It has been a year.
It has been a long, sweaty, hard-fought race. Through the desert. The sun beating the sweat right out of our skin. Dripping from our faces to our toes. Kicking up the red, dry dust that attaches to our wet and weary limbs. Leaving us covered in a thin layer of crusty mud. A little more brown. Stained. Exhausted. Weary.
This is the year that two marriages burned to the ground.
This is the year that a marriage I emulated and longed for fell apart.
This is the year that I was fooled. Hard. By people I trusted.
This is the year that the best friend I thought I would grow old with became unrecognizable to me over night.
This is the year that a very much wanted baby was not born.
This is the year that a very much wanted baby was born. Too soon. So soon. So small. And fighting for her life.
This is the year that I did a double-triple-quadruple-take as the country I thought I knew voted into power a man I absolutely fear.
This is the year that I watched an election transpire and cause hate crimes to break out across the country. And then people were surprised. And I don't why they were surprised.
This is the year that I was re-acquainted with PTSD and its power and its grip.
This is the year where I've felt such hopelessness that I just want to hibernate until spring.
It has been a year.
And many of us are stumbling toward the finish line with weak and fatigued muscles that ache down to the bone. That long for a place in the cool shade. For just a sip of water. For just an ounce of relief.
The day after the election, a mentor and friend emailed me and we grieved a bit together. As we grasped at straws, seeking any kind of relief, he advised:
"Eat good food and good drink and listen to good music and take in good art with good people. It's the only antidote right now."
I know, he's right.
Because often, the only relief in times like this is a reminder of the "good."
And so I've been distracting a lot lately with "good" in any form.
The "healthy" kind of numbing, as my counselor says.
And trashy magazines.
And being with family.
And seeking out friends.
And laughing--when I can bear it.
And giving myself permission to get nothing done.
Which is frustrating.
Because this race has left me weary. I'm crawling here. And when I look around me, many of us are.
It would be naive of me to think that simply crossing the "finish line" on December 31st would truly mean an end to the horrors of 2016. Because Sunday morning will come and many of the same things will still be true. This isn't a race of distance. It's a race in a loop. On a track. It's familiar territory that we tread year-after-year. And we pass familiar landmarks, but it's the same track--the same world. And we just start the circle again. But this hope that somehow the flipping over of our calendars will bring some kind of relief is all I have to hold onto.
And so I will.
I will have hope that next year will bring peace and healing for my sister.
I will have hope that next year will bring comfort to my family.
I will have hope that next year will mean some sense of financial peace.
I will have hope that next year will bring some unity to America.
(if only, unity in the fight)
I will have a stubborn--even nonsensical--hope that 2017 will be brighter than 2016.
Because I must.
Because we must.