My Decade

7:33 PM Edit This 7 Comments »
I haven't been particularly inspired by all the resolution-making and recaps of 2009, but on Christmas, a couple of my friends were looking through my photo albums while the rest of us were washing dishes. Which got ME to looking through them. I don't do that very often. I used to be the photo album queen! That's how I know about my childhood - from photo albums. I have no recollection of growing up. I've come to realize that I was so self-conscious and afraid all the time, that I just didn't pay attention to outside events because I was so inwardly focused in my primary years. So my memories come mostly from pouring over family albums.

But last weekend, the sun was shining and even though it was ten below, it was a warm day in my heart, so I got them out. I was told in early sobriety,"FORTHELOVEOFGODKATE! Stop looking at your goddamn pictures!" because they would just spiral me into the depths of memory and despair. But I'm in a different place today. Especially on sunny days. And it was a few hours of happily reminiscing. So here's my recap of the decade. It's not very pretty, but the ending is.

2000. I would like to state for the record that New Year's Eve 1999 was my most memorable New Year's Eve. Of course, I was all kinds of freaked out about Y2K and all that crap. Because you know - the disaster and the disease. So when midnight rolled around New York time, I called my sister to make sure she was okay and promptly went back to drinking and dancing. A group of us went to our neighborhood bar and they just HAPPENED to have the most amazing band that hadn't quite made it big yet. I didn't get too drunk. And the boyfriend I had at the time was kind and loving and we'd been together for a good four years by then. It was a magical night and I'll never forget it.

2001. I was finishing my fifth year at my very first full time job. I'd been a youth director for the ELCA for FIVE WHOLE YEARS. Most youth directors stay in their jobs for 10 months. That's the national average. I kind of rocked it. It suited me. My first year there, it took me two weeks to plan a ski trip. My last year there? Pulled out the file and three phone calls, one mailing and a poster later, we were good to go. Plus teenagers are awesome. They are still my favored demographic. They're full of energy and angst and life and questions. That's me! I'd struggled with the pastoral situation at my church for quite some time, but 9/11 clinched it for me. It was on that day, I lost my belief in organized religion. And I never got it back.

My sister was living in Manhattan at the time, so between freaking the fuck out, the phone calls from my mom and the demands of the congregation stopping by freaking out, it was a long, long day. But it ended when I walked into the church office and the senior pastor said, "I suppose the church down the street (our so-called competition) is having a prayer service. Great. There goes my night.") And I was done. So completely and utterly done. What the fuck? I'd broken up with my boyfriend a few months earlier and in November of that year, I walked into my first therapist's office. She asked me why I was there and I said, "I don't ever think about the future anymore. I can't see anything out there for me." And that was that. I've been in therapy ever since.

2002. This was the year The Crazy started to win. I was drinking much more heavily, I hated my job. (Not the kids. The pastors and the parents and the politics.) And it was my first two week stint in the psychotel. I was in graduate school at the time for an MA in Counseling. I walked into my Psych Disorders class for the chapter on depression and walked out at the break and drove myself to the hospital. It was ugly. That fall, I quit my job at the church and went to a small agency that ran group homes for mentally ill and developmentally disordered adults. I hated it. Not my gig. But I hung in there for a year.

Because in 2003, I met Jason. I knew the moment I met him that he was the one for me. And he knew it too. Two weeks later, we were engaged. Three months later, we moved to North Carolina. And six months after that, we realized we'd made a horrible mistake and headed back to the Midwest. Don't get me wrong, North Carolina was all THAT. And I would move back there in an instant if I thought I'd be okay that far away from friends and family. But I wouldn't be. So I won't. At least not now. I saw my first hurricane, my one and only season with Bradford Pear trees and the first time in my life that I knew I was responsible for me. And no one else was.

In 2004, I moved to Sioux Falls and started working for the church again. In 2005, I broke my leg, had my gallbladder out and Jason died. In 2006, I got meningitis, never really recovered, and lost my job. In 2007, I got sober, started working for the Good Doctor and moved in with Gay Boyfriend. In 2008, I finally started to have a little bit of fun. And in 2009, I got comfortable in my own skin. Funny, how when the drama ends, the commentary gets shorter. So there's a decade of my life. From the good to the bad and very, very ugly. Sigh.


Suburban Sweetheart said...

May 2010 be a damn good one. And may you never, ever have a repeat of a 2005-like year. (The year my boyfriend also died. So... may NEITHER of us!) Lots of love. <3

Hope January's been a good sign so far.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

I had to giggle about the less drama=shorter commentary. I've been with Ralph 12 years now so the last 10 years has been... kind of stable in that whole drama-free way. I mean yeah we went through about 2 years of hating one another, but we were super-busy raising little kids, so that all washes out to TOO BORING TO BE GOOD DRAMA.

Here's hoping there ISN'T drama to come.

BrianAlt said...

Not understanding the, "there goes my night." Did you have to go to the other church? Did your church suddenly decide that it needed a prayer service too and you had to work?

Maybe I don't know enough about churches?

Shelly said...

I'm a minister's daughter, so I understand a lot of your frustrations with the church.

And I hope that 2010 brings you healing and a lot more fun. What a decade!

melissalion said...

Wow. I wonder what my commentary would look like --

Married, got a new last name.

Divorced, kept the last name.

Had baby, doing things in the wrong order.

Post partum depression.

Moved to Portland.

Single mom.


Up next -- I have no idea!

justsomethoughts... said...

this is the kind of post that keeps me coming back
and well-written

may two thousand ten be gooder than a motherfucker.

(miles davis-ism)

The Pollinatrix said...

This has inspired me to catalog my own decade. Thanks!

It's quite a journey, this life thing.