2011: Half and Half – Why It Sucked and Didn’t Simutaneously

Thank the Goddess that 2011 is coming to swift – and much needed – end. In about two days, we’ll be entering 2012 and I couldn’t be happier. You’ve probably seen quite a few posts about blogging this year, ways to make blogging more awesome, goals accomplished and lessons learned.

I’m going to talk about why 2011 sucked.

Backstory: At the brink of the New Year I was living in Seattle with someone I didn’t particularly like. I needed to leave my living situation but wasn’t making enough money to have my own place. At least, a super awesome place with nice amenities. So I sought out a room mate, but then discovered Penelope Trunk’s blog about taking over your career, and decided I needed to move. To Florida. In a brief, gruesome detail free nutshell. 

Hands down, the second worst decision of my life.

Moving two days before my birthday, I found myself in humid Florida, staying with relatives, two puppies and one mean old lady who I grew to despise. After seven months, the highlight had been my overwhelming feeling of joblessness – mining the internet daily for job leads, scrapping by on what little savings I had left, and being told on several occasions that retail positions don’t like college degrees. Meanwhile, I found myself flailing as I tried to make important “life decisions”:

  • Contemplate going to the local community college and majoring in Graphic/Web Design
  • Applied to over 20 positions with Americorps
  • Thought about getting into PR/Advertising but couldn’t even qualify for free internships because of my BA in French
  • Attempted to learn HTML solo (among other programming code) in order to have employable skills
  • Looking into freelance writing gigs, but found myself mostly at content mills

Ultimately, I decided on blogging, which turned out to be really fun, and allowed me to meet some really awesome people in the process. Yet, the joys from blogging seemed to pale in comparison to my day-to-day frustrations of not being able to take care of myself. I slept in most ways, well past noon, as I half-assed my job hunt, hoping that each application sent would be my golden ticket to employment.

Like most people, I wish I had the power to go back and alter time. Where would I be now if I had stayed in Seattle and moved in with that girl? Would I be blogging? Would I had found another job? What if I had moved to NY first instead of going down South?

Thinking back on my 2011, it’s easy to understand why people believe that things happen for a reason. Everything I went through brought me to this point:

  • I’ve had more interviews since leaving FL than ever in my life
  • Met really awesome bloggers, learned how to use Twitter (kinda)
  • Expanding my writing repertoire to include comics and exploring freelancing
  • Learned A LOT (particularly about social justice)
  • Building my network and connecting with like-minded people

Despite my general tone of powerlessness, 2011 gifted me with a better sense of Self. And when I actually stop to think about it – I know ten times more about what I want out of life than when I was in college, living in Seattle, or even the time I spent in Florida.Which definitely makes the transition into 2012 much anticipated; I’m looking forward to the new year despite everything!

What About You? How was your 2011?

What’s In A Scar?

Inspired by Lindsay’s post at The Boomerang Kid!

I, perhaps like most people, have a lot of scars. And a lot of regrets:

  • Moving out of Seattle to be jobless in Florida for over five months with no change in sight.

    Flickr Credit to: Finalfeliz

  • Regretting not transferring out of my second college even though I had become beyond miserable by the end of my first semester there.
  • Not being more proactive in my job and room mate hunt so that I could still have money in my pocket, my own roof over my head and living with someone I liked.

Compulsively, I run these scenarios over and over in my mind. What would my life be like now had I stayed in Seattle and moved in with that girl? Would I still be working at my old job? Would I have gotten the chance to write comics in Seattle?

In her post, Lindsay called them “invisible scars” but there’s nothing invisible about my pain. I wear it for everyone to see as I tweet incessantly about my ugliness and the rejection I’ve faced because of the way that I look. The scars from my college years haven’t even begun to scab over as I replay my suffering over and over. I mourn the loss  of having my own place, paying my own bills. I look out into the world and wonder, “What the fuck did I get wrong? Why wasn’t I informed of this fuckery!?”

My scars didn’t make me a better or more enlightened person.  I haven’t experienced any kind of life altering catharsis because of them, nor do I expect to. I have found other people’s suffering to be significantly more thought provoking than my own. As I look back on my life, I see one regret after another; like I’m incapable of getting it right, or not repeating the same mistakes.

This is why regret is so terrifying, and yet so enticing, because it appeals to a lack of self-trust. I regretted not transferring, because I didn’t trust myself enough to be okay with going to a new school, and not trusting my feelings enough to say that I wasn’t happy and should do something about it. I regretted moving out of Seattle because it was so plainly a fear-based response: my room mate wanted me to move out, the girl who I thought about living with was pressuring me about giving her a deposit, my job wasn’t living up to my expectations. I caved.

Even if some people don’t admit to regrets, carrying around “invisible scars” can be as clear as day. You see it in how reactive people can be, in how quick they are to dismiss you or reject you. The fear, the guilt, the regret is soul-consuming and it has infected every aspect of our socialization. The scars we bear can breed hate, prejudice, willful ignorance, rejection of reality and a rejection of the Self.

I have a lot of scars. Perhaps too many. At times I think they make me unbearable. Other times I simply try to drown them out with copious amounts of Norman Reedus. I don’t want my scars to define me, and in many ways they most certainly have. And in others, I still have a choice.

The Bene Gesserit Littainy against Fear: 

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
– “Dune” by Frank Herbert (pg. 19)