2017 was the year that I struggled. I'm still struggling. Some days are better than others (I say this quite often), and the struggle has changed from how it started. I'm not sure how it started, and to attempt to denote a start seems to me like there would be one large incendiary event. Struggle doesn't always begin with a cataclysm. Struggle creeps up on you, it's stepping in gum and not realizing it was on your shoe until you walk through a freshly mowed grassy field, and now you have a heavy foot matted with sheddy clippings.
In 2017 I learned that my actions matter to more people than I thought they did, but only after they expressed their disappointment in things I had or hadn't done. I learned that forgiveness can be difficult to earn, and that I'm capable of damage I've never done before. I'm learning that my actions still matter and carry weight, and how to better wield that for good and harmony.
Sometime around the end of fall, a really wise friend told me that sometimes the problem isn't that you change as a person, but it's that other people aren't necessarily willing to accept that you have changed - that your growth is displeasing or uncomfortable or unsettling in some way, and that's it's nothing you've done wrong, but that it's a change that can be hard for others to deal with. This colored the last six months of 2017 for me.
I feel ill-equipped frequently, but my brain knows this isn't the case. The confidence in my head is there, I'd love for the outer wrapper of my being to reflect this as well.
And even though I've seen that discord can be a drug to some, I can try to believe we are better than our history. (Is this a metaphor for the political climate of the US?! Unintentional, but perhaps apt.)
I was spread thin in 2017.
It is the beginning of 2018 and I am optimistic in some ways, stubbornly lacking hope in others. Reminding myself that I enjoy feeling alive, like truly feeling ALIVE is helpful.
Feeling alive in sadness is important to me. I made at least four plum cakes in 2016, and zero in 2017. I forgot to be excited and bake a (very simple) dessert that I love. I only remembered this a few days ago, and the realization made me so sad.
I don't want to miss plum cake in 2018.
Seeing the Resistance in films like Star Wars, and reading about the Janes of Chicago, and being happy around my mother, and making flowers, and feeling cold wind on my face even when it hurts, this is feeling alive to me. The necessity of taking change into my (our) hands and saying YES to doing things.
Thank you, reader, for listening. I hope you feel alive today, and if you don't, on some level I understand. You can do it, I can do it.
I hope I see you feeling alive, because that'll make me feel alive, too.