The sun is rising outside my window right now. I can spy the peak of Mount Sugarloaf from here, and all around my neighborhood farms lay dormant, sheltered with cover grass or hay in preparation for the coming year. The valley is cold, but it is alive and awake, just like me this kind December morning.
On December 12, 2020, I published a blog entry titled I Hope to See a Sunrise regarding the sorry state I was in as the turmultuous year drew to a close. I was finished with my associates degree, had just gone through a heart-wounding breakup that was unique to anything I had ever experienced before, and I was desperate for anything to keep me from falling into deep depression. I yearned for brighter times on the horizon, both in the figurative sense and the literal. Quite simply, I wanted to see more sunrises in 2021.
At the time I had been struggling to fall asleep at night, and struggling even harder to wake up in the morning. I had nothing but school to keep me busy anymore, and even that would be over soon. I needed structure in my life. Bad. So, I joined my husband Nico at his merchandising job. 7-2:30, Monday through Thursday. As someone who has always struggled working longer hours due to mental and physical conditions, this seemed perfect to me. I’ll have something to do with my life, and I’ll be making money. Perfect.
So, in January, I started working with the love of my life, and you’ll never guess what I started to see plenty of. Every morning, around the crack of dawn, Nico and I would venture off to one of fourteen grocery stores our team was in charge of “resetting” and do the work. The work in question, for us, was reorganizing “sets” (distinct sections of shelf designated for specific products) based on a paper planogram, stripping out discontinued items and rearranging to make room for new products. Then, when it was done, whenever that ended up being, we were let go and still paid the entire 7 hours we were scheduled for. Immediately, I could tell this job was going to be a great fit for me. The work was simple, not so boring that it was mind-numbing, and I was good at it. My coworkers were amazing– I even got to work with my husband! My boss was a kind, understanding man who I could already tell valued my skills as an employee. It felt good.
All jobs can be stressful at times, and this field is no exception, but I have been working this job all year and I am so happy to be where I am. For eleven months of this year, my lovely husband and I travelled near and far to do our menial little work together, seeing the sights of Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires, and having a happy together while we did it.
In November, Nico finally got a new job in his field of health information management, so we had to go our separate ways. I admit, this wasn’t easy for me. It’s a shame that in the society we live in, my husband was basically forced to quit a job we both love in search of better pay and longer hours at his new hospital job. But you know what, we refuse to be as codependent as it can often feel like we are, and we have both been thriving over the past month or so, now working separate jobs. Still, we see sunrises together in the morning before we leave for work, and still, the man I love brings me coffee in bed. Who am I to complain?
The next major event that caused me to see quite a few less-than-beautiful sunrises was a gastrointestinal episode. Now, I’m not going to bore anyone with the details of why I ended up in the ER, partially because I never really got answers as to what happened, but just know that I was so sick I wasn’t keeping down food or water for over a week, ending up in the ER for dehydration, and even when I finally could start eating and drinking again, I had to be very selective and particular. This would set the stage for a lot of the next few months, and the trends and changes I would start to make in my life.
It was around this time that I started getting into The Magnus Archives, which is a horror podcast that starts out very monster-of-the-week and devolves into a psychological horror fantasy about human nature, free will, individuality, and the deep-rooted fears of mankind. Basically, there’s no relevant reason for me to bring this up other than it fits the timeline and I, as a superfan, am obligated by law to spread the good word and get people into this masterpiece of a podcast. Anyway.
During and following my bout of vomiting, I stopped doing a lot of things. Notably, smoking marijuana, which I have done for quite some time now for my chronic joint pain and anxiety, which led to a lot of pondering and questioning about what my relationship with the drug will be going forward. This is complicated, and frankly, I haven’t landed anywhere concrete on the matter yet, so I still see this being a bigger blog post down the line, but essentially, I started to realize that taking a break from weed wasn’t going to kill me. Quitting did not have to be a permanent or high-pressure thing, but it had to be something that I could do every once in a while for my health. This was a small change, but it was huge, and it set the precedent for what came next:
The booze. If you read my last blog post, you know I’m six months sober. My reasons for this are far deeper rooted than my issues with weed, and stem from far more sinister experiences I’ve had and mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes people don’t understand why I feel it is so important that I stay away from the bottle, but it’s for the better, that way, I think. Every person that does not understand why I can’t just have one, or why I don’t intend on willingly drinking again any time soon (god, give me strength), is a person that has never had to stare into the dark void of the bottle and see their most twisted self reflected back at them. So for that, I am grateful.
From around April to July I was in a highly energized, creatively powered mood that allowed me to produce a lot of art, both fanart (mainly of The Magnus Archives) and original pieces of many different art forms. Even beyond that stretch of time, I feel like i created a lot this year. Most importantly, I finished revisions on the first draft of my first novel.
This whole year, I have also been doing all sorts of fun stuff with friends and family. Nico and I went to NYC for a weekend, I visited my mother and stepfather twice (soon to be three times!!), and we hosted a banger of a Halloween party, just to name a few things. Although my emotional health remained miraculously stable, my physical health continues to give me hell every day. But even during times where a lot of things for me and others seem to be falling apart, we are able to find joy in the little things.
Although the climate is changing, I refuse to feel sad as I feel the warm sun kiss my skin in mid December. Although the sun sets at four o’clock this time of year, I refuse to forget that it rises again every morning. And when it does, the love of my life will bring me coffee as the valley’s morning fog lifts and the new day begins.
Welcome, 2022. We’ve been waiting for you.