2013 The Year of the Chrysalis

2013 can be remembered as the year Sound City reminded us that it’s all about the music and sometimes being old school is realizing that life will never get better than this.  What we have will eventually become what it is that we miss and we want most in life and there’s no better time than now to preserve the monumental moments in our lives.

It was a year of unforeseen changes and individual growth; a year that defines the very concept of “the only way out is through.”  We said farewell to the traditions of our younger selves and realized we have a new canvas and a new life to move onto.  With that in mind, we put a pause on New Year’s traditions and pressed play on a new chapter of our lives.  We cleaned out our closets, let go of the “stuff” that seemed to always matter and need to be there.  We did this routinely, with little warning to both our physical and mental clutter.  For me, I let go of some of those “last things my mother gave me” and realized that no matter of things will make me feel as though she were still here.  I was able to let it all go knowing that, in the end, it doesn’t make a difference.  Letting things go made way for things of my own.  At first I sorted through things here and there, slowly deciding if I would ever regret throwing things out or giving things away based on the varying scenarios my future may hold.  But it became somewhat of a relief to move from that space of holding on to a place where I knew, without a doubt, that I didn’t need these things in my life any longer.  The process started out, quite literally, with me removing the pieces of my life that I had stored under the bed and in the backs of closets.  Then it moved into a place of replacing old photos with photos of Stark and I as I realized to some degree we had all moved on.  My sense of priorities shifted and with that shift, our relationship shook from the straight path we had been on before and in moments seemed as though it may be stuck or may derail in it’s shift to a more scenic, worthwhile route.  At moments it seemed as though it were all downhill from there.  I felt as though I were running full speed ahead, pulling on a broken set of brakes.  Those moments felt like they were just for me; like I was alone on a train to nowhere until I realized it was me who had put myself in that place.  In truth, I was never really alone, not even in my experience.  The effect my decisions were having on me were sent like ripples out to those closest to me.  As I attempted to navigate how deep those waters go, Stark kept me from drowning even in those moments where I felt like an overbearing dead weight, pulling him down.

In truth, it wasn’t that hard.  There were just many moments lost in dramatic situations that were all required to push me out of believing I needed to be there for the sake of someone else or deserved to feel that way.

I started 2013 strong – working full time for a variety of interesting clients.  I took work with me as we traveled from San Francisco to Seattle to Phoenix to Dallas to Canada to Cleveland to New York and beyond.  I worked out every day, starting slow and then pushing myself to near two-hour workouts until that day where I could no longer get a handle on my irrational behavior at the end of long days or weeks when exhaustion took over.  Together we thought it best for me to revisit my doctor and go back on some medication I hadn’t been on since we first met.  But the switch took me drastically in the opposite direction of what we expected and my two hour workouts quickly reverted to three hour naps.  The ability to manage the day in and day out was suddenly gone from me and the memory loss I had once blamed on recovering from my motorcycle accident was now 10-fold and at the fault of this medicine I had once perceived as a life savor.

I gave it a chance and blamed the side effects on myself until I decided to come to terms with a diagnosis I had known for years.  After an extremely precarious, misguided prognosis that shocked my very core and shook the foundations of possibility, I was finally heard out and understood in a way where one of my most valued mentors, Davee, was able to shift his perspective and suggest this same diagnosis I hadn’t given much thought to in years.  So I continued on that detrimental med (in hindsight, I don’t know why) until I could finally get through the doors of the popular and prestigious Dr. Watkins who specialized, most specifically, in diagnosing and studying Narcolepsy.  I made my first appointment in May and ended up not being able to see him until the start of August.  Stark and I travelled four necessary hours in trust of his final opinion and thus unleashed a whole new and unexpected journey.

