December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)
I’ve been sitting here at my desk trying to think through all of 2010 like a movie on fast forward in my head. What happened in January? February? May? July? These months are so far from me, now, a past I don’t dwell on. Yes, I can remember key moments, but overall?
(It reminds me of cop shows, when they go to interview a possible witness or suspect, and ask, “What were you doing on May 14th of this year?” I’d have no idea. I’d give them a puzzled look, then look at my debit card statement and visual journals.)
I’d have to say, in all honesty, my parents. It sounds corny, but after I lost my job, they could have been on me to get a new one, to push myself harder so I could move out. But while they weren’t that impressed when I started this art thing, they’ve become so amazingly supportive in the past few years, I count myself lucky. If I didn’t have their support (and their willingness to put up with their 26 year-old-college-graduate daughter), I wouldn’t be where I am now - devoting my days to artistic pursuits like art and writing. I wouldn’t have the budding of a career in my adopted field. I know I’d be miserable, in pain, depressed, and living with strangers-as-roommates.
Especially with the move west. I think they saw I needed the change of scenery and stabler weather and brought me in as a partner on this journey. I’m not the child being told what to do - my opinion is now sought and taken into consideration. They could have said, “We’re moving and selling the house. Time to move out!” Instead, they brought me along and gave me the room with the huge closet that now serves as a studio (yes, it’s that big!).
And I think coming to this realization shows how much I’ve really grown up. I think, in past years, I would have said something more about myself - a trait I’d picked up or circumstances directly related to me - instead of looking to an outside person or persons to give my appreciation and gratitude to.
I try to let them know as much as I can how much I appreciate this opportunity to create and really figure things out in two ways: 1.) I show them everything I’ve accomplished, from magazine articles to class sales; 2.) support them in any way I can.
My heart simply swells when I think of where I could be - working in an office somewhere, with time at night for my art yet in too much pain to do anything. I could live with people I couldn’t stand, in a job that slowly sucked away my soul, miserable. I’ve tried the 9-to-5 deal - after the third time I fell asleep on the expressway during rush hour from fatigue and pain, I knew I was no longer simply risking my health, but that of those around me - and it doesn’t work for me. What alternative is there? Retail, where I’d stand for hours and hours? I did that, too, and had days I couldn’t even get out of bed, trapped in my body, mind screaming.
So you could say I owe them so very much.
I support them wherever I can, without complaint. Errands, chores around the house, caretaking (my mother suffers from chronic migraines and my father is retired). I simply love taking care of them with all my heart, and wish I could do more. There’s a part of me that hates being a leech of sorts, despite my own meager income, and I know if I won the lottery, I’d give most of the money to them.
Until this year, I don’t think I’ve ever given them the appreciation they deserve.
I do want to add another thing, because I’ve spied the card on my desk. There’s a woman in my life who has shown me the true magic and wonder of friendship in a deeper and more loving way than I’ve ever felt before, and until this year, I felt I’d never achieve a friendship like I have with her, that I wasn’t worthy. There was a time I was close, but this...it is so amazingly hard to say, “I love you,” to anyone, even my family, and - sorry, a bit of crying here! - when she said it to me for the first time, it meant the world. I think that was the moment I began recovering myself, all those little pieces I’d cast into the shadows because I was afraid of being rejected by the world. I’d do anything for her, no matter what, just as she has for me.
The picture I have of us is the first thing I set out on my dresser.
I think I’m going to show them all this post, because I may not be that eloquent in person (I bounce around way too much!), but want them to see these words, to know how much I love them all. I wouldn’t be who I am right now, where I am - confident in myself, in my abilities, in faith and love - without my parents and best friend.
The picture above doesn’t have much to do with this post, but I want to still share my creative adventures while participating in #reverb10, and so sometimes use my daily photos to illustrate them.
I’d post pictures of those I appreciate, but want to keep some of this for myself and them.