to be seen with me because I am geeking out over something that I am probably too old to be geeking out over, and I will be proud of that.
2013 was the year I called the cops on my dad, after months of suffering his abuse (or letting my mom suffer his abuse) in silence: I did it because it was the right thing to do, and I don't care if a large portion of my family disagrees with me or thinks I should have handled it differently or is telling me I'm being to harsh with him now (by basically ignoring him) - I know I did the right thing then, and that ignoring him now is saving me from being hurt even further. So I'm going to keep doing what I have to do, and everybody else can just deal with how uncomfortable it makes them. There's a whole lot of discomfort coming up, if I'm any judge: I think my mom is truly done and that there's going to be a separation and house selling and change of circumstances for everybody very shortly. It's going to hurt all around, and everybody is going to have their own emotions to deal with, and I'm just going to do my best to be there for people without letting them trample my own feelings in the process. (Therein lies the trickery.)
2013 was also the year that I saw a baby born. Which was powerful in a way I thought people were exaggerating - having never given birth myself, or been present in the room at anyone's birth besides my own. The idea that I spent time this year watching a new person show up on earth, to in fact be the first person to see him show up on earth is still unbelievable to me. I almost can't explain how touching it was - and how much that whole experience, rife with my sister being a warrior princess who almost died and my other sister showing up in ways that ultimately cost her and just sitting in that room, in the dark, in the (pardon the pun) pregnant silence beforehand, while my sister gathered her resources and praised the Gods of Epidurals: Every painful moment and hard-earned bruise, every countdown from ten and impatient toe tapping; every bathroom light flickering off at opportune moments, and the instantaneous relief when the baby cried, when the nurse came back from surgery to tell us my sister was fine - I will relish Every. Single. Second. of that experience. Forever.
2013's theme word/phrase was "perhaps", and a lot of those perhaps-es were not what I expected. A bunch of them came out of nowhere and mowed me down, left me to pick myself back up. A few of them were sparkling solitary moments of crystal clear perfection in an otherwise tornado of a life.
Those moments are what I'm trying to hold on to right now, as we all end out the year - Seeing the baby's head after a very long day; seeing my sister and her husband, fast asleep, while I held their little one and told him how much he was loved; watching NephTwo laugh in the line as we waited for Santa (on what he swears will be his last year); reading a blog post and laughing so hard I thought I'd choke; snuggling with Lil Girl right before she fell asleep and turned into a sleep ninja; the look of pure dread on Oldest Nephew's face when the waiters started singing 'happy birthday'; holding my mother's trembling hand as I played her patient during her CNA exam; SisterK's pixie cut and how it made her look like a grown-up, all of the sudden; SisterJ's laughter returning after a frighteningly long absence; the text from my brother telling me he'd gotten married; writing a book and learning way too much about the Spanish Flu; watching a friend get married - so far away! - over the internet, and marveling at the world we live in now; playing Apples to Apples with teenagers who didn't know what the Cold War or who Eddie Murphy was; chocolate fondue for my birthday - So many tiny, excellent moments in this whirlwind of a year that started out so bleak, and could have ended the same way.
I'm in for some changes, the New Year is sure to bring them, and 2014 is coming whether we're ready or not. So, just a quick 'thank you' to all of you who've helped make my 2013 so special - Spoonies, Twitter Friends, Tumblrarians, Nerdfighters, People I Blog Stalk, and my (wonderful, fantastic, couldn't have done it without you) everyday readers. Thank you, for sticking with me, for helping me see some things I wanted to avoid, and for sticking around through the gloomy times.
Here's hoping 2014 is packing a whole lot of happiness in whatever punch it's preparing for us all!