I didn’t necessarily mean to wait nearly six months to update this ole thing, but time slipped up on me – and I guess emotionally I wasn’t really in the mood to share all that much. Since graduating last August, life has been a slippery slope of highs and lows, and I feel like I’ve been running as fast as my legs would carry me the whole time. One might call this avoidance … and one would probably technically be right.
We are so close to the end of the year, and that always seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? I mean, the Counting Crows even wrote the annually relevant jam, “A Long December” about what this confused, sort of gray feeling of wistfulness and closing is like. (Note to self: find time to listen to “A Long December” before January rolls around). But just like the song says – “There’s reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.” – and I get that. I think we all do.
With a new beginning (which we all logically know is really just watching the ball drop on TV from Times Square and taping up a new desk calendar at work when we get back from holiday break) comes what we all need so desperately to keep us moving forward – the smallest glimmer of hope. Because hell, maybe this year really will be better than the last. Maybe it takes moving forward to realize that the year we are leaving behind wasn’t really so bad after all – or, in some cases, maybe it truly was an awful one, and we need to prepare ourselves to move on so that we can get some space to start to heal. No matter where you are at in your personal journey, by the time the last dregs of December are clouding the bottom of the glass, I think we can all agree that we are ready to ring in the New Year, if only just to see what might happen next.
Time is so incredibly sentimental and bittersweet. We hold on to it so dearly, using it to mark our good and our bad and our in betweens. I think that’s why I’ve always upheld a particular romanticism in regards to fresh starts and new beginnings. While it sometimes feels scary to enter uncharted territory, even if it is purely symbolic – it also feels so exciting. And that’s because of possibility. Because possibility exists, and because we, even at our darkest hours, exude hope for a better tomorrow – somewhere out there in the ether, the two mix together and become chance. “You never know” – one of the most powerful phrases in the history of language.
With the examination of time come and gone comes the natural reflection of what we have experienced in the duration. I think this reflection is wise, because I believe that we all have the responsibility to try to become a better version of ourselves every year. And reflection is how we do that – how we look back at what we have just survived, as a learning tool, as a way to honor the time spent, as a way to grow positively. We cannot learn if we do not reflect – even if reflecting is difficult and sometimes painful to do.
So, in that vein – I reckon it’s time that I mark down a little something about what 2017 meant to me. Painful as it may have been, sometimes.
I have a social media problem. Primarily instagram. I’m not afraid to admit it. What I AM afraid of, however, is the damage it is doing to me as a young woman and a human being. And while I am in this inbetween season of my life wherein I am trying to get a better and healthier grasp of my mental health, preparing for funeral board exams, and eventually finding a place in the funeral industry, I have promised to come clean and honest with every mental and emotional problem that I endure or suffer, in the event that me spilling my guts could possibly help someone else. There isn’t much that I can do right now, other than wait for life to open the next door. So here goes.
For the first three months of our relationship, I probably tried to break up with Tyler at least 400 times.
“We have different thoughts about politics, we should break up.”
“The sky is blue, we should break up.”
“The cat yawned, we should break up.”
Any excuse, any absolutely asinine reasoning that my mind fell to, I was ready to bail. And holy shit – after he told me that he LOVED me?! Instead of feeling joy, I felt panic. I felt fear. I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. I felt, more than anything, incapable. What had I done? I couldn’t do this. This was too much, I wasn’t ready, it would never work, I would just get hurt. I came home and went over and over us with my fine tooth “should we break up” comb and tried to beg a reason into existence. In those early days, I asked my mom, my brother, every friend I had, “do you think Tyler and I should break up?” and they all just stared at me like I had grown a second head and told me to calm myself down because he was an incredible person.
Around the time that I had my first period, I also grew a small, dark beard.
You can imagine how delightful THAT was – I was an overweight tweenager who was constantly bullied for my looks (fat, brace face, too tall, not wearing the right clothing) and my desperate affection for the band Hanson that somehow was enough to warrant near daily physical threats of violence. Even the uncool thought I was uncool.
Trigger warning: suicide.
I used to think you lavender
And myself a shade of blue
Because when you came round
You lit me up
And replaced my blue with you
Lavender was all I craved
Steadiness, warmth, and calm
When you called out to me
It was your lavender I slipped on
You waved away my cloudy days
With just a flick of your hand
You steadied all my careless ways
And helped me understand
It was okay to be blue, you’d say
After your fourth or fifth beer
Just don’t get too crazy, babe
You’d remind me with a jeer
I lay with you in your bed at night
Knowing I wasn’t the only one
Who laid at night with lavender
True blue, I bit my tongue.
Days to weeks and weeks to months
And now it has been years
I’m always blue, and only blue
Until lavender reappears
So many times I’ve wondered
And then I’ve stopped myself
Was I truly blue when you found me?
Or did you declare me blue yourself?
Was it my state of being
Or an opening you saw –
Was I ever something other than blue
Or were you the blue one after all?
That’s the funny thing about time
And growing past a problem
You start to see with clarity
You start to learn to solve them
If I saw you now, you’d smile that smile
That you saved just for me
And I know I’d squint and
For just a moment
The predator would be me
I loved you once
And I swear some days
I wish I could turn back time
But I stop myself, remembering
How blue you made my mind
Because that’s the thing
That took so long
For me to understand –
You were the rough and bellowing sea
And I was the safety of land.
I thought it was in reverse
You the savior, I the damned
But when the fog cleared
And the sky beamed down
I saw it was all lavender in my hands
The house to ourselves, the captain’s chair
You called me “Pink” to all your friends
A knowing look, your strut, your sway –
Third Eye Blind’s “Dopamine” on replay
The bad was bad and the good was good
And that’s all I can let it be
In the succession of your blue girls
I never fell in line
I protested, I fought for myself
And now color is mine
I found out what you never wanted me to know
The truth you kept under your thumb
The lavender was always me
It was you who was blue all along