|Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
There are many days I think I haven't achieved nearly enough with my writing or that I feel behind in life. What I've realized is that sometimes I'm too hard on myself. When I look at the past decade, and shortly before it, I've been through a lot.
There was a miscarriage in 2011.
In 2012, my workplace was divested, my marriage ended, and I somehow managed to get my blue belt in karate.
2013 came and I moved 4 times. The first move was out of the marital home. The second was to Ottawa. The third to a temporary place while I waited for my condo keys. I did all of that while playing roller derby and studying iaido.
Then 2014 brought with it my roller derby team winning the championships, but I got injured and had to do a lot of rehab on herniated discs in my neck.
In 2015, I woke up with crippling pain in my ankles and was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome.
In 2016, I won a couple of bronze medals in iaido, the sword-based martial art I used to practice. Then I was restructured out of my job. Sure, it may have been possible to relocate again, but I really didn't want to. Ottawa had become my home. I also had my first short story, Solarium, published that year and my second, Sandra's First.
I went back to school in 2017 to study script writing because I wanted some formal writing education and I didn't fit the current job market. While at school, a strike happened and I feared going back had been a terrible mistake. All I could see to do during the strike was to write. We had so many projects that needed to be done and I wanted to be ready for when the strike hopefully ended. Thankfully, it did though we had to add some time to the schedule to be able to do all the learning that was needed. I made the Dean's list at graduation.
It was scary for a bit after that in 2018 as I had to make use of our social safety net while I waited for security clearance to come through for the job I still hold now. I remember being terrified I might end up homeless while I was on Ontario Works and trying to be an Uber Eats Delivery person. But the job I got in procurement wasn't without some brief turmoil as well. I was initially hired on temporarily to cover for a woman who was on maternity leave. There wasn't a full time permanent position for me, so it was off to EI for me for a couple of months. Then there were three pregnancies and another colleague shifted to another account to leave an opening for me to fill. I also made it to the finalists list in the ScreenCraft Horror competition I entered with Puppy Chow.
Things were pretty stable for a bit, though commuting took about 2 hours every day, which left little time for much outside of work. I continued with my writing and martial arts.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and upended all of our lives and so much was lost. For me, it gave me the time I needed to heal. I did some CBT while stuck at home and filled with the stress of worrying about friends and family and dealing with the neverending bathroom reno. I couldn't use my bathroom for over a year and had to go out of my unit to shower and such.
During all of that, I dated several men over the years, but there was always a discomfort I felt that I couldn't name. I just knew that I couldn't see a future with any of them and that I rarely enjoyed intimacy with them. Sometimes, I even felt repulsion.
A couple months after I did CBT came my gay awakening. I was shopping online and found myself far more interested in the female models than the clothing. I chuckled to myself as finally that piece of myself was no longer a mystery to me.
And then, at the beginning of this year, I lost my mom to a ruptured brain aneurysm. We're about to have our first Christmas without her and it's hard. Some things are better because my mom had her own issues that are no longer affecting the rest of us. But I miss the fuck out of her. I never got the chance to come out to her and there's so much I just don't know about her life before I came into it.
So when I look back now after feeling frustrated that I'm not done decluttering my home, that I'm not as far along with my writing or other creative pursuits as I want to be, that I haven't met that special woman I so want to find, well... I suppose I've been rather busy dealing with a lot of life things.
Also, I finished the first draft of one novel (Sparker) and got two others to around 30,000 words (Scion and Skater), so it's not like I haven't been working on my writing through all of that.
Is it any wonder that I've felt overwhelmed and like I was locked in fight or flight mode for so long? That I've repeatedly suffered from anxiety and depression? That it's been hard to finish writing projects or reading books?
I've learned so much about myself over this decade and I'm hoping that I'll soon be heading where I've wanted to go for many years with all of the things that haven't quite come together for me.
I guess we'll see what 2023 has in store soon enough.