Yes, I sure did get this title from the soundtrack lead of the new Frozen movie.
Yes, I sure did cry my eyes out while watching said new Frozen movie (Frozen 2).
Yes, it so super cheesy of me to write a blog post based on all the feels I got because some cosmic connection between myself and fictional animated characters moved me and created a dialogue in my head that I couldn’t ignore… but, here we go.
A New Year
All of December I’ve been thinking about leaving this year, this decade, behind. It reminds me of how I felt leaving 2011 behind after RW. I’m ready to let go of this year and decade, I’m ready for a new start and for all the pain and fear that this year held to be behind me. At the same time, as I said in my post on RW’s Angelversary (2,922), I should know better than that. The clock striking midnight and the date changing to a new year (and now, decade) doesn’t magically erase the bad memories and pain; it doesn’t take away all of the trauma and anxiety as if nothing ever happened. If anything, the impending New Year makes me reflect even more on the last year and everything I’ve been through… again; not just my own timeline but I also look back on what my loved ones have been through this year. For my family it was losing my grandma (and immediately following was my c-word diagnosis and surgeries). For my friends, it was some of them losing loved ones, some dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility, some experiencing their first year Angelversaries after a loss last year. Over the last 9 years, so much has happened and so much has changed; I’m not the same person I was at 25 years old. In 2010 I had the whole world ahead of me. I was ready for a new career, new beginnings, a new home, and most of all – parenthood. I think back on the events from the past 9 years and I feel, sometimes even relive the same emotions all over again (and it’s not always the sad memories, I can think back on happy events and feel those emotions, too… it’s just that the sad times are the harder emotions to try to handle). I’m sure the same is true, or similar, for most people who experience a loss or traumatic event and especially so for those who create emotional connections between dates/time and events like I do. I remember so many events’ dates and connect them to actual feelings: the day my grandpa died, the day I met my husband, the day he proposed to me, the day I found out I was pregnant, the day (morning, for me) that we lost RW, both of our children’s births, and so on. I don’t just remember the dates and think back on how I felt – I can actually feel the emotions all over again. It can be exhausting and is why I haven’t fully “healed” in the last 8 years – because I didn’t know how to accept that the emotions, painful or otherwise, would always be there. It’s called being an empath, which I’ll write more about later.
It’s what makes “moving on” hard, or darn near impossible, for people like me. We don’t always know how to move on – we just know how we feel.
Sitting in the movie theater with my children, we were so excited for this new movie (and if you know me well, my own excitement for the sequel to a DISNEY movie about SNOW!); to my surprise, I had the wind knocked out of me, more than once. “Into the Unknown” began playing and I was hanging on to every lyric like it was my job to count the notes. I thought to myself “This is silly, this is ridiculous. I’m 34 years old and I’m crying in a Disney movie that isn’t even sad!!”. I had just made arrangements to begin seeing a homeopathic neuropathic doctor to help me balance my body and mind so that I can actually heal the way that my brain and body need to heal (and to wean off of my prescription depression and anxiety meds, which we have to change every few years anyways, to switch to natural body & brain supporting alternatives). I was processing what this new path was about to look like for me, what it will mean for my mental and emotional health, and how it will affect my family if I don’t comply completely. Change is scary but the unknown is far scarier.
I pulled myself together and refocused on enjoying the movie. The next thing I knew the two sisters began singing again: this time about their painful past, the pain of losing loved ones, the grief and heartache, and about how moving forward from those feelings and the past is uncharted territory full of uncertainty and… the unknown.
I felt so overwhelmed for a few minutes that I had to rest my head on my hand to hide the stream of continuous tears.
“I’ve seen dark before, but not like this. This is cold, this is empty, this is numb. The life I knew is over, the lights are out – hello darkness.”
“This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down, but a tiny voice whispers in my mind ‘you are lost, hope is gone, but you must move on and do the next right thing’.”
“I wont look too far ahead, it’s too much for me to take… but break it down to this next breath, this next step, this next choice is one that I can make.”
