I recently asked one of those intothevoid online questions – If you could choose a one worded New Year Resolution for 2015, what would you say?
I almost hate to admit that the idea of the one worded resolution started with a step-in manager I had for a brief few weeks back when I was moonlighting (errr daylighting?) as a school counselor, but with goal-keeping consistency only found in Capricorns, I have kept on with the tradition ever since.
The resolutions I have had in the past have served my well. Extremely well.
For 2015, my word is: Stronger. The word stands for so many things I want to accomplish. I want to literally be strengthened – to define a sense of inner power through developing physical muscles I have never had before, or at least, haven’t had for a very long time. Likewise, I want to develop that inner strength by flexing those mental muscles. I want to be more honest, less passive. I want to be more patient, and a better listener. I want to strengthen that difference between telling it like it is and defending one’s self. I don’t want to be the person that ever says again, “Oh ya, let’s get together. I’d love that,” or makes similar promises when I know right then, in that moment, that I either don’t have the desire or the time. There’s no shame in saying, “I can’t right now,” and no need to come up with an excuse to pad the assumed emotional reaction from whomever I am tip toeing around.
Thankfully, this isn’t a huge problem for me. I’m pretty honest, but I’m not always very good at it when it counts. I need to always remember that someone’s reactions are not my responsibility and that a life rid of passive agression will also demand that those around me honor me with the same level of honesty. If they don’t, they will fold into their own passive nature and disappear from my life whether I will it or not. But, I am at a point in my life where I know this is ok. I don’t have to make someone else feel better about how it is I feel.
This is something Davee tried over and over again to teach me for 10 whole years, and it is something that my Stark is infuriatingly good at. Because of who I am and my own experiences, it took me a long time and many trial periods to know that one of the greatest truths in life is as simple as: If you don’t get what you want, it’s your own damn fault.
Why we live a life stewing over stupid things, I will never know. It’s human nature. It’s the life of a woman. It’s a generational issue. It’s a community issue. It runs deep through the veins of so many different past experiences that no one can really say where it came from or how it roots itself as a plague in our lives. Why is it that we bitch and moan over something like, “She didn’t refill my water!,” letting something as useless as this snowball into a spiraling negativity of personal offense when in fact, we never asked.
In truth, many things come into play. This new sense of self that I am trying to perfect is extremely philosophical. Manners come into play and at least some degree of consideration. Again, it is knowing that fine line between telling someone what you think and trying to hurt someone after harboring negativity for so long.
Just the same, I want to let my other thoughts roam freely in conversation. So many times, when hanging out with someone one-on-one or meeting someone for the first time, I ask a question about that person only to myself, in my mind, and don’t even think to say it out loud. For me, to ask anything of anyone right up front is very awkward. What do I say next? What if they give me a short answer? What if the conversation then just dies and I have nothing left to ask?
The answer? Who cares.
I’ve already started putting this point, in particular, into play. I’ve promised myself that if I think it, I should say it, and in turn, I have learned some things that I never knew about people who should be very close to me.
This is something that motivates me time and time again. I’m always a little shocked by the definition and sense of “Family.” We grow up hearing “family is blood”. “Blood is thicker than water (or wine).” “Family comes first.” Maybe that is true without question for some lucky people, but I have found all too often that the truth is that those who are supposed to be closest to you are the ones you tend to know very little about. The first time I realized that was when my sister was hospitalized for a very long time after a terrible accident and with profound jealousy, I was angered by the fact that her students knew her better than I did. They were there. They knew what to do. They knew where she was and where she was supposed to be. They knew what she might be missing back home. I had no idea.
I was jealous that they spent every day with her, but just the same, this was the beginning of a slow reveal for a much more adult realization that your family isn’t necessarily the people you grew up with.
I remember questioning the logic of this when I was younger. I questioned it at church. I couldn’t understand, logically, how if families were together forever… than how did any of us ever not get to the top level of heaven? Because, quite frankly, we’re all related. My cousins cousins cousin somehow is hooked on to your cousins cousins cousin and we all go back – to Adam and Eve or dinosaurs or whatever it is you believe in. So if families are forever, how are we ever separated?
Religiously, there are several explanations, but I have learned the only explanation that really matters. YOUR family is very different from who or how you were raised. Your family becomes yourself, and if you’re lucky it becomes a significant other and perhaps some children or pets that may as well be your children. I’ve redefined family as the people I spend the most time with – not blood or cliched obligation.
By the time I met my Stark, I had learned many times over that I was my own family, but in 2011, I was extremely comfortable with being alone and what that meant for me. It wasn’t the previous, brush off of being alone and insisting it was no big deal. I didn’t need to explain it. I didn’t need to prove it. I was my own family.
I went to work each day knowing what it was I wanted to provide for myself and where each day played into a broader future. I came home each night knowing how I would spend my time. I didn’t wait for anyone’s invitation or approval. I wasn’t pining. I wasn’t missing. I was making my own decisions both to participate and to be alone. At that time, I was fairly well practiced on honesty and had no room for passive agression in my life.
That all changed when, just as willingly, I became a half of a whole. Just like my young adult life, I had to rediscover how to be confident and comfortable in what it was I need or wanted while still considering someone else as a major part of my life. It was a constant push and shove within myself to stop putting Stark before me and also, never leave him too far behind.
I would like to think I have become pretty good at that. So, that’s where I am right now.
I want to be that person that hears a matteroffact statement without taking it as a stab to the heart because, regardless of anyone else’s intention, my world cannot be rocked when I know where I stand. And with Stark being a part of me; being my family, I demand from myself the same calm, cool confidence for him and toward him.
It has been very long since I last wrote anything. While I know many people want to know how our holidays have been and what these last few months have brought us, I felt it was more important to share this part of myself.
So now I ask you, what’s your one worded resolve? Comment it.