I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news is that if you’ve read Part One then you’ve made halfway through my Year in Review for 2018 and most of the “big events” happened there. The bad news is that we still have six months to go and in there are a few noteworthy events, plus the emotional fallout of a lot of Part One’s events, plus the year-end finale in December. If that doesn’t get you jazzed for Part Two I don’t know what would.
The shit-storm of stress at my job quadrupled when my Team Lead left for maternity leave on the 3rd, and it was assumed that since I was the only person who knew how to do most of her job, that I would be taking on all of her responsibilities even if I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Plus, given that the Director of Finance had only joined the practice in February, she had been relying heavily on my coworker for things like practice analysis reports, so I got the privilege of doing executive level work for menial level pay. I was already overwhelmed and I refused to continue doing overtime because the money was not worth the stress, particularly when the company informed us that our yearly reviews, which were always done in July, would not include a salary increase this year.
My mother bought a sectional in fairly good shape that she found at the Good Will store. (This might not seem like much, but it’s important later.)
I had to fix the retaining wall that I had built for the first of what would be three times that year thanks to people running it over.
We celebrated Bella’s first birthday as part of our family. She was quite spoiled with ice cream cake and many toys.
During my search for another job, I came across a position that looked like a great fit for my mother. I knew that it would be difficult for me to leave our company knowing that she was stuck there in the phones department, so I was really happy that she agreed to interview for the new job, and then I was even happier when she accepted their offer for the position. I, on the other hand, continued to strike out on the job hunt, so I began to explore the idea of going back to school.
My Lupus began manifesting itself in crippling stomach spasms. I’m honestly surprised that something like that didn’t happen sooner given all of the stress, but it made up for the delay in spades. I like to think that I have a high tolerance for pain so when I say that the spasms were crippling, they were truly excruciating.
I heard about a position with a book publicity company, and even though I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell of being called, I gave them my resume
My mother officially completed her last day at her old job on the 7th. It did feel a little depressing driving into work myself the following Monday after four years of working together.
My friend who had lost her brother-in-law in January, lost her daughter-in-law to sudden complications with her Lupus. She was only 36 years old and left behind an 11 year old daughter.
At the end of the month, to my utter shock, I did get a call from the book publicity company. Even more shocking is that they said that they would call me again to come in for an interview about two weeks later…
…and most shocking of all is that about a week after my interview, I was offered the position. Accepting it was both huge and terrifying for a number of reasons, but I knew that I had to take it and I’m just thankful that God had presented me with the opportunity, and that I had the support of my family to pursue it.
My last day at my old company was the first week of November. In the five years I had been there I had seen many people leave, and nearly everyone who left sent their final “Thank you” email specifying that they were “not saying “goodbye but ‘I’ll see you later'”. I always found this a little melodramatic because if we’re being honest, when you leave a job, it really is the last time you will ever see the majority – if not all – of your coworkers. So I decided that I would say “goodbye” in my final email. This was partly to be ironic because unlike everyone who promised “I’ll see you later” and then disappeared, I actually would keep in contact with the people that I cared about. (And since I’m writing about this long after the fact, I can tell you that I did keep my promise.) But the other reason is that I really did want to bid goodbye to that company and the atmosphere of stress and anxiety that it created and to the people who exploited that to their benefit. Also, there was a bit of satisfaction in the defiant act of saying the word that everyone expect you to avoid.
I started my new job, and also the process of cultivating new relationships and a new routine.
Remember back in July when I said that my mother found a new couch at Good Will? Well it became the catalyst to tackle the other half of the first floor in the Massive House-Wise Renovation Project because it was supposed to go into the living room which was still the subject of wretched carpeting and that bloody popcorn ceiling. Rather than move the couch twice, we ripped up the carpet and scraped the ceiling in the living room…
Which is connected to the dining room…
So that meant ripping and scraping the dining room too.
And that’s how we reached the HUGE milestone of scraping off the last of the popcorn ceiling in the house.
That was the week before Thanksgiving and I thought that I pretty much kicked ass over the past three weeks between leaving a job after five years, starting a new job, beginning classes, and ripping apart two full rooms, in fact I expected to be finished enough to start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. (Unlike the previous year but that’s another story.)
Then it was Thanksgiving and I was suddenly holy shit I left my job of five years, started a new job in a completely new field, I’m starting classes but I don’t remember shit about school, and am in agony after ripping apart two full rooms with uncontrolled Lupus! What the f*** was I thinking?!?! I ironically had just talked myself down from a meltdown on Sunday when I received a call from the friend who had lost her brother-in-law and daughter-in-law this year to tell me that her sister had found their mother on the floor of her bedroom and that she was gone.
There were four weekend before Christmas in December and every single one of mine were booked. This would be exhausting for a normal person but, when you’re an introvert who need ten hours to recoup for every one of being social, it’s a nightmare – especially when said introvert is already stressed out of her mind.
One nice things though was that I was able to actually do one of the things I had written down to do this year back in January and that was seeing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. But in addition to this I had a gender reveal party, a holiday happy hour, and an ugly Christmas sweater themed first birthday party so that by the time Christmas Eve and my annual Feast of Seven Fishes came around I was ready to pass out. And that’s exactly what I did.
This should probably be an entry of its own, but given that I can’t give a full firsthand account I’m going to drop it here as the finale to 2018.
