After my somewhat “enlightened” previous post I fell into a rough patch – and it made me go back and read those words.
Intellectually and logically it all makes sense but emotionally – to the very self-critical person I am – it did not make sense.
2015 has been a bitch of a year. To say the least. I’ve experienced a few rough years but honestly 2015 was a tumultuous one. And to be perfectly frank, I didn’t think I would be here at the end of it.
2015 saw me broken into little pieces, feeling used and abused, unworthy, unlovable.
I think I’m in the middle of my mid-life crisis… It is in essence my existential crisis. I’ve been thrown head-first into an ocean of emotion and question…
Who am I?
What do I stand for?
What do I believe?
Who honestly has my back?
For anyone whose been faced with these questions, it tough. But try being faced with them at an incredibly vulnerable time where the last thing one wants to do is figure this shit out – especially when you turn 30 and everything around you has crumbled…included yourself.
Through this year I’ve experimented with who I am, what I want to be and what I stand for, had to deal with loss (in all forms). As a scientist it is almost ingrained in me to question, understand and hypothesize. Try using that kind of cognitive process with the “unknown”. I’m definitely not a “hippy”, peace and love, talk-about-feelings kind of person. Far from it. I’m a Type A personality – give me someone else’s problems and I will find solutions and drop everything I am (including myself) to fix them. Venturing into unchartered waters of emotions and existential crises are definitely not my thing. Especially when my (extended) family is not big on the emotional stuff (and I’m the only emotional one in said family – everyone else are fans of tough love…)
Being physically, emotionally, intellectually and mentally shattered to pieces in 2015 had me being bullied (yes, bullied) into talk therapy (thank you, tough love friends and family) to help me deal with everything. My general approach is that my shit can be tucked away into the recesses of my mind and numbed with prescription drugs. Until they don’t work anymore… It was at a point where I was juggling too many things, refused to take each one and deal with it…pushed my issues aside to help others and eventually broke down, even on the drugs (pretty much clarifying that my problem is not biological pathways that need a boost of chemicals).
Having been in regular talk therapy, I must admit (the scientific part of my mind is cringing), is helping. I was hesitant at first (ok, a little more than hesitant). Therapy is making me realize how I’m emotionally “wired” – if that makes sense (trust me, it took me a LONG time). Its good having an objective opinion, have validation over some feelings and new ways to consider others – as my close friend mentioned, “they (my confidantes) are too closely involved in my life to be objective…it just makes them angry or mad etc”. In addition, I’ve unknowingly had “therapy” sessions while exercising – getting the stuff out of my head while moving my body and yes, that helps a shit load too – especially when I realize, after the fact, he has a psychology degree! Regardless he put up with my shit while making look awesome (well, I think so lol).
I’m generally the type who would push my emotions and feelings aside, taking care of others and making sure their feelings/emotions are met… To everyone’s detriment. There have, inevitably, been boiling points where I would – in a rage of tears and words (on text or whatsapp – never in person…I hate conflict!) – explode. More than a few people who can attest to this! I’m a naturally very sensitive, emotional person and “feel too much” so this year was one huge lesson in dealing with my emotional stuff… in the moment and not bottling it up.
I’ve learnt in 2015 to tackle things head-on. I’ve learnt to “call people out on their shit” especially where it concerns me (in a nice way, of course) – it sometimes has a good ending, while other times it doesn’t. Its human nature to defend yourself and your position so any dispute will always result in a tense situation. Certain interactions with people I’ve confronted were double-edged swords…nice in reply yet trash-talk me to others. Not being so emotionally vested (by dealing with the situations as they arise) made the whole situation a lot clearer. It is easier to see when I was being bullshit-ed and says more about the type of person they are than myself.
And with those whom I love, trust, worry about, think of and care for…I’ve had to learn to step back. Inherently I want to help my loved ones, but I’ve learnt can only help and support them when they ask for it. I’ve had to learn that I am not the one who has to keep pointing out the truth, especially when they don’t or don’t want to realize it (I’ve had moments of anger when I let loose every single “issue” that a person was myopic about and I wanted to make them aware of…only to be “ousted” and be the one blamed). In hindsight, it is their cross to bear, not mine. While I do it with the best of intentions, to them it is an outrage and “who is she to say those things” – and I’ve lost these people. For that I am deeply remorseful and regretful.
This year I’ve lost people I care about and given too many chances to others, forgiven people for talking shit about me and tried to save friendships, held out olive branches to some only to be left standing alone. I’ve tried to be friendly with others, supported them with big news/life-changing announcements/sent tokens of friendship and support and tried, overall, to be a good friend. I see everyone I meet as a friend – and, yes, that is naïve of me. I’ve learnt, from other interactions, that friendship is a two-way street. I can’t be the only one putting in the effort. I can be loyal (to a fault), loving, supportive and caring to those who are the same to me. The others, people who don’t really appreciate it and don’t reciprocate the friendship, honestly, don’t deserve my friendship or support. It is a harsh stance, I know, but one that will result in less over-thinking and stressing on my part – which can only be a good thing. I can be friendly to everyone but I know who my true friends are. I guess the experience has made me a wise bitch.
I don’t regret being the one to step up and apologize, try and resuscitate these relationships however, I am now more wary in my interactions. I’ve regretted many moments this year and have regrets, which will always be with me, but I guess that is life. Not every single person I meet with like me or agree with me, and I need to be ok with that. Everyone fights his or her own demons and I need to conquer mine before I can go out and “save the world”.
Yet, in the midst of the darkness I’ve learned who my shining lights were. The people I can call at any time of the day or night and who are there for me. These are my “kindred spirits” – the ones who tell me what I need to hear, those who have sent me LONG emails, messages and phone-calls telling me when I’m screwing up and supporting me in the best ways they can. Some of incredible, inspirational people I’ve known all my life, some in my teenage years, others in my early twenties, a few whose friendships were rekindled and some for only a few years but each and every one has dragged me KICKING AND SCREAMING, “snot-en-trane” through the darkest days of my life (which co-incidentally happened to be THIS year). These people are role models to me and I am beyond grateful for our friendships. I may not speaks to them for days or weeks but when we chat I know its “real”, non-judgemental and right. That is my highlight for the year.
So 2015, thanks for being a bitch. Thank you for teaching me life lessons, being a SHITTY year where I had to figure ME out. Thank you for showing me who has my back and allowing me to show my gratitude and support for them. I’m still very much a work-in-progress (working through emotional stuff is craptastic and brings up tons of raw-ness) but thank you, 2015, for making me face up to my inner demons…