2012 was a big year. I know I made a lot of jokes about it being the end of the world, but in some ways it kind of really was, for me. I made choices and followed through with actions that radically changed my life. The number one change of course being leaving my husband and striking out on my own.
I have been in a huge flux state, changing and learning and above all growing. It hasn’t been easy, at a lot of points it’s been almost intolerably hard but through it all I had a few anchors to keep me steady.
The first and foremost has been my wonderful circle of friends: Sophie, Sam, Ellen, Michelle, Randy and Bryn above all, who have listened to my outpourings without judgement, who have supported me and gone above and beyond to help when I asked for it. I really don’t know what I would have done, and I don’t have to wonder because they were there for me. So many of my other friends have also been invaluable, whether sending messages of love, understanding or just something to make me laugh, you’ve all made a difference.
The second anchor that has helped me through this change has been going to therapy. It’s strange admitting this in a public forum, because I have a belief that it’s shameful to ask for help, or to admit that you are getting care of this kind. I think that belief is bullshit. Life is hard, people are endlessly complicated and if you can get someone to listen to you without judgement, and give you insight into your behaviours, into why you feel the way you do then that’s precious. It should be admitted without shame and it should be encouraged in others. The interesting thing I have noticed when I have spoken openly about therapy is that people are understanding and supportive about it. My belief that it’s shameful is completely unfounded.
The third anchor is my family. It’s been hard, tremendously so, to be open with them about what has gone on, but every time I’ve fought through that resistance (on my side) it has been rewarding. My siblings have been supportive and wonderful, quietly and completely. My parents opened their house to me over Christmas (and allowed me to bring Ellen) and ensured that my first Christmas in 13 years without Lee wasn’t a sad or lonely event.
I also have a hugely wonderful and supportive network of friends online, mostly based in the States, who have been invaluable in being online when my friends here are asleep and listening without reservation. I am thankful for all of them. My work has been incredible, understanding about time I needed off for emotional reasons and helping out with the therapy. Workplace support is essential and can never be taken for granted.
Actively working on my self esteem has been another anchor. Getting rid of beliefs such as whether or not I deserve to be happy, or doing things because someone else wants me to. Learning to love myself for who I am, and letting myself be happy. It sounds so simple but in reality it can be the hardest thing in the world. One valuable tool in this quest has been the love yourself tag on tumblr, another is Gala’s many posts on radical self love and her Love and Sequins book that I have on my kindle.
Other things that I have been incredibly thankful for this year are my crafts and writing. Because sometimes the ability to create something with your hands can make you feel complete, can give you relaxation and take you out of your own head and that’s very healthy. Writing has been amazing for letting me get everything out, venting, exploring my feelings and thoughts. Doing it right before bedtime has meant I’ve been able to sleep easier, because I’ve been able to let everything go. It’s also created a referable source to see how I’ve developed my thinking, I can read back and see how I was feeling at a certain time and compare it to how I feel now.
I am looking forward to next year. I know there will be a lot more changes, the first one being moving into Giffy’s house and settling in there, but there are a lot more on the card as well. Lots to look forward to and I know no matter what happens I’ll be able to handle it. This post feels like a huge revelation, like I’m letting my secrets out into the world, and it feels good. Exhilarating. In the new year I’m going to try and blog more often, and there are plenty more revelations to come.