On Christmas Eve, two hours before the party was supposed to start, my stomach started spasming. Despite medication it continued to get worse so I went upstairs to lie down and try to get the pain under control. However when I heard the first guest arrive, I decided to try to muster through, but did not even make it out of my bedroom before I dropped to the floor. I don’t know how many of you have passed out but it’s a very disorientating experience. When I started to come to there was a strange man crouching over me, grabbing my shoulder, so my oxygen starved brain went to its default defense mode and I slammed the heel of my palm into his arm and sent it flailing away from me. I vaguely remember his look of shocked alarm before I drifted back into an oblivious sea of pain and nausea, and thankfully the man did not shoot me or arrest me, but let an ambulance take me to the hospital, because as it turns out, he was a police officer. I did convince the hospital to release me almost as soon as I got there, but unfortunately the party was a bust. I suppose it was a fitting end for the kind of year 2018 was.
But on the bright side I can now tell the story of that time I assaulted a police officer on Christmas Eve.
I had grand plans for 2018.
You know those “On this day” memories that pop up on Facebook, Amazon Photos, ect? I really enjoy seeing them pop up, and it occurred to me last year that there were hardly any memories for the last few years. That’s when I decided that for 2018 I was going to find at least one fun thing to do every month of that year so that I could begin to change that. But then the year started with a personal struggle and I had not even reconciled myself to that when a huge bomb dropped at the company where my mother and I worked, and after that 2018 turned into a struggle to just keep my head above water, much less trying to swim around for fun.
I don’t want to say that 2018 was a “bad” year because God knows that I’ve had years that completely destroyed me, and I’m so thankful that it wasn’t one of those, but it was a very…let’s say it was a very tiring year. There were not a lot of notable events, but each one had so much impact and emotion attached to it that there was rarely a moment in the year that I did not feel completely drained. To be honest nearly every moment of 2018 deserves its own entry instead of being crammed into just one “Year in the Review” entry.
So I’m going to do two “Year in Review” entries for 2018.
Okay, seriously, I will most likely elaborate on a few of these events in forthcoming entries — which is the reverse of how I used to do things back when I wrote about events and feelings at the time they occurred and then did a recap at the end of the year but you didn’t hear me say that — but in the mean time I did my best to keep each month’s summary as succinct as possible. That said the entry was still getting too long for one post so that’s why I’m affording 2018 the dubious honor of being reviewed in two parts. Another dubious honor is that both entries talk a lot about my mundane day job, the details of which I usually keep separate from my writing world, in fact I noted this in the first Year in Review I did following my return to the medical field. Unfortunately the day job impacted everything this year, particularly my writing which I’ll get to in one of the above mentioned future entries, but in the meantime I present Part One of 2018 In Review.
A very dear friend lost her brother-in-law a few days after New Year’s, and because of how close she and I are it was painful for me as well, particularly since it was an unexpected passing.
Despite all my efforts to mentally prepare myself to turn forty (I started preparing on my birthday last year) I still had a difficult time accepting the reality of it and that it meant that the time when I could have carried a child was over. (This is one of those “future entry events”.)
I’ll do my best to keep this month’s summary as brief as possible, but this was a truly nightmarish month, and while the events were definitely “future entry” worthy, I don’t know that I want to relive them enough to write them, so I’m getting it out here. On February 13 my place of employment called nearly every department into the auditorium and told us that our manager had just been let go and our departments were being dissolved. Long story short, the third party vendor who had taken the outsourcing contract in November was now a partner in the company and they were taking over. We were assured that no one else would be losing their job, but our jobs would be changing. The department which dealt directly with patients had been divided into four teams and we could apply for which team we wanted to transition to in that department at the end of the month. Translation: The only thing that you people can do that this other company can’t is to speak to a patient with an American accent. Thus started two weeks of bullshit where everyone in my department waited to see if we really would have jobs, and if we did, then which level of Hell would we be assigned to in the patient care department. None of us wanted to be forced into handling patient calls, but the waiting and not knowing what was going to happen was worse.
On February 24 my brother’s quest to adopt a dog ended when a tiny bundle from a hoarding rescue in Texas became part of our family. Bella was understandably exhausted after her long trip, but she was also very underweight and I could see that she was not feeling well. We went back to the rescue group’s vet the next day, but we were assured that she would recover with the medication he had already given her.
On the 27th I learned that during the previous two weeks of hell and uncertainty at my job, when I thought that no one in my department knew what was going to happen, actually only half of us had been struggling in the dark. It turned out that my department was not dissolving completely and my supervisor had been allowed to pick her favorite members of the team to stay as part of it. She had informed those members before the end of the first week that they were safe from transitioning to the phones, but it was to be kept secret so that only the people she had chosen would know to apply to stay in the revenue department. The rest of the team only found out about this when we sitting at our desks and happened to noticed that half of our team had suddenly disappeared from their desks. Some people thought that they had gone to lunch but when I pointed out that three of the people missing were ones that I always went to lunch with we realized that they were all attending a meeting that we had not been privy to. I had not been surprised at my supervisor’s sneaky, shady behavior because she had always showed ridiculous favoritism, but I was extremely hurt by the people who I considered to be close friends who had not said anything at all to me. (Side note here: This is an extremely simplified version of the situation and by reading just those few sentences where I explained it, I know that I sound childish, petulant, and petty but trust me that there’s a lot I’m not detailing and I was justified for feeling as hurt and manipulated as I did.)
