Au Revoir, 2015

I’ve been planning an end of the year post for a while, but after these past few weeks, I really felt like I needed to wrap up what has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

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The first half of 2015 was mentally exhausting. My relationship with my husband was not in the best place (although we were still working at it) and I was overwhelmed by writing and working full time. I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally or physically and it was taking its toll. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and feeling completely overwhelmed and out of control.

When Mr. Vaughn and I split in July, it was the most awful moment of my life.

I wanted to keep working on my marriage, but when that stopped being a possibility I realized I had two options. I could crawl under the covers and give up, or use this as an opportunity to start from scratch.  I chose the latter, and I’m so glad I did.

I quit my day job, moved in with my parents, began seeing a therapist, and starting walking and going to yoga regularly.

I made a plan and I’ve worked really hard at it. Not everything’s gone exactly as planned, of course. My emotional exhaustion made it more difficult for me to write than I expected. Settling into a new house/routine took longer than I hoped. I have a long way to go when it comes to figuring out time management and writing organization.

But I feel good.

I feel mentally solid. There are still rough days, but the worst of it is behind me. I feel healthier and more confident. I’ve lost 35 pounds and increased my balance and flexibility. I’ve gone on a few dates which was weird but good. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends. I’ve realized I actually enjoy going out now that I’m not exhausted and overwhelmed. I released “Connection” in October and “Trust” will be out in late January. I started a facebook group for fans and am putting together a newsletter.

Best of all, I feel like I’m in control of my life again.

A few days ago I met with the soon-to-be ex Mr. Vaughn. It was hard. It was the first time we’d seen each other since I moved out at the end of August. The meeting was sort of spur-of-the-moment. But after talking for about an hour or so, it became very clear that it was something we’d needed to do before we could take that final step. We still love each other. We miss each other a lot. But when it comes right down to it, we aren’t the best people for each other anymore. The thought makes me sad. Letting go and moving on is hard. It hurts so very much. Maybe there was a point somewhere along the way that we could have fixed things. We’ll never really know. But we both know we’re long past that point.  We ended the conversation knowing that when we have the final divorce hearing in a few weeks, it’ll be the right decision.

Best of all, we went out to dinner after. Just as friends. No anger. No tears (although a few threatened and I had to gulp down ice water to steady myself). There are conversational minefields we have to avoid for now. Some things are still too raw. But there was laughter.  And when he hugged me goodbye at the end of the evening it felt good. It felt like the way things were supposed to be. It makes me unbearably sad to know that he’s not going to be my husband anymore. But it feels really good to know that he’ll be my friend.

I’m ready to say goodbye to 2015. Last year, when 2015 started I thought it was going to be a fantastic year. I was wrong. It was hard, painful, and emotionally exhausting. I don’t ever want another year like that again.

But maybe it was exactly what I needed.

So bring on 2016. I’m doing my best to be ready for you, whatever you bring. But could you maybe go a little easy on me? I’m strong. I’m healing. But I’m a little bruised and battered and I sure would appreciate it if you took that into consideration.

Please.


 

Edited because holy typos, Batman.  I don’t know WHAT happened with the weird repeating paragraph. LOL. Sorry about that.

 

No Flash Fic

There was no flash fic for me today, for a number of reasons.

The biggest is that I came down with a nasty cold at the end of last week and am only now feeling semi-human again.  I had planned to spend three solid days writing, but only got a handful of words out.  The most productive thing I did was edit the Motor City Pride pics.  *sighs*

And much like Theo, I’m in a funk.  Mine isn’t a writing funk though.  When I have a chance to write, the words flow quite nicely and I feel good about where my writing career is headed.  But I am depressed. It’s not particularly surprising since RL has become increasingly stressful.  The day job used to be tolerable (if not a dream job) but it’s rapidly becoming an Evil Day Job and that’s causing a lot of problems.  There are other things going on in real life that are equally stressful and frustrating.  Plus, I don’t have a great outlet for dealing with any of it which takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

Lonesome woman on a sea shore.

I’m functional. I can still get out of bed in the mornings, but I am not where I want to be right now.  The interesting thing is, it feels a lot like my depression in high school, which wound up being caused by an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Depression is a symptom of Hypothyroidism.

I was due for my annual checkup anyway, so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for today. It’s possible that the biggest thing wrong is my thyroid levels. Once I get bloodwork done I’ll have a better idea.  It may be that a minor tweak of my thyroid medication will fix most of it and then I’ll have the energy to fix the rest. *crosses fingers*

Either way it’s something that has to be dealt with.

