PHOTO BY UNCLE BEEFY
How many times have I tried to write this post? I'd ask you to guess but I wouldn't even know if you were right as I've lost count myself. But there have been plenty of moments since my last post that I've been sitting with a cup of coffee or glass of wine (at different times of day, mind you) only to drum up half-finished sentences or blank stares. Sigh. Nothing. Nothing?! Nothing.
Nearing the end of the year, 2012 had taken the wind out of my sails. I know, that sounds depressing doesn't it? But come the closing weeks of the year I just found myself utterly spent. And when I'm spent I have a tendency to retreat. I guess that's the Cancerian in me? Y'know, if you want to get all astrological about things? Although, I think plenty might have had a similar response given the events of the year.
The year had started on a seriously high note with my first attendance at Alt Summit. I came back from that event with great new friends and seriously high hopes. I'm guessing I felt something like Tom Cruise after a Scientology gathering? Cue the couch jumping? Whatever I was feeling, it was a great way to get things going. Then, in the subsequent months to come, I found myself encountering what felt like a barrage of negativity that left me mystified and melancholy. Friendships were ended, family relationships fractured. I had my first experiences with the serious ugliness that can come with the anonymity of the internet. "WTF" doesn't even begin to cover it. With the emotional upheavals and the whirlwind of the holiday season I just couldn't muster much, i.e. nothing.
After all that one-two-punch business I felt myself just [kinda, sorta] give up. Even more depressing, you think? Not exactly. There is nothing like a feeling of defeat to help one with their lesson in surrendering. Remember that topic? Well, the universe sure as hell did and decided to help me out with that... and how. And wow. Somehow, in the smoke of all that hellfire, I found myself doing two things I'm not always inclined to do - standing up for myself and, the best part, embracing the feeling of simply not caring about the opinions of others. I mean, genuinely feeling a new space open up inside me where "Meh. Okay. Fine. Whatever." came to find a surprisingly comfortable home. I'm not talking about deflection or dismissal here but a genuine blip on the radar of redemption. Quite unexpectedly, the repeated exposure to the negative assumptions of others made me start taking stock of how much there is that is positive about myself. Out of external accusations and animosity came internal appreciation and compassion. I know a lot of us out there understand the compulsions of people pleasing. (Can I getta "Amen!" up in here?) And while this new glimmer of light on the horizon is a welcome sight, I know I ain't outta the woods just yet in this area. But that light is enormously reassuring. An unexpectedly "nice" way to start a new year.
Additionally, as some of you may know, I'm witnessing the slow decline of my mom's health as she suffers continually increasing moments of memory loss. In my quieter times, it becomes difficult not to wrestle with the thoughts and fears of the day she may well ask me, "Who are you?" And I wonder how much time we have left. When these kinds of thoughts start swirling around, spending time working up a post about tea towels or well-designed rooms can lose any sense of importance or inspiration. But the sadness of these times and the inevitable sadness of times to come also becomes a sharp reminder to appreciate things in the moment. Instead of letting the sadness completely overshadow the happier times it has begun to bring more focus on gratitude for the joy that gifts itself in the smallest of ways.
And that brings me back to here. This place where I can share almost anything. This place where many of you have waited so patiently for me. This place that, truthfully, I wondered about whether to continue holding on to in my increasing weeks of silence. But, like I mentioned before, this place is one that brings me joy. And in that joy I am gifted with happiness, inspiration, motivation, and, even in the really hard times, hope. That's a lot to feel grateful for. You are a lot to be grateful for. And I thank you. So much.