Monday, January 12, 2009

2008: My Year in Review

Or, "And I Thought 2004 Sucked..."

As promised/threatened, let's take a look back at the year that was 2008.


Okay, look- the only way I'm going to get through this is to break it up into two sections: the Bad and the Good (for those interested, you can look at 2007's year in review here).

The Bad.

-I said, if not "goodbye", then at least "I'll see you very infrequently" to some of my dearest friends on the planet. My family, really, for the past 8 years. People who were once strangers to me, then casual acquaintances, then such a close part of my life that I can't imagine life without them in it. Some I've known since before I'd moved to Maryland- back when I was just visiting, when I had to prove that I was a real person and not just an imaginary person. Some I'd met after I'd been there for a few years, voices of comfort in my darkest days, unexpected friendships blossoming like roses from a sidewalk. Some were coworkers, folks who'd watched my life fall apart, and helped me build it back up. Some were just people who, instead of just smiling and going on their way, stopped and talked and laughed and made me feel like I was a person again. Some of them, in their quiet ways, have literally kept me alive- and I don't know if they knew it. Leaving these wonderful people, who'd given me such hope and joy and comfort, was far and away the hardest part of leaving Maryland.

-I had to watch one of my oldest and dearest friends, who has, in her short life, suffered more than any human should ever have to bear, stand by and lose her mother, and know there was nothing she could do, except bear this further suffering.

-I stood by my brother (remember, not all brothers need share blood) and watched the man we both call 'Father' slip the surly bonds of earth. I cried with him, hugged him, stood by him, because there was nothing else I could do.

-I lost my Father. I had the man I most admired, the man I looked to for inspiration, for guidance, for my self, taken from me, from all of us-- no, I'm sorry. He wasn't 'taken'. He chose the time to walk off this stage; he just didn't tell us beforehand. Which was his way, so as to not hurt anyone. Regardless, though, he's gone. He left suddenly, unexpectedly, as though in the middle of a sentence. Four days after I returned home, and he was gone. His passing has hurt me so deeply, so profoundly, I don't even realize how badly I'm hurting until I'm already crying, or screaming, or shaking. Now walking down the path walked before,by so many others, I just don't know how you've all do it. I just don't know how I make it through the day, sometimes.

-The three men in my life that I called "Father" (or "Pops" or "Dad" or "The Fascist") are gone. I can no longer ask them for advice, or ideas, or even just a funny story. I can no longer talk to my fathers. But Thank God, I can talk to their sons. My brothers and I, those of the blood and those of the will, all bear scars now- these scars of pain, of loss, of pride. These scars that say "We are our fathers' sons." We stand there, we scarred sons. But we do not stand alone.

The Good.
(an abbreviated list)

-As if I needed any further reminding of how immensely blessed I am, I need look no further than the outpouring of love and concern from my friends and family during those days- How lucky my whole family is, to know such people. My brothers were there, whenever I was feeling lost, to help me find my way. Friends came in from many miles away, which meant so much to me and my family. My Mom said it exactly right when she told me "You have such good friends; you're so fortunate to have them in your life."

-I made the conscious decision to give up everything I knew in my life, my comfortable mire of my own making, and took the biggest gamble of my life, and moved back to Pittsburgh. While at first this doesn't sound like much of a gamble, for those who know me, they know how hard this was for me. To give up the easy life, as it were, to come back to a place I've not really known in almost 10 years, where it would've been just as easy to slip back into those old habits and become that boy I was all those years ago, it was one of the hardest choices I've ever made. But, of course, it turned out to be the exact right thing to do- really, the only choice I could've made. Who knew? Well, I have my suspicions about that, and when I see him next, I'll be sure to ask.

-I started a new job, in a new town, where I only knew one person. And damned if I don't do it pretty well. Not as well as I'd like, of course, but hell, I feel like I do it okay, and if that's not a triumph, I don't know what is.

-I got to welcome yet more of the next generation of my friends into the world, and celebrate the first of many, many birthdays to come for some of the 'older' members of the JE:TNG club.

-I walked up to a woman and gave her my phone number. And we went out.

-I made it to 150 posts on this infernal thing.

-I watched a bunch of movies with family and friends, both old friends and new.

-I met new people, and talked to them!

-I went on a date again- more than one! With the same person! We're still dating!

-I learned sometimes, it's okay to be pushed.

-I drove to Toledo, OH, with my niece to see a concert for a band we both like.

-I started to be a better uncle to my niece.

-I started to teach her how to drive a car (debated if that was 'good' or 'bad')

-I was able to terrorize my cats more by moving.

-I got to spend more time with my brother and nephews, hanging out.

-I had fresh Gino's pizza on a drive back to Maryland.

-I was able to visit the best part of Ledo's.

-I surprised Katie, Courtney, and Doris.

-I went to dinner with the Tooth Fairy.

-I surprised Ashley.

-I read a lot of friggin' books.

-I spent my tenth year at Chincoteague with my friends.

-I got to have some really good talks with my Mom. Not just about this or that, but about things that really matter.

-I was able to see first hand just how strong my mother is.

-I fulfilled a promise I made to my father over twenty years ago. And he remembered.

-I was able to surprise my Mom and Dad, and spend one of the best days of my life with them, sitting in a hospital room, talking and listening and laughing with them.

-I told my Dad how much I loved him.

-My brothers stood by me, and I by them.

-We honored our father.

-I realized just how much my parents love and respect me.

-I learned I can be the man my father knew I could be.

-I kept picking up a pencil.


If I haven't said it enough, thank you all for stopping in to visit, whether it's been your first stop or your hundred sixty-whateverth, knowing this doesn't exist in a vacuum helps make it all worthwhile.

I know this past year's hardly been a cornucopia of drawing greatness (or even drawing mediocrity), and I do apologize for that. I've found a good bit of trouble in focusing, as you've noticed, and although I've kept picking up that pencil, it's hardly been an easy go of it.

But I've not given up yet. I have some things in the pipeline, and I'm thinking about posting some of my old, old sketches. It'd be interesting, I think, to show how I've changed as an artist, both in subject and method (though maybe not so much the subject). I do still plan on writing, so don't expect that to go away. Hopefully you'll be back. If you like it, tell them I did it; if you don't, tell them I did it. Go ahead, I can take it.


Songs are in the sky now
Suns are in my veins
Throw me in the fire now
Love is what remains
-Joan Osborne, "Hallelujah in the City"

1 comment:

Odd Voodoo said...

Well said brother, well said...