This is a great question. There were lots of humbling experiences and spiritual lessons in 2012, not the least of which were “getting married,” and “turning 40.” May I rephrase: The combination of turning 40 and then getting married, made it so clear to me that this life I have now, while, not necessarily the life I'd imagined for myself, is also real, and so beautiful.
I thought, when I was a child, that I wanted to be some kind of celebrity: famous, red carpet, fabulous clothes, adoration from all present! And I wanted to be a mom with three kids. Those were my two choices: celebrity actress/mom with three kids. It makes me a little sad that I thought that those were my two options. My mom was a university professor, after all, and I loved listening to “Free To Be You And Me,” which advocated a widening career field for women.
Lots of therapy later, I realized I wanted to be seen and known, and even loved. I wanted the image of beauty, not necessarily the substance. I wanted to be fabulous. I lived in fantasy, because the life I had was in a boring, not-safe, Midwestern household with two bratty older brothers who didn't dote on me near enough. With two parents who did the best they could — one while managing an undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and and the other while hiding being gay. With a mean nun principal of the Catholic School I went to (apologies to nice nuns everywhere), and the guilt and shame of being sexually abused by a non-relative babysitter.
I lived in fantasy because it was the safest place. In that fantasy, everyone treated me with respect and kindness, and wild adoration. Somewhere in therapy, I learned that wasn't real. I also learned, somewhere else in therapy, that I could have a good life, albeit not the life of fairy tales.
This year, I learned that I am loved by friends and family alike, and valued for who I am (metaphorical warts and all). This lesson I met with some surprise, lots of laughter, and with absolute gratitude. I love my family, my husband and my kid. I love my little Spokatown, I love my friends, I love my relatives. I'm grateful for it all.
I'm pretty sure this year's lesson will be How To Rely On God: A Primer. It starts with the mantra, “panicking doesn't help!” or “don't panic.” I'm looking forward to telling you about it next January.
Anna Marie Martin has been a Spokanite since December 2006, when she moved here just in time to experience some of the worst snowstorms in recent history. She dislikes snow (hate is a really strong word). She grew up in Nebraska, and therefore has no need to be exposed to neither more snow nor more football. Yet, each of these happen every fall and winter, she says.