Well pals, here it is. My year in review. You'd better sit down for this one. And swallow, if there's liquid in your mouth. And, make sure there's no children in the room.
Now, I consider myself a normal, average, ok slightly above average, female. I wake up on the right side of the bed most days, brush my teeth, dress, drink copious amounts of coffee, work, take some shit, go home eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. But for some reason, the great Universe decided to test my personal, emotional and physical strength as, not only a female, but as a human being this past year. Yes, the Universe picked this unsuspecting fool to throw daggers and fireballs and mud and a bag of nails, you get the picture. Can a normal female surive when thrown into the claws of confusion?
Short story - Yes. But I hope you continue for the long version.
First, I got a divorce. It's fucking hard. The hardest thing I've done, next to natural childbirth, which is hard, but in a rewarding way. It sucked. It sucked almost everything out of me. I lost 20 lbs., and if you know me well, you know that parting with food, and not eating, is NOT something I make a habit of. It was an awful, gut-wrenching experience that might turn some people bitter and cold and make others doubtful that love exists at all. But me? Well, I chose to look at the sunrise, not the sunset. I chose to focus on myself, my sweet child, my job, my friends. I chose to stop and breathe, and inhale and exhale and take a step forward.
After that step forward, I got completely bruised in the tumble cycle of emotion that is re-discovering relationships. I discovered I have this wide open heart that people like to jump into - like a god-damned kids jumpy castle - get really comfy, have a ton of fun, feel super good about themselves, then beat it, leaving me wondering why I let them in.
But, did I let any of this keep me down? Nah. In the grand scheme of things, if this is what I was dealing with, it could be way worse. A broken heart can be mended.
Oh, that's not all. It did, in fact get way worse.
Next came the DUI. Yes, you read that correctly. Driving Under the Influence. I won't go into morbid detail here, except I will, because maybe it will save you from doing the same thing. I did what many warm-blooded 35 year-old people who consume alcohol have done many times. Drank a few at a party, paired each drink with a glass or two of water, waited a few hours after drinking, then drove home.I happened to reach for my phone, swerved, a cop was behind me, and wham, bam thank you Colorado Highway Patrol. Pulled over, given a sobriety test, given a breathalizer, hand-cuffed and put in the back of a cop car, in a fancy party dress, in heals, in shame. If you're thinking, holy shit I would have been in shock, guess what? I was too! Hey, that makes two of us. Mug shot taken, fingerprinted, and lectured, I was then taken not to jail, but to a detox center. In Aurora. Pardon me if you're not from Colorado, or if you've not spent any time here, but Aurora is much like, oh Jersey. I had heard tales of friends that had been thrown in detox. "Oh it's all drunk frat boys and mouthy girls." Not in this one. That would have been a welcomed sight. I was propositioned to dance my forthcoming lawyer fees off at a lovely establisment off West Colfax by an old, wrinkled drunk man who owned said establishment. Then I was yelled at by two girls because wearing a dress made me better than them. "oh you think you're better than us becuase you're wearing a dress, chica?" Then I had to watch a heroine addict come down from her high. And, I got to see a drunk old man vomit all over himself, several times. And, in case I was tired and wanted to sleep it off, I was given a bed, covered in rubber, to get cozy. My punishment continues. I lost my license for 30 days. Couldn't drive. Now, I have a breathalizer device in my car that I have to blow into while humming (insert hummer joke here to ease the tension) for the next 4 months. The amount of money this has cost me is enormous, but the humiliation far outranks the financial implications. What did I do after months of payment and punishment? Stop and breathe, and inhale and exhale, and take a step forward.
Oh, that's not all.
On December 20th, I got laid off from my job. In a flash I did not see coming, a job that I only had for four months, a job that I had completely fallen in love with, a job that I had coveted for years, a job that I thought I would have for years, was gone.
And that, was it, as Malcom Gladwell wrote, The tipping fucking point. Ok, he didn't write "fucking", I did.But, it certainly was the the point at which something, that might have been small, happened at a time that it started a movement and a change within myself. What the hell had I done to deserve this? Eleven short days away from the end of a pretty shitty year, and I had to lose my job, too? For the love of.... I had nothing left to do but run to the open space across from my house - thank god Boulder has so much open space - and scream and scream and yell and scream and yell and kick a tree. But then, I knew what I had to do - brush myself off, stop and breathe, and inhale and exhale and take a step forward.
It seems nothing, short of bodily injury, can keep me down. Much like a punching bag, I keep coming back for more. Rebounding, wiping the blood off my face, and saying, Thank you. May I have another. It took a year of compounded catastrophe to teach me that about myself. It took a year of life-altering experiences to teach me that breathing, the most basic exercise in humans, will help you survive anything. Anything.
This isn't a sob story. This isn't a plea for pity. This isn't a tale of woe. It's narration. It's proof that you can get the shit beat out of you so emotionally that it starts to feel physical, and you can survive. If, you just keep breathing.