New Year’s Eve. I should say something profound. I should say something deep and hopeful about the “tenacity of the human spirit” or at least something witty and cute.
There’s too much pressure.
Last year on this day I was frantically searching for a doctor to see my husband because all the tendons on his hand were severed and nobody would help us because we were a workers’ comp case and apparently America hates workers.
It got sorted, though, and it was nice to have him home. He can move his fingers.
A couple weeks after that somebody hurt someone very close to me who I am supposed to protect and I felt a pain that damn near leveled me. I had the same pain when I was a kid but nobody helped me heal. I guess I healed a little by helping this person. I wish it were back the other way, though. I’d rather remain split wide open than have her hurt.
Forgive my vagueness. There is no other choice.
And then a few weeks after that, as you know, because I’ve been bitching about it for months and months on end, Mac was called out of town for 10 months and I got lost in self pity and resentment and rage that morphed into almost-depression, the deep-black-pit kind.
In the middle of it I leased an office because “I’m a real writer.”
And I taught a couple classes but they were the last ones I’ll teach because I’ve convinced myself “I’m a real writer.” I teach workshops. I love that. You keep signing up. Somehow in 2015 in spite of it all I found a way to “make a living” “as a writer” with this blog and with these workshops and THAT’S SOME OVERWHELMING SHIT.
I don’t know what I learned from Mac being gone all those months and the screaming and tears that ensued as I stamped my feet and raged at my own inability to control life circumstances. Wait. Maybe that’s what I learned. That’s what I’m always learning.
I can’t. It’s too clichéd.
This past month a friend was killed in a car accident and a man who was like an uncle to me died during a routine surgery so it was the first Christmas without him and it felt weird. I saw the sadness in my dad’s eyes. They were cousins. I learned why my aunt always cries when we sing “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” Because there are a ten or a hundred people not there to hear it. It’s impossible to make sense of it all.
I watch Georgia create hand motions to “Frosty the Snowman” and let that be enough.
Today right now I sit in my office with 100 pages of a manuscript to my left and an almost-done book proposal to my right and I think 2016 will be amazing.
Is there anything else to think?
The son of my friend may think otherwise, the one whose mother was killed.
And there’s a part of me that thinks otherwise, too, but just a little and in moments of tickling loss, because I’m lucky enough to only have that. Right now, in December 2015.
On New Year’s Eve there’s a hope that travels around each tragedy anyway, unless it’s too huge and all-consuming and only time will lessen it (does that even work?), and I feel the hope too, next to the side of me that’s like “Wtf I just want to go to bed. Fuck your anti-climactic ball-dropping.”
And then I laugh. Because “Anti-climactic Ball-Dropping” is a fucking funny thing to say. I mean, isn’t it?
Happy New Year.
Let’s all suck slightly less than we did in 2015.
It’s the tenacity of the human spirit. The only way.
Rose GilbertThursday, 31 December, 2015 at 16:32
Happy New Year Love the pic! heres to sucking less in 2016 🙂
TracyThursday, 31 December, 2015 at 16:59
Your workshop(s) were the checkmarks in what made this year one of the best. I really hate the lookback…the entire concept of assessing what went right what went wrong. But your workshops were huge for me this year. I learned so so much. Thank you
sitting home on NYE, exhausted, only able to finish 1 Miller Lite tired – but content
DianeThursday, 31 December, 2015 at 18:23
“Anti-climactic Ball-Dropping” That’s it right there, the reason for everything, the ability to laugh through it all, all the dark,to get out of the pit, even if for a moment. Happy New Year, may it not suck any worse than last year.
SianThursday, 31 December, 2015 at 18:54
I love how real you are Jamelle.
we don’t do the ball drop thing here in Oz, so I had a confused moment where I tried to figure out what the hell you were saying….turns out it’s a funny thing to say whether it makes sense or not!
Here’s to a different year this year.
KimFriday, 1 January, 2016 at 5:16
Heres what I have learned this year 1 that enjoying the final days with a loved one is hard but oh so gratifying that even in death some levity makes the imminent passing easier for the ones left behind. My dads passing in point, my exstepmother (parents divorced but sharing cabin..wierd but it worked for them) who is younger then me by lets just say a lot of years and is fabulous I love dearly I call her evil stepmonster anyhow we are sitting on either side of my dad (at this point he needed round the clock Dennis watcher cause of the meds ) anyhow we are sitting the talking and daddy wakes up looks at Stepmonster then me and says “death watch” and both at the same time say yep dad.. “well I’m just checkin in” lol. We ended up decorating him in garland no lights we wanted to and dad got a laugh out of it but one of the hospice RN’s wasn’t impressed at one point dad told her if it was me sitting there dying and all fucked up on meds he would have painted a penis on my fore head and called me a fucking unicorn bahaha and he would have. I am grateful my son was able to spend a week with his grampa (a moniker that never sat well with dad so Dennis (my Dennis) and dad agreed to old man or Dennis) it was great fun with 3 Dennis’s in one small cabin (there were 12 of us 8 stayed at the cabin lol) out in the middle of nowhere Montana. I learned last year that I have 1 badass family who can be the ultimate pain in my ass but can also bring me pure joy and pride thank goodness we live so damn far apart lol.
