This Fucking Year – The Reprise

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Late December for the past 3 years has been a time of thinking, “Thank the gods this year is over! May next year be a whole lot better!” The next years haven't been better. If anything, they've been getting progressively worse and 2018 was no exception.

I wrote a draft post last week that was essentially a laundry list of all the tough stuff that happened to me this year. It was a long list. A long and detailed list.

I feel very hard done by with all the shit I've had to endure in 2018, but the more I think about it, I realize how utterly ordinary and universal my issues were/are. There's nothing about them that makes me singular and special and although the exact situations were unique to me, the themes were anything but. Letting go of the ‘was personally extra fucked by this year' story could free me up to let go of some of the pain that's been holding me in a pattern of enduring my life rather than living it.

One of the most difficult things we can do is to let go of the stories we tell ourselves about our situations, both for good and for bad. We often stay in unhealthy situations because we tell ourselves a story about what it means to be in that place or focus on how good it was at a point in time and if we wait or work harder, maybe it can get back to the good. We can also dive so deep into the wallowing feels of how bad we have it that we are unable to see that there is a stable shore of good or at least average feelings much closer than we think.

Although it is a little more woo than I usually get into, Eckhard Tolle's book A New Earth dives into the way we hold onto our pain with the stories we tell ourselves and I found it incredibly useful (though if you listen to audiobook, he's saying ‘ego' not ‘eagle', which makes the first few chapters much easier to comprehend). Although our pain is protective and can teach us a lot about what we need to avoid in the future, it can also hold us back from embracing a different, healthier future.

My new and recalibrated shitty 2018 list:

  • I dealt with physical pain
  • People I love dealt with sickness and pain
  • I dealt with complicated interpersonal relationships
  • My needs weren't met
  • I experienced sadness and grief
  • Someone who once thought I was terrific stopped thinking I was terrific
  • I experienced loss
  • I felt lonely
  • I experienced financial hardship
  • I worked more than I wanted to
  • I had to watch the world moving on in spite of my pain
  • People were thoughtless and hurt me
  • I was thoughtless and hurt people

It's still a long and challenging list and there are a number of things on it that I'm still working on resolving so that I can move forward. That said, very few people didn't experience most if not all the things on my list. It's simplistic to think that I can eradicate my pain by comparing it to the pain of others but it can help me see my experiences in a more objective light. Boiling my detailed list down to its essence makes it harder for me to wrap myself in the woe-is-me feels of it all and lets me see that even if the situations continue into next year, I don't have to hang onto my stories about them.

And although I can't negate the bad things with good things, it can be useful to sit and think about the good stuff that happened this year as well.

My good 2018 list:

  • I met someone who thinks I'm terrific
  • I have a new, fluffy family member
  • My ailing loved ones responded well to treatment
  • I responded well to anti-depressant medication
  • I spent time with some fantastic people
  • I experienced great pleasure
  • People made efforts to celebrate me
  • I traveled to new places, saw new things, and met cool new folx
  • I completed an extremely daunting task

And most important of all:

  • I survived
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About Author

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Kat (she/they) is a sex-positive, geeky, Canadian, pansexual, deviant, slutty, feminist pervert who came to ethical non-monogamy 21-years into her relationship with her husband. After a quick toe-dip to test the waters (and hours of obsessive reading and podcast consumption), they dove in and they almost can't imagine they ever lived any other way. Labels never give a totally clear picture, but they consider themselves non-monogamous and polyamorous, though they occasionally swing. She's also a podcaster - On The Wet Coast Podast - and audiobook narrator for Cooper S Beckett's novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching the Swingularity. onthewetcoast.com @WetcoastKat on Twitter. Their first book - Yelling In Pasties: The Wet Coast Confessions of an Anxious Slut - is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Inkterra, and Kobo.

1 Comment

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    Oh so you got a fluffy family member. Let me guess it’s a dog 🙂
    Would love to see pics and stories in the future!

    Thanks for sharing, and wish you all the best in 2019!
    Sandra

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