Friday, December 30, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire in 2011

I figured it would be well worth my time to take one last stab at posting in 2011. Being December 30, I’m pretty happy that I didn’t wait until tomorrow to try and write this. While stress and procrastination do tend to help my creativity, it doesn’t exactly make me the nicest mother ever. Feeding my darling children takes a backseat when mom has a deadline and I end up declaring cereal the main course.

2011 hasn’t been a great year. You can tell from how often I’ve posted on my blog…when silence hits here on my page of musings, you can be sure of one thing: I’m busy. Or stressed. It’s not that I’ve run out of ideas, mind you, or that I’ve stopped coming up with clever things to say or that nothing important is happening in my life. On the contrary, silence is the biggest indicator of my dysfunction; of life handing me so many things to deal with, think through, and process that I simply cannot fathom sitting still for two hours to write them down. Or that sharing the goings-on would be a breech of the marital confidentiality agreement, which I don’t remember signing, but operate within nonetheless. Very often the cacophonous noise in my head and in my life leaves me silent. Speechless. Any spare moments I have I use to sleep. Avoidance is my salve.

2011 started in tears. Quite literally, honestly, in tears and questions and deafening silences. The rug of reality I firmly stood on was ripped from beneath my feet and I fell, hard, onto a cold cement floor and struggled to get up for months. At the height of this struggle I found myself sitting on my couch, in the silence of midnight hours, in such a state of shock that I quite literally felt something inside myself break. It was a tangible pop or rip or shatter—a noise I can’t define—but I remember that moment as being so void of answers and so black and so painful I did the only thing that came to my mind, the absolutely only thing I knew to do. I opened my bible and started reading.

Whatever broke inside me, started a migraine headache that didn’t go away for six weeks. Dr.’s looked, MRI’s were ordered, the audiologist suggested, the neurologist assessed, and after all the tests were analyzed and the dots connected; the answer was crystal clear.
Nothing was wrong with me. Healthy as could be.
Must be stress.
They eventually went away, those headaches, but for two months my operational level was barely functional. Ibuprofen became my new best friend.

Those months of learning to stand again were like that scene in The Truman Show, where Jim Carrey’s character rows the boat in the ocean, trying to prove to himself that the life he’s living is real and not a construct of another's creating, only to hit the backdrop where the sky meets the ocean’s horizon. And he knows. Nothing was what he thought.

That’s pretty much how my 2011 has been.

And yet, this year has been wonderful. I’ve written more and worked harder than ever before. I finally finished a book project I started on with Kristi Marsh, and now have a tangible product containing a funny, poignant, and inspiring story. I’ve fulfilled my life’s dream of publishing a book, even amidst the broken glass surrounding me. Accomplishing a life dream is monumental in the best of circumstances, but the fact that I have been able to complete this during one of the most difficult years of my life leaves me feeling empowered and strong.

This year I also found something I had lost for a long time—misplaced really. Myself. And I’ve given up something I held onto dearly, for fear that being without it would leave me vulnerable. Control. And in that moment on the couch when I broke—when that tiny plastic piece snapped inside me—and the only thought in my head was read the bible, that moment set me on the path that has saved me. That has led me to find the beginnings of peace. That all is well. Even when things are terrible—all is well. I don’t have any more answers than I did before, but I do have the peace to exist without them.

2011 burned through my life like a forest fire, getting rid of dead wood and allowing the conifers to release seeds into my charred earth, ready to start new life growing. With a little time and rain and sunshine and patience, a new forest will take its place. It’s not a wishful hope but a certainty. Instead of grieving for the devastation, I search through the blackened remains for tiny, green sprouts. They are already there, those sprouts. Miniscule trees and bushes waiting to rocket forth in 2012, changing my landscape in ways I can only imagine. For my last post of this year, I wish everyone joy and peace in 2012.

Would you share with me? What is your biggest triumph and trial of this year?