It is the second day of the New Year and, perhaps, the most depressing day of the year. For most of us, the hungover haze has lifted. The confetti has been cleared from the streets, chips crumbs have been scraped from couch cushions, and the empty (and half empty) beer bottles have made their way from bookshelves and countertops to trash bags and recycling centers. It is as if nothing happened—and, in a way, nothing did.
I met New Year’s Eve with the same optimistic nostalgia I always do, but it wasn’t because I wanted to, it was because I had to. OId habits die hard.
The truth is I don’t know what to say about this “new year.” 2014 wasn’t a bad year, at least by most accounts. I went to two weddings and no funerals. My family is healthy and mostly happy, we bought our first home and, it would seem, everything is going great—and everything will be great. But as I ran down Richmond Avenue yesterday afternoon, brittle leaves crunching and breaking beneath my feet, I knew that wasn’t entirely true. You see, this face-value story isn’t the whole story; hell, that isn’t half the story, it is simply the story I tell myself—and others—to make it all seem okay.
Perhaps it’s because I am breaking too, like a dead leaf shed for the season. Something inside me feels brittle.
The truth of the matter is that, for me, 2014 was one of the hardest years of my life.
2014 was riddled with secrecy, and the realization of some hard truths. Depression. Addiction. PPD. PTSD. The year was defined by acronyms and diagnoses. I spent most of it anchored to the ocean floor, in rough surf just off shore. I could see land for miles but I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breath. I simply did all I could to stay afloat.
In September I exhaled for the first time in nearly ten years. I let out a long, guttural gasp and it felt good, but then I inhaled again and my lungs ached. I ached, and the vacancy—the space—which opened with that exhale quickly collapsed upon itself. The year was to get worse before it got better.
That said, amidst the pain and struggles there is also gratitude. Gratitude for friends and family, for new beginnings and old experiences (no matter how difficult).
So today I make no plans for the new year. I will make no promises or resolutions except one: this blog. My goal this year is to use my writing, and my experiences, to help others—and myself. It is my promise to the younger version of myself and the wiser version I hope to become.
Welcome to Sunshine and Spoiled Milk, and to 2015.