The 2012 Wrap-Up

1. What did you do in 2012 that you never did before?
Let’s stick with the positives, shall we?  I got a 4.0 and nothing but A’s all year!  That’s pretty fantastic.  I also went to Mexico and took a cruise.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?  Will you make more?
My only resolution last year was “love everyone, and be kind.”  I don’t think that I achieved that (considering that I defriended and blocked a couple of people in the past year).  My only goals for this year are to graduate and to keep my heart open.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Melinda, and my friend Liz.  Both little girls, both named after flowers (Lily and Violet).

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandfather and my guinea pig Milo, two days apart.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just Mexico.

6. What would you like to have more of in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Clarity.  Decisiveness.  Love.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched permanently in your memory and why?
*sigh* April 8 (when David told me he wanted to separate) and September 11 (when I told him I wanted a divorce).
December 29 (when I got my 4.0)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Going back to graduate school and kicking ass at it, even through all the hard times.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not making a decision regarding my marriage (re: separation and divorce) until both of us were so tired and hurt we couldn’t bear it anymore.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
In September I was diagnosed with irregular migraine syndrome, which sounds stupid but can be really debilitating.  Other than that, it was a fairly healthy year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A second car.  That car might be David’s now, but it certainly took a lot of stress off of our one little car.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Living expenses.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Wildfire, getting my grades, and spending the holidays with my friends.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Probably “Drive By” and “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” by Train

15. Compared to this time last year are you happier or sadder?  Richer or poorer?  Thinner or fatter?
It’s definitely a bittersweet happiness, because last year I thought that my marriage was going to work out, but I was still so, so unhappy.  So it’s hard to tell.  I’m poorer than I was, but not by much.  And I’m about the same, weight-wise.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Moving on and maybe falling in love again.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
With my parents and grandparents.  It was okay.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Either The Tudors or Law and Order: SVU

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I barely did any real “fun” reading because I was way too busy with school.  But my favorite new book I discovered was Tatiana and Alexander


21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I’m embarrassed to say One Direction, Owl City, and “Call Me Maybe.”  Anything that made me smile was good in my book.  Oh, and Train.  Loved Train this year.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
The Hunger Games, Wreck It Ralph, Les Miserables.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 29.  I went to work, then to see Crazy Bruce, and then to TGI Friday’s with D and some friends.  It was okay.

24. What one thing would have made your year eminently more satisfactory?
One thing?  I can’t pick.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Emerging?  I started dressing to flatter and wearing makeup.  I consider that a victory.

26. What kept you sane?
My friends Jess, Drea, Tina and Kim, and Crazy Bruce.

27. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2012:
You can’t make anyone love you.  If they won’t, best to move on and find someone who will.

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Can’t Take That Away From Me

When I was a teenager, going through my first breakup (oh, the angst), I was absolutely addicted to Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Take That Away From Me.”  Back then, when I was seventeen, the worst thing that could happen to me was a breakup.  I can’t get angry with my young, innocent self, because when you are a teenager and so blessed, you of course don’t know any different.

My 20’s were a violent, difficult, turbulent decade.  I have no idea what is in store for the remaining years of my life, or even for the last nine months of my 29th year, but I imagine that I will not be too sorry to shut the door on my 20’s on September 12th, 2013.  Or to embrace my 30’s.  When I was 21, a car accident nearly ended my life…and that set the tone for my 20’s.  There have been some soaring highs, and some crushing lows, but there has been turbulence through it all.

This year…this year has been difficult.  2012 was a year of unhappiness.  There were some bright spots, of course, but most of the year was difficult, and dark.  There are some happy pieces of it that will remain etched in my memory forever:

– Watching the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico from the decks of the Carnival Imagination, hot chocolate in hand.
– The feeling of dumb, blind joy when the Patriots made it into the Super Bowl (they didn’t deserve to go, I fully cop to that).
– Going back to graduate school in January.
– Spinning fire poi for the first time at May Wildfire.
– Having my thesis idea approved and getting my adviser assigned.
– My first-ever straight-A, 4.0 semester.

And there’s where it is.  In the last few days (after I emerged from the worst cold on record in the history of ever), every time I think about that 4.0, I get a little misty.  Because, for the rest of my life, no matter what happens, nobody can take that away from me.  Not ever.  I did that.  Me, on my own.  Nobody helping me, nobody assisting.  Just me.  Despite the hardships, despite the emotional pain of losing my husband in extraordinary fashion…I did that.  It wasn’t even so much getting the 4.0…that was big enough.  But doing it in spite of everything else that was going on in my life, that was the biggest accomplishment.

