Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2015 Redux: Or, How to Start Blogging Again After a 2 Year Hiatus

Lilacs on Paris//May 2016

2015 was a doozy.

I've sat down to write this post a few times in the past few months and have never gotten beyond staring at the blank screen. There were so many words and feelings and thoughts and emotions that I wasn't ready to confront or were too difficult to wrangle into cohesive thoughts. I haven't written much beyond academic papers and emails in the past two years and honestly, it's also been difficult to get back into that habit. 

In many ways, 2015 was a wonderful and exciting year: I wrapped up my MLIS degree and finally graduated in December. In July, I became the director of the small library where I had been interning. I left my beloved cafe job. I traveled by myself for the first time to see my best friend in Texas. The Cubs made the playoffs. 2015 was a crazy, haphazard whirlwind that I can still barely believe actually happened. I felt disconnected from so much of it, like it was someone else living that life. I disconnected myself from what felt like everything and everyone because I just wanted to put my head down and push through. 

For all of 2015 I told myself, "If I can just make it through December, I'll be ok. Just survive until finals and graduation, and you'll be fine." So that's what I did. I pushed through, I survived, but just barely. I pushed every single emotion into a small, dark box in my mind and said, "I'll deal with it in January. In January, everything will be ok again." I told myself this every day, over and over for a year, so you can imagine my surprise when January 1, 2016 dawned, and I still felt the same as I had the days and months and year before. 

It's been frustrating to not just automatically be "ok." Logically, I realize how ridiculous that sounds. Last year, I just survived. I didn't realize how much work it would be to return to the land of the living. 

So what it comes down to is that I've begun to slowly unpack that box of feelings that I pushed away for so long. It's exhausting, but I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, I'm starting to relearn how to cope with my anxiety. It's not an easy road, but I'm getting there. I'm able to go to the movies again without panicking. I can run again without feeling guilty. I'm easing my way back into reading for pleasure without my mind racing. In the days ahead, in these moments of clarity, I'm working on practicing gratitude. I'm working on relearning how to focus. I'm working on being open and feeling things and being intentionally in the moment and practicing self-compassion. In these moments of clarity, I'm remembering how to breathe. 

Unfortunately, while boxing up the difficult feelings, I also boxed up the good ones too. I was stressed and upset on my graduation day. When I submitted my last final, I felt nothing but dread. Landing the director position filled me with more apprehension than joy. I had been trying so hard to keep out the bad that I forgot to let in the good. 

Throughout all of this, throughout this long and winding journey, I was supported and loved by some of the most truly wonderful people on this planet. People who gave me the space I needed but always made their support and presence known. They sent me pictures of cute dogs and mountains, cooked me dinner and bought me drinks, let me lay on their couches and cry. For this, I will be more grateful than I can ever express.  

Shortly after I graduated, I went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate with these wonderful friends who stuck by me through thick and thin. They gifted me with some of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received: a "welcome back to the world" kit; a book of hiking trails; librarian gear; an autographed Springsteen magazine; even my own personalized X-File. I was (and continue to be) overwhelmed by the kindness of my chosen family. I placed these items in a box, a sort of time capsule, unable to deal with the feelings and emotions that these beautiful gestures stirred. Along with the proverbial boxes that need to be unpacked, there are actual ones as well. And it's a pleasant reminder that some of them, probably more of them than I realize, contain light rather than darkness. 

I'm so, so grateful to finally be living rather than simply surviving and that the sun is shining once again. I'm so, so grateful to have all of you at my side. My heart is full. 



  1. Love you, Molly. I'm so proud of you!
    Aunt Karen

  2. Welcome back! Feeling feelings is hard work, isn't it? I'm a feelings professional and I still struggle. Glad you're feeling well :)