At the risk of being overly negative, I must say up front that I don’t always like end-of-year round ups. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to look back at all the good things that have happened over the space of 365 days, or further. That’s part of my mental illness. I have a hard time seeing things logically and with perspective. But I’m working on it.
There have been many times I’ve wanted to blog since September, but I’ve had a hard time bringing myself to the keyboard. I don’t always feel that my words are worthy of bringing into text. They come to me, and drift away on the next wave of thought, unspoken and unrecorded. Some things are entirely too personal, and others feel too mundane for sharing. But if I don’t record my words, somewhere, they are lost. Forgotten, until I dream about them again.
I’ve had a busy few months, since school has started again. Teaching difficult classes, planning and implementing a field trip, recovering from the exhaustion of that and running immediately into NaNoWriMo, and then recovering from that in time for my daughter’s birthday and Christmas. Plus the darkness and cold of this time of year draining my energy and affecting my mood — I never feel more trapped and at the end of hope than now. I feel more prepared for it this time around, though, staying on top of the positive things that help me stay centred when I want to hide away in my bed and communicating to my loved ones how I’m feeling so they can help me in turn. I’ve learned how very much work promoting one’s writing can be, that it really is a small business and an extra job.
My second book comes out in a few months. And the third is nearly done. And I’m supervising a student play, so rehearsals and fundraisers must begin again next week. One child is entering puberty, and the other finding her sense of self as she passes into a new stage of childhood. The pressures are on and never really end.
That third book . . . and the edits of the second . . . sometimes, among the layers of my anxieties and fears that I must constantly work to control, there is the looming concern that I will lose myself in it to the detriment of my parenting, my teaching, and my relationships in general. When I’m writing, when the story is flowing, it seems like all else takes a second chair. But that’s neither realistic nor fair to everyone else I am am responsible for and to. So I avoid the writing, the revisions, the editing, because I know what being drawn in will do to me. How it will make me cranky when I have to step away from my imaginary worlds and deal with the present. My dreams can be far more intriguing and encompassing than my reality, or so it feels, particularly in the dead of winter.
So it’s now January 1, 2014. Husband has to be at work for 4 am, it hardly seems right for me to crawl into bed and disturb him when he needs to be up in an hour. The children have had a rough night, their routines disturbed by the excitement of New Year’s, and are barely asleep themselves. Time has such a different meaning when you’re a child. I’ve tried to hold onto my memories of perspectives from my childhood, to understand them better, but it has gotten harder as the demands on me have increased. The hours no longer stretch ceaselessly ahead; I’m more aware of endings and deadlines than ever before, and they haunt me. It’s remarkable how paralyzing a marked calendar can be, though it ought to be a catalyst for action. I’ve gotten better at getting things done, made more progress than in past winter breaks, but of course it never feels like enough. I often wish I didn’t have to stop to sleep, or eat, or rest. Because each of those things are oases that I wish I could never leave.
However you celebrated this night — the flipping of the page on the wall, the turning of the earth in its orbit, the rotation of the stars in the galaxy around us — and your achievements, I hope it was safe. I wish you all my best, with my whole being, concentrating on the positive energies to make positive things happen even in the darkest of times. Keep doing the things you do well. Help a friend. Help a stranger. Notice the beautiful things, and share them. Spread warmth and light and laughter. This moment will never come again. Sometimes that feels like pressure. It doesn’t have to. As I remind myself, just breathe. Do one thing at a time.