December 31, 2016 – Saturday
Here we are. We made it. I know 2016 was rough for many of us, but if you’re reading this you have already been gifted a fresh page. I pretty much neglected this blog in the last year. It was such a transitional 12 months for me, that started in late 2015 and finally took a positive turn in late 2016. I hesitate to say it was a “bad” year, but it definitely was a growing year. I plan to take all the lessons of 2016 and apply them to future scenarios.
In October 2015, my relationship had started to show signs of fatigue and due to that and some financial questioning, I made the decision to move back to my hometown, 45 miles from my job. In December 2015, two weeks before Christmas, the kids and I moved. Christmas and New Years’ was a sad, stressful, uneventful time. We did the best we could, but it was not very festive overall.
I had a major reconstructive surgery on my jaw and face in January. I ended my six-year relationship in February. March brought major dynamic changes, including returning to work after surgery, and being forced to find a new social circle. In April, I tried branching out and dating, and had even found someone I liked hanging out with. By the end of May, I decided I was more worried about fixing my financial situation that was directly caused by missing two months of work due to surgery, and decided to focus on work, my body and my increasingly distressed family. In June, I took on a Sous Chef position at a small music venue in the same town as my other job, and my eldest son turned 18.
July brought the completely unexpected resurfacing of my ex, my sister’s wedding and a long-anticipated and painfully welcomed move back to the town we had previously called home. At this point, I was at my lowest weight in two years, but miserable, exhausted, and starving on many different levels.
August, and the return of the university students, meant heavier work loads at my main job, higher stress levels, and the emergence of what would later be acknowledged as one of the deepest chasms of depression that I have ever lived through.
September was a lot of talking with my ex, back and forth discussions about what was and could or couldn’t be, trying to keep my head above water at work, and the near-loss of my supplementary job due to a new kitchen owner. My existential fatigue was at an all-time high, no end in sight, and very little hope for a change.
In October, against all sane actions, I took over a restaurant in a mid-sized music venue in town, the sister venue of the one I had been working in. I was listening to live music every night, cooking food I love for people of varying levels of fame, and feeling so deeply separated from my psyche at times that I wasn’t completely sure I wasn’t an android.
By November, my ex and I were having more regular and serious discussions about life without each other, and started traveling together. The restaurant was picking up steam, and regaining previously lost customers. I began treatment for my depression, anxiety and insomnia, and began seeing a counselor to deal with those issues, along with the eating disorder that has domineered my life for the better part of two decades. Something about Sam’s presence seemed to calm my anxiety and give me a bit of an anchor, or at least a setting place against which to measure the length of my own chains. Within two weeks of being on medication, I lost the will to just lay in bed all day. My mental fatigue lifted rather quickly, as well. I made the decision to give up my position for the Summer 2017, and let someone – anyone – else deal with that place for those two months. It’s a gamble, but a necessity.
December found us deeply in the throws of a secret partnership that was becoming harder to conceal. The restaurant began to afford me great privileges emotionally, and a bit of freedom. By the end of December, the kids and most family members knew that we were at least being friendly – if they hadn’t already suspected more. The restaurant was very slow for the month, due to not being open much, and not having as many shows, but the positive publicity continued to grow. Every day is a learning experience there. I also decided I want to become more classically trained, and applied for a promotion position at the university. It’s a long shot, but my chef there offered to help with some training and I applied, in spite of myself.
And here it is, New Year’s Eve – and the year that nearly broke me is about to get bent.