Well I don’t know about you, but 2018 was one of the worst years of my life. If I could write it a Google review, I would not be complimentary. 1/5 stars. Would not recommend.
Good things happened too, of course. No year is completely horrible. I thought about those things as I white-knuckled my way through the final weeks of the year. I love the apartment we live in, the city we’ve landed in (Georgetown, Texas), the growth I’ve seen in myself and my husband, my newest adventures in the art world, and, best of all, the little dog I adopted.
I am thankful for many, many things. The life I have now, less than a month into 2019, feels sweet and full and satisfying, and I know that I have 2018 to thank for that. Those versions of Courtney and Stephen arranged this for the current versions of us, and we are very glad they did.
Last year wasn’t a total loss, but it was painful. I suffered through it. I spent the first half of the year unable to sleep and the second half sleeping 12-14 hours a day. I couldn’t write. Beginning on day one of the year, trauma after trauma unfolded in every area of my life. Some people knew that I was suffering and chose to be malicious and cruel toward me and my pain. I saw important relationships irrevocably broken. My grandfather fell ill and spent weeks in the hospital and hospice. Then, just when he seemed so much better and was going to go home in two days, he suddenly died.
I learned a lot about forgiveness. I had plenty of opportunities to practice it, and I also had front row seats to what happens when people choose not to forgive.
The things that happened cannot be undone, and have changed the landscape of my life. And yet life goes on. We don’t get to call for a timeout to recover from difficult events. At the same time that all of those unpleasant events were happening, other parts of my life were wonderful. Misery against the backdrop of a spectacular sunset.
I’ve put a lot of work into healing from the pain of last year. My internal work has bled into exterior changes. I cut all my hair off (half of my head is now shaved), got a new tattoo, rearranged the entire apartment, changed out my engagement ring and wedding band, and started putting my dog’s hair up in a ponytail. I feel different. I feel better.
Recently we had some garlic that was left in our root vegetable box for a little too long. By the time we rediscovered it, the little cluster of cloves had sprouted. Alone and forgotten in the darkness, it made the most of its situation and came to life. We rewarded the little enterprising plant by putting it in water and now we have a pet garlic plant.
This year, I want to find the little garlic sprouts in me that took advantage of last year. I’m going to make textile art about what I went through, in a series called A Portrait of Pain. It will center around my experiences of last year, not what happened. I will share the finished pieces here and write about them.
Stay tuned, and may your darkness always find its sprout.