A little heavy and dark for a movie featuring an absent minded (hilarious) snowman and a reindeer who understands English, I thought, but I welcomed the emotions it brought up regardless of how inconvenient and potentially embarrassing the setting itself was. The lyrics connected to me to feelings I’d worked so hard to bury; I’ve managed to do such a (terrible) good job at internalizing how I feel when these emotions bubble up, it’s actually a well-disguised blessing to experience any trigger that ignites what I can’t suppress.
Call me crazy but these are some of the moments that I feel, that I know, I’m in the right place at the right time, for a reason, and the things I’m hearing, seeing, or feeling aren’t coincidence – even if I do feel absolutely nuts for having such epiphanies while watching a Disney movie with my kids. It’s just a movie. The themes and undertones of the storyline have nothing to do with me or my story and my life, but that’s sometimes how and when the emotions that we feel deep inside, even when we don’t want to acknowledge them, become most obvious.
When we least expect it.
Sitting in a full theater watching a Disney movie.
This year was one long storm for me. I struggled. I fought it like a child fighting sleep. I refused, at times, to accept the reality of what I was experiencing: the c-word, the surgeries, the physical loss of (two) body parts that was entirely my choice to lose; all of this in addition to the events that people around me, close to me, were going through themselves. I couldn’t really be there for any of them because I was emotionally handicapped. I kept trying to tell myself that ignoring how I felt was the only way I could handle it without losing my mind. I progressed a time or two in my counseling sessions and foolishly allowed myself to declare defeat against the enemy, my anxiety, as if a few successful purge-sessions with my counselor were grounds to say I was doing well.
I was in denial. I was scared. I was resentful.
I was re-broken all over again. I thought I had just found the missing pieces of myself, discovering and admitting how bad my anxiety and mental state now were after so many years of feeling lost, in feeling the ups and downs of the grief rollercoaster and the mental wellness merry-go-round. I had come up to the surface for a breath to only be dragged back down helplessly – because I didn’t want help.
What I wanted was to change the past, ignore the present, and control the future.
I’ve thought very hard about what I want my 2020 to look like, and that’s exactly what I want to embrace. The unknown.
Trusting that just because x, y, or z happened this year doesn’t mean that a, b, or c will happen the next year. If I want to feel and experience the happiness and positivity that life has to offer then that is what I have to figure out how to look for the most, and that’s a challenge. Perspective isn’t always easily steered. For anyone who’s experienced the sometimes cruel reality of our human life, you get it. It’s scary to look forward when you feel afraid to trust what you can’t control. It’s terrifying, trying to convince yourself and/or others by saying “I’m okay”, knowing you’re not.
Embrace what you don’t know and what you have to figure out along the way… half the fun of getting anywhere is the road that will lead you to it and all of the unknowns along the way. If people ask how you are, knowing your story, then trust that they’re asking because they care enough to handle the truth; don’t sugarcoat or lie about how you actually are because you think no one can handle it. If you’re the friend (or the other “someone”) asking the “someone” like me how they’re doing, do so with genuineness. From another angle, there’s nothing wrong with feeling like you’re not that person for us, whether its right now or ever; simply say “it’s good to see you” or “I’ve been thinking about you”, instead. Leave the ball in our court instead of asking an impulsive question that might be hard to answer – and that might yield a hard answer to hear. After my last post where I admitted how hard of a time I’ve had this year, I experienced something so precious and special (more than once) that each time rendered me almost speechless. People who know me, who obviously have read my blog and posts, came up to me in public and said “how are you, really? I’ve been thinking about/praying for you.” Every time left me in tears because I wrote and shared the truth without any protective facade and then personally saw that there are people, who even knows how many, who pay attention… who see me… who genuinely care.
