It's easy to say that 2016 was a lousy year. So many famous people died. There seemed to be no end to tragedies in the world. People everywhere seemed to be so angry and full of hate. And personally, I struggled in a way that made it difficult for me to focus on anything outside of my own head for a lot of the year.
I entered 2016 feeling pretty sure of myself, cocky even. I had been on my own for a few years and I was totally happy with who I was. I felt secure. I felt complete. I joked about my own reckless independence, about how great it was to not need anyone for anything. Never tempt the gods.
One day, I woke up and decided that I was ready to start dating again. I reached out, just a little. It felt so simple, so casual, so meaningless. I was perfectly good on my own, so what harm could it do to invite someone into my life?
Somehow...somehow this one simple decision opened up a crack in a wall that I didn't even know existed. A wall so big that I had mistaken it for the horizon.
So...other things happened in there. I lost a bunch of weight and went from a size 18 to an 8. I finally took up hiking, which is my new love and which I had wanted to do for years. Built myself a cool waterfall in my back yard, as well as a stone wall. I even traveled to Iceland, all by myself.
Almost everything I did was all by myself.
And it was starting to weigh on me. There is an unbearable weight to emptiness. To loneliness. It is soul crushing to accomplish the things you want most in the world and not have someone beside you...that right someone who will smile at you in a way that lets you know that they get you, they see right through you to your very core.
I have friends, the absolute best friends anyone could ever ask for, and I love each and every one of them and could not have made it this far in life without them. I am grateful for everything they have done for me, for every time they have listened to me, every time they have been here to pick up the pieces of me...but I think they will understand this need that they could not fill. This void that no one could fill.
So yeah, I started taking some chances. I started looking around and talking to guys and flirting, even. I had some false starts, some practice runs...and then I finally dove in.
I have to admit that the experience has been terrifying and eye opening.
All of the fears that I thought I had gotten past in life came back, bigger than I remembered. All of the self doubt and second guessing that I thought was behind me was suddenly surrounding me. The gods heard me laugh, and they exposed my weakness.
I need to care about someone outside of myself.
Simple, right? But for me, terrifying. Fucking terrifying.
I don't give up control easily. I don't like to let anyone else have control over me. But caring about another human being...that automatically gives them control, which makes me a basket case.
This whole thing...taking a chance on caring about someone...it's a high wire act. When I started walking the rope it seemed scary, but I thought that once I got moving it would be all right. Instead, what I've found is that when you get out toward the middle the rope bounces every time the wind blows, and I'm out here without a net. Part of me wants to turn and run back to safety, but then that stubborn streak of mine kicks in and pushes me forward. To hell with safety. What good is life if you don't take chances?
I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I don't know if it will be happiness or heartbreak. Either way, there is a hole in the wall...that wall I didn't know existed. The wall is crumbling in a way that makes me think I will never be able to repair it or rebuild it. I am coming out of 2016 a different person than I was when I went in. and I'm still not entirely sure of who this new person is.
I'm hoping 2017 will teach me easier lessons, like maybe mastering the ability to sleep in a bed beside another human being, or playing guitar. Right now, all I really want is to sit on the couch next to a guy whose smile makes me happy and not talk about anything important, to lay my head on his chest and listen to him breathe...and just breathe beside him. Because in those moments life is good. I forget all my fears and feel a little bit of peace. So, all you gods, if you're listening...give a girl a break. Just let me breathe here for a while. With any luck, I won't even notice that wall turning to rubble all around me.