I will admit, last year I did not think that I would have a worse year than 2015.
Dear gods, when will I ever learn? Do not tempt Murphy’s Law, it will give you everything you ask for, and add interest on top.
Yeah, I had a worse year than 2015, but in retrospect, it was still an important year. All political BS aside, it was a learning experience, and some of the biggest lessons I learned were how to take responsibility for my own part in certain things – a work in progress – and how to draw a line on what I tolerate in my life.
If anything, there’s a lot of things to be said for the art of drawing boundaries, and sometimes, there’s something like a national election that reaffirms what your boundaries are.
I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a liberal, and nor will I hide any part of it. And this is not going to be the time where I opine on the current election results; done that already. But the fact is, this election taught me what sort of behavior I tolerate in my life and was only one in a series of reminders to get a lot firmer about what I let slide, why, and from whom.
And frankly, I’ve gotten way too lax about allowing people to get away with shit, and not just in terms of politics. I’ve allowed too many people to walk over me, and have almost ended up $1,200 in the hole at the start of summer because someone thought it’s A-OK to take advantage of someone’s generosity and then turn around to shit all over their efforts.
Look, I’m one of the nicest people out there. Really. For all the acerbic NYC bitchiness that I have, if you come to me and tell me you need help – get out of a bad situation, not sure what a contract says, have a doctor/person who doesn’t want to listen – I’ll help you. I’ll ask people who can refer me to someone in the position to help, or pull a favor if someone owes me one. However: do not ever turn around and try to accuse me of shit because of it. This is the real world; information and resources do not come from a vacuum. Either you find it yourself, or – like in a LOT of situations – you go to someone who can.
One of the main lessons out of this year, and that particular little fiasco, was this: don’t let others’ lack of regard of your skills in any way diminish your value for having those skills.
I’m not going to stop helping people if they ask. That would be completely contrary to everything I stand for. Yes, under any other circumstances, this would have made me say “screw this shit, I will not help anyone again, ever” – but that’s just not me. And considering the way that the current climate is, it’s kind of extra important to be able to provide support to people.
But I also won’t stand for ingratitude and I will certainly not stand for being used in any iteration. Already, I give too much of myself away in terms of support, resources, knowledge, time, energy, talents, etc. And last time I checked, I can’t pour from an empty cup; if you want to benefit from association with me, then please at least let me refill the cup once in a while. Rest, solitude, music, travel, real friendships with real conversations, support, exchanges of ideas, learning, etc. – that’s my recharge. And my definition of friendship is a bit different than most people’s; loyalty and communication are two things I set a huge store by.
Yes, this year was ridiculously bad. In retrospect, and keeping with the adage of how your year starts is how it flows, I should’ve realized that it was going to be bad when we lost Alan Rickman. Collectively, we artistic types – and HP fans – knew we were in for a hard year with 2016. Myself, I entered the year grieving and with a keen awareness that I would have more losses coming – precisely what happened. But I can’t say it was all a waste if there’s any sort of lesson out of it.
As far as lessons go, taking responsibility for myself, drawing boundaries and standing up for myself are certainly beneficial refresher courses.
Two more weeks of this particular stretch of the calendar… and then maybe we can breathe easier.
Stay focused, friends.