Many years ago I decided against making New Year’s Resolutions. For one thing, I don’t need any added pressure to measure up to impossible standards. I’ve discovered that a) I’m already driven in a frenzied sort of way toward self-improvement and b) just the fact that there’s a written list staring me in the face brings out the rebel in me.
I do, though, tend to take time at the end of each year to reflect on the last 12 months. Have I accomplished anything meaningful in my relationships with others? Has there been any inner healing, any growth at all mentally, spiritually and emotionally?
This was the year I began telling my own personal truth. The year in which I decided to tell certain “safe” individuals about my Dissociative Identity Disorder. That seems a huge step to me. Though I’ve had a few occasions to regret having done so, all in all I’m pleased with the fact that I was able to speak this truth about myself.
Along with speaking my truth to those in my little corner of the universe, I’ve also begun writing the truth, mostly in the form of this blog. Doing so has at times left me drained, and feeling most vulnerable. I thought I was writing this blog mostly for myself but have discovered along the way that “no man is an island.” As I’ve laid bare my soul, others have responded in ways which have let me know that the sharing of my struggles, fears and pain has in some mysterious way helped them understand their own emotional angst just a little bit more.
Most personal victories, I’ve come to understand, take place on such a small scale that renders them nearly impossible to share in any tangible way. There are things I’ve overcome this year which I couldn’t begin to put into words. There are minute victories—-such as allowing myself to care for my health, instead of feeling the need to ignore it in order to be all things to all people—-which don’t seem like much at first glance. But they matter; these minor victories matter every bit as much as the larger, more in-your-face kind of triumphs. What for me is a great triumph is having recognized, this year, that I have a tendency to be overly influenced by other people. Their opinions and counsel matter more to me than they should. I’m learning to trust my own basic instincts, learning to listen to the wisdom and opinions of others without feeling obligated to align my thoughts and conclusions with theirs.
I’ve learned this year that I can bear incredible losses and not harden my heart. We’ve all known bitter people who will not let go of pain, and who make a career out of being miserable. That’s not who I want to be. I’d rather not keep track of every wrong done to me, so that I can bear a grudge against the world in general. Let there be a sweetness about me, a genuine sweetness with roots that go deep; let this sweetness be a source of encouragement and life to others. Every life knows deep, searing pain. If I’m going to suffer anyway, at least let that suffering be redeemed by my refusal to go the “poor me, poor me” victim route.
In looking back, this year seems to have been an especially hard one. All of my years, truth be told, have been hard ones! But each have been difficult in their own way. This year I’ve scuffled with betrayal and its resulting heartache; known the keen blow of death snatching away a beloved aunt; watched a loved one struggle with drug addiction.
Am I any closer at the end of this year to being that person I’ve always longed to be? It’s not so much a matter of what I’ve done, but who I’ve become. How have I allowed this year’s tribulations and disappointments to touch my soul? Has it become blacker than ever because of these struggles? Oh I hope not. And perhaps I’m not the best judge of that anyway. We all, I believe, secretly strive toward some sort of inner vision in regards to our characters. We long to be better than we are, and not because we fear God’s judicial wrath but because it is in our hearts to long for what I can only describe as a purity of soul.
I see the roller coaster ride of this past year and am not altogether pleased with my responses to unexpected loss and heartache. Oh, I’m still so far from being able to grieve, or feel any piercing emotion long enough to deal with it. I’m still so far from being able to trust others. I know now, if I didn’t last year, that not everyone is worthy of my trust. That I must not trust blindly. Still, I wrestle to trust even those I’ve deemed “safe.” And I’m still so far from having accepted my diagnosis of DID. Lately it’s come to me that I have a harder time accepting that than I do the original sexual abuse which caused me to become a multiple!
This hasn’t been the most horrible year of my life. This hasn’t been the best year of my life, either. It’s just a year, a regular, ordinary year. I’ve accomplished no feats which will be preserved in written form for generations to come. Perhaps we are at our best, if we only knew it, when we are simply going about our business, tending to whatever needs doing, wrestling with whatever needs contending with. At the end of the day, at the end of the year, I will be content to find that I am still tending to business, still wrestling. Anything, anything at all, but giving up.
(Who am I, really?)