I’m staring at this empty space where I’m supposed to record ye olde Two Thousand and Thirteen, and I’m finding that I seriously have no idea where to start. I’ve actually been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I haven’t because I really just don’t know where to start. Can I just skip to the Jeremy bit? That’s the good stuff. But no, okay, I should really include the whole of it. Accuracy and such.
2013 started out as maybe the most difficult year of my life. I’m not sure how much of that came across on the blog, but boy has it been a struggle. Divorce is always painful, of course. Always difficult, and I think for many (at least for me), always involves some identity crisis. My divorce was about as amicable as they come, but even so. I have a child. I am now a divorced mother. I have to figure out how to legitimately support myself and my child.
At the beginning of 2013, I didn’t know what to do with my life. And I had to fight, every day, against the voices which would scream, “You’re too old to be wondering what to do with your life!” and also “How the hell did you get yourself into such a dependent position, you sad excuse for a feminist!”
My 2013 was dealing with demons. My closet doors flew open, and all the skeletons I’d packed up so neatly (at least, I thought) in Portland, well apparently they enjoy the southern California sun as well, because they all came flooding out. 2013 made it hard to look in the mirror. Sometimes even hard to breath. Some days fighting panic attacks. Mostly over money, but it’s not really about money, because money represents so much more than just dollars and cents. Not having enough money – not earning enough money – is the constant internalization of “failure”.
Yeah, 2013 had me doubting every decision I’d ever made, basically.
But hey, there were good things too! Overall, actually, I can definitively say that in 2013 I experienced more cumulative happiness than in any year for a long, long time prior. And I lived authentically . . . which is probably why the skeletons came out. Because I let them.
I lived with different priorities in 2013. I guess I’m not out to impress anyone, anymore. I’m not trying to leave my mark on the world. I’m just trying to experience being human (it sounds so trite, I know, but it’s the truth).
Every year, around new year’s, I prepare a word document with my thoughts and intentions for the coming year. I start off with a title, for example 2012′s was “You Only Get One Shot” (seems appropriate considering what happened) and 2011′s was “Quality Over Quantity“. You get the idea.
And I always have an overarching theme which guides my growth for the following 365 days, summarized in a short paragraph underneath the title.
2013 was called “Keep Going“, and underneath that I wrote:
you’re doing good. keep doing it. you’re moving in the right direction, so keep moving. trust your gut. you do you, so do it loud and do it proud. and for fucks sake, enjoy it.
At the time I wrote it, I actually had no idea of what I was doing. I just knew, intuitively, that I was moving – inching ever so freaking slowly – in the right direction. And truthfully, I continued to feel that way through most of 2013, which I think is why I struggled so much. I felt like I was flailing, flinging myself aimlessly in a million different directions, desperate for a path to emerge. Most of 2013 felt like all my energy went into just treading water, with no forward motion at all.
Except the thing is, now it’s over. And looking back, I can see how incredibly far I’ve come. And on Monday, I begin a master’s program in biology (most likely focusing on macroevolution, but that’s still open). And I see now, that all that thrashing was not for nothing. The thrashing WAS my path, and it got me exactly where I needed to be. Dusty and broken and bruised from all that aimless flailing, but here nonetheless.
It’s the right path. I’ve been presented with opportunities, doors that have opened that I never could have anticipated. A path, and a good one at that.
So I don’t know, maybe if you’re feeling aimless and lost, you’ll take comfort in that? One foot in front of the other. Keep Going. It usually gets you somewhere.
Waits has blossomed this year, truly, and more than I expected. He is bright, thoughtful, strong-willed, curious, and kind. He sure has an imagination, that one. And a whole lot of spirit.
The move and the separation were hard on him, but not as hard is living in an unhappy home. Since we’ve been in Santa Barbara, and especially since he’s been participating in his amazing preschool program, he’s bloomed into such a happier kid. If Damian and I ever doubted that we made the right decision (we don’t), all we’d have to do is look at the proof that’s in that kiddo. This is better for him. He is radiant.
In 2013, one of the best damn decisions I made was to return to blogging. Here on Bonzai Aphrodite, but also with a regular gig over at the prolific green living web-giant, Care2.
I returned to the blogosphere with a bang, and a bigger bang than I ever expected, that’s for sure. That initial post, Facing Failing Health As A Vegan, is my highest ranking article of all time, by leaps and bounds, and I have had countless people tell me that it’s one of the most important things that’s ever been written for vegans.
I don’t know about that, but I do think it’s an important message and one that isn’t often expressed within our community, so I’m glad to have opened the dialogue.
But blogging isn’t always so serious! I mean, lets not forget, this is the year I discovered the glory that is Pudla, for gosh sakes. Definitely noteworthy. And while we’re on the subject, I think my very most favorite culinary innovation of the entire year was Waits’s third birthday cake: the watermelon cake!