That same day, as I was still reeling from the turn of events at my job, I got a call from my mother that she was taking Bella to the emergency vet because she was getting worse. The only positive of this event was that it helped to give me perspective about being upset about what was happening at a job. I immediately left work and met my mother and Bella at the vet where they did an x-ray and told us what I had feared: Bella had massive double pneumonia and would need to be admitted. I was in pulmonology for years and never saw an infiltrate as bad as Bella had. It was a miracle that she was able to breath at all.
On March 1st we received a call from the vet that despite antibiotics, oxygen, and nebulizer treatments he did not know if Bella would make it. I completely broke down. I can’t even go into everything I was feeling and why I was feeling it, but I did the only thing I could do which was to fall my knees and sob to God that He promised to not give us more than we could bear, and this was more than I could bear. And this is my testimony because Bella made it. That was a Thursday night and Bella came home on Sunday. She was on massive antibiotics and needed home nebulization (running the hot shower for 20 minutes twice a day), but the prayers had been answered. As tiring as 2018 was I will always be thankful it was the year God performed a miracle to keep our Bella here.
Back at work though, the overall situation was worse. I talked to my coworkers about how betrayed I felt and I tried to understand the situation from their point of view, but I couldn’t completely forgive and forget especially since I still didn’t know what was happening. I did learn that I would be transferring to the phones department along with six other members of our former team (which included my mother), but unlike those members who would be transferring immediately, myself and another team member were still needed in what was left of my old department and would transition within the next two weeks or later. Again I was left dangling, except now it was with the knowledge that I was being used for as long as it was convenient for them, and that during that time I’d be working under the supervisor who had finally revealed just how much she was running the department as if it was a high school lunchroom and resented that her favorites were friends with me, who she did not want as part of her group of “cool” kids. I immediately updated my resume and started looking for another job though it killed me a little to have to again look for a job in a field I’d come to despise. The only good news was that the stress of work eased a bit when the supervisor realized that she had showed her true self to too many people and gave her two week notice for the end of March. On the last week of the March, after six weeks of limbo hell, I was informed that my supervisor’s leaving meant that there was space for me on the new revenue team and I was offered the position to stay there. It was not an easy decision, and to be honest I’m not sure how much “choice” I truly had, but I decided to stay on the team. I figured that I would at least be doing a job I was familiar with while I looked for something else, and it also meant that I could take advantage of the overtime that was offered in the department because it was dismally behind due to losing half of the team members and the inability of the new outsourcing company to do our former jobs correctly. I worked 61 hours the last week of March.
My grandmother had a minor surgery on April 2 to remove a cyst from her ovary, however during the surgery the doctor decided to not remove the cyst because he thought that it might be cancerous. This was a scare that was thankfully resolved quickly because my grandmother was able to see an oncologist within days and had the second surgery exactly a week later during which the surgeon determined that it was not cancer.
On the job front things were a little better with the supervisor gone, and the sting of hurt began to subside a little, but I still wanted to leave. Unfortunately my lack of formal education had become a sticking point in the job hunt, mostly because I decided that I could not stand to continue in the medical field.
I had a plant sale on Mother’s Day which is the traditional start of gardening season, and despite a half-assed effort on my part to do any advertising, I sold fifteen plants — which sounds like a sad amount but this was the most plants I had ever sold so I was thrilled.
I also started the next part of the The Massive House-wide Renovation Project — which should be called The Massive Property-wide Renovation Project because the yard needed attention too — and that was removing the rotting pieces of lumber that were making a pathetic attempt at being a retaining walls in the front yard, and to replace them with retaining wall stones.
I had hoped to be gone from my job by this time, particularly since I was forced to interact with my ex-supervisor at the end of the month for a coworker’s baby shower, but the job hunt continued to produce nothing. I had even re-resigned myself to continuing in healthcare and sent resumes to jobs in that field, but none of them called me. I began to think that I might have to make a drastic move, like go back to school, if I was ever going to be considered as anything more than garbage by an employer.
When plans I had for the first weekend on June got cancelled, I decided to do another plant sale. I put more effort into advertising this time, though it wasn’t much more since my plans had been cancelled at the last minute so I’d only decided to have the sale the night before. I am still in of awe of this but I sold about 150 plants. Not only was it brilliant to finally see a return on my investment in the business, but it gave me a bit of hope for a direction I could take to create income. The only problem was that I had a massive Lupus flare after the sale was over. To be honest I was surprised that I hadn’t had a flare sooner considering all of the stress I had been under on top of working an average of 55 hours a week for over three months at work, but I still didn’t appreciate being out of commission for two days. I just hoped that once I left the stress of the job that my body would be able to handle more time in my plants. I had to hold on to that hope because the success of the plant sale had been the only thing to make me feel less than worthless in a long time.
End Part One
The fact that this post is late* is of itself a testimony to 2017. I didn’t get to do a post sooner because I’ve been too busy, and also too tired – physically and mentally, alternating but usually concurrently – but mostly I’ve been busy. I seriously look at everything I did this year and I do not know how I did it. And I did it all in the midst of learning how much my body is falling apart and experiencing the exhausting process of “getting better”. I have to admit though, had I not been dealing with a medical battle I might not have accomplished as much as I did. There were many, many, many days that I wanted to just lie down and do nothing but groan or cry, and on some days I did, but most of time when I got that feeling ,it was immediately followed by the much stronger urge to prove that this condition wasn’t going to get me. It wasn’t going to change me, in fact it reminded me of who I am: I am a fighter. This is often (and increasingly so) a source of consternation to my worried loved ones, but I just don’t think I know how to be anything else. I think most of them have accepted it. That said, I present the 2017 Year in Review.
