I said, "I've spent a long time priding myself on being good at forgiving easily, letting go of stuff and moving through life unscathed. But I'm starting to feel like maybe what I'd been doing this whole time would be better described as detachment."
I wanted to learn to be angry. I wanted to dive into school. I wanted to travel. I wanted to listen to more music, the way I used to, like it was part of my daily nutrition. I wanted to plug back into my life, both the good and the hard parts, and really suss them out.
It's December 31, and I've made strides.
I quit a job that did a number on me. I started a new one that respects me and feeds my soul. I started grad school and I'm hustling and surviving it and stretching and growing. Since June, I've worked out more consistently than maybe ever before in my life. I traveled: to Panama, New York, Japan, and Spain. I wrote some stuff I really like, e.g. this one. And 2016 was also hard, with endings and whispers of endings I didn't want to deal with or face.
The year also woke me up to the painful awareness of the white privilege that kept me, for the first nearly 30 years of my life, from seeing that America still has such monstrous vile in it, when I suspect those marginalized by that hatred have always been unable to unsee it.
I learned (and am learning) to get really, truly mad when it counts. I joked on Twitter earlier that I found 2016 very therapeutic.....because it drove me to therapy. Ha. It's true: I finally committed to regularly seeing a therapist. And about a month ago, I told her I was ready to pause for now because I'm feeling really, truly good and she agreed with me. Does this count as a graduation? I'll get myself a cake.
At our first meeting, way back at the beginning of the year when the year was fresh and I still believed America might not shoot itself in the foot come November, this therapist asked me to tell her about myself. I talked for a little while, and then she looked at me and said, "It must be exhausting to be responsible for other people's feelings all the time." This woman saw me.
On the anger front, she told me I was like a water balloon. When you squeeze one part of it down, the water doesn't go away -- it just strains and stretches another part of the balloon. Anger is like that. You can pretend you're getting along fine (about, say, a religion that lied to you, about almost everything, for your entire life, while also hurting people in droves, then crucified you for finding out while also vilifying you for daring to ever call out its ugliness for what it is), when really all that anger is just residing somewhere you can't quite identify and making you sick.
In the safe space of her office, with someone removed from the situation but who also took time to learn it, I could be angry. I could be so, truly angry and betrayed. I could release my grip on that overladen water balloon and, instead, work on slowly untying the knot holding it together so I could finally let some of the pressure leak out.
And a bit at a time, I've learned to feel better. I've learned to take back my own goodness, mine, me, not anything I've earned from anyone. I've learned to admit that I don't need to grovel at the feet of any organization that takes that innate goodness away from me and tries to sell it back to me at the price of my own conscience and intuition.
I've learned that, as a woman, I can unveil my face in the sight of any deity, lift my bowed head and make it look me directly in the eyes, while daring it to ever try to take my power, my happiness, my grace, my life, my worth, ever again from where it all belongs: in my own capable hands.
I'm sitting in my room newly minimalized by the purging of belongings and clutter I long needed to let go of, sitting in an emotional space where I am in control of my own destiny and life and able to feel at peace with who I am and what I want, and sitting with a mental view that sees a year of more hard, hard work ahead both via the day job and night school, and sitting with determination to stop pouring myself into any person or thing that makes me feel empty.
It doesn't always feel pleasant or comfortable to plug back in and reconnect to the parts of life that feel easier to clamp down on and avoid, but let me tell you, it sure as hell feels clean.
And so, finally, sitting with a mind and body unveiled, I'm starting to see clearly.