2. even if someone is giving you something question it look that gift horse in the mouth and smack the fuck outta him cause sure as shit that freebie is coming with a hefty price oh sure your friend thinks he/she is doing you a big favor and helping themselves out as well but as it turns out the only screwing going on in our new place would be the light bulbs at this point but that’s alright because I can make a pretty damn good looking home out of a shithouse so all is well but the gift horse is nursing a fat lip. All in all I am grateful for and mad as hell at last year Dan (my husband) and I swear we will watch the ball drop yeah right Janelle you put it in perspective lol “Anti-climactic Ball-Dropping” so we wake up and mumble happy new year and it yeah yeah what ever lol and off we go I am looking forward to whats coming next every day has some surprise for me …not ones I always like or want but most times it a crap shoot and can go either way but its life and sometimes life sucks and sometimes it don’t that’s just the way of it happy new year to all my wish is for you all to be HAPPY just fucking HAPPY I hope my rant or rather thoughts on this last year are welcome here if not my bad still love your posts
Lou TaylorFriday, 1 January, 2016 at 9:00
I fucking love you. Not profound or even original, I hope you have a stellar New Year.
Lou TaylorFriday, 1 January, 2016 at 9:07
And….I love your dog. The kids are ok too. Just so you’ll know, I got through the whole holiday season with only one laser death stare at an asshole kid. I thought about your article and my promise to be more understanding and I smiled at the poo mother and moved on. One small step made possible by Renegade Mothering. Carry on!
Lou TaylorFriday, 1 January, 2016 at 9:08
**poor mother. Nothinf Freudian…just poor typing skills.
Frugal Vegan MomFriday, 1 January, 2016 at 19:55
Not sure if I’ve ever commented before b/c you get a ton of them but wow do I appreciate your blog. As someone who has struggled with alcohol, and relationships, and… life… you manage to put it in perspective and be so fucking real. Thank you. And your kids are adorable. Happy new year.
LorMonday, 4 January, 2016 at 13:56
Your words mean a lot. This year, in France, struck several times by terrorist attacks – everyone knowing someone who knows someone who died/lost a father/a friend/its only two daughters and so on – people seem both struck by fatality and the urge to turn that page, to end with 2015. You seem to have had your lot of tragedies (small and big) and you describe the feeling so well. I love to read you and whish you the best for 2016. A book, wow!!
anonymousMonday, 11 January, 2016 at 20:28
Normally I always at least put my first name on comments, to own my opinions and the backlash that occasionally follows but not today. Mainly because I don’t wanna deal with the inevitable hate that follows having an opinion, but also because I’ve had to deal with weirdo trolls this past year…. But anyway. A couple things I’ve been wanting to say, not that my opinions should make or break anyone.
1. You’re a busy mom, and a great writer. Why teach these extremely expensive workshops if you are practically needs-Prozac miserable? I’m sure you’re a fantastic mom, no one would make the sacrifices you do if they didn’t love their kids… But really. Make time for yourself somewhere. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you get overwhelmed.
2. If your husband was seriously injured, any ER legally has to see him. Take all documentation, especially initial visit and any subsequent surgeries, along with personal notation to a lawyer. Sorry that happened… Life sucks.
3. Speaking of which. Life sucks. It really does. Pretty hard, usually. Youllbe ok, and if you feel like you can’t handle it there’s nothing wrong with seeing someone or taking meds.
renegademamaTuesday, 12 January, 2016 at 11:45
Comments like this make me want to stop writing on the internet forever. IT’S JUST SO CREEPY THAT YOU WROTE THIS WE DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER OMG.
Please stop being weird in this entirely unpleasant way.
YOU ARE A RANDOM HUMAN ON THE INTERNET WHO THINKS HE/SHE CAN GIVE ME LIFE ADVICE BASED ON SNIPPETS I WRITE. And your under-handed insults and condescension aren’t lost on me either.
TinaTuesday, 9 February, 2016 at 18:40
Hope your new year is shaping up better than at this point last year, Janelle. And oh my goodness, Arlo is getting SO BIG. As the blogs come in, one doesn’t realize how much time has passed since you gave birth, but then I see a picture of him, and my jaw hits the floor. You have a lovely family.