This was a good year for me in many ways and a really bad one as well. It is the year I finally stopped accepting my own excuses and started kicking my own ass, which I feel good about. I got more written this year than I have in all the years I've been alive combined, so I suppose that is a victory. I also took care of myself better. I didn't lose any more weight, but I did drop another couple of pants sizes and the number on the weights I was able to lift went up. Another victory. I survived a difficult year at school and have welcomed the beginning of a new one under new management, with a principal that gives me hope that our school will be able to become a world-class school, and someone with the skill to possibly mentor me and help me become the best teacher I can possibly become. If that's what I want.
And I think therein lies my biggest problem with this year, an inability to pin down what it is I actually want. This has, to be frank, frustrated my wife and my family as it has made me very moody, very --well, it's dangerous to self-diagnose yourself as intense, but, ok -- intense, and it has driven home to me the fact that the face I present to the world is not usually the face I wear at home or with myself. In public I can seem friendly, jovial, but at home and in my personal relationships I am often quiet, morose even, seeming mad at the world. It's almost a Jeckyl and Hyde thing, my moods swings, which were supposed to balance out with my meds and with my increased fitness level, have actually gotten worse. Oh, these things help, but I think there's just a deeper issue boiling under the surface, which occasionally pops out, and I can feel it there most days, which makes me withdraw. This isn't fair to the people who love me.
Part of it is just the fact that, outside of my parents, and one or two close frinds. Well, one really (Hi Jenny!), I did not grow up with a great deal of acceptance. Everything I liked and wanted was considered weird and stupid, and I just got used to sitting there blandly, thinking my thoughts, and not telling anyone whatI was really doing. Like, writing X-men fanfic in my bedroom and drawing (really bad) covers to go along with it. Or watching TV until 3:00 in the morning because my thoughts were too unsettled to go to sleep. Planning out multi-volume novels in spiral bound notebooks, and then losing interest in them and starting new ones the next day. Creating elaborate sets and solo-game rules for the MARVEL SUPER-HEROES role playing game figures and playing campaigns by myself because there wasn't anyone to play with. These were the things I loved, the things that were always on my mind, and the things that I was always too embarrassed to admit to.
So, as an adult, I'm always thinking that the things I want or like or are on my mind must be stupid or embarrassing somehow. And maybe I'm right about that, but I married my wife and I adopted my children for a reason, and that was not to shut myself in a closet away from them. It was not to build a manequin and call it daddy and paint it to look like me while I went on with my own inner dialogue with people who are not actually there.
This came up a few months ago as we were all settling down for the night and I was doing something stupid on the internet and my wife was in the room and my daughter was and sho hopped over and wanted to know what I was doing and I got really annoyed with her and just said, "nothing, it doesn't matter" and tried to push her down off my lap. My wife just said, (and I paraphrase here) that I was just shutting everyone out as usual and she made me understand that it was ok to share myself with my kid. It was, in fact, required. And whatever I was doing--as long as I wasn't looking at something dirty or anything--was probably not going to be met with judgement. Nobody really cared if I was looking at silly comic book websites and hanging out at the NaNoWriMo forums. If that was who I was, great. She made me realize that my seven-year-old, who really was old enough to understand, didn't even know I was writing a book, that's how far away I'd pushed her. She wanted to know why I felt so little of all of them that I didn't bother to share.
And that wasn't it. It was just that I ... I guess I didn't know how. Very few people had ever not looked at what I was doing with derision, so I just got used to keeping it shut away. Clearly, that wasn't working anymore. Which led me to the realization that it actually was ok to want what I want, without qualifications. Which led me to the question, what is it I actually wanted?
I wanted to strike the word Dream from my vocabulary. I'd been living with it for too long. It was time to replace dream with work and start kicking my own ass, which I did, which accounts for the vast amount of writing work I got done in between work, family, and "service organizations."
I want to develop some career goal besides teaching. This was tough for me to admit to, but .... I really just don't like it much any more. Even with a good principal and a good environment, I';m tired of it. I'm tired, mostly, of being responsible for so many other peoples' behavior at all times. I just want to be. I don't know what this goal is going to be, I would love for it to be a writing career (thus the kicking of the ass) but I do know I need to come to some clarity soon. I just don't feel like, personality-wise, I'm much cut out for it. Call it burn-out or whatever. And I DO NOT want to go into administration. I break out in hives just thinking about that.
My wife and I set our next goal, which is building a house on property next to her parents', which will be a multi-stage, fiscally complicated, process. And I feel good about that but also a little scared too. We also decided we haven't traveled nearly as much as we would have liked to and want to do more traveling while we're young, hopefully international, since neither one of us even has a passport. I feel like I need this experience as a writer, and I need it with her. We do not plan to take the children, at least not yet, and anyone who knows my kids will know why we're waiting until they're older. I love them, but sometimes ... oy. I have no idea how this goal fits in with the house plan.
Since my birthday is in January, I can say that 2006 was the year I was 33. Jesus' age, which felt signifigant somehow, and probably caused me to do a lot of crucifying of myself. I didn't screw up as much as I have in some other years, but I wasn't perfect either. I have a feeling 34 is going to be more of the same, I just hope to have a better handle on it next time.
God, that was depressing. I promise to try to be funny next time. Still not used to this whole Blogging-as-therapy thing.