2016 has been…interesting. 2017…. will also be interesting, whether for better or for worse.
I haven’t been this depressed over the outcome of an election since Bush got re-elected. But that was different. Back then I still believed that the world was ending in a few short years. What did I care if it all went to shit under Bush? Yeah it sucked, but Jesus was coming, so it wouldn’t suck for long.
That, ladies and germs, is why they do not let 15 year olds vote.
I enter 2017 not only depressed about the election, but about my future. I’m not honestly sure I have one. Will I be able to finish school ever? Will I be able to pay for school? Is there a point at which I will run out of financial aid? All of this is so scary.
Will I ever not work a crappy minimum wage job at which I get no benefits?
2016 has been a year of big changes. I left the Adventist church 3 years ago. 2 of those years, I was too drunk to really deal with the ramifications of that. Which brings me to my next big change: 2016 was also the year I finally was able to cut back on drinking. It took me about a year to quit fully. I found it was best if I tapered off gradually. I still drink on occasion, but never to excess. And not very often. Once or twice a year, I’ve found, is enough.
So in some ways, this is the first year I’ve actually been able to deal with having left the church, having lost pretty much my entire social circle (minus about 2 people, hi Callie) in one fell swoop.
2016 was also the year that I went back and visited the Local Church. This in and of itself was something I swore I would never do, but I did it for a reason. However, I think that going back for a visit was extremely imporant in my journey. For in going back, I remembered why it was I left in the first place.
Ellen White said, “we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we forget….the past.”
Once again, Ellen White was right. Going back and facing a few of my demons allowed me to realize that I am not the same person I was 3 years ago. I’ve gone on to do things I never dreamed of doing.
Going back also made me realize that I was wrong, originally. I thought the choice was between the freedom that the world had to offer, and the love and closeness I had within the church.
When I went back, I realized that this was a false dichotomy: I did not leave to find freedom to drink, wear jewelry, or dance. I left because I wanted the freedom to find love. Love freely given, not mandated by a sky-daddy. For if you are not free to choose who you love, what good is love?
And so I go forward, confident that if I do not have it already, I will someday.
Earlier in 2016, I restarted the blog. I resolved to at least edit the damn thing sober, and since then I am hoping I write better. I have not, as yet, had the courage to go re read the drunken entries. I’ve gone back and locked a lot of them so that they are no longer accessible to the public. Maybe some day I’ll be able to look back and laugh, but that day is not today. Today, I just want to move forward.
Surprisingly, I find that now that I am sober, I can actually write. I’ve started writing again, a little bit. Picking up where I left off, partly because Adventism, and partly because Depression. Writing little short stories that I leave lying around work.
Are they good stories? No, they’re rather terrible.
But my biggest regret is that I let that stop me from trying.
I will put myself out there, even if it’s only a little. Baby steps.
I have never been one for new year’s resolutions. At least, not serious ones that I actually meant to keep. I think the last time I actually kept a New Year’s resolution was when I resolved to finish reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and it took me till like, April.
I still have yet to sign up for classes,and things with school are a bit of a mess. My future, especially the financial side, is weak and unsteady.
But I do know one thing: I have spent a lot of the past 3 years looking back, wishing I could have what I lost. I still think a little bit of thinking about the past is important, but next year, I want to focus on what I have gained. I have gained at least 2 secular friends, D and S. I have gained a following. (Seriously, I’m so grateful for all of you guys.) I have gained a bit of an education. I have gained a cat.
I have lost, I have gained.
But um, hopefully I’ll lose weight next year.