Thursday, November 11th, 2010 • 4 Comments on Bone Deep
A year ago, I was enormously pregnant, shaking my fist at the limitations imposed on me by gestational diabetes (what a sad Thanksgiving dinner that was), dealing with endless doctors’ appointment ands pregnancy concerns, coping with being alone during the second most stressful time in my life (with the most stressful time in my life being the months after I had a baby), battling a serious case of depression brought on by circumstance, hormones and sheer exhaustion and wondering where the hell I would be a year from then. Oh, and I had just turned in the manuscript of my first anthology, which should have been a big deal and a reason to celebrate. But I was too depressed and exhausted to celebrate. And too relieved that I’d completed it despite all the stress and exhaustion to even be happy about the accomplishment. At the time, for those six or eight months, however you want to measure it, I thought I was so strong, so tough, coping so well. In retrospect, I realize I pretty much lost my mind and was shellshocked from all the change that was happening to me and how out of control my life seemed. I was moving from one day to the next with my head down, just trying to deal with what was right in front of me because anything on the periphery was too overwhelming to contemplate.
And here I am a year later…. Patrick is a delightful baby who will be a year old in just three weeks, Jay has been home for six months and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I will eat anything (and everything) I want for Thanksgiving dinner (and beyond), I have turned in my second anthology and contracted to do two more and my life is full of so many wonderful people and experiences that I reel at the idea I was ever sad or lonely or felt alone. I’m still tired all the time, but it’s a good kind of tired from having too much good stuff to do and not enough hours to do it. I’ve also learned that I’m not alone. I don’t have to be strong and tough and cope with the scary things by myself if I don’t want to. I had to learn that lesson the hardest way possible—by going through hell by myself and surviving it—but I did learn it and it’s a lesson I won’t repeat.
There is no particular reason for posting this today. November 11 doesn’t mark any milestone from a year ago, I’ve just been thinking about what I was doing around this time last year and remembering how awful most everything seemed because I was wrapped up in how nothing was going the way I wanted it or planned it and how much better things are now, even though I didn’t plan most of this, either. Life is good and full and happy and I am inspired by so much around me, by so many people. I’m lucky and I know it. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to let go of some stuff and stop beating myself up for other stuff. I’ve changed.
Any day can be a new beginning: the birth of a child, a military homecoming, January 1, the day a career goal is accomplished. And those days will get dutifully noted on the calendar or in the datebook or on the resume. But any day can be the turning point in a life and sometimes the significance of that day isn’t clear until much later. Sometimes the turning point happens so gradually that it can’t be confined to a single day. Then it’s referred to in that very general of ways: the spring, the third trimester, the beginning of the year, when the baby slept through the night, when I realized I wasn’t alone, the year I turned 43. Those turning points get lost among the calendar dates because there is no way to note them, no moment in time to pinpoint. It’s those turning points that are remembered as “around that time, you know, back when…”
As the days and months and years slip by, those turning points slip from the memory, too. Until all we are sure of is one thing: we were changed. Profoundly and forever. And we may not know when it happened or even what the catalyst was for the change or if it was a single event or a series of events that caused the change, but that one thought persists when all else fades from memory: We are changed.
I am changed.