A letter

Dear 2011,

You were a hard year for me, in a lot of ways. But I wouldn’t take any of it back; I am older and wiser and it is because things were not easy.

There was a month where I wrote less than 4k words, and another where I wrote 93k; neither wordcount was an easy thing for me to deal with mentally. I did them both, however, and I learned that I can write 23k words in 21 hours… at the cost of several days of productivity. I learned that productivity–or lack thereof–builds on itself. The more you do something, the more you are used to doing it, and I swear I spend the whole year forgetting that lesson and all of November and December having it hammered home.

Maybe this year it will stick. And maybe, just maybe, I will learn how to get through November and not feel completely disgusted and uninterested by what I spent November producing.

For the first time in years, I had an amazing time at family vacation this past summer. I felt very much a part of my family, and that belonging has stretched outside of the bounds of family vacation a bit; I feel closer to my brother now than I have ever felt before. It is a good place to be.

I edited my first anthology! And I learned that I can’t put off editing to the last minute; I have a pretty low threshold for how much editing I can do before I need to take a break. I felt really bad about that, but I learned the lesson that came with it, and it is one I plan on putting to good use this year. As soon as the stories for my next anthologies are finalized, I will start editing them.

Bipolar stuff was especially hard this year. I had a real depressive episode for the first time in years, and it seriously threatened my sanity. I came out the other side, though, and that is all that really counts in the end.

I fell in and out of infatuation. More than once. I am still in love, and I think I will always be in love with her just a little, but I have learned not to believe that caring about each other and being very sexually compatible will hold a relationship together when we butt heads over everything else. If I’m fighting constantly with my significant other, there is probably a good reason and I should probably pay attention to it. Everyone else might be fine with just love, but I learned this year that I need more than just that.

Sweat lodge stuff was very instructive this year, too. I started going to the lodges at R’s and I learned how to fire-tend the way he does it. All of it makes so much more sense than the stuff at K&B’s; I am so grateful for the chance to learn from him, and to continue growing spiritually. (Even if my spiritual growth ends up knocking everyone else in the lodge flat on their backs.)

I feel like this year I gained so many friends–not just people I talk to or hang out with, but people who genuinely Give A Fuck about me–and I am humbled by that. Every single one of them is an awesome friend and an inspiration to me in their own way.

Because that is another thing I learned this year, and I think this may be the most important idea of all: everyone has their own struggles. We’re all just living, and trying our best, and that is all we can do. My stepdad always said something on the lines of He’s doing what he can do, and that’s all he can do, and I don’t think it was until this year that I really began to understand what he was trying to teach me. It is an amazing lesson.

All in all, I regret nothing except for the instances where it took me a long damn time to pick up on the lessons I was being taught. I can’t help it, though; I am a slow learner when I am being stubborn.

With that I will bid you farewell, 2011. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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