Remembering the 2010s
The 2010s were a wild ride. At the beginning of them I was this angry steamy pile of shit who had just moved to Toronto in about 2011 and instead of being able to take a look at myself and realize I had a lot of shit that needed to be worked on I often blamed it on others or did that whole "this is who I am, take it or leave it" thing.
There was a lot of growing in this decade. A lot of learning about myself, a lot of unlearning systemic ways of thinking and personal ways of thinking that were problematic and generally unhealthy. I find there's a value in looking at these trials for what they were. Not for pity points or poor you pats on the back but as stepping stones toward growth and learning. They all prepped me, built scar tissue and crafted my armour. So now I can begin this next decade stronger, smarter, and better.
Within the passed decade I had been homeless, I had an engagement called off, struggled on and off with substances in the beginning of the decade, fell into severe alcoholism in the middle of the decade, lost jobs, lost friends, overdosed, recovered from anorexia and fell into BED instead, gained over 150lbs. Compared to the 2000's though? Pretty good. A step up, frankly.
There was a tipping point that happened around 2015/2016. I was drinking heavily every day. I was taking in an obnoxious amount of caffeine in an attempt to rewire the way my brain functions and keep focused and alert during work. At one point it was somewhere close to two extra strength caffeine pills, two or three energy drinks, several cups of coffee, chocolates and caffeinated sodas every single day. At night I would easily polish off two to three bottles of wine.
You would think that having to kick down your own door in a drunken mess because you lost your keys somewhere would be a telling tale that you need to get your shit together, but surprisingly it was when I woke up with strangers and had no idea how I got there, where I was, or where anything I had the night before was that it really became apparent -- the overdose just really drilled it home. This could become something about substances, because I'd been at this point before, but the difference was that I was in my 20s this time and mostly alone, not a teenager surrounded by other angry delinquents. And sure, all this mess makes for great and hilarious stories to reflect on, I even laughed a bit writing about the door thing (which is far from the only time. I had cut open the screen and crawled through the window once as well). Living it, though, every day, eventually stopped being fun once the high died down. Sooner or later you learn that the only thing you're good for is a laugh and a party.
The tale end of 2010s were difficult in a whole other way. I was closing in on 30, had none of my shit together, and needed to finally fix things. I had to look at myself. I had to accept that my brain wasn't actually wired the same way; that I could not function the same as your "average human" and it had nothing to do with my level of competence or intelligence. I had to look at all my shitty behaviour and how I could change and grow from that and the underlying causes of it. The fears, the traumas, the emotional baggage I just kept pushing down, drinking away, and jumping from one self-destructive habit to another in order to hide from.
Possibly, more important than the topic of my physical health that I had destroyed over the ten years, was this: I had to get sober.
And that was hard. Our society praises substances and alcohol. It is the glue that binds people. It is everywhere, and so widely accepted that it seems so fucking wild how quickly opinions change once someone becomes too dependent on it. How fast you're shunned or shoved into a small haven of people that are just as dependent as you are, away from the world that no longer likes you yet still encourages you to participate in every single way. But I did it.
The end of the 2010s saw a lot of new beginnings. I started getting help, and I was serious about it this time. I started looking into diagnosis (and am still looking into it) and behavioural therapy. I'm learning to be more mindful, more compassionate, more open with emotions that aren't just anger. I'm getting back in touch with my artist, learning where in the art world I belong and what I want to do in the world through my art. I'm shaking free from my fears, my anxieties, and my judgements. I've build great friendships and great connections.
I am excited for 2020.
I have a slew of achievable and concrete goals for this year and I'm in the process of making some for the decade. I have great friends that I can't wait to get closer to and learn more about. I have direction, purpose, and I can still fucking party without substances running though my veins. So if you had a hard decade, I feel you. I really do. Just remember, you fucking survived it. Now it's time to shine.