Also, Buzzfeed quizzes are my shrink and I’m okay with that

2020 was so much. Such a short year too, all told. So much of my emotion was directed at America’s blatant racism and disregard for basic human rights that I only had enough left to spend on cats. I don’t think I registered anything else beyond that.

So this year, my resolution is to just be chill about it all. It sounds smug, but if you read my previous posts, you will know that it isn’t as easy for me. When I say that I need to chill, I mean I will have to work at it.
Anyway, here are my notes from what was:

People rarely follow through on what they promise. Rarely.

Unlikely people will surprise you with their kindness.

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t wish for the apocalypse.

One thing that has definitely changed in me is how I treat my phones now. The 20s me kept phones so well that when I would go to sell them off, I would get better prices and loads of compliments on the condition of the phone. Today, my phone falls at least once a month. I’m talking hard falls. Face down, no screen. And I couldn’t care less.

I often love that I became a full atheist, and often wonder if I would be better off as a believer. For me, these are not mutually exclusive.

Some days I wake up feeling like a man and go to bed feeling lonely like only a woman can.

I think I will always be a sufferer of depression. I no longer think it will define my life.

India is not capable of saving kittens and puppies. It won’t be, till an entire generation resolves to study veterinary medicine with the sole intent of saving small animals, working with neonates and equipping clinics, hospitals, government shelters and private vet services with the essential care paraphernalia to actually and actively save these animals.

The amount of money I offer people is directly proportionate to how enthusiastically they express willingness to work with me and inversely proportionate to how much they will end up doing.

Some of my biggest personal struggles:

  • Should I stay here in India, risk being a lonely spinster, but know that I will help countless animals and end up turning my animal shelter into a better one, and even have one of my own some day?
  • OR, should I leave, move to a country where I can live a better life, find people to fall in love with, maybe even someone to settle down with, and work with a shelter in a privileged economy where they are doing good work to save animals but are not struggling like we are here?
  • What is my bigger problem: weight or mental health? Maybe I will figure it out in 2021.
  • Do I want friends but don’t know how to keep them? Am I surrounded by people who aren’t fit to be my friends? Am I the problem? Or am I just different enough that it warrants special work on maintaining friendships? Is it worth it?
  • Am I okay now? Am I still depressed?
  • Is watching more TV and reading fewer books making me less of everything?

Some of the things I am learning/accepting and moving on:

  • There will never be a day in my life that I will be too hard-pressed for time to text ‘Okay’. In other words, you’ll never get an ‘ok’ or ‘k’ from me. And if you get a thumbs up from me, I AM telling you to fuck off.
  • It’s okay for people to call me at odd hours. Most have genuine reasons. The ones who don’t, they text me ‘hey’ even though I’m a stranger, at 11.47 pm at night, and the next morning tell me they want to adopt a one month old kitten only and follow it up with a ‘??’. I can tell them to get lost whenever I want. And I do.
  • I am now one of those people who did their professional thing really well for a long time, and then suddenly left everything and became a so-and-so because they found their calling. Animal welfare is my calling and I think it’s time I embraced it.

I learned that some days are just doomed. And I could do everything right. I could try my best and hardest to keep making progress, to do good work, to help people, to treat myself well, to basically ensure that nothing more goes wrong. But it doesn’t work and everything keeps going wrong on the hour. On such days I also have to remind myself to stop struggling against it and let it suck. What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing that would last beyond a day because such shit days don’t really leave a dent anywhere. They just sort of keep sucking till they end and you can sleep it all off. But it takes a true grown up to acknowledge that no matter how much of a baller you’re trying to be, and might be, if a sucky day has dawned, a sucky day it will remain. Suck it up and live through it.

I learned, too, that my latest tattoo, while an endnote on my longest and darkest mental health episode, will also remain relevant to my life to come. I will never and should never rush my way through whatever fire comes in my way. That’s just not how to do it.

About turning 37, I’ve only grown in the way that you’d expect one to grow in this year. But the one separate thing that has happened is that I’ve become better at taking care of myself by myself. This year, more than any year before (when I’ve been single) I’ve risen to the occasion of taking myself through the motions that inevitably come with the lifetime subscription for mental illnesses. (Side note: I’m also nearly over the notion that I will be without mental illness someday, and it’s going to be okay; side-bottom note: it might be repetitive but this is a compilation completed over a few weeks and I’m saying this as much to myself as I am doing to you)

Like, some days when it’s been especially trying, and I finally have that evening where I leave the TV on and I’m invested at first and then it’s just people talking near me saying things they’ve said a hundred times before, and I find a thought that I keep pulling on till it pulls out the tears from under my flaccid expression, even on those days I have become good at finishing the emotional event, not over-processing it, giving myself something I need and something I want and putting myself to sleep just the way I need to. It’s better than anyone can ever do for me (done, actually, because who knows the future and why be so pessimistic) and I like it that I’m able to take care of myself so well now. This will come in handy for life.

I know now that if I’m very stressed or angry or something like that, and I eat a meal, I don’t wash my hands. I am yet unsure if that’s an offshoot of my anger or a callback to my depression (that my hygiene takes a hit) but I know having to smell my food on my hands hours after I finish fuels my rage even more and this definitely has elements of self-imposed punishment in it somewhere.

Here’s something nice. This was the first year after many that I spent NYE with friends and family, partying it up, drinking, getting stoned, singing and dancing, and waking up to enjoy the beautiful chilly winter morning INSTEAD of making countless resolutions about finding a new shrink, a new weight goal, a new to-do to convince myself that if I just keep doing things, it will help me feel better on the inside. This year, I know my purpose (animals, and especially, cats) and so I know where I stand, what I need to do, how much I can do, and what I can improve upon and work at. So, this January 1st, I had the audacity and the good sense to not do anything that wouldn’t get me closer to my goals above. How’s that for being chill?

No, seriously. I’m asking you.

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