Steeled Soul, a photo by tielji on Flickr.
2010 was a tumultuous, sickening, exhilarating, devastating and an all around eventful year. I was so glad to be entering 2011 with all of the pieces of my life put back where I thought they oughta be. D and I had reconciled - although we still didn't have any idea what to do with this relationship to make and keep it healthy for both of us. My kids were doing well at home and at school - although I was starting to emotionally separate from my daughter in apprehension of her "leaving me" and going to college. My relationships with my mom and dad were both intact and everyone was - for the most part- happy and healthy. I was at poverty level financially, but felt very wealthy in terms of friends and family.
Part of any relationship is sharing with the other those things that make one feel special and cared for - and being honest about the things that don't. Being able to say "Hey! This is not okay!" is crucial to the health of a partnership. And I am not good at it. I am good at pouting. I am good at obscure references and the silent treatment. I can drop hints and exaggerated sighs like a B2 Bomber. But the straightforward approach escapes me.
This year, when planning out holiday celebrations with various family factions, it just so happened that D will be spending New Years Eve in Kansas with his family hunting and opening presents. I, on the other hand, am childless and now boyfriend-less on this very special milestone holiday. And while my brain gets the logistics of what our situation is, the little brat inside of me is throwing a temper tantrum because I don't get my way - I don't get to dress up, party, and kiss my boyfriend at midnight. Ugh. Such a terrible plight.
But really, it's more than that. I don't want to spend any holidays by myself.
I spent the previous week simpering and sighing every time that NYE came up in conversation (something I do before every holiday or special occasion that doesn't pan out my way). I repeated all of my finely honed poor communication skills - with the expected poor results. Finally, in an obviously-channeled-from-a-healthy-person session, I very clearly said: Hey, I have to tell you something. I have a problem. I am not okay with being alone on holidays. And you know what? It was easy! And good! It works! Did D change his plans and ruin his kids' time with their grandparents so that I could have my way on NYE? No. Thank goodness. But we were able to have a conversation about my feelings and expectations.
I was surprised to learn that NYE is not that big of a deal to my boyfriend. I count it as one of my "High Holidays". I reminded him of how special the NYE we spent in Boston was. Of how much fun we had going to see Benjamin Buttons another year - we went to the theatre in one year and came out of the theatre in another year, etc.
Yet, today when I was getting my head and heart right to be okay with being "alone" tonight, it dawned on me: when I was reminding him of the special NYE celebrations we have enjoyed over the past few years, I did not mention last year. Not one word was spoken about the transition from 2010 to 2011, even with all of it's drama and events. You know why?
I can't remember what we did. Or if we were even together.
I will have two special gifts for myself as we go in to the new year - one is the ability to trust that I can express my wants and needs in a healthy, constructive way. The other will be a newly written reflection of 2011. I don't want to spend anymore time this year dreading things that haven't happened or might not be as bad as I think they will be. I want to celebrate and be grateful for those moments full of joy and contentment.
Happy New Year, my friends. <3