Annual Reflections

IMG_6043
Sunsets promise sunrises.

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and this is the time I tend to reflect on the past year and what has happened. (78) The past year has been one of the roughest in my life. I’ve had to deal with learning about my gluten intolerance, debilitating muscle pain, cumulative emotional and mental issues, and some pretty hard writing setbacks. Of course there has been a lot of good things that have happened. I’ve met really cool people, had some amazing trips, and also had a few things published—one of which is still under wraps for now.

I remember it was shortly after my 30th birthday last year when I began to deal with numbness in my hands and arms. My doctors treated it with ibuprofen and naproxen, though I had a massage and it turned out to be a muscle issue. After almost fixing it, I pulled them so hard I had to be in bed when I wasn’t using the bathroom or eating. I could hardly shower, make food, or do laundry. I try to be pretty independent and that was extremely difficult for me. Some of you may remember this. My sanity was saved by audiobooks provided through the local library. Over the course of the year, I’ve figured out the source of the problem: emotionality leading to physical tension, injury (which makes the area easier to re-injure, especially if tense), and incorrect posture. I’ve mostly been able to manage the tension and pain by regular stretching and relaxation techniques. It’s not easy but I can manage much better. I’m not as hampered by the pain as I was a year ago and the numbness is mostly gone.

Sometimes comfort food is the best
Sometimes comfort food is the best

As documented here, I’ve been on a mental health journey these past few years and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. It’s opened up my ability to write and edit; begin, manage, and end relationships; understand my mental processes as processes and not be all/end all of everything; and last allowed me to begin to think I could actually have a decent life. I always figured I’d be dead by 20/21 and since I’ve lived quite a bit longer, I have to learn how to adult properly and take care of myself. I know I still have so much work to do, but now, I know it will help me.

I’ve done some awesome trips and some awesome things this year. I’ve made it to Portland a few times, I’ve gone to San Jose again, seen some of my favorite musicians in concert, gone to several conventions. It’s been great for connecting and reconnecting to my friends across the world. When you realize you have a vast social network there to support you when you are down is probably one of the reasons I’ve been able to heal and learn to trust their supportive voices telling me I’m worth something. Thank you all for that. It means a great deal to me.

The journey hasn’t been easy and I’ve had so much adversity to deal with. I used to minimize my problems as not as bad as other peoples, but that doesn’t make my issues any less valid and any less necessary to deal with. That is something a lot of people come across. Just because someone has it worse than you does not invalidate what you are going through. Understand their struggle and help those in need if you can. As long as you know the difference it can be very helpful.

IMG_5423Writing this year has been super hard with all the physical things I’ve had to endure. It’s not easy to have to relearn how to work and play, and writing was no different. I always think I should be about ten years further down the road then I am, but I’ve come to understand that I need to trust my own work. I’ve had some great publications come out that I’ve been proud to be a part of. There is so much work left to do, but I’ve sent off a novella for publication. I’ve got a good grounding for where my writing needs to be. I know I need to work more and more on it, but I have a place to go, a place to start from.

Life is looking up. I have supportive friends, a network of awesome professionals I can rely on, a grip on my physical problems, and a beginning understanding of the traumas I’ve endured. My life is by no means easy and by no means the hardest. It is my life and I’m coming to terms with where I am and where I’ve been. With that knowledge, I can plan and work out where I want to.

Thank you for your support and comments. You are all wonderful people. 😘

Support me on Patreon—a site for creators to connect with patrons. Your support will help me worry less about how to survive and more on how to create better art (including blogs!). I appreciate any and all levels of support. I post poems, short fiction, observations, and blogs (before they appear here).

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One thought on “Annual Reflections

  1. Keep the openness, the vulnerability, the positive attitude, and you’ll go far.
    It sounds like a modified Chinese cookie fortune, but it happens to be true.

    All the best to you, Andrew, today and always.

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