The year began by accompanying my brother to look at the first (of what would be many) houses in his search for his own abode. There’s nothing like looking at houses in the middle of winter- particularly since most of them were unoccupied which meant they were barely heated – to make you aware of how bad your Reynauld’s has become.
And then in a perfect illustration of how much my mind was spinning I chopped off about sixteen inches of my hair. I think this freaked out everyone who knows me well.
On February 2, while much of the United States was focused on a small town in western Pennsylvania, and whether its most famous resident was going to see his shadow or not, I saw my first Rheumatologist and got to hear, “Yeah it looks like you probably have Lupus” because delivering a diagnosis like that to someone in a flippant and nonchalant manner is what you hope to find in a physician.
“Your gallbladder is inflamed and needs to come out.”
After looking at several city blocks worth of houses, my brother decided that he really wanted one of the first ones that we looked at and placed a counteroffer to the one that the seller made back in January. And because the house was empty and my brother didn’t have to worry packing up another house to move, he was able to move in by the end of the month.
My mother and I had given thought to moving ourselves, but ultimately decided that we would stay. On April 30th we ripped up the carpet in the family room and though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the start of The Massive House-wide Renovation Project.
April was also the month when I finally convinced a doctor to change my one medication after complaining about it for five months.
After many months of communicating with a friend who had a friend with a Westie that needed a new home after her owners surrendered her, all of the pieces fell into place to get the Westie from Virginia up to us, and on May 8th we welcomed Spirit to the family.
The Massive House-wide Renovation Project continued with the massively messy removal of the popcorn ceiling from the family room. There was popcorn ceiling was on the entire first floor, but getting it off of the vaulted family room ceiling was a special kind of torture. My mother and I did this on the 13th which was the ten year anniversary of my dad’s passing, so it kept us from dwelling on that.
Wonder Woman opened. ‘Nuff said.
The renovations on the family room continued…
The Month of Trying New Shit!
Beach concert! (Technically not a first because I had seen KC and The Sunshine Band on the beach many years ago, but it was such a forgettable concert that I don’t count that.)
And we finished the family room! Just in time for the new Game of Thrones season, which had been my goal, but I still can’t believe that we made it considering all that had to be done. Ultimately the carpet was ripped up, the concrete underneath patched, installed hardwood laminate floor and all the mouldings around it, whitewashed the fireplace, replaced the doors and grate, put thin brick continuing up the the wall to make the fireplace look full height, stained the mantle, built built-in shelves, painted the walls, installed crown moulding and installed door casings. That list looks like a lot but that does not even begin to illustrate all the work that went into all of those things–particularly since I did not know what I was doing and was learning as I went.
I went to an estate sale and ended up finding a first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I found out that it’s technically worth several thousands of dollars, but in actuality it’s just a really cool book to have in my collection.
A dear friend was pressured into an ill-advised trip to Puerto Rico and was there when Hurricane Maria hit. She managed to call me just before the official landfall and I can’t tell you what a horrible feeling it is to talk to a loved one as they are huddle in a hallway, completely terrified, and not be able to do a thing to help them. She, her mother, and sister thankfully survived uninjured, but were stranded there without running water or electricity for over a week.
I worked on one of my more ambitious projects which was creating five of the “ghost dresses” I had create last year. I unfortunately didn’t finish them before the end of the month, but considering that was trying to help facilitate a rescue from a decimated island in the Caribbean, I guess it was okay.
It was a fairly uneventful month. I didn’t get the ghost dresses out on the first, but I did get them on display by the end of the first week.
On Halloween I discovered how much stress can aggravate Lupus and managed to have the worst flare since my diagnosis.
My mother and I decided to tackle the popcorn ceiling in the hallway and kitchen. We figured that it wouldn’t be nearly as difficult as scraping the vaulted ceilings of the family room. Ha ha. To keep this short, the popcorn was covering a multitude of sin, not the least of which was evidence of a long running leaking pipe inside the facet over the cabinets. This turned into a massive nightmare from hell as we found that the leak was coming from the bathroom sink on the second floor and it had caused damage and mold in the bathroom wall, and also in my closet which backed up to that wall. The home owner’s repair policy managed to find three of the most incompetent plumbers in the state and send them to our house at the times which would be most inconvenient for either myself or my mother. This went on for the entire fucking month.
Of note also we had a meeting at the company where my mother and I work to announce that the third party company was supposed to be working our A/R was being replaced by a new company and would be starting immediately. (Remember this because it has a huge impact on 2018.)
It was the end of the first week of December and the pipe was still not fixed, so I told the insurance company that I was hiring my own plumber, would pay them myself and they would reimburse me. I repaired the facet and that was the end of the 2017 chapter of The Massive House-wide Renovation Project.
I finished my first official chicken wire commission “Pooh”. This required skipping sleep a few times, but the client was really happy with it so it was worth all of the work.
