*This year will be brought to you by the word "Share" - alternate, very Sesame Street-styled post title.
As always, I gave a lot of thought to what I want this year to be and provide, the benefits I'm hoping for, and the weaknesses I'd like to overcome. I actually came up with this while writing my last post of last year, as I was going through my list of moments that mattered most to me, and trying to come up with ways to create that feeling as much as possible this year.
What it came down to, really, was that a lot of those moments were spent with the people I care about, or were about me being open to new things/people, or about embracing parts of myself that I have (in the past) tried to ignore or downplay. So this year's theme word is going to be sharing.
Sharing the parts of me I generally keep well hidden - including being more honest. Both in general - I'm not some huge liar or anything, but I tend to keep things fuzzy and broad when I'm talking about myself - and, more specifically, about my health. Which, for me, will mean answering more truthfully when people that care ask me how I am doing. My stock answer "I'm doing" is both a family joke and technically true, but if I get the sense that the person who asks actually cares and actively wants to know, I'm going to attempt to be more open about how I'm actually feeling. There are two keys here - 1) Only giving real information people I know aren't just asking as filler or who want the broad strokes answer and 2) Finding some sort of middle ground between smoothing things over and trying to accurately explain to people who love me how much I am truly suffering. After more than one missed opportunity last year, and a few run ins with family members saying things like "I don't even know what you're diagnosed with" or "Is that new?" about a serious heart problem I've had since I was a teenager, I feel like I'm doing myself a real disservice with the standard glib answer. So, where and when it is possible, I'm going to share this piece of myself a little bit more clearly.
Sharing means being open to new experiences and people and plans - both offline and on. I'm hoping to attend my first Con this summer (Boston Comic-Con 2014); I want to make plans with each of my siblings and nephews and niece for stuff we've never done before or stuff we haven't done in a really long time (and maybe get a portrait done for my mother, who's been asking forever); I'm going to be moving somewhere, somehow this year, and I've got to just embrace not knowing, and then wherever we wind up going; I've got to finally nail down a new treatment plan with Zach, even though I've been balking for a while (because all of the options are scary); I want to put myself in new positions & embrace being curious.
Sharing means taking more opportunities to create things, taking the things I create more seriously, and overcoming some of my fears about letting other people see/experience/know about those things. (It does not mean I'm telling my family about my blog, because Hell No.) But it might mean joining new forums, meeting up with like-minded creative people more often in real life, self-promoting a bit, or finally finishing some of the seventeen projects I've got in some form of unfinished. It definitely means taking more pictures, writing more words, reading more books, playing more games, loving more people, embracing my inner geekess and librarian and letter-writer.
Sharing means feeling feelings and not hiding them. Quitting the passive-aggressive bullshit and standing up for myself and others in more
clear terms. More social activism - both online and in real life, if possible - and incorporating it into my own life better. Making sure my values are the things I'm living by, not just the things I'm hoping to live by.
Sharing is going to mean letting other people share more, being more open to other people's feelings and perspectives and lives with less judgment on my part. This is already something I've been working on, but I need to keep at it... I want to be the person people come to, and for some people, I am. I am very proud of that, and I value those relationships. I also know I can't be that person for everybody in my life, but there are still some steps I can take to foster better relationships, and those I can take. This is going to be a rough year for my family, and some of them don't even realize it yet. I want to be as available as I can be - without getting taken advantage of (!!!) - because you're there for the people who matter to you, as much as you can be.
Sharing means more friend time, more chances for new friends, more linking and liking. It means embracing sadness but not the isolation it thrives in; having a good day and then telling people about the flare it caused and how that puts a damper on the happy; it means spreading my self-care strategies around so they can benefit other people.
Sharing is less hiding and more showing up; less worrying by myself and more accepting helping hands; paying compliments when I think them instead of hoarding them for later; keeping dollar bills and packs of gum in the car for people who beg on street corners; letting things I don't need anymore go out into the world where they can be of use to someone else.
Sharing is ...
It's just showing up more. And opening up more. And hoping that the world - or at least my little corner of it - follows suit.
And it's wishing all of you the happiest 2014 that there can be. Whatever comes, know if you want to talk about it, I'm here to listen. And know that you all play a large part in saving my sanity, if not my life, because I know you're out there listening too.
Ok 2014: Be nice to us.