Sometimes we become so caught up in trying to control our own lives that we lose the ability to enjoy and trust the journey itself. I don’t want to lose that and I don’t want to lose hope. I am on a much more supported path now because I’ve finally allowed the support that I need in my life. I’ve allowed myself to have good days/weeks/months without feeling pressured (by myself) to falsely claim that I’m well. I won’t do that to myself anymore, I won’t confuse the people who love and care about me. I’ve allowed myself to accept that the change and improvement I need won’t happen overnight, or in one counseling session, or in a month’s time of implementing healthy habits and new regimens. In fact, it likely won’t happen in a whole 12 months time. I might be sitting at my table this time next year writing another piece about (another) upcoming new year of healing; as long as I don’t give up, I give it my all, and continue to allow the people who can help me to help me, then I will also then be able to write about the growth I’ve made, and that’s what matters most. This year wasn’t a lost year for myself or anyone reading this who spent 2019 wishing things were different and resenting reality. This year was a gift because we lived it and because we have lessons and goals to carry into 2020.
I’m not a therapist or a counselor and I never intend to sound like I’m giving medical or psychological advice, but through sharing my own struggles and my story I hope that anyone reading my posts gains any amount of strength, hope, or inspiration to positively change the way that you see, and accept, your own past, present and future. I hope anyone out there who feels lost can find the difference between controlling what you can control in your life (who you allow in, who you let go of, what help you allow for yourself and what hinderances you cut off, how you treat your own mind and body and the patience you afford yourself in the process) and accepting/letting go of what you cannot. I have discovered that I need just as much outside help to accept and release what I cannot change or control as I do to change and improve the parts of my life and healing journey that I/we can control. I’m a work in progress, trying my best to figure things out as I go.
The hardest of all for me, personally, is opening my arms and welcoming the future – the unknown – and trusting that I have every reason and right to (instead of fearing) anticipate the joy and blessings ahead of me the way God intended us to do; to trust that no matter how hard I want to, I cannot control every facet of my future… and it’s that way for a reason.
Goodbye 2019 – I’ll remember you, but I won’t miss you!
Do you set goals for yourself for each new year?
Some people are able to handle laundry-lists of goals for a new year – or any period of time, and they function well in working to achieve or complete each task on that list. I’ve discovered that instead of setting lofty goals and expectations that I feel must be met (or else face self-deprecation), I enjoy choosing a word(s) that embodies the kind of year and the focus, change, and improvement that I want/need to have in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not writing a book on how you should function or handle personal goals if you deal with anxiety/depression or any mental illness; if I’m cognizant enough to recognize that if there’s a better way of doing something that will still get me to the same end goal, minus any extra stress and unnecessary pressure, then I want to share it. This year I decided to pick out three words that I think will help me in each area that I want to improve. Feel free to steal mine if they resonate with you!
My “Action” word is: Organize – I need to be more organized in every area of my life: my home, my daily routines, and even my emotions. I can do pretty well at organizing my emotions so long as I’m writing, and I can keep my house tidy and organized if I have a supportive daily routine that creates more order than it does pressure. Organization requires daily effort and a determined mindset, which is easy to stray from for someone whose emotional spirit has been weakened. Organization is usually the first thing that suffers when I’m struggling.
My “Focus” word is: Faith – While I’ve never completely lost my faith, I have certainly forgotten many times that it should be the backbone of our family and the cornerstone on which I lay my stresses and worries. I too often forget that just because God doesn’t cure my anxiety and depression when I pray for it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hear me; it also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want me to be free of anxiety and depression – but maybe, rather, He is building a deeper relationship with me in this season of my life. I’m grateful for that – I’m also grateful for my counselor who pointed that out to me this past summer when I shook my fist towards Him and asked why he was putting more on me than I deserved.
My “Target” word is: Grow – My biggest “goal” so to speak is to improve myself – physically and mentally – and to recognize small victories instead of only the comprehensive year-end completions. Growth can be measured in increments, not just in visible physical results (you have to form strong roots before you can bloom!). I want to give myself leniency of instead of setting deadlines, while still holding myself accountable (and allowing the people helping me to hold me accountable, also) to stay on the path that will lead to the growth and improvement that I desperately need. One day at a time, one small change at a time.