And that was 2017
I’ll add that in the midst of this I had blood drawn twelve times, five new medications, and eight dosage increases.
It was a busy year.
* I started this entry in mid-January and it’s now end of December that I’m finishing it after finding it in the drafts as I went to start the 2018 review.
I don’t know what I want for 2017. I just know that I don’t want to have adjust to another new medication. I don’t want another surgery. Most of all, I don’t want to have to write another obituary. I know I won’t get my wish for the first two but please let this be a year without a death.
I think I started doing “years in reviews” in 2004. They were not formal posts but more like inventories based on the notes in my appointment book from the previous year. They were fun back then.
But then the deaths started and they weren’t fun anymore.
I started writing official “Year in Review” posts in 2010 because that was the year I started making a conscious effort to pull myself from the pit. I’m a list-holic and whenever I’m struggling I make schedules and lists. The YiR for 2010 is literally broken down into such quotidian landmarks as “Made it to the gym three times”. Ironically the events that stand out most are ones that make this year so difficult. I didn’t realize until I just checked now that it was 2010 when I got Kira spayed, and when I began the Feast of Seven Fishes.
So, 2015. What can I say about you? Do I hate you for how painful you have been, or do I love you because you were the last year that I was complete? I don’t even know what to say anymore. You’ve even taken my words.
345 sleepless nights.
5 blood tests.
And a stray cat in a fir tree. ♫~♪~♫~♪~♫~♪~
(Oh go on and sing it, because you know you want to.)
Uh huh. Well.
It was a year ago today that I made my last entry–(365 days…345 sleepless nights—Do shut up, Kat!) and as I had mentioned then, I had made a major decision and decided that it was necessary to take a different road on the path which I had been currently journeying.
Um, I mean, I didn’t change the path, just that the road I had been using to reach the path to the goal had been a bit altered because, after all, a path and road aren’t necessarily the same but they can both lead to a goal upon said road reached by a path and/or other road which…and…and…and…
Yeah. So… So, there’s that.
Anyway, I think what I’ve been trying to say is that the thing about being a “writer” is that it’s this odd balance of experiencing a fucked-up world and all of its completely mental-shit crazy situations that will be thrown at your poor unsuspecting ass, and yet being alone enough of the time to hear the quiet and process them.
So am I saying that my absence was because I needed more experience with the fucked up world in 2014, or that I needed more time alone to process it all? Neither. I did not set out to purposely experience the world like some fucking high school graduate taking a sabbatical through Europe to find his asshole self before he starting college, and I certainly did not need more time to listen to the quiet in my head–mostly because there is never any quiet in there–but because everyone, even someone who pretends to be a writer, sometimes just has to do what they have to do. And in the end, if you’re lucky, you will take something from that time and it will make you a better person, and in turn a better writer.
So, on this last night before the last day of the year, I could muddle through a month by month list of the previous year’s events as I had done in the past, but I don’t feel that they would give anything to you, my dear reader, because I have selfishly kept them to myself for the past twelve months. 2014 was, as someone who shares her musings on a “blog”, would call a “cornucopia”. Not only is a cornucopia appropriate for the holiday season, but I truly do feel that it embodies this past year for me: a bit of sour, a bit of sweet, but all nourishing, and–if I want to be a bit megalomanical, which I totally am not above being–providing strength and ability of a Greek pantheonic level.
“A very Merry Christmas,
And a happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one,
Without any fear.”
Happy 2015, peeps. ♥
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time that I haven’t been feeling like myself for several months now.
For one thing, I just cannot get used to this new site. I know you’re all probably sick of hearing about it, and I know that I should get over it all, but this new format just will not work correctly for me. Every time I come on here it’s a fucking reminder that I failed because I still don’t know what I did wrong in that motherfucking stupid migration, and it’s just shitting all over everything. The back end isn’t working correctly which make things more difficult for me to write, but I’ll be honest and admit that the biggest thing that pisses me off is knowing that as I write this that I have about 2,000 feed subscribers and nearly 1,000 Google subscribers who aren’t having my new post show up in their feed, and it fucking sucks! What’s more is that I can’t even look at my blog feed subscriptions because it sets me stupid to look at my blog roll and see that my own posts are missing from the feed (seriously, my own subscription to myself doesn’t even fucking show up), so I haven’t looked at my blog subscriptions for over two months, which means I haven’t read your posts either. Yes, I admit it: I suck. In the past I might not have always commented on your posts, but I stayed up to date with at least reading them and now I’ve failed at that. Feel free to boo and hiss at your leisure because I completely deserve it.
Besides my hangup over my site not working affecting my mental state and create output, the other shitty thing that recently happened is that my mother was in a car accident in October. She’s relatively okay considering that her car was fucking destroyed, but “relatively okay” isn’t exactly great, and being upset about this has most certainly mucked up the wiring in my brain. It has made a significant impact on my immediate state of writing, but more importantly it has been a contributing factor in making a major decision about the current road I have been traveling. It’s something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while, but that decision is revealed in this post as part of December’s paragraph. What will become of it, is a story for another post.
So this post is… Me saying I’m sorry? A confession? An explanation? I don’t even know. Whatever you want to call it, whether it justifies my absence (and lack of creative activity, and failings, ect) or not, it is what it is, and has always been.
Complicated. Conflicting. Flawed.
