I wish I could say that I was walking away from 2010 with a profound understanding of who I am and where I want to go, but I'm not quite there yet. I think, if I had to sum this year up, it's been one of learning about the journey, slowly accepting that it's okay to be true to myself, that there are no expectations to live up to except my own, and that life is really what you make it. It's been a year of admitting, out loud and to other people, all the pain I carried around for years, going to therapy to work on things, and realizing that the way I grew up was not healthy and it wasn't my fault. So hard to even write still - it wasn't my fault. My dad died when I was little and my mother was an alcoholic and there was no one to protect me. It's not about pity or worrying how it makes other people feel to say these things - it's just a fact.
And i feel sad for that little girl that I was because in that mess of a life, she stopped believing in the improbable and gave up on herself. And that way only leads to misery - god, my mother is the perfect example of that - and I want more.
So, to quote Eminem, I'm cleaning out the closet. Making room for new adventures and experiences. I'm ready. And if I fall, well, I'll live and learn.
With the holidays and life, I kind of got off track with Reverb 10. But let's end on a good note with it, so I don't feel like an abject failure (yeah, still working on those negative thoughts).
December 30 – Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)
My sister went to one of my therapy sessions at the beginning of December with me. I know what it took for her to go. We both grew up in the same house, surrounded by the same staunch Irish Catholic family that believed you just don't talk about things that go in your house and feelings are to be kept to a minimum. And I know she was anxious about the whole idea of it, but she went for me and I found it to be quite helpful and sad. I felt a little less crazy because she saw it too, how my mother was with me, but I also felt sad because I couldn't protect her from all of it. I'm her big sister and it was drilled into my head from a very young age that it was my job to look out for her. My dad would say it, my mom would say, teachers would say - Mare, you need to look out for your sister. I've held onto that, even into our adulthood, and she let me off the hook. She reminded me that she was a capable adult and I could focus on myself without feeling selfish or like I was letting her down. Probably the best thing she could do for me, because I never could do it for myself.
December 31 – Core Story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?
There was once this kid. She liked to dance and laugh and think of all the things she could do. Her dad would tell her that she could do whatever she wanted as long as she worked hard and believed it enough. He protected her from monsters in her room - trees do eat people, look at Poltergeist - and took her to work with him.
And then he got sick and she didn't quite understand it and the world fell into chaos, with people in-and-out the doors, random weirdness from strangers, odd pitiful looks. Things she didn't get at the time, but that would play over and over again in her head throughout the years, like the joke you get twenty seconds too late. Oh, I'm that girl. The life she knew ceased to exist, except no one really prepared her for it, and she didn't know what she had done wrong, why this was happening.
She put together a makeshift existence, random twigs and moments, but it was full of leaks. It didn't quite work the way it used to. Her mother couldn't feel the whole that losing her dad had created. Her family was too caught up in their own lives or too blind to the fact that her mother pulled away from everything and forced the girl and her sister along. The mother was sad and miserable and didn't understand the girl of daydreams at all, which was just fine because the girl felt the same way about this evil villain. If only things were different, if only people noticed, if only. Daydream girl was the queen of if-onlys. There was no one there to see, to help her make sense of things, to protect her from those monsters and she hated the world for a really long time. She hid away inside herself, just trying to get by. And then the evil villain died suddenly and once again, the sandcastle life this girl had created for herself washed away with the tide.
Once again, she's rebuilding, foundation is a little worse-for-the-wear in places, but the funny thing is, she can visualize a much sturdier world now. And it's okay.