FiddlerNotes: New Year, who dis?

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CW: brief mention of FA and DV.

So we’re all coming out of the time-weirdness that is the end of the year, where holidays and days off work make the question “What day is it??” a real head scratcher.  With the new year comes, as always, a verve for setting intentions for the coming months, clearing the slate if you will, and I’m right there in the thick of it.  

This year is a little different though for me.  I’m setting out the year for the first time in a LONG time with the feeling that I have all the tools I need to actually make some real forward progress in what I want and need. This goes beyond “I want to get a car this year,”  or “I want to take a trip”

Last year was getting one step closer to my kids being able to express themselves fully, and to have the support they need to succeed in school and beyond.  Last year I was getting a LOT of finances straightened out.  Last year I got a handful of diagnoses that got me the help and support I need to really start taking care of myself. 

This year?  This year I’ve got a small pile of goals that land under one word: Thrive.

To explain, a few years ago the amazing and talented Melissa McCollum introduced me to One Little Word.  You can Google to explore that, but it boils down to finding a word that encapsules what you want to achieve in the next year.  Not specifics (unless you really want to get that granular), and not a resolution per se, but a feeling about what you want to do and be in the next 365 (ish) days.  I like that it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and doesn’t tie me down to one real pathway on how to get to  the ‘goalpost’.  Resolutions for me, with the neurospicy, tend to fail pretty early as I get distracted (or bored) and I get hooked on a new thing.

Now, what does thrive mean?  Well, the dictionary will tell you that ‘thrive’ is a verb that means to prosper or flourish.  Which is a good start.  But that all means different things to different people.  Thriving to one person might mean traveling constantly, where to another it might mean a room full of books with a window-seat and actual time to read.

What does it mean for me?  That’s a little more nebulous.  Getting a new day job late last year was a huge step in the right direction.  A reduction in stress means I still have energy at the end of the work day to actually do and create.  So being able to create is part of thriving for me.  And that doesn’t matter if it’s creating music, a new string of dance steps, a crocheted sweater, a meal…or a blog post!  Creating something gives me peace in my soul.

Thriving is also experiences for me.  I have a healthy dose of wanderlust, and travel costs.  It cost money most apparently, but also time, and if you’re neurospicy or disabled, or both, it costs spoons.  I’m learning how to cope with both of that last piece, and now that I’ve got a little bit of a handle on that, travel, or at least consistently going and SEEING new things, having new experiences, will be possible.

The third chunk of thriving is an elusive one for me, and it might take a bit to explain it.  For a long, LONG time, when I expressed a want or need or some accommodation that I needed to be comfortable or even functional, that was usually met with at best dismissiveness, and at worst outright ridicule and derisiveness.  So I finally got to the point that I believed it, that I didn’t need the things I needed, and if I wanted something, it wasn’t important enough to spend the time/money/spoons on it. 

Now, this was a while ago, and I’ve been several years (and a LOT of therapy and shadow work) into healing that, and I’m to the point that I can say “I need this to be able to really function better”  or “I don’t need this, but I’ve wanted it for the longest time, and we can afford it without hurting the budget so let’s do it!” 

Part of the reason I’m at that point is I’m not only being true to myself and am able to acknowledge things that I want and need are valid, but I’m in relationships and situations that validate those wants and needs and support me actually taking care of myself.

It’s kinda amazing how being with people, with a chosen family, that lifts each other up changes a person’s whole life.

That was the long way around to say I’m also rebuilding WHO I am, starting kinda at the core of how I see myself, what my real wants and needs are, and where I want to be headed.  This means leaning in to a lot of things that I’d masked myself off from:  liking and needing little kid things, and getting those things to heal my inner child, being a total solarpunk NERD and refitting my ‘grown up’ wardrobe to both fit that, and my changing physical needs.  Not masking when I stim, or get super excited about things.  Letting my hyperfocus actually run when it’s safe and prudent to do so.  Really figuring out what I need to take care of my weird skin and joints, then actually getting those things…and USING them. 

All of that is a huge hurdle let me tell you.  I, like a lot of people with Boomer (love you Mom!)  and Silent generation parents struggle with the idea that you don’t spend ANYTHING unless you HAVE to.  And if you’re not starving, naked, or bleeding, you don’t have to spend the money.  Add that mentality to vacillating between being so poor I couldn’t afford the “o-r” and being ramen and taters tight with three kiddos and needing to make sure that the kids eat right and have clothes and that you can afford the next doctor’s appointment.  Then add the topper of years of FA and DV to the point where you don’t DARE spend money unless it’s on something next to free for fear of another argument.  Those three things combine to make it nearly impossible to justify spending anything on yourself, and if you do, you don’t use that thing you get but once in a blue moon because you don’t know when you’ll be able to get it again. 

That’s a lot of conditioning to rewire.  It’s been years ago for all of that, and it’s been years of repairing and healing and realizing a lot of it to get to the point I’m at now, but I’m in the process.   A fair way down the road actually.  And I’m realizing that now and starting to really, actually see my needs for what they are, and to meet them. 

So I’m working on thriving this year, and what that means to me.  Do you have something similar?  What are your goals for the year?

3 thoughts on “FiddlerNotes: New Year, who dis?

  1. Dorrie

    Oh honey, I heard all of that sooo loudly! I love the concept of “thrive” and have kind of set similar goals for myself as well. I See you and the amazing, strong woman, partner, and Mama that you are. You kick ass and you deserve ALL the good things that you have found and are still discovering. I’m so happy to have reconnected with you this year, you have been a source of support, comfort, friendship, and inspiration and I’m so proud and happy to call you my friend.

  2. Erin Lewis Post author

    Thank you ^_^ This one was a little hard to write, but I’m glad I got it out. I’m proud of YOU and the work you’re doing and progress you’re making! Keep at it!!


    I think I am not gonna steal the page from your book, but I’m straight up copying your homework for the goal this year–except I think my goal will be “Follow Through” (I could run it together and make it just one word). I’m so happy for how far you’ve come from before and I know you’ve got this Thrive thing nailed for this year. Love you much <3


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