I wanna make some New Years resolutions this year.
Not grand, unrealistic plans, nothing like that. No, i just wanna put into words the things i wanna continue doing, or do better, next year. Simple goals and simple wishes.
I didn't do any last year, and i actually regretted that. It's not supposed to matter, but it does.
2011 has been an interesting, but not always good, year for me.
Challenging would be one way to put it i guess.
The year started out pretty crappy.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit our beloved Japan destroyed tens of thousands of lives, and broke our hearts. It was also the reason we haven't been to Japan in over a year. 2011 is the first year since 2005 i haven't been in Tokyo at all, and i don't like it one bit.
I could go on and on about this tragedy, an ongoing tragedy that's barely getting any media attention any more, but this post is supposed to be... i don't know what it's supposed to be really? A quick summary? Something like that, cause i don't think i'll have time for it tomorrow.
Anyway, the first six months of 2011 weren't great for me.
I started taking this anti-acne medication in January and had to keep taking it until June.
This medication is so strong and so potentially dangerous that it's used only as a last resort for those who don't respond to any other treatment. Having suffered from moderate to severe acne since i was 13, there really weren't any other options left.
Considering that a known side effect of the medication is suicidal thoughts, i got off fairly easy.
For those 6 months, my skin, and lips in particular, were so dry that i wasn't allowed to leave my house without chapstick or wash my hair more than once a week, and every month i had to go to the dermatologist and assure the doctor that i wasn't pregnant. Yeah, another side effect of the pills are severe birth defects, so had i gotten pregnant, i would have been forced to have an abortion.
Good thing that wasn't an issue for us, but still, it took some extra planning to make sure that i 100% would not get pregnant!
Those pills were also the reason we didn't do any work on my elephant piece at all during that time. After seeing how bad the one little tattoo i did get healed, i wasn't taking any more chances, so for a long time, i had to put all tattoo projects on hold.
For those first months of the year, i also started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life.
That in itself was a good experience, but when our sessions came to an end, i wasn't actually better off than before i started.
It took several terribly frightening panic attacks for me to finally realize that i'd only scratched the surface of my anxiety problems, and that much more work was ahead of me if i ever wanted to live a life that wasn't controlled by fear and insecurity.
The panic attacks affected every trip we went on in 2011, and even now, i can't think of Hong Kong, Prague or London with anything but mixed feelings. That's the thing with panic attacks; they attach themselves to memories, taint them, and make themselves the one thing you remember above all else. Above all the good stuff.
I still have a long way to go, but at least i'm learning so much about myself, and life en general, in the process.
So yeah, lots of panic and anxiety this year, and it certainly didn't help my already kind of fragile state that my beloved grandfather died in June.
At the time, i thought the most important thing was "handling the situation well", and being strong for him and my family. Feeling sorry for myself for losing a loved one, or even grieving properly, was not something i allowed myself to do, and it came back to bite me in the ass later.
But i am ok, now. I miss him, so much, but after giving myself permission to grieve and cry for my loss, i got better.
Wow, it really sounds like i've had a sucky year, huh?
But seriously, it hasn't been that bad.
Because of my anxiety, and the therapy i've been going to, i am realizing a lot of things about myself that i never knew:
-I am learning to be less insecure, and care less about other people's opinion of me.
As a result, i am being more open, creatively, and because i spend less time worrying about people judging my work, i have started drawing and painting again. And instead of hiding the results in drawers and folders, i am sharing them on the internet, and even framing a few of my doodles and hanging them in my apartment!
I've said yes to some fairly challenging millinery projects that i would have hesitated to work on before, and built myself a new website with the purpose of promoting myself and my work a little better.
I'm learning that everything i do and make doesn't have to be perfect, or better than anybody else's work, it's ok that it's my best and that i enjoyed making it.
-I am learning not to let people walk all over me, and that sometimes, it's ok to put myself first.
In the past, and 2011 as well, i've been so helpful at times it's ridiculous. I would do so much and it would go completely unnoticed and unappreciated, and the disappointment in people i considered friends would just break my heart. I realized that some people in my life took my kindness for granted, and others just plain used me as a doormat. I am still working on setting boundaries and occasionally saying no, and limiting contact to those who'd take advantage of my kind nature; whether they know it or not.
-I'm getting better and better at thinking positive and appreciating what i got. It's hard breaking a life long pattern of bitching and complaining and putting other people down, but when you stop and feel the results, it's so worth it. I've had to leave the room on occasion (or aggressively change the subject) when friends or family members start ranting about stuff or people that bothers them in a way that's nonconstructive, but the more i stay away from that kind of thinking, the happier i am.
It's scary how natural it comes to people, though, and how much it bothers them to be called out on it, and in some cases, i fear it's too late to change, but that doesn't mean that i have to take part in the complaining and the talking about people behind their back. In fact, i don't have to listen to it at all.
-I'm exercising more. I hate exercise, but it's a great way to rid the body of anxiety and stress, and with that as my motivation, i look forward to continue this new habit in 2012.
-My husband. He's obviously not something i'm learning about myself, but he is someone i appreciate more and more each day. Every time my friends or family have let me down, he's been there, being loving and supportive, and making me feel not alone and not crazy.
The life we have together is so special and awesome, i can't even describe it.
We get to go to work together every day, to a shop we both love, and we get to be stupid and make each other laugh all the time. And we let each other change and turn into new people all the time, without judging and without fear of losing each other.
.... oh, god, what a rant!
Why didn't you stop me? And why didn't i save this for tomorrow?
Well, because tomorrow is New Years eve, and even though this is gonna be the most relaxed, almost anti-New Years eve, ever*, i'd still rather spend the day cooking than blogging!
Oh, and blogging more in 2012 is definitely gonna be on the resolutions list! I know it's been a slow year on the untitled blog, but i've had stuff on my mind, and stuff to work out, and the pressure of daily posting just wasn't something i needed at this time.
But i look forward to seeing where this soon to be 4 year old blog is going. And if and when i hit 500 followers, this anti-giveaway blogger is definitely doing a special giveaway!
One last really good thing about 2011 (although it hasn't even happened yet): sometime today i am going to be an aunt. How great of a way to end the year is that? Pretty great, i think.
If you read this far; thanks for having the attention span of a fucking wizard, and for sticking with me this year!
I wish you all a very happy New Year and a fantastic non-apocalyptic 2012!
Ps. By the way; the medication worked and i am basically acne free for the first time in my adult life. Only someone who suffers from this, or another equally socially crippling skin disease, can fully understand how crazy and awesome that feels. I only wish i'd done it sooner so i could have maybe had a few years of no acne and no wrinkles... no such luck, i'm afraid, but i'm still pretty stoked!
*The plan is this: make lots of food, dress up, eat the food together with our friend Martin, have some drinks, play Xbox and pass out on the couch. No decorations, no fireworks and no parties. I'm pretty excited about that!