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.

 

Joy, Tears, and a Mental Health Day

I have every other Friday off from the day job and typically, I get up around 7 and go right to work on writing or writing-related things.  I have 972,648 things I could be doing but this morning I took a mental health day.  It was sorely needed–the blood tests revealed that it’s not an easy solution of adjusting my thyroid meds and my depression is that I’m just not coping with life at the moment–so I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Hard decisions and changes that have to be made.  But I can’t make those while I’m feeling overwhelmed and fragile so I set them aside.  Instead, I lazed around in bed until 8:30 reading.  I got up, took a shower, and puttered around the house.

Doing chores didn’t feel like an insurmountable task, so I loaded and ran the dishwasher, put a couple of loads of laundry in, and prepped some healthy snacks and breakfasts for the next week.  I put vitamins in little baggies, because I’m always forgetting to take magnesium, which is not good, because I’m chronically low and that contributes to depression and anxiety as well.  For once I felt like I wasn’t rushed or frantic and it felt good to be accomplishing things without a sense of impending doom and panic.

During my puttering, I missed the SCOTUS decision, which makes me a little sad.  But I am too happy about the verdict to let it get to me and the tears are mostly a bone-deep sense of relief and validation. Partly for myself, because life is plenty strange and complicated without the world telling you that your feelings are invalid.  There’s enough bi-erasure out there and knowing that I sat in a weird limbo between having rights and not having them made it so much worse.  It’s a relief to know that I, as a human being, can marry whomever I choose.  And yes, I’m married to a man, and yes, I’d like it to stay that way until we’re dead, but there’s no guarantees of anything and it’s an incredible sense of relief to know that no matter what happens, I’m equal to anyone.

But my joy and tears are also for all of my friends.  For the ones who are planning a wedding in Pennsylvania because Michigan wouldn’t allow them to get married here.  For all of the couples who’ve been waiting to plan the rest of their life until they knew if they had rights or not.  For everyone in the country, who will benefit from this ruling.  Yes, even the haters who are convinced their God will send plagues of locusts and had vowed to set themselves on fire will benefit.  We all benefit.

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My happiness is for my characters too, because although they are in my head and on the page, it doesn’t make them any less real.  Right now Stephen and Russ are celebrating and that thrills me too.

There’s still a hell of a lot to be done.  Both in the wider world and in my own life, but for today, I think I’ll set all of that aside and just be happy.  I’ll read and putter and celebrate with friends and really, who could ask for a better mental health day than that?