The Further Adventures of Becoming Myself

The calendar month has flipped for the last time this year. 2007 looms. Yay, 2007.

In 1999, my mother died. New Year’s Eve that year was a night to remember, as everyone was running around, scurrying like scared rats on a ship going down at sea. Everyone thought the Y2K bug was going to shut down the world. Chicken Little was our mascot. Things heated up even more when, days before, a would-be terrorist was found pretty close to my home, who had ambitious plans on trying to do something to Seattle’s Space Needle. All of those things conspired to make me just wish the year would come to a close in a hurry. My friends and I gathered for a movie about the last night of the world (Last Night, a Canadian indie apocalyptic flick in which the end of the world has been known for six months, and it’s a look at how the last night is spent amongst a handful of people) and for the requisite shit-faced drinking that comes with the end of a calendar year.

Me, I wrote a poem for the occasion, and then we went and took an aerosol can and used it as a flamethrower to ceremoniously end the year as I read the last line of my poem to my friends: “the millennium dawns in minutes mere, so let’s burn this fucker and have a beer.”

Something tells me my 2006 calendar’s going up in flames in 29 days. If nothing else that night, the calendar’s getting torched.

You hear talk of “lost years”, the years in which people sign out of their lives and discover who they are, etc. I’m calling 2006 my Lost & Found year. Hence the photo I’ve included here, which I shot in November, and I cheekily call “Finding Myself”. (Blogger’s not cooperating. The photo will be added later.)

You people have had a bird’s eye view on my life, and those that have been dedicated readers for the entire duration know a few things about what’s all gone down, but you’re nowhere near completely informed. I keep a lot to myself as well, but suffice to say, in all the turmoil and angst and struggle, this blog has been a right bitch to keep alive. But it’s been worth the fight and I know that, in the coming months, a new era of blogging will be dawning for me.

I’m looking forwards to 2007. My Lost & Found year has redefined me in many ways, but it’s also awakened me to all the things I’m not that I wish I were. I have a song running through my mind, an old Canadian indie hit from the early ‘90s, “All the Things I Wasn’t” by a defunct band called The Grapes of Wrath. I’m trying to focus on all the things I am but haven’t been.

This year has woken me. I know who I was, I know who I ought to be, and I think I know how to get from here to there, even without GPS to aid me.

At 33, I’m becoming more of myself on a daily basis. I’m realizing that there are things I do I dislike – that of trying to always be the nice, generous, good girl. That of allowing my insecurities to change how I am in front of others. That of conforming when the last thing in the world I really want is to fit in – I want to stand out, be someone different, someone worth watching. And I know I can be. There are so many things I want to change, and I’m taking a long, hard look at how I want to be in the years that come.

But that’s the thing. We’re all learning how to be ourselves. I don’t care if you’re 16 or 82, the path to who you are is never one that ends. Unless you want to stop the growth and change. It’s you who decides what to take from this life. And I’ll tell you, I’m taking every little fucking thing I can from it. I want it all, man. I want it all.

I like the challenge of changing myself. I like the struggle of growth and maturity and not only gaining wisdom, but understanding it. I love living the examined life. I’m astounded at how much there is to learn about myself and my world, and how little it seems I really do know. Sometimes I grow cynical and believe it’s just the same shit every day, packaged in another way, but then I have these moments of child-like awe and wonder… That, no, it’s not the same. It’s not even the same ballpark, unless I want it to be. I assign value to the passing moments in my life, and sometimes I even get it right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals and values and who I am. I’ve been thinking a lot about my dreams and where I wish to be. I’ve been thinking a lot about me. Nowhere in that picture do I worry about there being a man to hold me and comfort me through it all. It’s funny, I was walking down the nearly empty street last night, on my way home, when the old Eurythmics song “I Need a Man” spun into play on my iPOD. I began dancing and singing my way home, laughing my ass off at Annie Lennox’s comical and fun vocals in that track. I may need a good shagging, but I need no man.

I find myself reflecting on my last relationship with a lot of regret these days, not because of anything that really happened, not because of him, none of that. I regret that I wasn’t who I ought to have been. I regret that I tried to make another person happy instead of appeasing myself. I think that in finding happiness within ourselves, it just spreads. Joy spreads. Happiness spreads. Love spreads, as the Stone Roses sang. When we pursue any of those for the wrong reasons, things just tumble out wrong, I find.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve made a lot of them this year. And that’s just fine, because I learn from them, as well. Much of how I operate in this world is “do it” then I either fuck it up or I succeed, but either way, I learn, and that’s all I can ask.

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