Comparison is, indeed, the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke the truth, man.

I’ve been struggling a lot this holiday season. As usual, I suppose, I mean I’m pretty sure I go through this every year. But for some reason, the demons got a little more insidious this time around. I think it’s finally on the upswing now that Christmas is over, but there’s still the NYE hurdle to get over.

It’s an interesting place to be, to find no solace at all in something that once brought happiness and pleasure. I’ve been thinking back to my ghosts of Christmas past; for the last three years, I’d found myself in some form of a hopeful place with someone, only to have it disintegrate for one reason or another. And when the good times had are tainted by the truth of what was really going on before, during, and after it was all over… I mean, damn. I can’t even enjoy the memories anymore.

So, there’s that. And there’s me, battling the part of my brain that seems hellbent on regret for past choices, actions, lost friendships, relationships, etc. I am 43 years old, single, childless… and while that may sound like a dream come true to some, it’s not at all what I’d wanted or hoped for myself. But despite my best efforts to change that, I keep winding up in this same place. The place where it’s pretty much too late for kids of my own, the place where I’m not even sure a good man (for me) exists, the place where I have to own that where I am is my own damn fault, the place where I compare my life to that of my family members and come up short in just about every way. The place where the destruction of what I knew, trusted, and loved all those years ago lent itself to me never feeling whole, like, ever.

The place where I am not enough.

(But I am, apparently, a broken record.)

And yet, I know full well this malaise, these doldrums, the winter blues, etc. will pass, and before long I’ll find myself grateful for what I have and who I am and where I’m at. I think it’s okay to call it out, knowing full well it’s temporary and that I can absolutely weather the storm like I always do. Maybe not with as much dignity or grace as I’d like sometimes, but always with the grit and determination to hang the hell in there until it passes. I know, too, that I’ve done a LOT of work this year to change the trajectory of how things have been going so far. It’s been a hard year, with a lot of lessons.

But if that means there’s a better chance at better things, then I’m willing to put in the effort. I just also think (and am grateful) this year was full of lessons I will never, ever need to learn again.

Not only am I enough, and not only do I have enough… I’ve HAD enough.

So I find myself at the end of the year with what appears to be a completely clean slate, in just about every way. Right now, that blank slate feels oppressive, overwhelming, sad, and exhaustingly scary… but what that really is, is freedom. I am free from toxic people and situations, free from having my story already told, free from obligation and expectation, free from everything and everyone that may have been holding me back, whether in real life or in my own mind. I’ve started putting the pieces in place to build a new life from the ground up, starting with a way more stable foundation. And this next year may very well require a whole lot more work to keep it going and keep it moving, but that’s okay.

I got this.

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