I'm not sure what it is about the end of a year that makes us sit down and reflect on our life during that year, but reflection is good for understanding. It's also good for wiping the proverbial slate clean in order to start the new year on a good note. My review turned out to be a lot longer than I expected but if your up for it, here goes.
This past year began with me dressed up and in a tie for the evening and out celebrating at the now defunct E-Room (what used to be Portland’s only lesbian bar but has since closed) with a bunch of really great friends and my, then, wonderful girlfriend. It was awesome to start the new year with my friends and even better to start it off with a kiss from someone I loved very much.
Shortly after the year began I flew down to Vegas to attend the only Women’s Football Camp and Conference in the nation. It was a whirlwind of an experience but I got quite a bit out of it and gained some new friends. I also had the financial and emotional support of my friends and chosen family around the country who helped get me there. It was something I had been wanting to do ever since I had heard about the camp in 2009 and I am eternally grateful to those who helped.
After returning from the camp I discovered a lump in one of my breasts and had my first ever mammogram. That was an experience, to say the least. I was worried but as it turned out, all was well and there was nothing to be concerned about. Thankfully.
In February I spent an amazing weekend in Cannon Beach with a wonderful woman. Memories from that weekend still linger. Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock were always favorite spots of mine but after that weekend they became sacred. I still find myself being drawn there to ground and re-group when things get overwhelming.
February and March also brought a lot of fundraising planning and executing for the football team that I was playing for, the Portland Fighting Fillies. I spent the first year as not only a player but an owner, treasurer and fundraising planner. It was a lot of hard work but we pulled off an amazing first season.
Unfortunately, during a practice in mid-March my left foot got pinned and my left knee was fallen on causing an injury that took me out of the game for good. I have cartilage coming off my bone inside the joint and I’m told it isn’t repairable. My only option is to try and not over do it and when I do, elevate it and ice it to keep the swelling down. This injury sent me into a spiral of depression that I am only now realizing and working through. Playing sports and my ability as an athlete meant a lot to me. It was a huge part of who I was. You don’t realize how much you use your knees until you just can’t use them, or one of them, anymore. Even as I type this now, tears are rolling down my cheeks just thinking about how much it’s affected my life and how I see myself. I still have a lot of work to do around that.
April brought the beginning of the football season for the Woman’s Football Alliance and I found myself on the sideline of our very first game as the Portland Fighting Fillies. Our trainer was working with me to get the knee recovered because at that point I hadn’t yet seen a doctor to have it thoroughly looked at. This was probably my biggest mistake. I figured if I could still move it I must not have torn anything so it’ll heal if I just give it time and work on getting my range of motion back.
April also brought the joy of watching her play softball again. I was so happy to see her out there playing the sport she loved. It was the first time I had a girlfriend who also played sports and it was then that I realized exactly how hot that was.
Finally by May I felt ready to get out on the field again so I was back in at practice and played briefly in a game then got back into the gym and the second set of squats did me in. That was all she wrote for my football career. I still took my time getting into the doctor but finally did it after a few weeks of it being perpetually swollen. An MRI was ordered and a few weeks later my injury was discovered. Physical therapy was started to get the swelling down and my range of motion back then began the up hill battle of getting my quad muscles back. I’m still working on that when the knee will allow me to.
In May I flew down to Vegas again to support my team in a game against the Las Vegas Showgirls. By the end of June I was supporting them from home as they traveled back to Vegas to play that team again in the first playoff round. We were eliminated but were still excited about and proud of the fact that we made it to the playoffs in our first season as a team.
Also in May, my son and I drove down to Southern California to pay respect to my Grandmother who had passed away after a long and busy life. After listening to the minister list all the things that she had accomplished in her life my son leaned over to me and whispered, “Now I know where we get it from.” It was an enlightening trip for both of us and I was thankful to spend the time with him and see my family again.
My son celebrated his 20th birthday in June and I still can’t figure out how that happened. We truly have grown up together and he is one of my best friends now. He’s an amazing and talented animator and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him in his life and career.
The end of June brought another fun filled camping trip on the coast. This time with a big group of friends and the wonderful woman I had spent the weekend with on the coast back in February. It was great fun and lots of really good memories were made but it was to be, unfortunately, the last camping trip for me for the season and for us as a couple.
July brought heartbreak and some really difficult emotions that took some time to work through. Unfortunately, I went a little crazy during it all and not only did things but also said things that I wish I hadn’t. Hopefully, those who were affected by my insanity will eventually forgive me. I'm still finding my way through that insanity but I think I'm gaining a better grip on it now.
July also brought more beach time with friends and a new tattoo to honor the relationship that had just ended and the person who brought so much to my life in such a short period of time.
With August came some huge, I mean HUGE, life changes. The changes that actually started this blog. I finally came to the realization that my job as a Senior Accountant for one of the Pacific Northwest’s chain of pubs and breweries was sucking the life out of me and making me absolutely miserable. By the end of August I made the decision to quit and step off the cliff. I had very little savings but tons and tons of support from friends and family and people I hadn’t even met in real life. This is when I begun to really understand why things had happened the way the did the previous month. It was all supposed to be and was making a way for me to find my true self, my authentic self, by becoming the artist I had always wanted to become.
Since quitting that job and my life as an accountant I’ve found temporary warehouse work, house and pet sitting gigs from friends and dog walking gigs from friends of friends who are becoming new friends to me. I’ve also sent away a short story that I worked on for a few months, with the help of a very talented friend and writer, and am hoping to have it accepted into an anthology next year. Photographs that I’ve taken have been purchased, loved and shown proudly by me in my first art show ever this past October.
The last few months of the year have brought many wonderful and amazing things to my life. A good friends visit and lots of great information from a journey she did for me while she was here, another trip down to Southern California where I found peace with my parents and fun with some new friends and chosen family, registration as a volunteer with the Oregon Humane Society as a dog walker (which I thoroughly enjoy), more sales of my prints and note cards and lots and lots of friend, family and doggie time.
As one of my good friends put it to me this morning, this has been quite an epic year for me. It hasn’t been an easy year, but I truly feel blessed for all that 2010 has brought. New friends, a new life, new experiences and more insight into me. I very much look forward to seeing what 2011 holds in store for me and can’t wait to share it with all of you here.
Happy New Year to all of you! May your new year bring you an abundance of love, joy, happiness, wealth, health and laughter!