I know this year has been…difficult. To say the least. So I just wanted to say this, in case you were looking for a little bit of light.
This year, I got to play three (count ’em, three) of my dream roles. I got to dance onstage again, despite getting plagued by injuries. I got to watch my nephews grow (literally, my godson shot up like three inches). I got to make a bunch of absolutely wonderful new friends. I got back into shape. I got published by amazing applications. I got to direct my first ever production, a staged reading of David Auburn’s Proof. I got my work showcased in Playbill, The Mary Sue, and most recently ESPNW.
Personally, this has been one of the most transformative and positive years of my life.
There have been lows. I got dumped via text message in February, two days after Valentine’s Day. I lost a bunch of friends for daring to be outspoken. My Dad had to go to the hospital, and even though it was fine and he’s perfectly healthy, seeing your father wired up to an IV made me very, very aware of mortality.
But the friends that matter are still here. The men in my life are kind. And my Dad continues to putter around and yell at me for not doing the dishes when I come over.
I am very lucky.
I’ve talked about my experiences with therapy on here, many times. But this year I decided that therapy wasn’t enough. I was dealing with some thought patterns that I knew weren’t healthy, and after a few months of trying to deal with it on my own, I realized that I needed help. More help.
I visited a psychiatrist in my town. I got diagnosed with OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, chronic mild depression, and panic disorder, along with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD, inattentive type (I’ve known about that one since sixth grade).
I was put on an SSRI. It took about five weeks for the medication to kick in. When it did, my life was forever changed. I could suddenly do things I wasn’t able to before. Going onstage didn’t fill me with that familiar, icy terror. Going on dates, being with friends, dancing at bars – none of it was that scary anymore.
And on November 9th, 2016, when I snapped awake at 2AM and saw the election of Donald Trump on my Twitter feed, I didn’t grieve. I wanted to get up immediately and go to work.
This year was full of heartbreaks, both personal and global. We see the disaster in Aleppo. We see Donald Trump refuse to be Presidential. We see the rise of Neo-Nazism because they think they have permission to come back.
It is up to all of us, as individuals, to stand up and be kind.
According to spiritualists and mystics, 2016 was supposed to be like this. It is a year of awakening, reckoning, and and heartbreak. But take care to remember the poet Rumi. Let this year be the year we finally saw the world for what it really is. Flawed, and at times unbearable, but also stunningly beautiful.
The same mystics say that 2017 is going to be a time of renewal and new beginnings. The energy in the universe is profound right now. I hope you all feel it. There’s a giant shift in the air. Many would say it’s towards a negative end. I don’t think so. There’s an awakening happening right now, all around us. It’s our responsibility now to take up the causes we’re passionate about and fight for them.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Let this be the year that is clearing us out, cleansing us, preparing us, for the new delight and new awakenings and new transformations. Every single human experience we have is an opportunity for the individual soul to transform and head towards enlightenment. (Can you tell I’ve been doing a lot of yoga?)
May the great work begin.
PS. If nothing else, this year gave us Captain America: Civil War. Oh, Bucky.