"I hope 2009 is better than 2010," I said.
"Well, it can only get better from the bottom," he said.
"That's what they say, but you never know..."
Damn, 2009...what a whore in a crap chute. By far the worst year of my life so far and I can only hope that I have in fact hit rock bottom and my life in 2010 can only get better. I know first hand the difference a year can make.
I rang in 2009 blissfully happy — I had a new job, a new boyfriend that was wonderful to me at the time (they're always so deceptively nice in the beginning, aren't they?), a large group of friends and an overall happy disposition that came with my good fortune.
...A year later
I rang in 2010 jobless, hopelessly single and severely depressed with a hole in my fancy tights.
Of course, there are worse things in life such as being set on fire, getting a colonoscopy with an un-lubed fire hose and being simultaneously kicked in the nose and shit on by a donkey with jagged hooves and IBS, so you know, I'm trying to think positively.
Think positively — now there are a couple of words that seem to fall out of people's mouth without a second thought. This experience has helped me learn that this little phrase is something only the prosperous say to the down and out as an attempt at comfort. While the meaning and the act behind the words is powerful, they are void of any meaning or comfort when uttered 6,000 times by people that have never even come close to walking even a step in the receiver's shoes. Chances are that if that down and out person is in front of you talking and breathing, then they're already thinking positively because it's the only thing keeping them going. My support system has thankfully been much better than that. Those few that I hold close are creative advice givers and, more importantly listeners, which has helped the "think positivelys" that I've encountered bounce off quite nicely.
Nobody knows you when you're down and out — another thing I learned in 2009 — thank you Eric Clapton. Well, not nobody, but this experience has given me the rare opportunity to separate the whole of the people in my life into three different categories — friends and family, assholes and half assers with not surprisingly lopsided results.
However, while this last year has been nothing short of excruciatingly draining in every aspect, in reality I'm lucky that life knocked me on my ass after only 26 years. I now know what it feels like to be physically and mentally unable to get out of bed each day and not just because I'm a huge, cranky bitch in the morning because I still feel the same way at 7 p.m. When I'm hung over, I often groan, "it hurts to live!" But now my morning after binge drinking catch phrase has taken on a whole new meaning and anything better than this feeling means it's going to be a good day. I've felt my soul age several years over the course of nine months, which will ultimately change the way I view everything for the better, especially the kind of people I connect with. I've been given the chance to step outside myself and evaluate the kind of person I want to be and I'd be an idiot not to take advantage of that.
As for dating, (BOOOOOOO) I've come to this conclusion: I break things off because I know what I'm looking for and most of the time not even the most simple of those things, such as respect, is fulfilled. On the other hand, I also realize it's hard to meet somebody when they're in any state except "normal." The best I can give people right now is a warmed over version of me at my worst, which is not exactly ideal or the most appealing, but it's still essentially me and that's OK. There's a huge difference between putting on a happy face a.k.a. "warming yourself up" as a coping and survival mechanism in certain situations and completely lying to yourself and everybody around you by constantly faking it and hiding your feelings. To bring us back down to earth, my high school drill team coach used to say, "Get real with your bad self," and that's exactly what I'm doing.
Recently, somebody said to me in response to my emotional state, "You choose your attitude." Once again, an excellent example of the oh-so-eloquent advice the perpetually prosperous give to the down and out. And, if that person had even come close to walking a step in my shoes or would get real with their bad self, they'd realize that attitudes are different than emotions and a lot of times they don't always match. Even though my attitude is hopeful, that doesn't completely squelch the emotional state of pissy frustration and sadness. People who constantly cram their positive mantras down your fucking throat are just as bad as the evangelical Christians who tell you you're a sinner who's going to hell then try to hand you Jesus-tastic literature and tiny bibles. Acting in such a way is just not human. It's faking it and I'm never going to hide what I really feel behind an attitude. If you're hanging with me, you're going to get both my attitude and my emotions even if they're not perfectly color coordinated because I'm not afraid to be human. I'm real with my bad self and that's the only way my life is going to get better.
Ultimately it comes down to this: If you can't handle me at my worst, then I'm certainly not giving you the pleasure of being with me at my best, so get your bitch ass out my kitchen and don't bother coming back.
Yes, it's true, 2009 was a douchebag, but I've done my best to squeeze the good out of it. I've realized that in actuality, I'm lucky to have gone through this early on so that when life is not swirling around in the shitter, I'll be less likely to take anything for granted — my amazing family and the couple friends who stuck around during the shitstorm, employment and just a general state of well-being. And, when life inevitably waxes and wanes in the future, I'll be better equipped to handle it and also be a better support for others. I've learned that it can take just a teeny gesture and a single person to lift somebody else up and make a huge difference in their life. I wish other people would realize that, too.
However, now that I've dutifully extracted these important lessons from this experience, I'm more than ready for life to stop being a dickhead. I'm not hoping for a miracle in 2010 because frankly it's going to take a lot less than a miracle for this descent and stagnant state of running in place to begin it's ascent. Like I said, it's simple things and small steps.
So, cheers to you readers from your slightly fucked up and completely frazzled friend, Harna.
Here's hoping the down and out become a part of the prosperous pack in 2010.