Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014, or, the year I felt meh

It's time for my annual Year In Review! 2013 was a rough year for me mentally and professionally.

But 2014? 2014 was GREAT for my mental state. I finally achieved a major goal and signed with my dream agent. I was pregnant with and had my first child. I feel like I've finally found my stride in the world and I've made it much, much closer to some milestones that have been eluding me for years.

Physically, though? Wow, 2014. Dial it back a notch.

It started in January with the worst cold Husband or I have ever had, one that left me using an inhaler for a month and made him pass out in our kitchen at 3 AM. We both got ER visits out of that one, and he even got a bonus ambulance ride there.

I'll spare you the in between, but since last January, I'm sitting at a whopping 5 ER visits, 4 injuries, 3 hospital admissions, 2 surgeries, 2 ambulance rides (not counting Husband's), 1 pregnancy (technically a holdover from 2013), and 1 child birthed. And only a tiny fraction of the above can be blamed on said child. (The pregnancy, obviously, is entirely the baby's fault).

It reads like a twisted version of the 12 days of Christmas. "On the fifth ER visit, my true love gave to me, EXPENSIVE MED-I-CAL BILLLLLLLLLLS!"

Right now I'm sitting on the couch sans one bodily organ and one facial cyst, holding my neck precariously and wishing my leg would stop aching. All echoes of things I've been through in the past year. Apparently I pushed it too hard doing a whole lot of nothing a couple nights ago, because when I woke up the next morning I couldn't turn my head.

People lament women who say that having a kid changes you. That you "can't possibly understand" until you've had a child. And until I had mine, I admit, I wasn't fond of hearing it, either. But it's true. Your whole life changes after having a kid. And it's not just because you have a partial genetic replica to care for. This body? The meat suit I'm driving around these days? Is NOT the same body I had a year ago. And I'm not whining about stretch marks or varicose veins (though let me tell you-- those both really suck, too).

No, I mean the clumsiness that caused me to fall and sprain my ankle. The resulting constant ache and unreliability of the knee I landed on when I fell. The constant ache of the other knee I landed on trying to protect my stomach when my horse had a bad moment while I was pregnant. The dull throb in my rib cage from back pain, growing-baby pains, and post-organ-removal surgery pains. The foggy memory that means I use a thesaurus a lot more than I used to. The differently-shaped, less intense, but more persistent anxiety that comes with motherhood.

My arms hurt from the 20 or so IVs I've had in the last year--no exaggeration. At least 1/4 of those blew the veins.

I've gained a lot of weight. I'm not super okay with that.

It hurts to look at myself in the mirror. My clothes fit differently or not at all. The skin on my stomach is a roadmap of downtown Manhattan in purple and pink stretch marks, stabbed through here and there with surgical scars.

I'm still learning a lot of the new tricks my body does after the year it's been through. And it's stressful. Aging is supposed to happen gradually, but I feel like a switch flipped and all of a sudden I'm ten years older. I know the human body has incredible healing abilities, but I'm scared that a lot of these things that I hate, that make me achy and uncomfortable, are the new normal. The new me. I will never quite know the old me again.

But along with the difficult has also come clarity. I'm still in awe that I created a tiny human. That I signed with not just any agent, but THE agent. And from a writing contest, no less. That I did edits and re-writes with a newborn. That I survived all these things that terrified me a year ago. That under it all, I'm still me.

So, all told, 2014 was definitely the year I felt "meh". But that doesn't mean it was a bad year. It was just... challenging in a different way.

Fingers crossed for a healthy and prosperous 2015 and beyond.

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