anniversaries and new years

A couple days ago was my anniversary of terrible things. I posted the video of my little custom on Instagram, as I have done the previous two years.

Today is my Anniversary Of Terrible Things. Four years ago today, I began my incarceration. Three years ago today, my husband died. Time has moved fast, but not always gently. Pieces of my old lives get thrown forward like rubble, and I stumble. I'm always, always stumbling. This is a hard one, for some reason. Grief doesn't seem to care that it's been years and years. I have this little tradition. It soothes me and I look back on it often. I light a match for everything and everyone I've lost– so I can see them clearly in my heart, so I can push back the dark that clouds me sometimes. And then I pretend all that energy made the match into a giver of wishes, and I blow it out, reminding myself that I still deserve wishes as much as I ever did. Today is my anniversary of terrible things, and sometimes I don't know why I hold so tightly to days and rituals… but I think it has something to do with celebrating the only things life has let me keep. #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings #widow #felon #brokenheartedgirl

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Today is my anniversary of terrible things. My loss of freedom (2014), my loss of Dave (2015). Three years ago today, I wore handcuffs for the first time, and they made the same rattle sound as the metal tassle Dave had sewn to my boots years before. (The sound made me giggle– made me want to skip– and though he didn't care for the clanging, he liked my happiness.) When the cuffs rattled on my hands as they led me away, we made eye contact and smiled.Two years ago today, I was learning to make prison-cake out of creamer and oreos, laughing and threading my eyebrows, while Dave died alone. I didn't learn of his death for days. No one did. Everything is so ugly mixed in with pretty. There's so much fault in the fated. There's happiness unpleasantly stuck in the sadness like caught spinach between a toothy smile. It's a story awful enough to be fictional, but it's not. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. This is my little ritual. Fight the dark with light, make wishes like I've earned them just for keeping on. Because an anniversary means I did keep on. And in a world of things to mourn, I'm rather protective of the things left to celebrate. #anniversaries #allthelittlelights #IfYouCanMeetWithTriumphAndDisaster #makeAWish #LightALight #instaRarasaur #widow #prison #jail #incarceratedfamilies #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings

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Light and wishes. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. My loss of freedom (2014), my loss of Dave (2015). For the losses, I lit a match– it's just a little light, but even a little light pushes back the dark. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. Which means it's a birthday of sorts, a celebration day of the life I've lived and the scars I've worn and the sad things I've learned to carry. For these victories, I think I've earned a wish. .. so I blew out the match. (Don't tell anyone, but I wished for my little light to be seen far and wide just in case there's someone out there who doesn't have a match, or wasn't as lucky as I was to have earned a wish. ) #anniversaries #allthelittlelights #IfYouCanMeetWithTriumphAndDisaster #makeAWish #LightALight #instaRarasaur #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings

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This year seemed almost harder than the last two, but of course– everyone knows that time and grief don’t really play by the same rules.

One of the reasons it is so difficult to come to May 6th is that is has become a sort of marker by which I can judge myself.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m moving, like I’m doing something, but on the anniversary of terrible things– I see how far away from a stable life I am. I went to prison four years ago. I still have nightmares. Dave died three years ago. I still don’t know what I want from love and relationships.

It’s an exhausting day. and this year was especially so. There was a lot of loss– some things I was finally forced to accept, some things I let go, some things slipped away, and some were taken away.

And some of those things were people.

It was feeling pretty terrible until May 7th, when I realized that as much as the 6th is a marker of endings– an ending where I never seem to be anywhere near a finish line– the 7th is a sort of beginning.

It’s almost like my personal New Year. And on New Years, you get to celebrate how far you’ve come rather than worry about how far you still have to go.

The universe helped me out by sending a proof copy of the book I started talking about in November with the post “And yet and so and still” — https://rarasaur.com/2017/11/09/and-yet-and-so-and-still

Reading that post of plans reminded me how many changes I’ve actually seen through. I’ve pruned this blog as I said I would. It’s less than 20 posts big now. I put some of the most precious words into a book about finding happiness while healing, and that’ll be out next week. The rest are coming, the next book is forming, and this space is finally free to fill up however I want.

I’m excited for Dinosaur-Hearted. It’s an entire book of the truthful and balanced joys that I am so often drawn to. Some of the chapters are handwritten. My signboards are in it. It’s littered with my doodles.

I’ve read it over and over, and I’m proud of it. It feels like a love letter. It is a love letter, to you. And I am hoping you all love it back.

_______________________

Are there any days in your year that are like your own personal New Year?