Leftovers Salad was a close second, just for practicalities sake. I eat it – and recommend it to my clients – pretty much constantly.
Speaking of clients, I sure did a surprising amount of travel in 2013! Beginning, in February, with a trip to New York to attend the Main Street Vegan Academy (you can read my recaps here and here and here and here). At the end of that trip I was certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, and I’ve been working with clients and building my small business ever since!
A few months after MSVA, I traveled to Portland (yay!) for the ever-fabulous Vida Vegan Con vegan blogging conference (you can read my recaps here and here and here). VVC is one of my favorite events, and this year certainly did not disappoint.
Later in 2013, I traveled to Shasta County for our annual family reunion, and to Maryland for a whole week of real relaxing. I was also able to sneak in a few romantic getaways, to San Francisco and to San Diego. And of course, lots and lots of weekend trips to LA.
2013 was my Year of Music!
It’s the year I listened to more music than podcasts or political radio; the year I made music a priority. These days, most of my friends here in town are musicians. I saw so many local shows, fell in love with so many bands, and listened to endless hours of live jazz.
And let’s talk just about the resplendent musical serendipity that occurred in 2013, because I don’t have any faith and I don’t believe in fate, but this shiz is just straight up crazy. How could this have happened?
Anyone who reads this blog has probably figured out that Tom Waits is my favorite musician of all time, ever, hello I named my son after him. And you may have noticed me posting a lot about Amanda Palmer as well, my second favorite musician, because she’s pretty much my greatest roll model of fierce authentic womanhood. And her music is intensely amazing.
The number three slot is so far below numbers one and two, that it’s actually on rotation, available for whichever musician fits my whim. Sometimes it’s old school punk rock, other times musical theatre. Some days it’s one song over and over and over. Paul Simon. The Violent Femmes. It could be anything, really. My number three spot is reserved for the music that speaks to me at any given moment (and music tends to speak loudly to me, so I do feel oh-so strongly in that moment).
And in 2013, as a whole, I’d say that third spot went to Macklemore. I listened to sooooo much Macklemore this year.
On October 27th I got to see Tom Waits.
Then, on December 5th, I got to see Macklemore.
And on December 15th, I got to see Amanda Palmer.
Okay. So. Work, travel, music – it’s all good stuff. But the truth, the most important truth of the year, is something I think you already know.
In 2013 I fell deeply, so completely, in love. And if you think that’s sort of crazy and seems really really soon, I can only assure you – I agree. I never expected to fall in love so quickly (if ever?), and certainly not like this.
I am so happy that sometimes, it’s actually overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t believe it’s real, because I didn’t think this was possible. To hold a person in your arms and feel like you are whole . . . it’s just not something I believed in. I was never looking for my “other half”. I didn’t think I had one.
The first time was way back in May, in the post about LA Vegan Beer Fest. Because that’s the day we met.
The second was in the Vegan Vine wine video, because Jeremy is in the wine and spirits business, so he was the sommelier for our tasting.
And the third was just a few weeks ago, in my Celebrating Winter Solstice post. Because he’s basically part of the family now.
We started our relationship long-distance, him living in LA and me in SB, taking turns visiting on our weekends. We have talked on the phone every single day since the day we met. And at the beginning of October, he moved to Santa Barbara.
I’m trying not to get all overly-emotional and gushy, but also, I kind of don’t need to, right? I mean, you guys have been reading my love lists, have watched the transformation that I’ve undergone this year. You’ve seen it reflected in the way I write, in my photos, in my eyes. I know you have, because you’ve told me! I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
Jeremy is one of the most genuinely thoughtful people I have ever met. He takes care of me. He sees me as I am, broken and good and tarnished and trying, and he wants all of it. He makes me feel beautiful. He is smart, capable, creative, and eccentric. He’s the kind of guy you’d want around during a zombie apocalypse. And he is absolutely unafraid to be completely, uniquely himself. He inspires me every day. And holy moly, we just have so much FUN together!
Waits thinks he’s pretty awesome, too.
I didn’t think my life could hold such profound and sustained pleasure. Jeremy brings me joy, over and over, in small ways and big ways and ways that I can’t describe, and it just. doesn’t. stop. He makes my life better, endlessly better. I love my life. But I love my life more, with him in it.
So yeah, 2013 was confusing, difficult, and raw. But it was also soaring bliss, gleaming and divine. Dark and light. Pleasure and pain. Balance.
On December 31st, 2013, I Instagrammed the following picture, with the following caption, which I want to share here now with all of you.
Happy New Years from Waits and I! May 2014 bring you a well-rounded human experience including but not limited to a wide range of natural emotions, primarily but certainly not exclusively the good ones. Authenticity forever! And remember – we love you!!!
Thank you all for reading, for sharing, and for joining me on another wild trip around the sun.
♥ ♥ ♥