The good thing about having been depressed before is that I know it will pass eventually.  I may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, but I know it’s there.


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week.  There are some fantastic ones.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday.

Christmas Ambivalence

I have mixed feelings about Christmas this year.  I’ve been so busy with the novella that my Christmas preparation didn’t really get underway until a few weeks ago.  Other than taking advantage of the Cyber Monday sales to buy my husband gifts and putting up my Christmas tree, it wasn’t until the last few weeks (and especially the last few days) that I’ve really put much effort into it.  I’ve made up for lost time though: the house is decorated, treats are baked, shopping is done, I’ve donated to charity, and I went to see a performance of A Christmas Carol with my parents like I have for the past 30 years.  But I haven’t been feeling Christmas this year.  I’m going through the motions more than I’d like to.  Part of it’s a lack of snow–it’s raining and forty degrees right now–although I am grateful we haven’t had an ice storm like we did last year.  No power before Christmas is stressful as hell.  I actually like rain and gloom most of the year, but around Christmas, I really want snow.

I felt a glimmer of the Christmas spirit in the last few days as I baked and listened to Christmas carols.  I tried very hard to feel jolly as I wrapped gifts.  But my brain wasn’t fully on board.  I look at the picture below and think “that looks cheerful”.  But I don’t feel cheerful.

Christmas cookies

It doesn’t help that we’re horribly short-staffed at work right now. I usually take a few days off before Christmas and I couldn’t this year.  I’m scheduled to work Christmas Eve until 4pm and for weeks, had no idea if I’d even be able to go to my husband’s family’s celebration.  They live two hours away so he’d miss most of it he waited until I got out of work to go.  I didn’t want him to miss a chance to see his family, some of whom he only sees once or twice a year.  But the prospect of working all day and then spending the evening alone was depressing and it hung over everything.

It’s not official per se, but my boss has given me the go ahead that I’ll be able to get out early and go.  I’m crossing my fingers that everything will go according to plan and I can celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband and his family.  So that’s good news.

Unfortunately, last night I got the news that my family’s Christmas has been rescheduled.  My mom has a cold and my dad has what sounds like the flu.  He’s almost never sick, so him saying that he didn’t feel up to doing Christmas was a surprise.  He must really feel awful. I certainly don’t blame him, but it looks like the soonest we’ll be able to get together to celebrate will be January 3rd.  Not going to lie, I cried when I found out.

Since my grandma died and my extended family splintered apart, I’ve struggled with the holidays.  I still see two of my cousins and their kids–although usually not until late January/February–so it isn’t as though I won’t celebrate with them.  But it isn’t the same.  And when it’s tied in with some very unresolved family issues … well, Christmas hasn’t been quite as happy as it used to be.  I felt like I was doing well in the last few years though.  Getting used to the idea that it was a small celebration with my parents, aunt, and  husband.  Eating my dad’s homemade scones, opening gifts, having dinner in front of the fireplace. I was trying to embrace those new traditions and to have that yanked out from under me took me by surprise.  Now I feel weepy and deflated, what Christmas cheer I had utterly gone.

I’m trying to be grateful that I have family.  That they are–colds and flu aside–healthy.  This year I have a warm house (with power!) and I’m all ready for Christmas.  I let myself wallow and mope a bit last night and this morning.  But writing this has been catharctic and I’m trying to keep things in perspective.

I realized earlier today that my husband and I don’t even own stockings.  Well, we do, but they’re at my parents’ house.  Nevermind that we don’t have a mantel either.  Surprising in a house from the 1920’s, but there is no fireplace.  I plan to go out after work and see if I can find two stockings.   We can always hang them off the aquarium.

It’s the first Christmas Day my husband and I have ever spent with just the two of us and I’m at a loss for how to celebrate it.  Number one, we need to figure out dinner for that day. Nothing we have on the menu seems particularly festive.  Ginger beef stir fry with kale and mushrooms sounds delicious, but not for Christmas dinner.

Christmas fir tree branch with holly berry

I’m wishing hard for a white Christmas, but that’s out of my control and aside from hanging stockings, I’m wracking my brain about what else we can do to make the day special.  What are your traditions? Do you have any thoughts on what I can do to kick this funk in the pants and replace it with some holiday spirit?