39 Comments

  1. You so much deserve the relief and smiles that come with the beginnings as you grapple little by little with the realizations that grow each year on the anniversary of terrible things. We are with you Rara, then, now, still.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Seeing the pictures of the book made me cry. The cover looks absolutely beautiful, Ra! 💙 I’ve looked forward to this book since you first talked about the idea of it. I hope I’ll be able to find a way to get myself a copy soon. I had so many grand book buying plans before my life implosion… Picking up the pieces and trying to start over certainly is a long and frustrating process. I keep telling myself that this is probably the start of something wonderful, I just got to get past the rocky beginning. Here’s hoping that your life has something wonderful in store for you too! ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! I’ve been rooting for you to smoothly sail through the rocky bits. For what it’s worth, as I said when I came up with the book idea, this isn’t about monetization so I’ll be offering a newsletter that gives the contents of the book, a chapter at a time via email. It’ll be free, and have extras that aren’t in the book like where I was when I wrote the things, and images you can post to social media. I can’t replicate the yearbook-scrapbook-feel of the real life book, but I don’t want anyone to be left out. We all built it together, after all. xoxo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love you because you let your life be a gift to fellow be-ings. You intertwine misery , hope, and whimzy into a gorgeous package for all to savor and then unwrap.

    bless you <3.
    Linda

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I had life-changing events in late September-October 2007. It’s been 10 years already.
    We’re making progress. I love you and you love me. Sorry for sounding like Barney, but sometimes that dinosaur is kinda right. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A friend posted a video of baby turtles going from buckets to the ocean, flapping wildly around. It’s an image in my head now… that’s us, making progress even if it does look like we’re still far away. Love you, too. xoxo! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is awesome! I love that image. It’s perfect for us!! Struggling but we’re going to get better. I’m going to go standup paddleboarding this summer. I may resemble the baby turtles even more. 🙂 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  5. May is my month of terrible things, so I guess June 1 is my personal New Year. In May, 2007 my adult daughter was kidnapped, assaulted, and robbed by a complete stranger. (She got away and is fine now.) In May, 2010 my teaching colleague, who we loved and thought was a wonderful family man, was arrested for molesting a student, and we still grieve over what his life has become. (He’s back in prison again right now.) In May, 2014 my mother passed away after a long bout with cancer, and our family is still finding out her long-kept secrets. (Just found out this month that neither of my 2 younger siblings is my father’s child even though my parents were married to each other when both were born.) In May, 2016 I was hospitalized for a tear in my stomach and nearly died from loss of blood. So I’m always glad when the month of May ends. Sending much love to you…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your honesty – thank you for sharing! The lighting of a match seems very appropriate, I think. It’s always good to remember what we’ve been through and where we are today.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy New Year!! I have had too many terrible things, starting from a very young age. So I don’t remember the dates…otherwise they would start ruining the anniversaries of the good things I want to celebrate. I will tell you my two divorces were finalized September 13th and 14th, 9 years apart. But even those, I consider a gift of freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your growth, (& I know you can’t see it all yet & it probably doesn’t feel like growth) has been marvelous to watch.

    One of our old friends showed up the other day. It was at exactly the moment I had them both on my mind.
    My anniversary of terrible things is July 1st.
    My new year though – Always begins in October. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Awesome way to look at it. My important date is 23rd January, the day I knew and decided I wanted to quit drinking, so I suppose that could be my personal new year – it’s when I started living again. Your ritual is a beautiful one. And how exciting about the book! Wonderful!! Lots of love, Sophie x

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Grief and time have their own lives – you are so right about that. Honestly, your anniversary hits too close to one of mine for me to be selfless enough to acknowledge it, so this year, on the year that you recognized the good of a new beginning, I’m glad that I made time and got to see it!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So sad, so moving, so beautiful. I thought about you today, in my shavasna at the end of my yoga. I thought about you lighting a match and how you think of others even in your darkest times, and I sent you some light. From a beautiful rooftop yoga space at an Osho guesthouse, sending you light and all good wishes for your new year xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’ve always believed in the circular nature of things, and in endings and renewals. I usually map it to birthdays and the closing of the calendar year, but some anniversaries force themselves to the fore regardless. Happy new year to you!

    I’ma buy your book on the next paycheck.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Time is a churl for sure. Grief isn’t exactly a good comrade either.

    I don’t think I have a specific date, but I do get horrible days that then pass and the next day feels like new year, if that makes sense.

    Keep on being a dino, my love. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

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