2013 began with such hope. A renewed sense of self, belief that I was desired (and more importantly desirable), belief that this would be the year I carried myself forward as a happy, well-rounded, self-respecting, whole person.
It didn’t pan out quite as I’d expected.
I rang in 2013 sleeping with someone I didn’t want to sleep with, out of an odd mixture of obligation and curiosity. I started dating again in January, and much to my dismay I discovered that even in (or, perhaps, ESPECIALLY in) one’s thirties, most men — at least the men who I seem to attract — still only want one thing. My self-worth took a devastating blow, and I swung back and forth between giving up on finding someone to love (who will actually love me back) and wanting so badly to love and be loved that I settled for “relationships” and relationships that weren’t right just to try to fill that void.
All of the stumbling, the crying, the thousands of experiences, and I still wound up feeling 18 and rejected.
This year I found happiness and stability in serving others. I welcomed my cousin into my home after she was released from an inpatient rehab program, and she was exactly what the kids and I needed at that time in our lives. I found myself being stronger, more supportive, and more selfless as I reconnected with my dear cousin and worked hard to provide for my family.
A couple of weeks later, I took my sister and her two daughters in, as well, which was both a blessing and a curse. It gave me more opportunity to serve and help my family, and to demonstrate my love and devotion, however it revealed how deeply ungrateful and dysfunctional my sister is. Our relationship has bounced between anger, love, friendship, indifference, annoyance, and compassion over the course of our lives. But at every difficult cross-road, I was always the one to be the better person and forgive. To put past hurts behind me to continue to try to nurture my relationship with my sister.
As mid-summer became more tumultuous as a result of my sister’s drama and inability to manage her life, our relationship ceased to exist. We haven’t spoken since July 13, 2013, and I suspect we won’t speak again for a very long time. It hurts to have lost my only sister. It hurts to know that the choices she has made are directly hurting her daughters and will only get worse as time goes on. But I also feel more free knowing that I will no longer make myself responsible for her emotional and physical well-being.
My relationship with my (nearly) ex-husband was all over the map this year. We loved each other. We hated each other. We were best friends. We were parenting partners. We kept each others’ secrets and nursed each others’ wounds. And now we have reached a point where try as we might, we will never get back to that “best friend” I-can-always-count-on-you place. He is an odd split between self-serving and concerned for the children and me. He’s in his first real relationship since we split, and is ignoring red flags because, I believe, he doesn’t want to lose this “love” he has found.
I know how that feels. And I know what it is to be so blinded by emotion that you make the wrong choices, or delay the inevitable, because you don’t want to be alone. Because you don’t want to hurt, and you know how badly it’s going to hurt.
I keep trying to let go of my frustration. To just let him make his own bed, stumble his own path, nurse his own wounds. But it’s hard for me. I’m the one who wanted to end our marriage. I’m the one who this autumn told him that, no matter what, I would never want to be with him again — because I can’t deal with the huge swings, the manipulation, the fights — which on some level broke him all over again. My words were easy, and I believed in them as I said them. I was solid in my position, and okay in knowing that he would have to hurt before he healed. But when we had that conversation, I still had him as my best friend. We spoke every day, and shared all of our feelings, and considered each other in our plans.
We are not best friends now. And I hurt all over again since I’ve lost that.
Through the relationships I had this year, I stayed consistent with him. I remained his friend and his confidant. I considered his feelings in making decisions. I went out of my way to reassure, encourage, support, and love. I expected the same from him.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
The year was not all struggle, however. I had an amazing time with my two beautiful children. They are the reason I breathe, the reason I work, the reason I try. The reason I want to be better.
We visited museums, took innumerable trips up the canyon, watched movies, sang songs, laughed, and loved. They are both doing *incredibly* well in school, and they are so funny, talented, and creative.
We all struggle sometimes, and cry, and get frustrated, and scared, and confused. But the three of us are a team forever and I will do everything I can to ensure that they have more happy days than sad, more triumphs than sorrows, and that they always know they are loved and perfect, just as they are.
My focus for 2014 will be my children. I was happiest, and my best self in 2013 when I was focusing on my time with the kids rather than lamenting love lost, or head-casing my inability to secure a suitable mate.
I will work on being a better, stronger woman. For myself, and for the kids. The stronger and more stable I am, the stronger and more stable they will be. The happier I am, the happier they’ll be. We need and deserve a year of positivity. I’m going to do my damndest to make that happen.