I was once told that the most important lesson in writing is to tell the truth, and I’ve always tried to maintain that despite the predominantly autobiographical nature of this blog. I had originally planned to end this “Year in Review” post at May before I began sounding like I was descending into a maudlin pity party, but then that wouldn’t be very truthful would it? And so I present it all. My year–my life–as I have always offered it, without pretenses or censorship. Complicated, conflicting, and flawed. Just like me.
That said, my dear reader, I would not blame you at all for skipping over the ugly bits which begin to surface in May (or the rest of this post in its entirety for that matter because…bluuurrrrrgh), but I will make a concentrated effort to read your 2013 Year in Review posts (because you know you will do one), or whatever post you have deemed fit to end this infamously Fibonaccian of years.
Lovely 13. You were supposed to be mine own.
In a true illustration that the best ideas do NOT come from Pinterest, I set my ass on fire with in a ginger detox bath. I then did the Polar Bear Plunge in Wildwood to benefit the Special Olympics. (<SHAMELESS PLUG!> Incidentally, I’m doing this again because I’m not so selfish as to not realize that there are those who have heavier cross to bear than my own, and I could really use your support in meeting my pledge goal. Please pledge here!</SHAMELESS PLUG!>)
I had an adventure with the home vet involving projectile shit and it was just as magical as it sounds. For her birthday, I made my mother a comic about her love/hate relationship with Farmville. Then I had a run-in with the self-harm bitch as a precursor to Kira’s forthcoming surgery. At the time I told myself I was being ridiculous and that Kira would be fine. Lesson learned: never ignore your instincts as we will see next month.
Kira nearly died during dental surgery. I cannot express the anger that I still harbor for the vet that nearly killed her from an overdose of sedative. It is in fact very, very difficult to not wish something fucking horrible on the stupid fuck-cunt that nearly killed her.
I adopted my “son”, my boy dog, the one that I always knew I would have yet didn’t know how it could be possible, and who makes 2013 end up in the “plus” column despite everything.
I love you, Seamus the Horny Boy.
I did not write about this but my coworker’s husband passed quiet suddenly on June 1 while they were on their way to South Carolina. In fact, he died in a manner very near to my father’s sudden passing, and between this similarity and an overabundance of empathy, this affected me a lot more than it should have. It resulted in working double shifts at my “part time” job all month while my coworker was in mourning, but that didn’t upset me nearly as much as thinking about what she was going through.
In mid-June, I went to a Derby themed bridal shower, and it was as pretentious as it sounds, though the truly spectacular absurdity happened when I went to buy the fucking hat for the stupid event. And in related news, I joined Instagram. There was also a flash of “pretty fucking awesome” when I was informed that I was referenced in the Alternate History aka “Steampunk” textbook being used in Universities all over the world.
I made a handy-dandy insult sheet which, despite a spelling error, has been repinned about 300(?) times on Pinterest last I checked. (And yes I know that this isn’t exactly a “viral” pin, but it’s pretty fucking brilliant to me so I’ma celebratin’ like WHOOOAHHHH!) I then had a battle with motherfucking huge ants which resulted in a Game of Thrones pun that landed me in the official Game of Thrones paper. Finally, I took my new family of two furry children, plus our family pup for a total of three furry creatures, to the beach…and it was a disaster from Hell.
Another loss came when my dear Celia had to say good-bye to her beloved Audrey. This, again, was something that upset me more than a normal person should allow.
The worst though? The thing that I did not write about yet alluded to? I had a literary agent, and my long-talked about novel was about to be locked down for print, but she decided to drop my manuscript in favor of focusing on the Young Adult genre. I honestly cannot blame her for making a constructed career choice considering all of the recent blockbuster movies have been based on YA books, but the other part of me has added her name to the list of people I will scream “I told you I was worth something!” to when my stupid fucking work is published and doing well.
(Fuck me, I’m just praying I can really say that one day.)
I ripped apart the overgrown garden in my mother’s yard. (You can already see the mental slide there). AND THEN! I fell into the ultimate pit of I’m-Going-To-Destroy-Everything-I’ve-Worked-For when I decided to migrate from a third-party site to a self hosted one and fucked it up in a truly spectacular fashion. During that migration I adopted a Foster Baby Sparrow. I had her for a week until I lost her to that fucking asshole, Death.
I, personally, destroyed your chances of ever finding Chicken and Waffles Potato Chips again, which pissed off my mother quite a bit. I also let go of trying to fix this site. (Only not really since, as you read above, I can’t even look at the fucking site without wanting to throw my computer across the room.)
My mother was in a car accident.
My biological grandfather died. Again, shouldn’t have been upset, but was not for nothing else than he was husband to my grandmother, Kathryn.
I celebrated publishing 200 posts which was a fucking miracle considering my attention span. I decided to use the occasion to celebrate a cause that’s dear to my heart, animal rescue, by inviting readers to share their animal rescue stories. I received so many wonderful stories that I had to create a second part of the 200th post.
Again, death came calling when another coworker’s father lost his battle with ALS. And once again I’ll admit that I felt too much empathy and sank further into the pit as I talked with her about what it was like to lose a parent too soon. Given my current mental state I recalled my previous experience with seeing a counselor. That entry actually is kind of a big deal since it was the first thing I’d written in a long time without worrying about if it was properly “bloggy”.
