I don’t do new year’s resolutions. Instead, I choose a focus word for the year. This word represents something I find challenging and that has the potential to benefit my life if I view my choices through its lens. For 2020, my word for the year is TRUST.
So, why TRUST? First of all, it isn’t really about trusting other people (oh look! A can of worms with a very tight lid) because whether or not I trust another person has more to do with the other person than it has to do with me. I’m extremely selective about who I trust, and I’m not going to pretend there aren’t issues there, but it’s not a huge problem for me right now. Trust, as my focus word, is about trusting myself. I am absolutely abysmal at that and it’s completely within my power to change it.
I have this tendency to juggle contingency plans. I’d love to be all “LOL control freak, I have no idea why I’m like this” about it, but I know exactly why I’m like this and I’m finally ready to stop seeing it as a weakness or a personality flaw, to stop hurling blame at myself, and to accept that when huge, all-encompassing real-life situations are completely unstable in the most terrifying ways, desperately lining up ways to get through the day without losing your shit is a natural response to ongoing trauma.
Things are better now, but healing doesn’t happen overnight and I still struggle with planning for literally every possible eventuality. In a way, it’s helpful. No matter what What if? you throw at me, I’ll have an answer. But also, it’s a headfuck and I don’t need that anymore. My survival rate for tough situations so far is 100% and I’m more resilient and resourceful than I ever gave myself credit for. Now it’s time to trust that no matter what happens, I will get through it.
Also, I am utterly terrible at trusting myself to know what I want. I appreciate this sounds ridiculous, but living in survival mode long-term has this way of shutting down anything that isn’t directly connected to necessity. Again, that doesn’t just fall away as soon as things start to improve. As a result of not really thinking about what I wanted, what I liked, what made me happy, for a disturbingly long time, I fall into shoulds very easily and I want to disrupt that unhealthy pattern.
For example, I love writing. I can’t imagine not writing. It is my heart and soul. When I decided to dedicate more of my time and energy to it, I gave very little thought to the path I wanted to take. I read a lot about publishing options. I talked to a lot of people. I researched the shit out of it. I looked at all the different possibilities in great detail and considered the pros and cons of every different direction I could take. Except I didn’t really think about what I wanted, what would make me happy. I’m not even going to get into how much mental gymnastics was required to finally acknowledge that I’m not only allowed to be happy, but I probably deserve to be, at least some of the time. Anyway.
When I started to think about that, and when I allowed myself to be realistic about how writing can fit into my life, I realised that (at the moment) none of the paths I’ve been researching feel right. I am literally not physically able to approach writing as a full-time job, or even a regular, reliable part-time job for the forseeable future, possibly ever, but I don’t know and I have to be OK with that uncertainty or I’ll spend the rest of my life waiting instead of living. I’m not going to get into that here either because it’s a looong story and I don’t really need anyone else’s opinion about it, but reaching a point where I could recognise that and accept it was huge for me.
What that process of honest, sometimes deeply uncomfortable, consideration gave me was the understanding that I want to (have to, need to, love to) write, that I want to share my writing, and that maybe the way I do those things isn’t going to look like how I thought it would look six months ago, a year ago, three years ago, whatever. As soon as I stopped asking How do I earn a living from this? and What will allow me to give a tidy answer when people ask what I do? and started asking What do I want to experience? and How do I want to feel? everything changed.
Right now, I am simply writing. I’m planning to share my current project(s – it’s a trilogy) on Wattpad and possibly here on my own website. I might do other things with it too or I might not. I don’t know and I don’t need to know. Instead of literally lying awake at night panicking about screwing everything up, I’m choosing to trust myself to follow the path that I know is best for my physical health, my mental health and my creative life at any given time.
Side note! Please, for the love of all that is pink and fluffy, don’t give me any “It’s alright for you” about the fact that, right now, I don’t have to focus my entire existence around earning money. I appreciate that from the outside looking in, and with very limited knowledge, this seems like an extremely alright-for-me situation. But please be aware that you don’t know the details of my life before now, or the details of my health or any other aspect of my existence, so while I am incredibly fortunate in some ways at this point in time, real life is a long, messy, unedited film, not a snapshot.
I’ve always believed that, when faced with a choice, going with the option that feels right in my heart, my head and my gut will always lead me to where I need to be. That approach has led me away from dead ends and damaging situations, and into wild opportunities and beautiful experiences (remind me to tell you sometime about the night I met my husband). To be able to live like that requires trust in myself and this is the year I rebuild that.
Do you have a word for the year? Or do you prefer to set goals or make resolutions? If you’d like to share how 2020 is going for you so far, you’re very welcome to leave a comment! My next post here will be a round-up of my #vss365 (very short story every day) microfiction posts on Twitter from December 2019, so I’d love it if you joined me for that. You can subscribe by email or via WordPress Reader to make sure you never miss a post.
Memento vivere, my lovelies ❤