Resolved

As this year begins to wind down while simultaneously speeding up, I reflect on resolutions. This would normally be the time of year when I would begin to think about the resolutions that I would want to make for the coming year, and think about the resolutions I made the year before, and whether or not I kept any of them.

I’ve never understood how the year from October 31st to December 31st seems to fly by in seconds, while the rest of the year flows at its regular, meandering pace.Nevertheless, it’s the time when I reflect on what has already transpired in the year and look forward to what is to come in the next year. Everyone knows the common resolutions- lose weight, get healthy, be a better person, save money, quit smoking or drinking, and finish that book you’ve been working on.

Sometimes I make resolutions, and sometimes I don’t. I believe that there is no wrong time to make a “resolution.” There’s no wrong or right time of year to make changes to yourself, your life, your habits, and there is always room for improvement. You don’t have to wait for a new year to roll over so that you can be a better you. Change is a constant process that happens every day, a choice you make daily. When you wake up in the morning, it can either be a good day, or a bad day. You can make good choices or bad choices. You can be the change, or you can be the problem. Maybe your resolution could simply be to make good choices every day, to wake up and say “Today is the day that I make it. My attitude determines where I go and how I react and interact with people. I will exude positivity and be the light that I want to be.”

I’ve never consciously made a resolution and stuck to it for an entire year. Life is too unpredictable to say that I’m going to go to the gym 5 nights a week. I can’t make commitments that way. If that works for you, then I salute you. I prefer to work on myself as I see the need. When I reflect upon my behavior, attitude, and actions and notice that something needs to change, I change it. Right then and there, no questions, no excuses. One year, I decided in January that I wouldn’t drink any more energy drinks, I was ditching the Red Bull. In August, I broke down and had one. I didn’t beat myself up over it, and acknowledged that I had done a great job of not caving in for the previous 8 months. After that, I told myself that it was ok that I had had an energy drink, and that if I continued drinking them, to do so in moderation. After all, isn’t that the secret to life? Another year, I decided that I was going to give up eating fried food. That lasted for three days. Chick-fil-a, I will never be able to resist your delicious greasiness.

There’s no shame if you can’t hold down a resolution for an entire year, a lot of people can’t. The most important thing is that you work on yourself, and be the best you that you can be. Change is inevitable, so we should embrace it. If you’re not changing, you’re not growing. No growth means that you’ve become complacent with life, you’re stagnant. Stagnation is never a good thing, and that’s a good way to lose friends and loved ones that are close to you. Keep growing, keep changing, keep challenging yourself, and keep true to yourself. As the great Garth Brooks said, “life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.”

Stroke of Midnight

3, 2, 1, Happy New Year! Except I am already asleep, and dead to the world. This is the first time in my life where I have been asleep at midnight when the old year passes and we seamlessly slip into the new. This year, asleep is where I want to be. Asleep and oblivious.

Rewind to Thanksgiving, a little less than two months ago. I have just learned that throughout the duration of our marriage, my husband of over four years has been hiding a pornography addiction from me. He’s also been hiding that he’s had cyber sex with maybe ten women since we’ve been married. I know, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. But this shook me to my core. A million questions float through my mind constantly, like waves crashing on the shore. They never stop, the intervals just change. What else was he hiding? Why didn’t he tell me? Did he have feelings for any of them? Why did he do this? Am I going to stay in this marriage where my husband doesn’t love me, or am I going to leave? I thought back to all of the time that we had shared together, and how much of myself I invested in the marriage. As much as he would disagree, I put myself aside in order to focus on him a lot. “Wives submit to your husbands.” the church says. He liked to remind me of this, too. I guess to him this meant “sacrifice every dream and desire you have ever had so that you can follow along behind me like a puppy dog and be there to cheer me on.” While I will always be his number one fan and cheerleader, somehow, I didn’t think this was what God had in mind when he told wives to submit.

He had lots of dreams, goals, and ambitions. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life- knew what he wanted to be, where he wanted to go, and who he wanted to be. For that, and that alone, I was jealous of him. I spent so much time focusing on him that I didn’t think a lot about what I wanted to do, or who I was. I put so much of myself into our marriage that I lost myself. A question that began to make its way to the forefront of my mind was “What about me?” I slowly, with the speed of molasses, began to realize that I could truly put myself at center stage. Now, I am a selfish, only child by nature so I will always put myself first. This putting myself first meant putting my own soul, spirit, and mentality first. It meant discovering what my own try happiness meant to me, and depending on no one else for it. I could finally find out what I wanted in life, and discover who I wanted to be. The best, truest version of myself.

As I began to ponder my life without a husband, I realized that being married had been, until that point, the only goal I hoped to achieve for my life. All I ever wanted to be was married. I aspired to marriage, and didn’t bother to think much past that. I thought back to when I wanted to be a singer; wanted to eat, sleep, and breathe music. School didn’t work out, however. It proved to be too much for my anxiety to handle. Then I remembered how I had wanted to be a professional makeup artist since I was 15 and had my first MAC makeover. Or maybe I would swallow my anxiety long enough to get a degree and then go into marketing. The fact of the matter was that the possibilities were endless, and I was excited. I actually couldn’t fathom the endlessness of these possibilities, never allowed it to fully consume me. There were so many options that I just couldn’t think about them all.

On the other hand, we’d been married for over four years- almost five. We were building a life together and had shared so much with each other. Of course we were close, I mean, how could you not be? He had just started talking about buying our first house which excited me beyond reason. Then, he started talking about having kids which excited me even more. We talked at length sometimes about how we wanted our life to be, the life we were building together. One cat, one dog, one house, two kids. He would teach them Bible and I would teach them music. My Mom would babysit and spoil them and have fun with them, just like she did with me when I was a kid. His parents would see them a few weekends out of the year and teach them about nerdy things. It was a perfect plan, so how could he hide something like this from me the whole time? Wasn’t his conscience tearing him apart? More importantly, could I really throw all of that away for something as benign as cyber sex? I mean, it wasn’t physical sex with another woman, but to me it was still cheating just the same. The betrayal was the same. The hurt and pain, I guarantee you, were exactly the same. I cried almost every day. I felt like I was mourning a loss, and I was. The loss of a life partner, a best friend, a mate, the life that could have been, and it hurt. I would go to work every day like nothing was wrong and just think, “shouldn’t there be some sort of bereavement time for something like this?” I felt like I needed time to myself to just grieve, but I knew I couldn’t do that. So, solider on, I did.

All of these thoughts and questions, amongst others, kept me awake all night. They distracted me during the day and kept me from focusing on anything else. I drank. A lot. Often. I drank because it was like a miracle elixir that shut all of the thoughts and questions off. It was the “Off” button for me, and I needed it. Everything was so overwhelming that I didn’t think I could handle it. It crushed me whenever I let it fully crash over me like an enormous, 100 foot wave during high tide. It engulfed and swallowed me and dragged me down to the depths of my mind and left me drowning in sadness. So, I have said all of this to say that on this particular New Year’s Eve, when I am all alone in my apartment and my friends, family, and husband are elsewhere, I am blissfully asleep.