In short, I received the exact care I needed with close attention.  However, in the process of finding what worked best for me, my life quite literally became a living nightmare.  Those deep, dark corners of my mind that buried the skeletons of my mental closets first manifested in my sleep before pushing their way into my life in randomized memories and flashbacks.  The journey was horrifying and undoubtedly helped to fuel the anxious side effect I was getting from my first prescribed sleep medication.  Still, I stuck with that initial trial for five months and in that time I was able to push through a lifetime of lose ends and passive aggressions.  In that journey I trusted all the right people and received all the wrong feedback, realizing in a way I had never seen before that what was “right” was hardly right for me.  I rapidly began to make decisions big and small.  I did things I wanted to do and accomplished more than I had in years (like writing an entire novel in three weeks time).  Still, I wasn’t quite myself and that become more apparent than ever when, at the end of the year, I watched myself go crazy as if I were someone else.

2013 will always be remembered only for the fondness of having survived.  2013 was the year of the chrysalis; a year captivated by my own ability to change.  2013 left me with an innate ability to hope, a deep sense of gratitude, and a renewed sense of possibility and energy for the future.  In turn, 2014 has already been a year of MORE and a year of fierce capability as I finally recognize myself as someone familiar and no longer missing in the catacombs of never-ending exhaustion.  What I was once proud of accomplishing throughout a week has become the new norm for my day-to-day.  My past ability to work 60 hour weeks, attend full time school, and still have an excited energy and passion for the unscheduled moments of my life has returned.  Yet the most exciting aspect of this familiar energy is that now, I am a new person.  I am done with school.  I am beyond the do-or-die need to juggle multiple careers.  My decision making is spot-on and my attitude is as aggressive as my renewed sense of capability.  The time is now and I have the time to be whoever I want to be and prove that my Stark isn’t the only Superhero in the house.  Watch out!

My Transformation

Top 10 Moments of 2013:

  1. Wrote a complete, 50,000+ word draft of my first ever REAL novel
  2. Taking the Amtrak Cascades line from Seattle to Canada for a quick weekend celebration of our two-year anniversary (June)
  3. BFF Noah came to visit (March)
  4. Patched up my long, lost friendship with my forever BFF Mo and flew to Dallas to celebrate his wedding with my boys
  5. Dozens of visits with my Aunt Ilse in her final months here on Earth
  6. Was honored to celebrate the marriage of my good friends, Jan & Cherise at their home in Phoenix
  7. Adopted Durden, our Patagonia penguin, for my 29th birthday
  8. Become a writing mentor and volunteer for the Community Writing Center and joined their Teens Write mentoring program
  9. Took advantage of an excuse to go to Cleveland to visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and feel up the leg lamp at the original Christmas Story House
  10. Snowbird Oktoberfest with friends and family

2013 Travels:

  1. an amazing week for two Southern Utah,
  2. a long weekend with friends in Southern Utah,
  3. a short weekend as just us in Southern Utah,
  4. a trip to New York,
  5. RSA in San Francisco,
  6. moving Stark’s Aunt from San Diego,
  7. (just me) road tripped with my parents to Los Angeles/Ranchos Palos Verdes to see my brother,
  8. Las Vegas,
  9. Cleveland (gets it’s own explanation as part of the Top 10 above),
  10. Seattle (a couple times),
  11. Dallas,
  12. Phoenix, and I can’t even remember where else!

Top 5 Birchbox Beauty Finds of 2013:

  1. DDF amplifying elixir & Vasanti BrightUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (what can I say, it’s a tie!)
  2. LuLu Organics Lavender & Sage Hair Powder
  3. The Sarahpotempa half-up
  4. Whish Coconut Milk Correcting Gel
  5. theBalm cosmetic Mary-Lou Manizer highlither

Best Book I Read in 2013:  Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith the Mother of Punk Rock

Best New Music of 2013: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories

Most Played Artist in 2013:  Karmin, MxPx, and Billy Joel

Craziest Experience in 2013:  Seeing Cat Power in concert at The Depot

Concerts Seen in 2013:  Cat Power and The Crystal Method

Greatest Lesson Learned:  I have a choice.

Check out my recap of 2012 here.

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