The alternator went on the replacement car I found for my mother. Then she and I agreed that she couldn’t keep working with her head and neck injured as it is from the accident. And then I came to the decision to shelf the writing career for now, and seek a full-time job in a previous field. I’ve an interview today in fact.
I made this post which you are reading. It’ll probably be the last one for a while.
On to the future
So, in closing, I’m not going to be sad that 2013 was a terrible disappointment, and I’m not going to feel like I’m taking a step backward. I’m going to be thankful that 2014 means that I have an opportunity to do better, and that I’m not giving up on my goals even if the path has changed a bit.
Best wishes for 2014 to you, my dear peeps.
The year started with a trip to Boston, and in typical Kat fashion I arrived late, damp, cold, drunk and having locked myself in the train station bathroom at one point.
February was a weird month, and it culminated in the decsion to move out of my apartment and crash at my mother’s place for the time being. In hindsight I can tell you that, true to what I had mused in the post where I announced my decision to move, this choice fit the mold in that it was extremely difficult at the time but ended up being the right one. And of course since once I’ve made a decision to do something I have to do it immediately and by the end of the February I was packed, ready to move and leaning on Bestie and my brother to help me get my shit out of my old place and into my mother’s. Naturally the move was done with the usual fanfare that erupts around me and so it included my mother smashing apart an entertainment center with a hammer and me nearly knocking myself unconscious. All in all though I accepted that I had closed a chapter but that something better was coming.
Less than a week after I moved I broke my hand in a most spectacular fashion and was subjected to the world’s shittiest doctor (whose time will come when the new doctor’s office down the road from him opens and takes his patients). I was still adjusting to living with my family on top of being in pain and it inspired this short story which I wouldn’t usually included in a Year in Review except that it becomes important in another moment this year. I also got a kick in the chest with some personal shit that I didn’t talk about on here and though I realize now that I kicked ass through it, March was a difficult month.
For a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I just like to torture myself, I did a Seven Day Detox “diet”. I’d probably list this event anyway because this was not an easy task and I still feel a bit gloaty that I made the week, but this is something else that plays a more significant role in a later month. While my paw was still healing I somehow managed to design the Writes Like a Slut logo that I had been talking about doing for over a year. I finished the month by sharing one of the wrongest stories ever which has resulted in some really, really fucked up search results landing here.
May was a huge month. Not only did I receive my “Writes Like a Slut” shirt, and my dear Jewels receive her shirt and become the first member of the WLAS Posse, but I also gave you some kick ass zombie survival advice all month long, and became a contributer to the new site The Indie Chicks. The hilarious thing is that my first article was about makeup, and somehow the beauty section has since become my li’l niche there. Despite all of this brilliance though, there was a dark moment in May with the passing of M.C.A of the Beastie Boys and how that much affected me.
For the halfway point of the year I did some more graphic designing including the “Tequila is Cheap” and the “Dirty Stay Out”. I also did a rare serious, activist type post where I threw a holy fit at Urban Decay for deciding to allow animal testing on their products. The month concluded with a post on cell phone etiquette and a link to my newest article at The Indie Chicks on what to expect during that Seven Day Detox I did in April. The article received 10,000 hits within the first week and remains (I believe) the most popular article on the site. To date I know that it’s been stumbled over 63,000 times and thus is the most widely read piece of my work (so far).
I got my first professional Brazilian bikini wax…at a Jewish Community Center because that’s how I roll. I also created Facebook Fan Page for this site because I’m so hilarious. Finally I did something rather bitchy, wrote about it, and it has since because one of my most popular stories because everyone has had a guy or girl treat them like shit and my act of nastiness was for us all.
I let the ocean water touch me for the first time since I was eighteen years old and I did it even before I was given a watermelon full of Everclear. This was a major accomplishment for me even if I haven’t actually made it into the water again yet. I also met a Tolkien character at Home Depot which is another incident that comes back later in the year. Finally I followed up on the wrongest story post because one wrong turn deserves another.
I got a wretched eye infection thanks to eye strain that resulted in my dog taking over the blog for me, and then I celebrated the year anniversary of my getting BONed and held my first giveaway.
This month saw my first (and relatively minor in the big picture especially since it won’t be my last) disappointment as a writer. The story that I had mentioned writing back in March had not won either of the contests that I had entered, but this is another blessing in disguise since it was a serious piece and probably not the best representation of my usual style. The East Coast was then attacked by Frankenstorm aka Hurricane Sandy, however we were very lucky and did not sustain any damage. I also created a youtube channel where you all got to hear my muddled accent in my first Birchbox video. (And yes I have noticed that you all watch the bloopers reel more than the legit product and no, it honestly doesn’t surprise me since I’ve build a readership based on WTF so of course the popularity of videos would reflect this.)
I had a bout of depression because… it happens. And tat’s the beauty of depression is that it often comes for no fucking reason just to rattle my monkey tree. I do know that part of my problem was that my formerly broken hand which never healed properly was feeling the ache of the cold weather and I was having some particularly exhausting cardiac flares. Luckily God sent a door-to-door meat saleman to my house and since traumatizing others always makes me feel better it helped to snap me back to my so-called normal self.
