Catching Up, Catching My Breath

Ooohhhh boy, it has been quite a while since I updated this blog, and indeed, it’s been a while since I even logged on to WordPress.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s 2013. I had the great privilege of spending New Year’s Eve (and/or the previous weekend) with some very dear friends from undergrad/uni. It was a lot of fun, and much laughter was had and much cake was eaten. Sherlock was watched. Telephone Pictionary was played, with some disturbing results.

Sadly, otherwise, December was not a kind month to me. I have to say, there were some excellent moments, and Christmas wasn’t quite the fiasco I dreaded, so I really should be looking on the bright side.

And honestly, that should be my attitude toward the whole of 2012, and beyond. Looking back, I see the year as a massive disappointment. I started 2012 with high hopes and ambitions and a fantastic “go get ’em” attitude, but it feels like I ended 2012 with lying in an Em-shaped crater after being Hulk-smashed into the ground.

It hasn’t been a total loss. In 2012 I joined a new (and fantastic) small group with wonderful people, male and female. I became a church member for the first time ever. I traveled to new places–Rhode Island and Wethersfield CT and Seattle–and bought my plane ticket for London. Kara and I made an ass-kicking Thanksgiving dinner. I saw the UK embassy in DC. I did my taxes myself for the first time. I got addicted to Tumblr (OK, that’s not actually a good thing). I learned how to remove the hard drive from my computer. I saw live performances of Mumford and Sons, Nightwish, and The Spring Standards. I made the longest solo driving trip of my life (Columbus, OH to Woonsocket, RI). I gained a new love for Shakespeare and a fresh appreciation for C.S. Lewis. I got Joy addicted to Sherlock (hmm, that may not have been a good thing, either). The Hobbit was fabulous. And The Avengers. Can’t forget The Avengers. I made new friends and gained a new appreciation for old ones. There are other books and movies and shows that I discovered. I tried (and failed) to make Turkish Delight. I tried (and succeeded) to make Yorkshire pudding like a Brit.

Most of the unpleasantness has been internal: mental, emotional, and spiritual. (This past week it’s been physical too, because I got really sick with a nasty cold starting NYE and still lingering today.) This has been a big year for learning about myself and learning about God. It’s all been good, because I like learning more about both. But it’s also difficult because I have to do something with whatever new knowledge I glean. And I get discouraged when I don’t improve and grow and use that knowledge fast enough.

But the big deal, the main reason why I consider 2012 something of a failure, is that the biggest event of my year—publishing my novel—ended up being the biggest disappointment. It’s been a cold, cold reality that, aside from myself and like two or three friends, no one really gives a shit. I knew that marketing the book was going to be difficult, and that it’s not something for which I have any talent. Over time, however, trying to market it got more and more difficult to the point of overwhelming, making me less and less enthusiastic, and now I’ve all but given up. I still dream of finishing the sequel someday, but that may be ages … or even never, the way things have been going.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I would do differently, and I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. Regardless, I feel like I completely f***ed something up somewhere, and that absolutely terrifies me. Deep down I know I should just take this as a learning experience—write my sequel, keep blogging, keep talking it up, use Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and whatever else I have to my advantage, write fanfic, whatever it takes to use all this to get better.

But discouragement and anxiety and depression got a really, really good grip on me several times this year, particularly toward the end, and it’s so hard even to want to try anything sometimes. Or I get so overwhelmed, not sure where to start.

This all prompted me to try starting 2013 with absolutely no hopes or expectations. But four days into the new year, I can’t do even that. Even in the darkest discouragement and sadness, I want to be better, I want to fight back, and I want to see something change. Maybe 2013 will be the year for that.

2013: The year I survive.