I didn’t do Christmas Cards this past year, or the year before, and the year I did do Christmas Cards all I heard about was how expensive they were. For many reasons, I’m not doing Christmas Cards again this year, but I decided that I can do a virtual Christmas Card mash-up and post it here. In part, it’s because I got my annual Christmas Card from one of my favorite Tennessean, Meredith and then another came from the Thompson’s with their cute little guy sitting on Santa. I decided I should do something. So, here it goes:
Dear very awesome person who reads my blog: (This is long winded, prepare yourself)
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanuka! And all those typical “Seasons Greetings!” Huzzah, it’s the holidays. Instead of a typical -this-is-what-I-wish, Christmas mash-up, I’m instead going to write about 2011, what I am thankful for and what I’ve learned.
Lets be honest, 2011 was not an easy year for me. But at the same time, it’s been the most eye opening, jaw dropping, exponential learning curve, fastball year of my entire life. I went through times when I thought that the only way to get out of a situation was to crawl inside a bottle of wine and hope that when I woke up, the morning would bring a new light. It never did. The only thing it did do was blur the night well enough to make the morning arrive faster. I spent hours laying on the floor of my bathroom unable to move, unable to breathe or function, scared that I wouldn’t be able to move in the morning when I had to be at work. I fought against everything I had in my body, and riddled myself with migraines and depression and then, the anxiety and panic attacks took hold.
I couldn’t live like that anymore.
It was then that I reached out to a friend; I realized that I couldn’t do this alone. I reached out because he was a counselor, and he would know what to do to help me. If anything, I needed someone that was so far removed from the entire situation to tell me that I wasn’t crazy. He helped me. He talked to me for the better part of two hours on my way to school one afternoon and from that conversation, he figured out exactly what I was experiencing. He knew how to find someone for me to talk to. He helped me find my therapist and has checked in on me occasionally from that point forward. Thank you, Nick. I learned a lot from therapy, and learned that there was a lot more going on in my life that was contributing to my anxiety than just the thought of leaving my now ex-husband. It was a process that took a long time.
I got to play ultimate with the Kennesaw mens ultimate team and have made some really awesome friends. Friends that have become more like brothers, and with good timing as my little brother, though I love him dearly, made a choice to be with a girl over his family. He left and went back to Florida. I think that without the friendships, and the team in its entirety, I probably would have sunk further into the metaphorical sink hole that I can’t even being to imagine what would have happened.
And with all that was the spring, the summer came, as seasons tend to do. The ex-husband finally let go and came to understand, for the first time in our relationship, that the decision I had made was the right one. As the Spring came to an end, so did our relationship officially, as a very awkward email was sent out against my judgement and reasoning. After nearly seven months of fighting, of trying to make a square fit in a circle hole, and my refusal to “try to make this work” – it ended. The Spring Semester ended, and somehow I ended up with straight A’s and at the same time, I was a new divorcee.
Though, it didn’t immediately get better from there. May, what should have been the “forward progress of huzzah”, was instead the downward slippery slope of disappointment. My Great-Great Grandmother passed away on May 9th at the age of 92 in Philadelphia, nearly a week after she moved up there to be with the Garella side of the family. A shock to our family because, despite her age, she was sharp as a tack. Then, I went through four rounds of tryouts for a team that, despite all my efforts, I still wasn’t good enough for. The only thing that came from it was a severely hurt knee and wishing that a particular person could be there to make everything better.
May was only getting worse, as the divorce contract was still being bounced around and simultaneously coupled with the ex-in-laws insisting on the most chauvinistic pig of a lawyer to review the agreement and draw out the finalization for nearly a month. While I was Facebook and email officially divorced, legally I was still recognized by the great state of Georgia as married. I had also moved in with my two closest friends, Asa and Randi. They, lovingly and graciously, offered their guest bedroom to me in the midst of being homeless. They let me stay until my apartment opened up in August. I don’t know how to thank them enough for what they gave to me and for what they did for me. They are the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I hope they are enjoying their awesome new adventures in front of them.
…and then, all became right with the world.
My divorce was finalized, my apartment was a new found sense of freedom and I was finally…free. From it all. The divorce changed me, and my views, but made me stronger and wiser. It made me have a better understanding of myself, and what I need out of my life and how I plan to live my life – openly, honestly and with as much fun as I can cram into it. I went hiking and camping this summer, something that I had wanted to do for a long time, and enjoyed it immensely, as I knew that I would. Not making a team, not playing in the club series, not being married – all of a sudden it didn’t matter, because I had submerged myself into a new chapter of my life with new friends that made me realize that I was missing out on so much before.
The summer went by in a furious blaze – I met new people who challenged me to find myself and who “Sam really is.” I had old friends who stood beside me despite all that had happened. Thank you – Asa, Randi, Susie, MLT, in particular – without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make it. I learned that my anger towards my mom and dad about my brother was unjust, as I was only upset because I really miss my Nonnie, who was the single biggest influence on my life and, when I needed her most, she wasn’t there physically. I learned that people aren’t always who they make themselves out to be and live through a facade that is easily dismembered when you look into their hearts.
I learned that being honest with myself is the single biggest contributing factor to happiness in my life. When I’m honest with myself, I’m honest with those around me. I found that there is someone out there that does like me for all of the craziness, quirks – the oddness that is me – and that is an amazing feeling. The fall came, with the Autumn brush, leaves and smells – with school and work – and new adventures with new people. Learning to climb. Learning to accept what life gives me, but not be afraid to take more from it. Learning that letting someone into my life isn’t a bad thing. Learning that holding back my fears from him is selfish and learning to tell him everything without hesitation. Not to mention, being fortunate when he doesn’t run away in fear, but instead gives me a big hug or a kiss. Knowing that it’s okay to be me. . . all of me. I’ve learned it’s really the only way you can be with someone. I’ve learned that life is too short to not act on gut feelings, to go forward on what you feel is right. Sometimes your brain can convince you that your gut feeling is wrong, and you don’t act on it. I’ve started listening to my body more, and not my brain as much, and it’s proving to be quite helpful.
I’m thankful for all of those who stuck by me – you all know who you are, and for those who didn’t ostracize me for my decision that I made. Which, as the ex has recently said to me, “I’m thankful that you were strong enough to do what I couldn’t in the Spring.” For those who are interested, he’s found someone else, too. We weren’t right for each other – we both know that now.
I’m so grateful for all the new people I have in my life, who have become a large portion of the newest chapter of my life. I’m twenty-five and I’m still learning, every single day, what it is to grow and to be apart of things without guilt, or fear. There is still some of the old-Sam that I’m learning to shed, but I feel lighter (and am, I only weight 127 lbs as compared to the 148lbs I was this time last year), but emotionally I feel more stable. I feel like I’ve got a stronger sense of myself and I feel more accomplished and at ease. Not to mention, I’m happy. Extremely happy.
I feel apart of life, not removed from it. I feel that the only person preventing me from happiness is myself – I’m just fortunate to have people who want to share it with me.
2012 – I’m staring you down, I cannot wait for your adventures, and have a feeling you’re going to be an amazing year.
To all my friends, to all who read my blog and to my family.
I love you all – you’re a big part of me, and I thank you for everything.
Happy Holidays and Cheers!! To a wonderful New Year!