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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Notes on 2012

This will likely be my last post of 2012. Excuse the typos, I'm just going to write and not edit (yet).

I didn't manage to keep up with the blog much as I wanted. But I ended up starting a Tumblr and a short story group blog. To tell you the truth, however, there were a number of times when I just wanted to shut everything down (or at least take an extended hiatus of indeterminate length). But then, something always draws me back in again.

Last year, I mentioned that 2011 felt like multiple years compressed into one. If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have just kept my damn mouth (fingers?) shut. One thing I can say, however, is that I knew 2012 held the potential for a lot of possibility and change, both good and bad. I didn't expect for there to just be so much, so quickly, and mostly completely by surprise. I don't even know as yet if I'd even categorize the year as bad or good. It was a year of extremes. Maybe I needed that. For better or worse, I'll be starting 2013 with a fresh slate. I have no idea what's in store for the next year and I won't pretend that it will all be good, I just hope some good things will happen and that there will just be some breathing room in between it all.

So, let's break it down, shall we? Using last year's post as an example, I'll break things down into a few categories:

Gray hairs -
Definitely have more than one now. I'm generally ok with this. The gray hairs don't really curl, however, so once they start becoming the majority...something will need to be done. However, it's not a priority right now.

Therapy -
I was supposed to finish the rest of my therapy sessions by the end of this year, but I decided to extend. I still think that therapy has been one of the best decisions that I've made and I'm a bit surprised how well I've kept up with it. It's been a lot of hard work, but given the events of this year, I've been able to cope with them a lot better than I would have last year and definitely better than the year before. I decided to extend because my parents and my family have been such a big area of focus. After my mom's passing, well...I need to still work on finding some perspective for that in the whole big picture. And kind of deal with the whole being an "orphan" thing (I know I'm an adult, but get back to me when your parents are dead and tell me how you deal with it, hot shot). Sometimes, I wonder what it looked like from my therapist's side, when this whole avalanche of stuff happened from August to November. The most poignant comment that she offered up was that it's like when a snake sheds its skin. It's uncomfortable and the snake is vulnerable and sensitive, but the old skin comes off and fresh new skin is there. I'm no zoologist, but it sounds legit and at least makes for a decent metaphor.

Work -
I started off the year as an International Community Manager and now I'm a Narrative Designer. It's more of a lateral move than a promotion, but it was a change that I needed. With the English-language community, there wasn't anywhere to move up and little to no opportunities to do anything creative. And if the change hadn't happened when it did, then I probably would have started job hunting again. In my new position, I get to learn a lot about game design and, yeah, I get to write everyday. Even if it's mostly about a fantasy pixie world and a farming game. I work with a great team of knowledgeable people and nearly infinite opportunities to develop creatively. I want to start 2013 with a clear head so that I can take full advantage of this. Also because my job and apartment are two things that I do not want to lose in the coming year. Stay tuned, kiddos...

Apartment -
Speaking of apartments, I'm living on my own for the first time. Ok, I lived in Dresden on my own, but I wasn't paying the rent (or my cleaning guy). That was all handled by my stipend. I've touched on the story in this post-move post, but, trust me...there are some twists and turns that you have to hear to believe. It mostly involves the falling out with my former roommate. As much as I'm itching to divulge the details -- simply because it's a most excellent story -- I will not. Unless you ask me in person. Which you should, because it will blow your mind.

Overall, however, I will say that I lived peacefully with my ex-roommate for 1065 days. It was just the last 30 that sucked balls. It's a shame that it ended the way that it did, but I managed to find a great apartment -- not a decent-good-in-the-meantime apartment, but an apartment, in which I'd like to spend a few years, because it's pretty nice -- in near-record time. I couldn't have done it alone though, I've got to give props to Frosty, who held me down through it all.

Which brings me to...

Relationship -
This one really stings. You can probably see how I've still got a running tally of the days since the breakup, which is not the sign of someone who is taking a breakup particularly well. I'm not, because I wasn't part of the decision. It's not what I wanted, it's not how I felt/feel...but it's what I have to deal with. As of right now, I'm not sure it's something that I can "get over" or even want to get over. Despite the fact that, on the surface, nothing has changed in my usual day-to-day, there's a big chunk missing. I don't believe in the term soulmate and I find it contrived when people describe their significant other as their "best friend". I wouldn't call Frosty either of those things and I don't feel the need to. I just know I found and experienced something that was rare and unique to me. He knows things about me that no one else does and maybe no one else will. But now plans and dreams will go unrealized along with the loss of the most true and honest feeling of trust and intimacy that I've ever experienced in my 31 years. To call it a "rough time" is an understatement of extraordinary degree, but I don't regret a second of the ~157,680,000 seconds that we were a couple and I never will.

Special props go out to C.Dub, Frosty's moms. Aside from being a "damn eating machine", she's a remarkable woman and has often reminded me of my own biological mother, in terms of her moxie and general awesomeness. I wrote her a letter before Christmas, because I couldn't face the pain of speaking to her on the phone. In return, she sent me one of the most beautiful letters that I've ever received. And though I may have lost a boyfriend, I've retained a mother. I don't know if I could have dealt with losing two moms this year.

The Fam -
The loss of my mother was another big blow this year. It was a long and unpleasant road. Last New Year's Eve, in the throes of some of the worst homesickness that I'd experienced in many years, I remember standing outside of Frosty's dorm watching students in Tübingen tossing around fireworks. Frosty had a cold and was lying in bed. And I stood outside thinking about my parents and my mother in particular. I never imagined an adulthood without my parents, but that's my reality now. It has been for awhile. Children don't choose their parents and parents don't choose their children (they just -- in optimal cases -- choose to have children). I've seen so many different combinations. I love my parents. They weren't perfect parents, but they were pretty awesome. I wasn't a troubled kid or a troublemaking kid and I loved talking to them. They'd done and seen some shit and like all people that I've known, who've done and seen some real shit, I respect them tremendously.

I consider myself an atheist and am not a praying person. However, if I could pray for one thing, like I did last New Year's Eve, it would be to have the strength and fortitude of both of them.

I went back home in October for the first time in five years. I saw...everybody. I survived. I put things out there that I'd been avoiding for five years and found out that my family, as fucked up as we are, we'll get through this. Probably better than most. We're a force to be reckoned with.

Friends -

If you have better friends than I do, then I demand that you show me proof. It would probably involve your friends donating you a bodily organ. This was a year of friends. Sweet D., Bu, Toby, Schmiddy, Coni, Seth, Beni, Marianne, Tex (more about her later), Missy B., Ms. X. etc. etc. etc.

All my Oklahomies...everyone.

I wouldn't have survived this year, if it weren't for the kindness, tenacity, and generosity of friends. Real friends. Thank you.

Me -
I don't know what is going to happen to me next. That said, even the exercise of being able to think/imagine what comes next is an exciting prospect. So I'm not going to make any predictions. I'll take any and everything that comes at me.

I guess this blog will be your front row seat. Or call me up and we'll meet up.

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