Friday, December 30, 2016

Check in at the end of 2016

This has been a shitty year in many ways, but this month I've found myself reflecting on how my own mental health is so much better right now than it was a year ago. I still grapple with some anger, resentment, and loneliness that resulted from what really must have been intense (and externally exacerbated) post-partum depression, a time when I also felt like nobody was there for me. But, let's be clear, last December I cried at least once a day, and this December I think I've cried once. I'm doing alright. It's a huge relief; I can't be the only person who feels like they're going to be depressed and anxious forever when in the throes of it.

This week off from work, with the kids and Melissa home, has been a good one. I've read a lot. However, I've also realized that I didn't read many books last year. I'm not even sure I hit 20. Who even am I? I am determined to read more, which is not a resolution, but a "oh my god what the hell." This week, I read the first volume of Y The Last Man which, enh. I read Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, which was good, but I am still thinking about some of it. I'm almost through the first volume of Bitch Planet, and I am going to keep reading the whole series if only because of the scene with Penelope and the mirror that shows her as her ideal self, which brought fierce, intense joy to me. The rest of it is perfect, too, but oh that scene.

I have had a lot of energy around the house. I've finally cleaned out the utility room. I've replaced almost all of the handles and knobs in the kitchen. I cleaned out several drawers and cabinets; my kitchen is happier and easier to use. And I've been cooking a lot, far more than usual. It's all grounding me, making me feel more like this is MY house. I do this thing where I feel like I have to respect past owners, kind of self-efface, not respect my choices enough. Just as an example, this week (after four years here) I took off the "meat" and "dairy" stickers from when the previous owners, who must have kept kosher, lived here. I did this with the garden in the last house we lived in; I never felt comfortable making decisions there that didn't respect the work of the person who built the garden, all while my lack of investment in the thing was contributing to (though not creating) neglect. This yard is more of a blank slate, happily, and I am planning, planning, planning, and hoping this energy and investment holds up. I feel more free about this stuff than I have in a long time. Maybe it's brain chemistry. Maybe it's consistently getting more sleep. Or maybe it's that my toddler is over two and will play by herself for more than a minute at a time. Possibly it's all of that.

I'm feeling fairly done with Facebook these days, which is why I'm posting here. I'm trying not to be too judgey and cranky about it, but I have all of these feelings about fake news, real news and how I'm confronted by it, and how things get passed around over there and, also, about connections with people and the value I place on them. I've always said that I can't hate Facebook because of how it lets me stay in touch with so many people I'd lose otherwise, but I don't know. Are facile, shallow connections worth it when I'm not willing to put in the effort for more? Or is it keeping a tenuous thread between me and some other person so when I am willing to put in the effort, it's still reasonable? There's also how stung I've been to see people that I thought loved me vote for things that are actively damaging to my rights.

I don't know. In any case, here's a blog post. Hello, end of 2016.

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