January 4, 2012

Maybe It's Me: Death/Bully's, or, The Year of Patience and Tribulations

I'm one of those people who subscribes to the belief that a new year means a new start; it means a world of endless possibilities. If we choose to, we get to leave behind everything and anything we want as we step unencumbered into a yet-to-be-written period of our life. It's a clean slate for anyone who allows it to be.

Most importantly: it's the rebirth of hope.

And I know that one doesn't have to wait until New Year's to make a positive, life-affirming change, or to allow themselves to "start over again" - they could do it on their birthday, after a traumatic event, after a health scare, for no reason at all on a random Tuesday morning - but there's a peaceful feeling of a solidarity knowing the entire world has come together for this one day of letting go what was, in the faithful anticipation of the good we all wish to do, we all wish for each other, we all wish to come.

Some people make resolutions: many I think are done half-heartedly or with the foolish expectation of instant gratification. Unfortunately, that only sets ourselves up for disappointment and what we perceive as failure, because no: we can't have something, change something, make something now. Right now. In this very moment. It takes time. Everything takes time. Perhaps this is why so many people give-up on these resolutions within weeks.

Some, however? Some really do make commendable, dedicated, and sincere efforts to be and create the change they want to see and feel from themselves and for the world they live in.

And then there are those people who just let their old afflictions continue to burden them, continue to prevent them from living the best life they can for themselves.

I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those people who likes to carry my old baggage into the New Year. The damages that were done to me throughout the previous twelve months don't need to haunt me beyond December 31st. The only way I know how to let go and move forward is by writing it all out. Seeing those things that I endured that hurt (me) the most and tarnished my year written out forces me to have to recognize that they happened. But by facing them, by accepting them, it gives me a strange sense of closure; it reminds me that where I came from is not where I'm going; and, it encourages me to keep on keepin' on - because once you slay one dragon, you slay another.

That's my yearly resolution to myself.

This past year I realized that bully's happen through all walks of life. They don't ever just go away, no matter how old you get. And they attack in all manner of ways . . .

People who I thought were friends turned out to be jealous, petty, destructive individuals who would prefer it if people were miserable like them, trapped in their immaturity and selfishness. They went to great liberties to attempt to ruin my character, but those who knew me knew better.

I was taken advantage of by a tattoo artist who abused my trust and time (the most valuable thing there is), lied to me, and caused me a great deal of stress and money. He nearly ruined the skin on my arm with the shoddy work he did. I am thankful to have had the common sense to walk away when I did, and to have found an incredible new, highly recommended and acclaimed artist who I have no qualms about and am thoroughly excited to have crossed-paths with (and work with again in the near future!).

And the biggest slap in the face all year: I was blatantly lied to, misled, and used by a company that I was entirely devoted to and had given everything up for. I was promised and guaranteed for nearly a year before even being hired that I would grow with them; supposedly they were grooming me to be the "Vice President of Marketing." After stealing what I knew about the business (which was far more than the CEO of the company knew - his resume contained little more than the position of "hot dog vendor" for the local baseball team prior to his position at this company), I was pigeon-holed in a position I was overqualified for. And then I was literally ignored for months on end by the other employees who pretended I didn't exist (no, really). They took credit for all the things I did, and degraded me every chance they could get. I realized quickly that the young CEO and the investors were greedy, nepotistic, judgemental, two-faced, immoral, unethical, double-standard loving narcissits. A position was created exactly like the one I had previously held at an exponentially bigger company, but I wasn't allowed to interview for it, neither was I even being considered for it. They didn't think my "skill set" was suited for it. Instead, they hired someone with no experience, qualifications, or education about the business at all. They eliminated my position entirely, but offered me a new part-time job as a cashier. I would not stand for that abuse, so I left. I have never in my life felt so disgusted or betrayed by a company or by another young professional. I will never support them.

Bully's are everywhere.

Death was also a prevalent theme this year. So much so that I became preoccupied with the thought of it, I had dreams about dying, and I became irrationally convinced that the people around me were going to die at any given minute. Of course, in reality they will at some point. Death is inevitable. But for the first time in my life I really, really began thinking about it, and the ramifications of it in those loved one's lives who survive them . . .

An ex-boyfriend of mine died unexpectedly from an overdose of wrongly prescribed medicine. Something that could happen to anyone at any time(I became incredibly paranoid about my own medications, so much so that when I received a bottle of pills that had a different doctor's name than my own on it, a different Rx number, while the pills looked entirely different I refused to take them until I had spoken face-to-face with the pharmicist. In the end, everything had an explanation: my own G.P. had been out the day they had been requested, and the pharmacy was getting their drugs from a different manufactuer.). But no one can prepare you for a loss quite like that. He would be my last ex-boyfriend, and things had ended very abruptly and without real closure. I was in total shock for days - months, even . . . maybe I still am - as I processed what had happened. And I started having questions I never had before: what would happen with his cell phone? Would someone call and terminate his contract? Would there be a fee? And his car? What if he still had payments on it? What about his stuff? Would his parents go to his apartment and throw things away, keeping what they thought was important? How would they know why their son kept certain trinkets, and would they keep them if they didn't know the story?

So many questions.

And then not even two months later, I was driving down the highway going 69mph (only four miles over the speed limit) and I hit a deer. As my car spun out of control, crashing against the guardrail, the only thought I had was: "I didn't think it was time, God, but if this is what you want - help everyone I know to be okay with it." My car came to a stop, the entire front end of it torn off. And I walked away unscathed. The state trooper said it was an unavoidable accident and that I was lucky to be alive. Both the state trooper and the tow truck driver - who picked up my car in pieces - used the word "totaled" to describe the remains of my vehicle. And usually they're 99% accurate when they make that statement.

But I fell in that 1%, and despite being told by everyone (including my own insurance agent) that I should start looking for a new car, in the end the claims adjuster decided my car was only "mostly totaled" and not "totally totaled." Which resulted in the death of my bank account as I had to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get the car fixed. This is something I'm still trying to come back from, but am struggling to do so.

So, that was my year: death and bully's.

I have never practiced so much patience as I endured so many tribulations as I did this year.

But last minute miracles did happen to and for those I love and hold close to my heart. And when good things like that happen to them, however big or small, it’s not only encouraging, but it reminds me that good things happen to everyone - in some way, shape, or form - eventually. Big prayers were answered and it was a huge sigh of relief for all of us involved. In a way, it almost seemed as though "their time had come" and they were finally being rewarded for the hardships they had endured over the course of their days, their years.

In an effort to uphold my families privacy and to maintain an air of mystery (because every good story needs a little bit of that), I won't go into too many details. But I will say this: one loved one finally stepped out of his own way, allowing himself the opportunity to succeed and be happy chasing a dream; one loved one's mind, heart, and soul is at ease as a heavy weight has been lifted off her shoulders; and, the life of one loved one was saved from both herself and from the darkness she had found herself in.

I'll take that. I'll take all of that. Because their victories are my victories. When they thrive, it helps me to keep on keepin’ on too: for them and because of them. So does the fact that I survived a year of hardships, which I've faced here and can now move on from.

Our triumphs (mine in the face of adversity) have restored my faith and renewed my hope.

And maybe it’s me, but that’s all the resolution I need going into this New Year.