I’ve been wanting to be more creative as of late and was hoping to use this week to do some more of the things I like to do (writing, reading, playing music, etc). Unfortunately, I’ve been working a lot so I haven’t had time. Long story short, I wanted to at least post an end-of-year blog. This may or may not be similar to my end-of-year blog from last year. We’ll see. I usually write on the fly, so the blog may change course as I’m writing it. Anyway, this is my farewell blog to the year 2016.
So I guess, first and foremost, what I want to do is give a quick update on things that have happened in my life over the last 365 days. Last year, my whole blog was dedicated to breaking down my life in 2015. I’m not going to do that this year; I’m just going to quickly mention things that have happened. For starters, for the first time since 2012, I’m going into the new year single. It sucks, and tonight is going to suck something fierce, but it is what it is. Secondly, as of September, I began student teaching at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, which meant I had to leave my job of two years at the William O’ Connor Midwood School and started working at Outside the Box Shipping. Something that I was worried about turned out to be the perfect situation for me as I absolutely love student-teaching at FDR and the schedule, work, and environment at Outside the Box has been perfect for what I need. Academically, I’m only a year away from my Master’s Degree from CUNY Brooklyn College.
Okay now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s talk. Whoever you are, reading this, let’s talk, just you and me. Good? Okay. Let’s start.
For me 2015 was a year of serious growth for me. I learned a lot about myself – who I was, who I am, and who I want to be moving forward. 2016, especially the latter half of the year, was about taking those lessons I learned about myself and implanting them to the best of my abilities. The main goal, which has become my main goal in my life as of the last year or two, is to make sure that I’m happy and mentally/emotionally healthy (I really have to start working on the physical part again too).
I have a lot going on in my life right now, probably more so than ever before in my life. In the last four months, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to really do any of the things I really enjoy doing. I haven’t written any music, haven’t done any creative writing, haven’t spent time with family, haven’t read (novels, plays, or comics) unless it was assigned in one of my grad school courses, haven’t spent time with friends, and haven’t played any sports. Anyone knows me, knows that not having a creative outlet can really fuck with me emotionally and mentally. I’m a very creatively motivated person and not being able to flex my creative muscles renders me feeling tense and teetering on depression. Luckily for me, my cooperating teacher has completely handed over one of his classes to me, having me create and teach every lesson every day. Being able to create those lessons and come up with creative lessons (like when I made a 4-minute music video compilation to teach simile to my students) has been enough to quench my creative thirst, at least enough so that I can continue to function. Okay, I went off on a bit of a tangent. Sorry.
This past year, I have made decisions, sometimes hard decisions, to make sure that at the end of the day, I’m happy. I have a slight history with depression and anyone who knows about depression knows that once you’ve suffered from depression, you’re open season for it to return whenever the opportunity strikes. Because of that, I try to make sure that my true happiness is never in danger. Sometimes, this leads to short-term pain and hurting somebody else.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I’m single right now. I was in a relationship where I was very happy at the beginning, but after six months, it began to take a turn to a place where I was unhappy. I was constantly stressed, felt restricted, confined, and just tense. This was exactly how I felt by the end of my previously relationship, albeit for different reasons. That’s not who I am. I’m outgoing, and weird, and silly, and goofy, and just weird. Out of respect for the person I was dating, I won’t go into detail about the events of our relationship, but I had to end the relationship, which sucked, especially because of how I much the breakup hurt her. However, I did what I felt I needed to do for myself, for my mental health. I’m still not where I need to be in terms of my happiness but it’s a work in progress. I’m lucky to have a someone in my life, who despite being 1,000 miles away, I know I can lean on when I really need it (for the most part).
Speaking of friends, this year has been kind of a weird one for me in that department (don’t worry, I’ll tie it in). I haven’t really had much of a change in the people I call my friends in years. Maybe some of have been added, some people make brief cameo appearances, some have completely left. In fact, now when I come to think of it, whenever I take a stand for myself in terms of how I am treated in those friendships, those people exit my life. Case in point, two people who at one point or another were considered my best friend are no longer in my life because I said I didn’t like the way I was being treated. Those relationships eventually were dissolved. Like with everything else in my life lately, I’ve really been trying to focus on making sure that I am happy. That means taking a look at how I feel when I’m in certain environments and with certain people. That look has often lead to me being and feeling very alone.
But you know what, I’d rather be alone right now and not feel like I have to compromise who I am, what I stand for, and what makes me happy. I guess that’s my point here. I feel like we, as human beings, care so much about having friends and being in relationships and being liked, that we compromise who we are. We sit in silence when a friend says something offensive that you don’t like. We change our personality to accommodate our significant other’s baggage. We say nothing when a family member makes a comment that you strongly disagree with. All of this, just to avoid the potential of losing that person. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s definitely been the case for me. Most of that comes from me hating confrontation, but when it comes to your own happiness, fear of confrontation cannot be a good enough to reason to not speak up or stand up or even walk away.
Now that I’ve sufficiently rambled on, let me just end this blog and 2016 with this: Don’t compromise who you are, what you stand for, what you need, and/or what makes you happy for anything or anyone. Your happiness needs to come first. Understand and respect that. Surround yourself with people who understand and respect that. Love yourself. Surround yourself with people who truly love you (not who they think you are or who they want you to be). Don’t be afraid to walk away if you need to. Be more afraid not to.