One Year

I wrote earlier today that I just came home from the Rhinebeck sheep and wool festival.  A year ago, I made my first trip to Rhinebeck; it was also my first ever solo road trip, totally planned and executed on my own, making my own arrangements, traveling by myself, all because I wanted to and chose to go through with it.  That will probably seem laughably simple and inconsequential to some, that a 32-year-old woman would travel five hours out of state for a quick weekend getaway, but for me it was a big deal.  It took some talking myself into, and some bravery, and I daresay some people will think I’m laughable for that too.  I suppose they’ll have to think what they think.

Since then, I have struggled with both depression and anxiety; I have visited the emergency room twice, scared about weird physical symptoms related to those plaguing conditions; I have missed many days of work, unable to cope with being there; I have been scared to stay alone in my own apartment a few times, afraid I would be unable to deal with the anxiety on my own, that it would spiral away out of control.  I have faced some of my own worst internal enemies, I have started the laborious digging out of the sources of my emotional maladies, a work I am not sure will be finished this side of eternity.  I have built an entirely new set of friendships from my online connections to the fiber community, have found a place among the most lovely, lively, kind and encouraging people; I have learned things about old relationships that I never saw before.  I’ve rediscovered my faith and started building a relationship with my God again, I have discovered a deeper understanding and interest in my own spiritual life, and the spiritual nature of the world, of everything that is real.  I’ve started learning the art of taiji.  I’ve started learning how to weave.  I have both found and lost confidence in myself, in different parts of myself, many times over.  I have felt proud of accomplishments and ashamed of failures.  I’ve been called out on bad habits, been shown how mean to myself I can be, how judgmental and unkind, and I have started to be able to call myself on those things, sometimes.  I have started writing again.  I feel like I’ve caught the glimmerings, maybe, of purpose, in the telling of my story as I live it, in writing about some of the things I think about, in hopes that other people will find something of value there, and will maybe be helped to live better inside their own stories.

It seems like an eventful year, written out in this way.  I want it to all add up to something; I want to live a life that’s meaningful, that goes somewhere worthwhile, that is worth telling about.  But I am also human, and I want to be safe, to be comfortable, to be at ease.  I don’t know what my story looks like to someone outside, I can’t turn the page and find out what happens next, not until after I’ve walked across that page and made my choices and left my tracks, in words or achievements or things made or things done away with.  I don’t know if I’m playing the part of a heroine or a fool, a sidekick, a villain, or maybe just a warning to others.  I can’t tell if I’m brave or cowardly or comic relief.  Mostly I just feel tired.

I am trying to remind myself, by thinking about one year past, that a lot has changed and so change is still possible — that the story continues, and the next twist may bring good things.  I think, I think that on balance, I have grown since this time last year.  I’m trying to hold on to that, to remember that however I feel, life still moves forward, that there’s hope, that I don’t need to know all the answers yet.  That the story will yet be a worthy one in the end.  And that I may be enabled to rise to the challenge of it.


7 comments so far

  1. Cousin Anne on

    The internet is a blessing and a curse like that. We can find soul mates across the globe, people we’d never have the pleasure of knowing otherwise, but it also means being so very far away from those very people. Makes everyday life seem insufficient in contrast. Been there.

  2. Marcy on

    Brave. Very very brave. With just a wee bit of sidekick. :D I wish I had been able to do what you’re doing when I was your age. It’s terribly hard, but so very worth it.

  3. sarah on

    Digital friends – we’re here, and yet we’re not. And the digital world can be such an easy, comfortable place to live :-/

    I remember using a caterpillar metaphor once to you. I think now you’re breaking open your pupal case and beginning to reveal what will be the most glorious wings you could possibly wish for. Getting them ready to fly is going to hurt sometimes, but that’s part of being human. We hurt sometimes, we’re afraid sometimes. Pain, fear,love and hope: we all feel them, and sharing them builds community. Hugs to you, Cris.

  4. Lynn on

    Yes, you have made a LOT of progress in one year – and bravo for that! You may feel as though you’re still banging your head against immovable walls, but making the changes you have over the past year means you are well started on the journey to a happier life. Give yourself heaps of credit for that, dearie.

  5. Alison on

    Hey, Cris. I’ve finally tracked down your blog – and I am so glad. I’m completely struck by how your writing resonates with me – how much of your journey parallels my own, and yet you have the courage to do it ‘out loud’. Personally, I shut down when times get hard.

    Anyway, I’m here, and I’ll be following along. Strength to you.

  6. Barbara on

    All I can say is best wishes on your journey.

  7. Susan on

    I guess I’ve known you longer than most (am I possibly one of the “old relationships”. Dunno if I want to be, as it sounded kind of ominous. At any rate, having known you nearly 9 and a half years, I have seen tremendous growth in you; you have changed since we first met, and changed for the better. Sometimes it’s been hard, for both of us, but I’m proud of where you are today, and I have much hope for your future. You’ll work it out, I know you will. *hugs*

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