Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year Is Dying, In the Night

My Dear Reader,

The year 2013 it at an end! This is the last day of it! Man, what a year this has been.

And really, considering it bears the dreaded thirteen, the year has not been so disastrous as it could have been. I mean, it's been a little disastrous, but fire and brimstone has yet to rain down on us, so I'm pleasantly surprised.

I find that it's the time between Christmas and New Year's that we reflect on the previous twelve months and all that we've accomplished in that time. In January, I made a lot of resolutions, because I had a strong desire to use this year to make myself a better person.

And I didn't accomplish all of them. But my big resolution? Reading 10 Classics is 2013? That beast has been conquered, my friend!

In fact, I might have read thirteen classics in 2013. Depending on what you see as a classic, I mean. Some of them were short. But one of them was Atlas Shrugged, which is probably the longest book I've ever read. And I read fantasy books on occasion.

I am a person who has read Atlas Shrugged. I feel like I earned a title. I feel like I should now be introduced as Cecily, Who Has Actually Read Atlas Shrugged. (That has a nice ring to it.) It wasn't that bad of a book, either. I didn't agree with everything, but I agreed with some things. It's one of those life-changing experiences.

But then, every classic I read is something of a life-changing experience. I think that's why they're classics. Some of them are hard to get through. But I think that there are certain stories that last because they have this special power to change you. There are some books that have changed the world.

And that's what I look for when I'm reading a book. I want to go into someone else's world and see through their eyes, and then come out and see my own world through a new perspective. I want to find truth and meaning. And that's something I found this year.

So, I'm going to do it again next year. I'm going to go for twelve books this time; one for every month. And I will occasionally blog about these books. I'm going to start out with Jane Eyre and Emma, two stories that I have seen multiple times (in movie form), but that I have never read. And like last year, I'm also going to read at least one book that intimidated me because of its length. It's either going to be Anna Karenina or War and Peace. But it might be both. We'll see.

But you know what, Gentle Reader? I'd like to invite you to do it with me. You don't have to read the same books that I read, or the amount of books that I read, but I'd like to challenge you to pick up a classic or two and see what it can teach you. You might find yourself on a grand adventure.

And everyone could use a grand adventure. Or two.

In the mean time, I'll be reading twelve classics in 2014. Wish me luck!

Regards, best wishes, and thrilling tales,

-Cecily Jane, Who Has Actually Read Atlas Shrugged

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

My Dear Reader,

As this year is wrapping up, I find myself in the middle of a lot of drastic changes. Changes that are difficult for me to handle, that have put me on an emotional roller coaster. To summarize:
  1. My car broke down, which it has done three Decembers in a row
  2. I am sick of my car breaking down
  3. I can't fix my car, and since the transmission is dead, I'm not going to get any money from it
  4. I got into debt fixing my car the last two times
  5. I am sick of being in debt
  6. I can't get to work without a car, as public transportation is not close enough to where I live

    Therefore, the only logical solution is:
  7. I need to move somewhere closer to work and save some money.
All of this happened really fast, and it's kind of scary. I've been doing a lot of crying and a lot of praying.

Luckily for me, my grandpa lives two miles away from my office, and he'll take me in for free. He's been on his own since my grandmother died, so it's a win-win situation. And, you know, with the cost of insurance and maintenance, I'm thinking that I'm just going to go without a car for a while. Maybe for a whole year.

And that's kind of scary, too. I'm kind of terrified.

I really like the place where I live. I like the people I live with. I like the people I go to church with. And it feels like the moment my transmission went out, all of the things I love most about life went right a long with it. A lot of the things I've worked really hard for. A lot of my freedom.

But, at the same time, I can't say that I haven't been thinking about leaving. I've known for a while that I've needed a change. I've become less and less satisfied with things, and I didn't really know what those things were. But maybe I've just been here too long. Maybe I've already done everything I've needed to do here. Maybe it's time to do something somewhere else. But there are still so many good things here (and good people) that I don't want to leave.

I really, really don't want to leave. But this is the only choice that makes any sense. I'm lucky that I have any choices at all.

I'm planning on moving by the end of this week. I've got everything set up; I just need to actually do it. And I can't get myself to start packing. I just sit there and look at all my stuff and feel like this is happening so, so fast, and I don't know how I'm going to do it all. I don't know if taking the bus everywhere is going to work out. I don't know what to do with my broken-down car. I don't know if I'm going to like the people I'm going to go to church with. Usually, when I move, I have a lot of time to think about these things. Now, I just have a few days. I feels like I'm taking a big leap in the dark.

It's like I have these two competing sides to me, one of which loves spontaneity and change, and the other that has a hard time letting things go. I keep telling myself that this is good for me, that this is an adventure that I need in order to grow. I keep telling myself that my friends are always going to be here, even if it's a little harder for me to get to them.

And as a person with Clinical Depression™, I have to constantly remind myself that people really do care about me, and that they'll still care about me if I live on the other side of town.

And maybe that's what I'm scared of most of all. Maybe I'm scared that if I leave, no one will care about me anymore.

And there's a logical part of me that knows that it's not true. It knows that I have friends. It makes sense. It sees reality for what it is.

But it's not the part of me that feels. And it's the feeling part of me that is having such a hard time. It's the feeling part of me that is telling me that I'm all alone.

When I made the decision to leave, the feeling part of me expected no one to notice. It thought that I would just fade away, like dust in the wind. It feels like I have faded away along time ago. But the moment I started looking for someone to take my room, I have had an avalanche of attention that I didn't expect. People texting and messaging me at all hours to see if it was true. To see if I needed any help. To see if I will still be around.

And when things like that happen, the thinking and the feeling parts of me get together, and the thinking part says, "See? Don't you see? How can you deny this proof?"

And the feeling part of me says, "I can deny anything I wish, because I am too afraid to open my eyes and see for myself."

I'm still learning how to control the feeling part of me. I'm still learning how to believe that people care about me, because some days, that still seems like an impossible thing. But maybe that's the reason I'm going through all of this. Maybe it's time for me to open my eyes to a new kind of truth. Maybe it's time for me to start believing.

Maybe it's okay to start putting things in boxes.

But maybe I'll wait until tomorrow.

It's going to work out. One way or another, it's going to work out. I'm going to be okay.

It's just going to be hard for the next couple of weeks. But I'm strong. I can handle it.

I can handle anything.

Regards, best wishes, and faith,

-Cecily Jane