Early in my 20’s, I attempted graduate school.  In spite of some MAJOR red flags, I enrolled in graduate school a mere four months after my car accident, while still suffering physical debilitation and accident-related post-traumatic stress disorder.  You should have seen my grades, guys.   People this year have given me a lot of shit for “being too hard on myself” and being surprised that I have managed to pull off nothing lower than an A- since returning to school, but you should have seen my report cards from 2006 – 2008.  My finest semester was a string of B+’s.  I don’t think I ever even saw an A.  And a 4.0?  Not even on the radar.

There is no way I could have gotten through this year without medication (been on the same thing for two years and it still works like a charm), therapy (my therapist, Crazy Bruce, is pretty much my favorite human being ever), and the love and support of my friends, who have stood by me through thick and thin, fielded some pretty epically terrible 11 PM crying phone calls, and encouraged me the entire way.  True, this will be the last full year in which I was married (at least, this marriage) but I didn’t just survive it, I succeeded in school when years ago I would have broken if faced with this same situation.

No matter what happens for the rest of my life, I did this, and nobody can take it away from me, ever.

Let’s move into 2013 with hope, love, laughter, and light.

2012 In Review — Part III

This is the third of four recaps of the 2012 Review Extravaganza.  I’m joining up with other bloggers, recapping the past year, three months at a time.

Have faith, guys.  This is the last three-month post of hell and crap!  After this, it gets better.

July: I’m not proud of July.  I moved out on July 1st…and moved back in four days later.  I don’t really have an excuse for my weakness or frame of mind.  I can only say that…living in an old house in the middle of the woods, the house where my grandfather died, while trying to figure out if I should end my marriage, didn’t work so well.  I moved back in, David and I decided to give our marriage another shot.  It didn’t work, needlessly.

In other news, I took a five-week course on the American Revolution from July 2 – August 5.  It was a really, really interesting course.  I learned a lot, I got to take two field trips, and got to cook authentic colonial-era food.  It was a great time.  I have never studied as hard as I did for that final, and I ended the class with an A-, keeping my GPA up.

August: August is pretty much a blur.  I know we went to Wildfire again, and that would have been a great time, except that it poured the first night and our tent got soaked.  So that kind of sucked.

September: A week into September, I found out that David had lied to me about going out of state, for the third time.  I couldn’t ignore the signs of infidelity anymore.  On September 11, the day before my 29th birthday, I told him that I wanted a divorce.  It was ridiculously terrible timing (worst birthday ever, right?) but at the same time, I turned 29 making a definite decision.

We went to Falmouth and Boston at the end of the month, with the intention of telling my MIL that we were splitting.  Unfortunately, David didn’t find a way to tell her until October, so that’s a story for another time.  I got the all-clear to rent the apartment that I’m living in now, back in September, but it would be two months before I could move out.  Living with your estranged husband for two months is…difficult, but we made it work.

I also threw myself into (what else?) graduate school, which was entirely necessary and helpful considering the emotional wreck I was inside.

Next week: the (somewhat) happier conclusion to what really, now that I look at it, was a rough year.  2013 promises to be better though 🙂

2012 In Review – Part II

This is the second of four recaps of the 2012 Review Extravaganza.  I’m joining up with other bloggers, recapping the last year, three months at a time.

April: On April 8th, Easter Sunday morning, my husband D told me that he wasn’t in love with me anymore, and he wanted to separate.  For the first time in our marriage, he took his wedding band off, which to me really said volumes.  I went through the motions that day, which hurts doubly because, as I later found out (and couldn’t have known then), this was to be the last holiday with my grandfather.  My last memory of him is of him sitting in my parents’ den, watching golf on the TV, blissfully happy…so I guess I can count myself lucky.

I think I reacted about the same as anyone will.  I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming.  Our marriage had never bounced back from the crushing blow it took in September of 2011, and although we had been seeing a marriage counselor, DS, since then, things hadn’t been as productive as either of us had liked, and I think D got tired and decided to throw in the towel.

The high point of April was going to Boston (a week after Easter) and meeting some fabulous friends from an internet message board that I’d only spoken to.  They were as wonderful in real life as they are online, and it was a great get-together.

I spent about a week lying in bed watching TV and crying all the time, and then something happened that jolted me out of it:

I got an A on my first major graduate paper since going back to school.

