2017 was a year of adventure and abundant creativity, but also one of intense anger, confusion, and betrayal. My New Year’s Resolution was to reduce food waste and hell if that didn’t fade out of view by the second grocery shopping trip of January.
And then narcolepsy. I tried to fight against my labels but spiraled into denial when I compared myself, my accomplishments, and my potential to that of a fictitious non-narcoleptic version of myself. Spoiler alert: she has better time management skills, organizational skills, more wakefulness, and OH YEAH! She doesn’t exist. I felt betrayed by the medical profession and the three neurologists who gave me a full workup and declared that I was perfectly healthy. I’ve fantasized about dropping burning piles of poo on the doorsteps of many doctors; not just those three neurologists, but also the know-it-all general practitioners, allergists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. who didn’t have the guts to say “Something’s wrong, but I don’t know the answer.” Apparently I still have some anger to work through.
The Diagnosis threw me into an identity crisis and I think that crisis ironically came from me realizing that I knew more about myself than I thought I did. I was finally able to look at my narrative about myself and see clearly the passages that others had added. I wasn’t lazy or unmotivated or stupid. I was clinically sleepy beyond reason which is what my body had been telling me and what I had been telling the doctors. Over the years I let them convince me that I was wrong, and now, with The Diagnosis in hand, I had control. For the first time in my life I let my creativity take the reigns and I launched an accessories brand – sleep&sparkle – that challenged me in ways that I hadn’t been challenged before, but also used many of my strengths and fed a passion for sartorial expression which I kept deep inside of me as soon as I graduated from high school. Somehow, The Diagnosis put me in touch with the deepest parts of myself and empowered me to believe that I deserved to be happy and to create a life doing something that I loved. My husband and grandma had been telling me this for years, but until The Diagnosis, their words might as well have been in a foreign language.
In 2018 I’m ditching the resolutions and opting for a WORD. A word that will be the lens through which I filter my thoughts and actions. A word that will push me outside of my comfort zone while also pushing me in the direction I want to go. My word for 2018 is EMBRACE. I fought it for weeks in December until I finally caved and realized that my resistance was a serious indicator of how much I needed this word. I was hoping for something bigger that set off fireworks and felt exceptional like BRAVE or FIERCE or PRESENT or INQUISITIVE, but I kept coming back to my frustration with my sleepiness, my inability to accept good things that were happening to me and because of me, and my fear that I would always be angry and bitter about The FUCKING Diagnosis.
“Why am I so mean to myself? Why can’t I accept who I am, what I am, how I am? Why can’t I EMBRACE this beautiful thing called life that I’m working so hard to make but can’t seem to appreciate?” Hence, EMBRACE.
The work of this year is to EMBRACE all of these things and so much more. It is to EMBRACE my weaknesses and failures but even more importantly my strengths and successes. It is to EMBRACE my anger and bitterness while also EMBRACING my creativity, my enthusiasm, and that I am more than my story and my circumstances. It is to EMBRACE the opportunities and the relationships that make my heart happy. It is to EMBRACE me, the way that my grandma and husband did years ago.
Bonne année, my friends!
What are your resolutions, words, ideas, as you enter 2018? Or do you opt for nothing at all?