I felt like I should write a post about things I learned in the past year. Frankly, most of the lessons I learned will probably need to be hammered home a bit before they really stick. It’s funny how
we I expect my kids to learn from mistakes in a way that will ensure those mistakes will never be repeated. That’s not incredibly realistic (and should probably go on my list of ways I can be a better mom in the new year). On the other hand, I do believe there is growth in every misstep, an opportunity for redirection that you weren’t previously aware you needed. For example, when my 4 year old face plants into a wall, he quickly realizes that running through the house with a blanket on his head isn’t the best course of action. I’m sure that shit hurt, but it probably also seemed like a decent idea before any pain was inflicted…
Earlier in the year, not too long before my 32nd birthday, a series of choices I had made during one of the the lowest points of my life came back to haunt me. It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t the things I had done that made me feel as though my life would never be worth living again. Those decisions and the many consequences that resulted, were something I had been dealing with for more than a year prior. Now I will say that PTSD is a very real thing that goes beyond people who have been in combat. In the midst of reeling from the effects of the present, I was frequently forced by my mind and body to experience the emotional, psychological, and even physical torment that I thought I had left behind me. It felt as though I was living in the present and the worst parts of the past, all at the same time. I didn’t feel as though I fully existed. This daily trauma, along with the realization that so many people were once again putting me on trial by discussion within their “private” circles, seemed impossible to overcome.
Yet, here I am, on December 31st, feeling as though this year was pretty damn great! It’s crazy how that works. One of the things I spent this past year working on was reclaiming my rights to my own identity. No one gets to define me, but me. My worth cannot be determined by outsiders, as hard as they may try to exert some control over the value of my life. This is no easy task! Between having BPD and being a 30+ year member of the People Pleasing Society, it’s difficult to just brush off the opinions of others. Instead, I’ve been working on filtering those perceptions of me- are they worth triggering self-reflection or should they be trashed immediately? For instance, if Susan is bothered because I use colorful language in my writing, but I’m not walking through my children’s school dropping F bombs… then Susan gets a polite “fuck off” in my headspace. There will always be people who don’t like me, so my energy can’t be wasted on the opinions of everyone else.
Another thing that helped me change the direction of this past year was respecting myself. It sounds so simple, but when you don’t truly esteem yourself, there isn’t a reason to have self respect. I’m not talking about making sure I “act like a lady”, I mean being certain that I can and should set boundaries. Not only am I allowed to say yes and no to certain things, people, and behaviors, but it is my absolute responsibility! There is not another individual on this earth better equipped to protect my wellbeing, than me. [Side bar: sometimes we aren’t in a position to protect ourselves, and that’s why having a trusted tribe is of utmost importance].
I’m not much for resolutions, (mostly because I’m a sore loser and resolutions are basically an unwinnable competition), but I do like to set goals or try to form new habits. I’m thinking about not yelling at my kids because there is far too much of that taking place in the driveway before school, where I’m certain the neighbors can hear. A few years back I made it into Spring without raising my voice, so I’m going to attempt to beat my record. Aside from that, I’ll be focusing on wedding planning this year. [Insert juvenile squeal of delight here]. So whether you thought this year was fabulous or a cluster, I hope you enter the new year determined to embrace the possibility. I mean, can it get any more perfect than January 1, 2018 on a Monday?? My new calendar looks so inviting- open to fresh starts! Maybe that’s my neuroticism, but we will go with it.