This was the wakeup call I needed.  I had to do well.  I knew I had to do well before all of this happened, but now it was even more critical.  It wasn’t even a case of “I won’t let him take this away from me.”  Because in the end, D couldn’t ruin my graduate career.  Only I could do that.  I couldn’t let me take this away from me, if that makes sense.  What good would it be to let my studies fall down?  Then I’d be divorced and a failure.  No.  So as difficult as it was, I threw myself heart and soul into being the best student I could be.

May: May was another difficult month.  D didn’t want to tell his family until we actually, legitimately separated, and I was having a difficult time finding an apartment.  We lived in a college town, and the housing market is ridiculous (affordable apartments are rarely on the market for more than 24 hours).

On May 12, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Tina’s beautiful wedding:

I spent the first three weeks of May tearing my way through my papers, and took three days off at the end of the semester to go to May Wildfire retreat.  I really wish I could find the video online of me spinning fire poi, because it was awesome.  But I can’t find it.

I came back from Wildfire, and found out that I had gotten an A and A- on my report card for Spring 2012 semester.  Which gave me a 3.85 GPA, the highest I’ve ever earned.  It was exhilarating.  I’ll admit I teared up at my desk.  I couldn’t believe that I had done it, that in spite of it being the most difficult few months of my life, I had rocked it.

I wish I could say that May ended on a high note, but it didn’t.  In the same week, my grandfather passed away at the age of 90 from what the doctors believe was an embolism.  And two days after that, my guinea pig, Milo, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

June: I found an apartment, and at the last minute, I let it go.  My parents told me that my aunt, as executor of my grandfather’s will, would be willing to rent me his house, out in the woods, until it got a buyer.  With trepidation I agreed, because the house was so remote and out in the middle of nowhere (as my BIL said when  he saw it “People commit murders in places like this”), and I tried to find something else to occupy my brain.  I signed up for a five week course, starting the first week of July.

 

Okay, I wish I could say it gets better from here!  It doesn’t, but Week Four will, at least I hope, be slightly more uplifting!

2012 In Review – Part I

For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking that looking back on 2012 would be the last thing I’d ever want to do.  This definitely was the worst year of my life to date; why would I want to look back on it?  But over the last few days, I’ve been saying, with confidence, “2013 is going to be AWESOME” and you know what, I mean it.  Yeah, I’m probably getting divorced this upcoming year, but so many other amazing things are going to happen — I’m determined to make happen — and a little self-reflection is never a bad thing.

And then I went to Salty Mom‘s blog and saw that there is a 2012 Review thing going on, and thought…why not.

I wasn’t keeping this blog then (I didn’t start writing here until October, I think), but I have a journal, so I can remember what was happening.  So here’s January – March, 2012.

January:  January started off well.  D and I had a New Year’s party at our house, which he missed most of because he was working.  I remember crying at midnight, not because I didn’t have someone to kiss, but because I was terrified that 2012 would be another rough year like 2011 and I didn’t “think I could stand it.”  Ha, what little I knew of what I could stand back then!

The first full week of January was spent cruising from Florida to Mexico and back with D and his family.  I drank my way through most of that vacation and it was delightful.  Definitely the best part of 2012.

Me on a beach in Cozumel with one of a billion drinks consumed that week.

In all honesty, the night before we docked in Miami and flew back to Connecticut, I thought about how badly I wish it would never end, because I knew going back home would just bring us back to all the negativity that was there.

One of the last pictures taken of me and D looking truly happy, the last night of our cruise.

As predicted, we got back to Connecticut and the good feelings we had sort of evaporated.  We continued to go on our way of trying to make our marriage work…which didn’t quite pan out.

A momentous thing happened though, at the end of January: I re-enrolled in graduate school!   This was, without a doubt, the  best thing I did for myself in 2012.  I went back to school part time, taking two classes (History of Colonialism, and History of Sex and Gender in the United States), and though I was apprehensive, I was excited to be back!

February: We continued to see our marriage counselor, DS, in the hopes of things improving.  Valentine’s Day was a little forced — but I think we honestly were trying to make each other happy.  David bought me pearl earrings; I bought him DVDs.

March: I continued kicking ass in school.  David bought a car (2007 Toyota Camry) and our days of sharing one vehicle came to a blissful end.  I went to my friend Tina’s bridal shower:

(L – R: Aly, Drea, me)

We also bought tickets to our second Wildfire Retreat, for May.

The end of March brought an end to my disillusion and delusions, as I would find out later.  It wouldn’t be the last time I would trick myself into believing my life could stay the way that it was…but all of that came crashing down on the first week of April.

Well.  This is getting super-depressing!   I say now: there ARE some good things coming!  It was just a really rough year.

More to come next Friday.