John Green once said, basically, that the two years after graduating college are the hardest years of a persons life. This year has proved him right. It has also proved that even though being freshly graduated sometimes totally sucks, you live. And I can say even after only one year, it has gotten much better. And if his two year estimation is right, I only have one more year to go!
See, my life has always been pretty stable. My parents are still together, all my siblings are alive, and I've had a great education. High school was crazy busy and involved, but it was an easy crazy busy and involved, if that makes sense, and fun. College wasn't too bad either. I've always been pretty comfortable in a classroom, and I feel like the friends I made in college brought out and accepted and emphasized parts of me I'd never really been okay with before.
2011 shook things up. Graduating was the bomb that exploded my stable little world, and looking back I think I sort of saw it coming.
It's not even that anything drastic or totally traumatic happened. The epicenter of the bomb was May, and what I am now referring to as the I-Thought-I-Knew-Myself fiasco, when I tried a move out of Utah and learned what Alone really means. I still don't think moving out of Utah is a bad idea, but now I know how to be more realistic about it and much, much wiser.
So anyway, basically 2011 was a huge learning year for me, that sort of yanked my naked face in front of a mirror and didn't let go til I learned how to stop squirming.
And when your naked in front of a mirror like that, you learn a few things about yourself. And I mean Yourself with a capital Y, way deep down, without any outside input or titles or categorization. This year I learned that I am who I am because of three things.
1) My God. I never doubted my relationship with God. I never doubted He loved me, no matter what. No. Matter. What. And when you are lucky enough to have that security, there's a certain line of despair you just don't cross. If He's your rock bottom then you're okay.
2) My Family. When I was sitting alone on a bed in an apartment in a city I'd never been with absolutely no one that I knew with no really good reason to be there and wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into, all I wanted was my mom. I always knew I loved and needed my family, but I didn't know till then how desperately. When I talk to people about family, I only rarely feel like people get it. It shocks me how many people don't like being with their family. And I don't think it's an unhealthy apron-strings thing either, for my seven siblings and I. We're a unit. And people don't quite get where the happiness and unity come from, either. People only see the happiness from the outside, which makes it look very superficial. It's all very big house, beautiful mom, piano recitals and Disneyland to them. They have no clue how big of an understatement it is to say that those things are just the tip of the iceberg. You don't have a family like mine without fights and bitterness and honesty and vulnerability and seeing the worst things about each other and coming out on the other end loving each others guts. You don't have a marriage like my parents without years, and I mean years, of seeing things the totally wrong way and doing the totally wrong things and thinking your right and thinking your wrong and staying together so hard it hurts until it doesn't hurt anymore and you realize you've figured something out and lost track of where you end and they begin. When nothing else was there, all of that was.
3) My Writing. And I'm being totally serious. When everything I thought I wanted or thought I was or thought was important got flipped upside down, one thing staid. I wanted to write. Not just write, but be a writer. Because of that, there was at least one thing to hold on to. There was at least one thing I knew I wanted, and because everything else was gone, I knew I really wanted it. God loved me no matter what. My family supported me no matter what. Writing is my what.
So with God holding me up, my family pushing me forward and a path of words to walk on, I say to 2012: Bring It On. And to 2011, thank you for what you've taught me. I realize now I needed those lessons in order to reach the kind of joy I envision for myself.
But most of all, so long, good riddance, and thanks for all the fish. Even though they were really hard to swallow.