Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Show me that you're human

Like a thief in the light, you can't hide, you can't hide 
from your shadow, It's the only thing you own

And you don't need to pretend, that perfection is your friend
'Cause we're all broken. We all end up alone


I just looked through my posts from last year and I guess I never wrote a January resolution list for 2017. That's ok, 2017 was a weird year and likely I needed to take it one day at a time. I often had daily resolutions like "survive until bedtime" and "drink all the coffee you need" and I am happy to look back and see that I successfully kept both! 

I started 2017 dealing with some pretty severe anxiety, depression and just some weird emotional crap that felt new and big and overwhelming.  I attempted to see a therapist which was a complete disaster, but lead to my own personal journey of self research and discovery, which was a very good thing. (I'm not knocking therapy, I think it's brilliant and just about everyone could benefit from it, I just happened to get a therapist that had no clue what to do with me.) I have learned more about myself in the last 12 months, than perhaps in the past 12 years put together. Good things, growing things.  

I only officially posted on this blog 3 times last year, but there are pages and pages of writing that was just for me.  Someday I may share some of it, when I am older and more foolish than I am now. 

I ended 2017 with the world literally burning about me, and started 2018 with the same burn-scarred world dangerously flooded in water and mud -  and yet, I somehow feel more peaceful and content than I ever have before.

Perhaps it was me working my way through a mid-life crises, we all get at least one of those right? Perhaps it was simple growing pains - I officially entered fully into my new life last year, as all my kids entered school full time and I was left home to wonder what my purpose was now that I was not really needed for the majority of any given day. I never really got to do that in my twenties. I went from home, to school, to working to keep my head above water, to motherhood - all with no break...until now.  I suppose all that is not unusual and may even be more common than not, so perhaps having a bit of a mid-life crisis in your mid-thirties is not so unusual either. 

Show me that you're human, you won't break
Oh love your flaws and live for your mistakes
Beauty's on the surface wearing thin
Come closer show the marks upon your skin
Show me that you're human

Show me that you're human

I have slowly re-learned how to do this writing thing, not just as a hobby, frantically finding stolen moments, or simply just for fun. But as an obligation, as a job that I am responsible for and if I want to see results, I have to put in real sweat-and-blood work.  I also have had to accept in my own way, that regardless of how much work I put in, I could make it through an entire year with zero "yes" responses, and it does not mean I have failed. That can be a hard one to swallow.

You're a spark without flame
I'm a desert in the rain,
You're a mountain and I'm a stepping stone
So walk away from your pride
It's a demon is disguise
And it won't help you to calm the swelling tide

I bought a new house in 2017, one that feels more like home than anywhere else I have ever lived. A peaceful house, a happy house. Just around the block is an amazing walking path that helps me be motivated to exercise (I even canceled my gym membership because I so preferred walking and running outdoors instead of fighting for a place at a crowded gym, that it wasn't being used.) 

Today, I am sitting in my own office as I write, drinking a cup of tea and watching the rain out of my window. This is home. I keep waiting for the excitement and newness of it all to wear off...but even with frustrations of home-ownership, unexpected expenses and broken things, I still love it. Sometimes we need something to break so we can appreciate the beauty of that which is whole and healthy

I am learning to love myself better - both the healthy and the broken. I have never struggled with "low self esteem" as a general rule, but I have never had a natural filter and I have always been clumsy, so growing up it was the family joke that everyone was just waiting, terrified to hear what I would do or say next that would result in calamity. I always knew when I had said something wrong, but rarely did I know what that wrong thing was, apparently that was something I was just supposed to know naturally. (Unfortunately I was skipped-over when normal social grace was handed out.). 

                                              Show me that you're human, you won't break
Oh love your flaws and live for your mistakes
And beauty's on the surface wearing thin
Come closer show the marks upon your skin
Show me that you're human

By not knowing or understanding what wrong thing I had said or done, why it was not acceptable, (and why everyone was looking at me in horror and embarrassment) I was doomed to repeat it. This made me grow up fearing myself and feeling like everything I said, did, thought, wanted, believed was always wrong. So I attempted to compensate by researching, reading and learning everything I could. Unfortunately this resulted in everyone telling me I was being a show-off, a know-it-all, and great joy and celebration was had every time I failed, was proven wrong, or even when I simply could not prove myself to be right...

I have learned to love my awkwardness, and I finally did gain at least a basic understanding of normal social expectations.  

But I still don't always understand people.  

I still don't understand why they do what they do, what actions will result in what re-actions. I don't understand the script, my part doesn't seem to match. Perhaps everyone feels this way in some way, shape, or form?  I'm not sure if that makes things better or worse. 

But even without understanding people - I am constantly surprised, delighted and always, always fascinated by humanity.  It is raw, unfiltered and clumsy. It is constantly saying and doing the wrong thing. It rarely understands why things went wrong and because of this, so often, it is doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. 

Perhaps I have a little too much humanity?

All that to say - this has been a very human year. But even with all the blunders, this year has been one of the first years in my memory where I am no longer trying to fit what society seems to expect of me (mistakenly perceived as those expectations may be). While at the same time, I am not over-compensating by being "the weird one" on purpose.

To put it simply: I'm fresh out.

 And it is freeing! 

Show me that you're human, you wont break, 
Oh love your flaws and live for your mistakes
And beauty's on the surface wearing thin
Come closer show the marks upon your skin
Show me that you're human

If I want to be alone for weeks at a time, seeing no one but my husband and children - letting my books and my characters be my friends and confidants, that is ok. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with me, I just need that time to explore and create. Sometimes I have to silence the world around me in order to hear what is not being said. 

Sometimes, it is just needed for sanity and recovery from all the human-ness.

If I want to fill my schedule as full as it can be with social gatherings and coffee dates. Calling loved ones on the phone and chatting for hours, taking the kids to museums and parks, learning new things and meeting new people, taking a break from my literary creations and letting them smolder and form without my constant supervision, that is ok too. 

And... sometimes, it is needed for sanity and recovery from all the human-ness. 

I do want to actively ponder some new year resolutions for 2018. Perhaps I will focus this year on being more human and most certainly, more foolish.  

Resolutions for 2018

1. Do more to love humanity, whether that is in the physical sense or the metaphorical. Humans need caring for, whether it is ourselves or those around us.  I want to do better caring for the humans in this world. 

2. I would like to end 2018 in the best shape of my life.  

I will be going for a run down my glorious walking path as soon as this post is finished (the rain has stopped and the sun is out, my world has been washed clean and I want to be in it). I am also thinking of trying cross-fit or something similar.  I am not ashamed to admit I am scared and intimidated at the thought of trying something new like that, especially having no clue where to start.  But I am also excited at the possibilities. 

3. Buy a new book whenever I am in need of something new and exciting to read. 

We all need at least one resolution we want to keep.  And this past year I have found again my love of reading (now that kids are old enough to be trusted unsupervised, as I lock myself in my room for hours on a Saturday afternoon). 

I think that is enough.  3 resolutions I plan to keep. Specific enough to not be a cop-out (I hope) but vague enough for some wiggle-room. 

I am learning to love my humanity.  I think it is something that has always scared me for some reason, as if being human is a weakness I need to rise above. Unfortunately that attitude also lends itself to a complete lack of grace when those around me also inevitably act out on their own human-ness.  

Show me that you're human
Oh love your flaws and live for your mistakes
And beauty's on the surface wearing thin
Come closer show the marks upon your skin
Show me that you're human

                                                                                     Human, Gabrielle Aplin

Oh, and by the way if you have not heard that song I highly recommend it.  It is beautiful. 

And for those of you, who like me, have felt unusually human lately, I will end with this: