Last year began as the previous one ended – quite literally and in the sense I still had vast mountain ranges to climb. It’s a metaphor we use constantly but I couldn’t think of anything more apt; anything more deceptive than a mountain peak disappearing into the clouds.
A few months into the year, I convinced myself I had reached the peak of all my struggles – I had stabbed the flagpole into the earth and declared ‘Here I am.’ I released the poetry collection which had been in the works for six months and bumbling about my head even longer. In letting the journey of Between the Trees go, I felt relief but also a great sadness it was over.
I had been defined by that particular, personal struggle for so long, closing the book, and so a chapter in my life, truly felt like reaching the top of something insurmountable. And it was here I made a mistake. I made the mistake of believing things would now be easier.
Instead, I felt a hunger for more. By the summer months, I was already writing for the second collection. I became a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery and Amazon Vine, reading anything I could get my hands on. I was scheduling both Free Verse Revolution posts and work here on My Screaming Twenties every week. I was reaching out to authors and taking great pride in sharing the work of so many talented people. I edited three collections, proofread three others and I’m currently editing a novel. All the while, trying to keep up on social media. I worked hard on creating a footprint the size of me.
Writing, editing and reviewing are not the be all and end all, however. Even if, quite often, I wish they were because they are perhaps three things I could say I am good at. Life itself – love, family, keeping a roof over my head and work – was challenging.
A lot has changed. I am still as in love as I was at the beginning of the year but being so open in other relationships and circles, has begun to hurt. Maybe there is such a thing as letting a few too many walls down? Or perhaps, I just wasn’t ready. I have not yet learned the difference between sensitivity and vulnerability.
A myriad of circumstances this year have reminded me of the following:
– words sting, especially when people insist on rubbing salt in the wounds
– money is fickle
– so are people
– some things cannot be forgotten or forgiven and I am tired of feeling guilty about this
– I still have so far to go when it comes to healing and coping
– and stopping therapy was a stupid idea.
Yet, I have learned much more too and I would like to end on this list; to see in the end of Age 25 and the beginning of 26, heeding my lessons rather than nursing Life’s lesions.
Without further ado, 25 has taught me:
– I don’t have a maternal instinct unless it’s a cat or ‘Baby Yoda’ and I am completely at peace with this
– the above fact makes me giggle and then wonder if I am a terrible human being
– I can read 100 books in a year
– living in a house with a garden which backs onto a field is the most peace I have ever known
– as is drinking wine/tea whilst doing crosswords with the man I love
– lactose hates me
– my body is softer and some days that is okay with me
– my stress responses are kaleidoscopic
– I can give up nail biting
– my cat remains the cutest thing in existence
– returning to Rome was both traumatic and one of the best things I did this year (and if that isn’t a metaphor for life in general, I don’t know what is)
– going to a new hairdresser does not have to be frightening; my hair still grows past my shoulders
– I can have a hell of a lot thrown at me and keep going
– that said, I am only just getting the hang of this keep going marlarkey – I will still stumble, berate myself and project onto others (which is this year’s work in progress)
– finally, I find it easier to talk and write in metaphors and lists and perhaps I can forgive myself for this.
So, here’s to age 26. 🥂