I held my second giveaway and the prize didn’t even require crossing dressing on the part of the guys if one of them won. I also developed an obsession with Elf on the Shelf which you have to be on Facebook to fully appreciate. My mother, brother and I went to the Show of Lights together for the first time in years and it was pretty brilliant to revive this tradition that spanned back to when I was a kid. I was the honored as the Featured Writer at Studio 30+ where that trip to Home Depot when I met Gollum came in handy since for my article I wrote about how to Blog Like a Bitchin’ Rockstar from Mars. (That’s not exactly the title but it’s what I would have used if I wasn’t trying to censor myself somewhat.) Finally I announced that “Writes Like a Slut” is now on over half of the continents in the world. Not a bad way to finish out what was a pretty fucking amazing year in writing for me.
The really, really final major event of 2012 though?
Writing this year in review and for the first time since 2007 not looking back at the previous twelve months and feeling that I was leaving with a deficit.
I’ve a vlog I’ll be posting later hopefully, but in closing I just want to say thank you all so much for reading and supporting me this year. Right before I started this entry I looked at my stats of visits, retweets, links in, ect and I am touched beyond words at how much you all have helped me grow this year. I seriously could not be doing now–writing, which has and always will be my true love–if it were not for you guys. You’re amazing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Kickass 2013!
PS-There were a few other major events that I didn’t mention, but that’s because they are actually precursors to really major events and I don’t want to jinx it. Don’t worry, as soon as it feels solid I will be screaming my face off about it.
I usually avoid writing about events that I know every other writer is talking about on their blogs, but I’ve been doing the Year in Review thing for many a New Year’s now, so I’m making an exception. I’m actually happy that this is a blogging trend and would probably follow it even if I had not been doing it for years because I’ve really loved reading everyone’s reflections on the past year. This Year in Review is a little different than the previous years though because it was it was one year ago today, I started seriously blogging. As a result, I don’t need to chronicle the events of 2011 in detail since most of the major ones are listed in the archives, that thing to the left that I call the “Athenæum” because I love ridiculously obscure words. Instead I’m going to reflect a bit on how those events affected me.
Oh dear God she’s going to get introspective.
Yeah, this is likely gonna be one of those entirely skippable entries since I’ll babble and emote to the point that the entry will be just a squishy mess of fucking-feely-mushy-mush that will make your teeth hurt. Don’t worry, the next entry will be back to WTF that is my life as usual. To those wise peeps who are jumping off at this point of the entry, I just want to say Happy New Year! Thank you for helping make my year rock outlaid.
Now on with the mushy-mush, heavy, thinky shit.
WARNING: LAST CHANCE TO RUN BEFORE I START SENTIMENTAL BABBLING!
Writing has always been a huge part of me. I was about four years old when I began drawing pictures and making up stories to go along with them. Unfortunately, since I seemed to have a natural gift for writing pretty well, I took the skill for granted and never pushed myself to become better. I think this had to do with my most hated emotion and the one that I seem to be fucking constantly battling: fear. I was afraid to find out that “pretty well” was the best that I could do. I was afraid that, while I might be a star in the Little League, that I could never compete in the Majors. I’d done too much stagnating during the past five years though, and it was time to either face the truth if I sucked, or to stop making excuses and write like I’ve always wanted to do. For whatever reason, I chose to blog as a means to figure out if my writing was shit or not, and it’s one of the best things I have ever done.
I’ve experienced several devastating losses in 2011, the first and the one with the largest impact was losing the job I had held for nearly ten years. To fully appreciate what a loss this was you would have to know how impossible it is for me to stay in one place for very long, let alone ten years. That alone is indication of how much the place meant to me, but also, losing my job resulted in the loss of many things such as a steady income, health insurance, several friends who I would no longer see every day, and just security in general.
2011 also saw the loss of a dear friend, one whom I still go to text when I have an urge to say something stupid and be called mental. I could say more about her loss, but honestly it’s one that I’m still dealing with and don’t want to talk about. Suffice to say it’s been pretty shitty.
If I had experienced either of these losses in the previous year, they probably would have been enough to send me spiraling back down into the Walking Ghost Phase that I had been living for the previous three years, but fortunately this year had been enriched in ways that I could have never imagined.
What I’m getting to in a much longer route than I had anticipated was that this blog has made the difference for me this year. Oh my God that sounds so fucking sappy. On a writing level, it helped me to maintain a better–though still not brilliant–writing schedule. It’s also given me some confidence that my writing might not be completely crappy given the amount of positive feedback that I’ve received about it. My writing even led to my blog getting BONed, a honour that I’m still reeling over. And if someone had told me that by the end of the year that I would have 800 people following my writing, I would have called them a filthy name. It makes me think that perhaps my writing doesn’t suck.
On a more personal level, I have formed some brilliant relationships, and that is amazing because my guarded nature unfortunately applies to not only my writing, but also to how close I let people get to me. Jewels, Randy, Nicki, even S.O., and quite a few others that I’ve mentioned in past entries (see my Blog roll for more), were all people that I did not know a year ago, and cannot imagine not having in my life now. They, and all of you dear readers, are a blessing that I never, ever saw coming.
I’ll wrap this squishy package up by saying that while 2011 punched with some heavy fists, I was also held by some gentle hands. The glass of Tequila is always half full.
Unless it’s my glass, in which case it’s empty.
Not because I’m a pessimist, I just love Tequila.
Best Wishes for Happiness, Health and Kicking ass for you all!
Slàinte! (<—Scots Gaelic spelling, as opposed to my usual Irish version, in honour of Auld Lang Syne)